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The Danger of Codeine Addiction

You may have heard the codeine addiction stories when talking about famous rappers who drink it mixed with Sprite or Mountain Dew. What you might not know is how dangerous codeine addiction can be, how incredibly difficult codeine withdrawal can be and why long-term abuse of the drug may actually lead to a fatal overdose.

What is It?

codeine addiction symptoms

Codeine is an opiate drug for the treatment of mild to moderate pain. Physicians often prescribe this short-acting narcotic for short-term pain management. It is often used to treat pain that would not normally respond to over-the-counter painkillers. One of the reasons that people can become addicted to codeine is because it provides feelings of pleasure and an overall sense of calm when ingested. It does so by telling the brain to release specific neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters can help stimulate the reward center of the brain, leaving the user with intense sensations of pleasure and overall wellbeing. This could lead to physical and psychological dependence on the drug.

Building a Tolerance for the Drug

Even though those who take the narcotic for legitimate medical purposes may end up needing codeine addiction help if they are not careful. The user will develop a tolerance to the substance after prolonged use. This means that in order to feel the effects of the drug, the user needs to take in more and more with each following use. If someone becomes accustomed to having the drug in their system, they may experience codeine withdrawal symptoms if they do not keep using it.

Signs to Watch For

Considering that codeine is an opiate, the codeine addiction symptoms are quite similar to many of the other symptoms of opiate abuse. These include drowsiness, difficulty breathing, vomiting and nausea. Their skin may become itchy; they may have issues with stomach pain and constipation or may have an overall sedated appearance.

Physical effects

  • Compromised breathing or respiratory depression
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Psychological effects

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings and/or irritability
  • Impaired cognitive function

There are also additional signs of codeine addiction, even though these might not necessarily be easily recognizable for everyone. Even though the following signs not always indicative of a codeine syrup addiction, it certainly would suggest that something is not right.

  • Thinking about the drug when not taking it. This could mean that the person constantly obsesses about or craves the drug in question.
  • Some patients will regularly go to doctor’s offices in order to get a prescription for codeine. Sometimes this means going to different doctors (doctor shopping).
  • Faking or lying about symptoms in order to be prescribed codeine.
  • Keeping prescriptions around even though there is no immediate need for them (e.g. having codeine in the home even though the actual pain has since subsided).
  • Lying or neglecting to inform others about their codeine drug abuse. Most people who are addicted to codeine will rarely want to admit this to others.
  • Neglecting social responsibilities, family and work in order to be able to use or because of the effects of the drug.

Withdrawing from Codeine

If the user abuses codeine for prolonged periods, chances are that they are going to experience codeine addiction withdrawal symptoms after ceasing use. Anyone abusing the drug runs the risk of becoming physically and mentally dependent on it. Codeine addiction withdrawal symptoms can vary and depend on genetic makeup, length of codeine drug abuse and how much the user would take throughout the day. One of the reasons to seek out codeine addiction treatment is because these withdrawal symptoms can make it exceedingly hard for people to remain sober, even if they are trying everything in their power to do so.

Physical Symptoms

The physical withdrawal symptoms will usually manifest around the time that the user would normally use again. This can be as early as several hours after last using. These symptoms can be exceedingly painful and difficult to deal with and are one of the primary reasons that people relapse.

A few of the symptoms include uncontrollable muscle movements, a lethargic feeling, sleeplessness and a heightened sensitivity to pain. This may also include severe muscle aches and cramps, headaches, and overwhelming feelings of nausea. Unless the user is in the presence of a physician or trained staff, the physical withdrawal symptoms of codeine can also be very dangerous. It is important to be around people who know how to treat codeine addiction and have experience with it. With qualified codeine rehab, it is possible to minimize the potential side effects of the withdrawal from codeine addiction.

Mental Symptoms

Even though the physical withdrawal symptoms of codeine abuse are over in a few weeks at the most, the psychological withdrawal symptoms of codeine addiction are going to be present far longer. This requires ongoing treatment and a good understanding of what the underlying issue might be.

Despite the fact that codeine is far milder than opiates such as heroin or morphine, this lures users into a false sense of security that it might not be as habit-forming. Even though it may take a bit longer before a person becomes addicted to codeine, stopping use altogether is just as difficult. Some of the psychological symptoms include hallucinations, racing thoughts, becoming easily agitated, obsessing about having access to the drug, irritability, psychosis and thoughts of suicide or hurting others.

Why You Have to Act Immediately

Even though some people discount an addiction to codeine because of its association with cough syrup abuse, it is important to note that promethazine and codeine addiction can become a serious issue; that codeine may point people in the direction of additional opiate abuse. Keep in mind that long-term codeine drug abuse should not be stopped without professional supervision. This is one of the reasons that it is important that you seek help for the treatment of codeine addiction. The problem with codeine addiction can develop so quickly that most people do not have any idea that they have a dependence on the drug before it is too late.

Seeking the right treatment facility can also be quite difficult for people because of the overwhelming number of options. It is important that if you or someone that you care about seeks treatment for codeine addiction, you have to understand that quality codeine rehab is going to take time. Long-term, inpatient codeine addiction treatment can make a difference in someone’s life. Despite it being difficult, recovery is possible. If you or someone close to you struggles with this addiction, make sure that you pick up the phone, make the call and get the help you need to get better