Addiction to Codeine
Learn the symptoms of codeine addiction in order to know if you need help
Addiction to codeine is usually caused by abuse that creates a tolerance to the drug. Codeine is a fairly strong opiate drug often prescribed to suppress coughs and to offer relief from pain. Although it may be less potent than other opiate drugs, Codeine still has similar symptoms. Codeine is addictive, and someone who begins to increase his or her dosage of the drug above the standard range will begin to build up a tolerance to the drug. As the tolerance increases, the user becomes more at risk of addiction.
Some people are able to process codeine more quickly in their body than other people. A person who processes the drug quickly can ingest more of the drug in a short amount of time and this can make addiction occur more rapidly. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and process codeine quickly, can pass large amounts of codeine on to their child. This can result in an overdose or death to the child.
After a person becomes addicted to codeine, they may find that they can’t function without the drug. They may move on to more potent opiates like oxycodone or heroin. Their health may begin to be affected by the drug, as well as other areas of their life. There are various signs and symptoms of codeine abuse that an addict may experience, such as feelings of euphoria, well-being and an absence of pain perception. Some of the physical effects that codeine may have on your body are:
- Slurred speech
- A lack of coordination
- Impaired judgment and decision making ability
- Dilated pupils
- Low blood pressure
- Itching or rash
- Stomach cramps and constipation
- Blurred vision
- Brain damage
The long-term abuse of codeine may result in liver or kidney damage, depression, anxiety, impaired memory, muscle spasms and death. Because codeine can be obtained legally over-the-counter, for examples in some cough syrups, many people do not realize how addictive and strong the drug may be. There are specific criteria to diagnose codeine addiction, including repeated abuse of the drug and cravings for the drug.
Codeine addiction treatment can begin with an intervention from family or friends of the addict. You can hire an intervention specialist if you are uneasy about leading the intervention yourself. Once the addict agrees to get the help he needs, bring him directly to a drug rehabilitation center. Some addicts try to wean themselves off of codeine, but not being able to handle the withdrawal effects often causes them to relapse. It is better to have addiction specialists help the addict go through the detox process. They can administer medications that can ease or eliminate many of the withdrawal symptoms. The Codeine withdrawal effects will vary for each person depending on how much of the drug was taken and for how long.
Codeine can cause physical and psychological addiction because the drug affects the brain and central nervous system. Codeine withdrawal may begin within a few hours after taking the last dose, and each person will experience it differently. Some of the more common withdrawal effects include cravings, nausea, vomiting, fever, sweating, insomnia, diarrhea, headaches, stomach pains, depression, muscle aches and dehydration. The medical team at the rehab center will closely monitor the patient and address each symptom as best they can. They will hydrate the patient to ward off dehydration, and administer medications to relieve the patient of symptoms. Depression can last for months after being weaned off of codeine and this problem can be addressed with therapy and medications.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, codeine addiction treatment can last from 30 to 90 days as an in-patient in a drug rehab facility. After the initial detox phase is completed, the patient will begin a series of therapies to address their addiction behavior. Individual and group counseling will help to identify and address the root causes for addictive behaviors. Behavioral therapy will help the recovering addict break destructive thought and behavior patterns that may have led to addiction and other life problems. Mental and physical problems will also be treated at the same time, because they all affect one another. Family therapy is vital to healing the family unit, and having each family member willing and able to help the addict stay on course.
Other therapies may also be added to assist the recovering addict in maintaining sobriety and avoiding a relapse. Codeine addiction treatment programs will provide new tools, techniques and education so that the recovering addict will be well prepared to begin a new, healthier cycle of life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.