Codeine is a prescription medication that is either an opiate analgesic for treating pain or is an antitussive that reduces coughing. It can be combined with acetaminophen or aspirin and is a main ingredient in some prescription cold medications. The properties of codeine change the way your body feels pain and if used as a cold medication or cough reducer it acts on the center in the brain that controls coughing.
This drug sounds innocent enough, but when abused it can cause breathing complications, liver damage, kidney problems and internal bleeding. Codeine is habit forming. Unfortunately codeine addiction can start a mere two weeks after the first dosage.
Are you addicted?
You have been prescribed codeine, but are you now experiencing headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and change in mood? Do you feel like vomiting, have constipation or stomach pains and problems when urinating? Is it hard to breath or swallow and are you experiencing vision changes? These are warning signs of codeine addiction.
Codeine is a highly used drug and is abused since it does have euphoric opiate affects. You can use codeine in liquid form, smoke it, snort or inject it. You can also drink copious amounts of cough syrup to get a “high.” You can obtain codeine over the counter in low doses and it is common on shelves in Canada. Do you need to drink cough syrup mixed with some other type of drink? This is a sign of codeine addiction. Think you can stop? Think again! If you are addicted to codeine you will have serious psychological and physical symptoms. You need more and more. Codeine is easy to obtain since it is a mixture drug. If you stop immediately you will go through withdrawal symptoms; that is addiction.
Symptoms are similar to heroin withdrawal and there are heroin addicts who use cough syrup and codeine to regulate their withdrawal symptoms. If you have unusual cravings, nausea, vomiting and weakness plus chills, headaches and sweating or excessive yawning you are withdrawing from codeine. Dehydration is a common symptom as is muscle twitching and pain and increased blood pressure.
Treatment for Codeine Addiction
Stop using codeine, and get into an addiction detox and treatment. Codeine addiction treatment is similar to other opiate addictions and should be treated medically. Medical detoxification does include managing the symptoms to make you more comfortable while your system expels the codeine. Support and treatment is different for everyone, but you will need counseling and medical intervention. Outpatient treatment, as with other opiate addictions, is a possibility, but inpatient treatments are generally necessary for long term results.
The best treatment? Use codeine as it was intended. Suppress coughs that are causing other medical problems, use when needed for minor pain that cannot be treated with aspirin or acetaminophen and definitely follow your doctor’s prescription rates.