Cough or Addiction

by Shaun Damon

Typically, most of the cough syrups that are commercially available are known to contain Dextromethorphan or codeine. These active ingredients in the cough syrups are very effective but unfortunately they are also highly addictive. Those who are addicted to cough syrup will usually visit the doctor under the pretext of having a dry cough so as to obtain the prescription to purchase the cough syrup. Those involved in cough syrup abuse will admit that they prefer cough syrup to any other addictive substance because:

  • Cough syrup is easily available as it can be legally purchased
  • It is relatively cheap as compared to alcohol or any other habit-forming substances
  • Cough syrup addicts also believe that it is a safer form of drug abuse

Side Effects of Cough Syrup

Like any other medication, when consumed in excess or unnecessarily, cough syrup addiction is also known to have its share of side effects such as:

  • Panic attacks and delusions
  • Memory lapses
  • Rapid heart beat resulting in high blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Stomach pain, vomiting and nausea
  • Some cough syrups also tend to directly affect the central nervous system as they affect the cerebellum in the brain. The cerebellum is that part of the brain which plays an important role in coordinating the bodily movements of an individual. Individuals who are addicted to cough syrup may tend to display irrational behavior and uncoordinated movements because of the adverse effects of the cough syrup on the cerebellum receptors.
  • Cough syrup, when consumed regularly, will also act as an intoxicant and have side effects such as dissociation, dilated pupils, depression etc.
  • The prolonged use of cough syrups is also known to have adverse effects on the overall health of the person resulting in high levels of fatigue, constipation, urinary retention, poor coordination etc. There have also been plenty of cases of death on account of cough syrup overdose.
  • The side effects of cough syrup are more pronounced and dangerous when the cough syrup is combined with other drugs such as antidepressants or allergy medications.
  • The side effects of cough syrup addiction in the long term also include damage to the liver.
  • Urinary difficulties, mental cloudiness and frequent forgetfulness are some of the other side effects of long term cough syrup abuse.
  • Cough syrups, especially expectorants are also known to result in headaches, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness if they are consumed in large amounts.



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