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Codeine

Codeine Addiction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Understanding Codeine

Codeine is a prescription pain medication, normally taken in tablet form, used to treat mild to moderate pain. Codeine combined with acetaminophen makes up Tylenol 3, a popular pain reliever. Codeine is also a main ingredient in prescription cough medicines.

Many individuals use codeine for legitimate medical purposes. When used over long periods or used in a manner not consistent with the prescription, however, codeine users can--and frequently do--develop an addiction. When used appropriately codeine provides moderate pain relief. When used inappropriately, it can become an addiction.

Codeine Abuse and Addiction

One of the primary side effects of codeine is an overall sense of calm and feelings of pleasure. When an individual ingests codeine, it enters the brain and causes neurotransmitter release. These neurotransmitters stimulate the brain's reward center, which gives the user intense feelings of pleasure and relaxation. These euphoric feelings sometimes lead to physical and psychological dependence.

Because it's an opiate, codeine users run a high risk of developing a tolerance for the drug and eventually a dependence on it. In addition, many codeine users continue using the drug after the physical pain that caused the initial use subsides. They instead use it to cope with emotional pain or as an escape from everyday problems.

Codeine's potency rates low in relation to other narcotics like hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, etc. Codeine abuse and high tolerance may act as a gateway to these more powerful drugs and other forms of illicit substance abuse.

In addition to seeking out more potent narcotics--in many cases, even heroin--they strive for a better high by mixing it with alcohol and other drugs. Because codeine and alcohol both depress the central nervous system (CNS), combining them may lead to dangerous levels of depression in the brain and respiratory system.

Over 33 million individuals misuse codeine every year. Because of its status as a gateway opiate, it's difficult to get the complete story on the damage done by codeine addiction. What is known is the exponential increase in opiate use by those without a prescription.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. Not coincidentally, heroin use over the past decade has skyrocketed as have deaths related to narcotic poisoning. Between 2004-2008, for example, emergency room visits related to prescription drug overdoses increased 152%. And that trend has continued to get worse.

Ready to get help?
Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.
Call us now (24/7)
(855) 977-9303

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Warning signs for drug addiction in general include changes in behavior, habits, sleep habits, and one's social circle. Close friends and loved ones may also notice a change in physical appearance and personal grooming.

Signs of codeine abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedated and inattentive appearance
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Itchiness
  • Inability to think clearly or complete normal physical tasks
  • Dizziness & fainting

 

Codeine overdose signs include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow and slow breathing
  • Limpness,
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Cold and clammy skin

In severe cases, those who abuse opiates no longer get high from opiate use; they simply need the drug to function each day.

Causes of Addiction

While predicting the development of codeine addiction is difficult, several factors can increase the risk of dependency including personal and family history, existence of prior or co-occurring substance abuse disorders, and mental health disorders.

Brain chemistry also plays a role. Because codeine works by interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain, low levels of naturally occurring neurotransmitters can facilitate dependency and addiction.  In other words, addicts may self-medicate with codeine in order to make up for a deficiency.

Environmental factors should also be taken into account when discussing addiction. Those who grow up in an home environment where they are exposed to drugs and drug abuse are more prone to develop substance abuse disorders later in life. Through modeling, children learn that drug abuse is an acceptable way for coping with problems.

Codeine Withdrawal

Codeine dependency and addiction can cause one to experience unpleasant side effects when attempting to discontinue use. Because codeine and opiate withdrawal can produce such serious effects, trying to stop use by oneself is not recommended. The safest means of recovering from codeine addiction is through the help and supervision of a medically trained professional.

Withdrawal effects include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Runny nose
  • Intense sweating
  • Chills
  • Goosebumps
  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe irritability
  • Muscle spasms

 

Severe withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Homicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations

Treatment and Rehab

Codeine addiction can have devastating effects on one's life--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. The first step towards recovery and overcoming a codeine addiction is identifying and addressing the problem. Professional help for you or a loved one offers the best hope in overcoming problems associated with codeine addiction.  

For many people, codeine is just a strand in a larger web of addictions. In many cases, it is a gateway drug into addiction to other substances, especially other opiates. Because multiple drugs in a user's system changes the way treatment is administered, it is important that the user is honest when discussing treatment programs.

