NyQuil is a well-known popular over the counter medication that is best known to help ease respiratory symptoms, aches, and pains brought on by allergies, the common cold, or the seasonal flu. NyQuil also offers the added benefit of causing drowsiness, making people relax and fall asleep. Ingredients in this medication can produce mind-altering effects, which can lead to NyQuil abuse and addiction.

A psychoactive ingredient in NyQuil is dextromethorphan (DXM), and it acts as a cough suppressant in small amounts. Ingesting more than is recommended of this ingredient produces psychoactive effects that can be referred to as a “trip” and can eventually lead to abuse and addiction. Robotripping is the slang used to describe the consumption of large doses of DXM to experience its psychoactive effects, and it can produce very harmful results, including hallucinations, addiction, and death.

What is NyQuil?

NyQuil is a common over the counter cough and cold medication that does not cure but can provide many benefits for individuals that are experiencing symptoms associated with allergies, colds, and the flu. It is advised to be used by people over 12 years old and can be bought as a liquid syrup, tablet, or capsule. This cough medicine contains three ingredients, which are acetaminophen for fever and pain; doxylamine is an antihistamine that relieves allergy symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, and sore throat, and DXM which is a cough suppressant. Symptoms that can be reduced by the use of NyQuil include:

  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Stuffy and runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches

When appropriately used, the side effects of NyQuil are minor and can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth, nose, or throat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort

This medication is only intended for short-term use and is recommended for no more than ten days at a time.

Addiction and Abuse

If putting NyQuil back into the medicine cabinet after cold or flu symptoms have dissipated causes uncomfortable physical symptoms, trouble sleeping, or cravings for NyQuil, dependence on the medication may have escalated to addiction causing withdrawal symptoms to appear. This can happen when NyQuil is used for the wrong reasons, including use as a sleep aid or for easing symptoms of chronic conditions like asthma, dosed in larger than recommended amounts, used long-term, or recreationally. It is essential to seek the advice and treatment of trained medical professionals to ensure a medically safe detox and successful drug treatment and rehabilitation.


When higher amounts of NyQuil are necessary to reach the desired or the same effects, drug tolerance is being experienced. This tolerance is what forms physical dependence and addiction. Addiction is the inability to stop destructive behaviors, like drug use, despite their harmful consequences. It is a chronic complex brain disorder that is treatable and manageable with proper medical care and treatment, thus making it imperative to seek professional medical help when attempting to cease the use of NyQuil.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from NyQuil usually begin a few hours after cessation and peak about three days after the last use. While physical symptoms can last several weeks, the emotional toll can continue for months. Some of the withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced include:

  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Cravings for the medicine
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Sweating
  • Bone and muscle aches

Some of the contributing factors that influence the withdrawal process include how long and how much NyQuil was abused, polydrug use, the individual's overall health and well-being, and physical factors such as metabolism, age, and weight.

Facing and experiencing withdrawal symptoms without medical assistance can be a very painful, uncomfortable, and scary experience, which often leads to unsuccessful attempts at stopping the use of NyQuil. Therefore, it is essential to seek the assistance of trained professionals when ending the use of NyQuil to ensure a safe and successful experience that will result in the continued abstinence of the drug.

Polydrug Abuse

One of the greatest dangers of abusing NyQuil is that it contains multiple ingredients that interact with each other. If a person is struggling with addiction and abusing more than one substance at a time, the interaction of various substances can be very harmful, if not deadly. Some examples of other substance interactions include using alcohol, marijuana, or antidepressants while using NyQuil.

Consuming more than one substance or drug at a time can increase and enhance the effects of each drug, creating a new type of euphoric high. The combination of alcohol and NyQuil can produce some hazardous results, including suppressing the central nervous system, which can affect breathing, cause hallucinations or paranoid thoughts, produce liver and kidney failure, overdose, and death. Polydrug abuse is a complex problem that needs to be addressed when seeking drug treatment.

Poly Drug Reactions

Some severe complications can result when using multiple substances or drugs simultaneously. Some of these side-effects can include:

  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Brain Damage
  • Impaired Motor Control
  • Seizures
  • Liver and kidney failure
  • Coma and death

Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation

There are many options for drug treatment and rehabilitation, and the first step is to detox from the substance. After this step is completed, it is essential to continue treatment in a facility that provides long-term follow-up or repeated care. While receiving treatment, all of an individual's needs must be addressed, including physical and mental issues, counseling, and behavioral therapy along with medications are critical components to rehabilitation, and continuous monitoring of the patient's treatment is vital to a successful outcome.


Current advances in medical research concerning drug abuse and addiction have created treatment outcomes with more success and less relapse. Addiction can be treated and managed with the proper help and assistance of specially trained medical professionals. Please take the time to reach out and get the help and guidance you deserve today.