Understanding Codeine Addiction

codeine addiction

America is currently in the middle of an epidemic, and opiates are at the center of the crisis. Codeine is an opioid pain medication. It’s also considered a narcotic medication, and it’s used to treat mild to moderate pain.

The Effects of Codeine on the Body

When a patient takes codeine, the medication enters the brain and neurotransmitters are released which stimulate the reward center of the brain, and the user is left with intense feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. This feeling can lead to dependence, both physically and psychologically.

Side effects of codeine can include:

  • Major depression
  • Kidney damage
  • Heightened pain sensitivity
  • Uncontrollable muscle twitches
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory depression
  • Bradycardia
  • Decreased muscle tone
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Coma

The Dangers of Codeine Addiction

Codeine addiction should not be taken lightly. It can be a serious problem if left untreated. Everyone has a different experience with addiction, but it can lead to drastic consequences. Some of the dangers of codeine addiction include:

  • Legal troubles
  • Financial troubles
  • Jail time
  • Domestic problems
  • Job loss
  • Failure at school or work
  • Damaged relationships
  • Coma
  • Death

Codeine Addiction Signs and Symptoms

If you think you may have a problem with codeine addiction or you think someone you love may have an issue with codeine addiction, there are certain signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for. The symptoms and signs of codeine addiction can be divided into four categories.

  • Muscle twitches
  • Fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching
  • Urinary retention
  • Seizures
  • Decreased libido
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hypotension
  • Rashes
  • Dry mouth
  • Fainting
  • Blue tinge to lips and fingernails
  • Constipation
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Lack of emotions
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Euphoria
  • Calm
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased hospital visits
  • Visiting multiple doctors or pharmacies to obtain more prescriptions
  • Stealing prescriptions or money
  • Lying to cover up usage of codeine
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Prescription forgery
  • Apathy towards loved ones
  • Increase in sleep
  • Loss of interest in activities

Codeine Cough Syrup Abuse

It has become more popular to abuse codeine cough syrups. Some people mix them into alcoholic beverages or nonalcoholic sodas. This creates an intoxicating drink that has several nicknames. Among them are “lean”, “syrup”, “sizzurp”, and “purple drank.” Rappers and pop stars have made these drinks more popular. Some of these drinks may also contain dextromethorphan or DXM, which is a cough suppressant. Promethazine – another sedating drug – may also be found in these drinks.

The rise of popularity of “lean” is dangerous for everyone. It can even be lethal as both codeine and promethazine are both depressants, and they slow down your breathing. This can be a dangerous combination.

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Whenever you become dependent upon any substance, stopping it can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Because codeine is an opioid, stopping codeine abruptly will lead to withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms for codeine typically range anywhere from mild to severe. Codeine withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, but they are not typically life-threatening. There will likely be more severe withdrawal symptoms for people who have used codeine for a long time.

Codeine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia and restlessness
  • Aches and pains

Codeine Addiction Treatment

Codeine addiction is just like any other drug or alcohol addiction. It is a disease that needs to be treated. Substance use disorder is a disease, just like diabetes or cancer. There is a stigma associated with substance use disorder as some people see it as a sign of weakness or a moral failing, but we know that is not the case. The most important thing to keep in mind about any drug or alcohol addiction is that recovery is possible. Help is available if you are willing to reach out and ask for it.

The Recovery Village Ridgefield is a treatment center that offers residential and outpatient treatment programs for codeine treatment. Medical detox is offered as well if it is needed. Convenient to the cities of Seattle, Washington and Eugene, Oregon, our facility is tucked away in the Cascade Mountains, providing the ideal location for healing. If you are considering treatment for your codeine addiction, reach out to us today. Let us help you discover your path to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.