Understanding Codeine

Codeine is a prescription pain medication, normally taken in tablet form, used to treat mild to moderate pain. Codeine combined with acetaminophen makes up Tylenol 3, a popular pain reliever. Codeine is also a main ingredient in prescription cough medicines.

Many individuals use codeine for legitimate medical purposes. When used over long periods or used in a manner not consistent with the prescription, however, codeine users can--and frequently do--develop an addiction. When used appropriately codeine provides moderate pain relief. When used inappropriately, it can become an addiction.

Codeine Abuse and Addiction

One of the primary side effects of codeine is an overall sense of calm and feelings of pleasure. When an individual ingests codeine, it enters the brain and causes neurotransmitter release. These neurotransmitters stimulate the brain's reward center, which gives the user intense feelings of pleasure and relaxation. These euphoric feelings sometimes lead to physical and psychological dependence.

Because it's an opiate, codeine users run a high risk of developing a tolerance for the drug and eventually a dependence on it. In addition, many codeine users continue using the drug after the physical pain that caused the initial use subsides. They instead use it to cope with emotional pain or as an escape from everyday problems.

Codeine's potency rates low in relation to other narcotics like hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, etc. Codeine abuse and high tolerance may act as a gateway to these more powerful drugs and other forms of illicit substance abuse.

In addition to seeking out more potent narcotics--in many cases, even heroin--they strive for a better high by mixing it with alcohol and other drugs. Because codeine and alcohol both depress the central nervous system (CNS), combining them may lead to dangerous levels of depression in the brain and respiratory system.

Over 33 million individuals misuse codeine every year. Because of its status as a gateway opiate, it's difficult to get the complete story on the damage done by codeine addiction. What is known is the exponential increase in opiate use by those without a prescription.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. Not coincidentally, heroin use over the past decade has skyrocketed as have deaths related to narcotic poisoning. Between 2004-2008, for example, emergency room visits related to prescription drug overdoses increased 152%. And that trend has continued to get worse.

Ready to get help?
Call now to be connected with a compassionate treatment specialist.
Call us now (24/7)
(888) 642-9705

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Warning signs for drug addiction in general include changes in behavior, habits, sleep habits, and one's social circle. Close friends and loved ones may also notice a change in physical appearance and personal grooming.

Signs of codeine abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedated and inattentive appearance
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Itchiness
  • Inability to think clearly or complete normal physical tasks
  • Dizziness & fainting

 

Codeine overdose signs include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow and slow breathing
  • Limpness,
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Cold and clammy skin

In severe cases, those who abuse opiates no longer get high from opiate use; they simply need the drug to function each day.

Causes of Addiction

While predicting the development of codeine addiction is difficult, several factors can increase the risk of dependency including personal and family history, existence of prior or co-occurring substance abuse disorders, and mental health disorders.

Brain chemistry also plays a role. Because codeine works by interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain, low levels of naturally occurring neurotransmitters can facilitate dependency and addiction.  In other words, addicts may self-medicate with codeine in order to make up for a deficiency.

Environmental factors should also be taken into account when discussing addiction. Those who grow up in an home environment where they are exposed to drugs and drug abuse are more prone to develop substance abuse disorders later in life. Through modeling, children learn that drug abuse is an acceptable way for coping with problems.

Codeine Withdrawal

Codeine dependency and addiction can cause one to experience unpleasant side effects when attempting to discontinue use. Because codeine and opiate withdrawal can produce such serious effects, trying to stop use by oneself is not recommended. The safest means of recovering from codeine addiction is through the help and supervision of a medically trained professional.

Withdrawal effects include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Runny nose
  • Intense sweating
  • Chills
  • Goosebumps
  • Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe irritability
  • Muscle spasms

 

Severe withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Homicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations

Treatment and Rehab

Codeine addiction can have devastating effects on one's life--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. The first step towards recovery and overcoming a codeine addiction is identifying and addressing the problem. Professional help for you or a loved one offers the best hope in overcoming problems associated with codeine addiction.  

For many people, codeine is just a strand in a larger web of addictions. In many cases, it is a gateway drug into addiction to other substances, especially other opiates. Because multiple drugs in a user's system changes the way treatment is administered, it is important that the user is honest when discussing treatment programs.

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