Codeine is an opioid that has been around for many years to help reduce mild to moderate pain. You may be more familiar with codeine as an ingredient in cough syrup, as it is also a cough suppressant. When taken as prescribed, codeine does a good job at reducing pain signals from the nervous system to the brain, helping you feel less pain.
However, as an opioid, codeine is considered an addictive drug – especially if you misuse or abuse it. Though it may not be as strong as opioids like hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, or morphine, it is still addictive.
Years ago, before the opioid addiction crisis started, you could buy codeine over the counter in the form of cough syrups and cough drops. However, once the addiction rates started to rise, these products were pulled from the shelves. Today, you need a physician to prescribe you codeine, as it’s listed as a schedule III drug because of its potential for abuse and addiction.
If you use your codeine prescription as prescribed by your doctor as a short term treatment for pain, the likelihood of you becoming addicted is on the lower end. The longer you’re on the medication and the higher the dose, your risk for addiction increases. If you abuse the medication by taking more than is prescribed or more frequently, the risk of addiction increases significantly.
On the more severe end of codeine addiction, the following symptoms may occur:
Chronic abuse of codeine can cause damage to major body organs like the brain, kidneys, and liver.
As a mild to moderate pain-reliever, codeine helps reduce pain a few hours at a time. It works by attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors, blocking pain signals so you feel less pain. You may also feel more relaxed, as is common with most opioids. Though it’s not technically a depressant, codeine can calm the nervous system down some.
Used as directed, codeine doesn’t usually pose a threat. However, because of its addictive nature, there are risks associated with it if you use it long-term or misuse it.
Addiction is among the highest risks associated with codeine. It may not be as strong as some of the other opioids, but you can still become dependent on or addicted to it. Also, because it is short-acting, users tend to take it more often, and this can cause an increase in tolerance quickly.
As codeine is metabolized by the body, it breaks down into the opioid morphine. Though it’s a small amount, using the drug frequently can build up to toxic levels in the body.
In addition, using other drugs, such as alcohol, while using codeine increases the risks of coma and/or death.
If you become addicted to codeine and try to stop using the drug, you’re likely to experience various withdrawal symptoms. Your body becomes physically dependent on the drug and you may psychologically become dependent as well.
If you have become addicted to codeine and you would like to stop using the medication, it’s important that you do so under the care of a medical or substance abuse professional.
You should never try to stop using codeine or any other opioid cold-turkey or abruptly. This tends to be too much of a shock for the body that’s become largely dependent on the drug. Rather, tapering off the drug gradually is recommended, but under the care of a professional.
The first step in treating codeine addiction is to undergo the detox process. Here at Into Action Recovery Society, we have medical professionals that will be able to monitor and assist you with your detox stage around the clock. You’ll be given a unique, customized treatment plan for addiction recovery, but also for any other issues that you may be contending with.
We will help you taper off codeine gradually, which will help you feel less intense withdrawal symptoms. You can also receive professional counseling to work on any emotional or mental health issues or goals you may have.
We offer various phases of treatment to ensure a complete recovery.
You will begin at the “First Stage Residential Program” for codeine addiction treatment. This is a 60-day program for men struggling with addiction offered in a safe, comfortable, home-like atmosphere.
From there, you can enter our “Second Stage Transitional Program”. This program gives you an additional 30 days to grow stronger in your recovery. It helps because you have accountably and structure, which can help you build an even stronger recovery foundation.
You can also leave the premises to work or attend school.
Should you desire further assistance, we offer a Long-Term Sober Living option for those who require housing long-term.
All our programs incorporate helpful modalities to assist you with your particular needs and goals, such as:
Take your first step toward a life free from addiction.