There are many prescription medications that the public categorizes as safer and less threatening than others. Opiates, like Oxycontin, are infamous for leading to substance dependency. It can be easy to think that, by comparison, something as common as cough syrup with codeine in it could never be addicting or fatal like those other notorious pills.
However, misuse of codeine could lead to a state of withdrawal commonly associated with other opiates.
Codeine is part of the opiate analgesics family of medicines and can be prescribed to treat mild to moderate pain in addition to a severe cough. As with many opiates, the risk of codeine addiction can be high if usage is not properly monitored. Codeine is less regulated and less potent than other prescription medications like Oxycodone, making it easier to misuse.
Codeine transitions from cough medicine into an illicit substance in the form of what is known as “purple drank” when it is combined with a soda or other flavored beverage to make large quantities easily consumable. When combined with other depressant or sedative substances such as alcohol, the dangers are increased.
Even when codeine is not combined with another drug, codeine can cause dependence. When the initial pain-relieving side effects wear off, the desire to take more codeine can become powerful. This can lead to a quick development of a high tolerance to the standard dosage. The temptation to take more codeine to obtain the initial soothing side effects lends itself to increasing the frequency and amount consumed.
Dependency then leads to the body experiencing withdrawals when you stop taking codeine. Muscle pains, weakness, sleep disruption and disturbance, dizziness, lightheadedness, irregular breathing and heart rate increase are just some of what you can go through when cleansing your body of codeine.
The symptoms of codeine withdrawal can come in two time-dependent types. There are early withdrawal symptoms that will begin to show within a few hours of the last dosage and later withdrawal symptoms that occur as your body begins to adjust to continuous life without the substance.
Some of the first codeine withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced are:
- Irritability/sleep disturbance
- Rapid heart rate
- Achy muscles
After the initial hours of codeine withdrawal, you could begin to feel:
- An upset stomach, including nausea, cramping and loss of appetite
- Body chills
- Enlargement of pupils
These physically and mentally taxing withdrawal symptoms of codeine withdrawal can be incredibly challenging to handle independently, especially when you might not be sure if you are truly in a withdrawal or still fighting off an illness.
There are many local addiction treatment resources that can help you get through codeine withdrawal successfully and safely and start down the road to recovery. A professional substance use disorder treatment program can help safeguard you against the harmful effects of misuse of prescription medications and illicit substances. For more information on codeine addiction and the treatment options available to you, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today.