Robotripping: Dangers and Effects of Dextromethorphan

What is Robotripping
What is Robotripping


What is robotripping? While the term might be unfamiliar to you, it is a very common occurrence. Also called dexing or skittling, robotripping involves getting intoxicated using excessive amounts of dextromethorphan or DXM, the active ingredient in most cough syrups. 

When an individual consumes enough of DXM, they can experience the desired physical and psychological sensations. Understanding how this substance works and why people develop an addiction is a key to helping affected individuals on their path to recovery.

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a cough suppressant used in various over-the-counter medications that are used to treat cough and flu. Cough syrups that contained mild opioid narcotics such as codeine were eventually classified as drugs that needed a prescription, so those using DXM became more popular since it was believed to be much safer. 

However, DXM was found to be an intoxicating substance that could develop into an unhealthy habit, as demonstrated by many cases today. Not only does abusing it cause symptoms like hallucinations and paranoia, but it has also been shown to be life-threatening in excessive doses and cause a patient to be admitted to a local addiction center. While legal for purchase, a driver’s license may be required to screen minors who may be looking to abuse the drug. 

What is Robotripping Like?

Some people may wonder what robotripping is like and what makes cough syrup so appealing. After ingestion and from the start of the high, the effects of dextromethorphan can start from 30 minutes and last up to 6 hours. However, this depends on whether the individual taking it in excess is also using other substances, which can heighten and prolong the effects of DXM. 

Dextromethorphan Effects

No two robotrips are the same. While some people can experience mild symptoms on higher dosages, others can be extremely sensitive to the substance and have intense trips with long durations and more pronounced effects. A person’s metabolism, substance tolerance, body chemistry, and history with DXM can all factor into how their experience with this substance will turn out.

Robotripping can cause several side effects, even after the sensations of the high have worn off. They can manifest in different ways per individual, but these are the most common potential side effects that users can expect to experience from robotripping: 

  • Excitability or feeling hyper
  • Extreme panic and paranoia
  • Poor motor control
  • Cognitive dysfunction or impaired memory
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach pain

Dextromethorphan High

People who take DXM in large doses to achieve the high show several symptoms, including hallucinations and euphoria. These are typically what make taking cough syrup fun for users, and it is these hallucinogenic and mood-boosting effects that they aim to achieve when taking DXM. However, these positive effects also come with a negative side, including intense, unpleasant hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and impairments in cognitive and perceptual functioning. 

Many people who take dextromethorphan will experience stages of plateaus, each of which occurs at different points when the dosage increases. 

First Plateau

DXM doses ranging from 100 to 200 milligrams will produce effects similar to mild doses of molly or ecstasy, including euphoric feelings, positivity, and increased energy and sociability levels.

Second Plateau

When an individual exceeds 200 milligrams of DXM but does not consume more than 400, the effects are comparable to alcohol intoxication. Motor and cognitive functioning are much more noticeable during this stage. There’s also a higher level of euphoria and some hallucinations at this dosage.

Third Plateau

Drinking or ingesting 400 to 600 milligrams of DXM can incapacitate an individual, and effects are said to be similar to those of ketamine, including dissociation, more intense hallucinations, and loss of most motor control. 

Fourth Plateau

Dosages of DXM that range between 500 to 1,500 milligrams can create hallucinations so intense that they can be compared with the effects of phencyclidine (PCP), colloquially known as angel dust. This substance causes out-of-body experiences, delirium, and dangerous hallucinations with lower levels of pain perception. Taking this much DXM lasts for a much longer time than other plateaus, with users reporting a continuous experience in effects weeks after stopping DXM. 

Dextromethorphan may also cause other symptoms, including muscle twitches, dizziness, and more severe psychological effects. Long-term robotripping can also lead to eventual drug dependency, which can require immediate medical attention and eventual drug rehabilitation if severe enough. 

DXM Abuse
DXM Abuse and Addiction

Dextromethorphan Overdose

Knowing the signs of a robotrip overdose can potentially save somebody else’s life. Whether you’re experiencing these symptoms yourself or observe them in someone else, calling 911 or another person with experience in handling such situations in the nick of time. Some signs to watch out for are the following: 

  • Irregular, slow, or shallow breathing
  • Vomiting 
  • Muscle twitches, convulsions, or seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • High blood pressure
  • Bluish lips, fingernails, or skin
  • Extreme drowsiness

If you’re watching over someone who’s exhibiting the signs of overdose, then you should ensure they’re laying slightly on their side with their top knee inward. This will allow their airways to be clear in case they need to vomit.

Dextromethorphan Abuse and Treatment

Getting the high out of cough syrup is often combined with other drugs, such as alcohol, cannabis, and depressant or stimulant medications. Abusing more than one substance at a time can cause possible complications that will lead to serious medical treatment and the need to overcome an addiction. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are criteria used to determine whether an individual has a substance abuse disorder. Someone abusing DXM may exhibit any of the following:

  • Feeling urges or the intense need to use high doses of DXM, especially when dealing with stressful events in life
  • Continued use of DXM for non-medicinal purposes and developing a significant tolerance
  • Consuming DXM in risky ways, such as taking large doses, mixing it with other drugs, or driving under the influence 
  • Spending most of their time trying to acquire DXM, using it, or under its influence 
  • Appearing excitable, energetic, or agitated, more so than what is usual
  • Appearing sedated, intoxicated, and unable to identify what’s going on in their immediate surroundings

Seeking the help of licensed mental health professionals will help individuals that are struggling with DXM to devise an action plan to overcome addiction. Depending on the severity of the substance abuse and addiction, a formal intervention may be required. This is where family members and friends of an individual abusing DXM may gather to persuade this person to get treatment. Family and friends may seek the help of organizations like the Association of Intervention Specialists on the most appropriate ways to help with addiction recovery, which may include therapy, medication, or admission to a hospital. 

The availability of DXM over-the-counter cough medications can make it difficult to prevent substance abuse from happening, but the results don’t have to be severe or fatal with the right interventions. Understanding the symptoms, effects, and treatments for this addiction is the best way to help individuals who have developed a dependency on it on the path to recovery and wellness. By receiving the right treatment and support, people can continue on with their lives without needing to down another bottle of cough syrup for the high.