If you’ve ever had a bad cough, you’ve likely come in contact with codeine. Once sold over the counter but now available only with a prescription, codeine cough syrups are a highly popular way to trounce a bad respiratory infection or, as many drug users have discovered, to get high. This can result in Codeine addiction.
Codeine is an opiate that doctors now know to be very addictive. Despite its classification as a controlled substance, codeine is less monitored than its opioid peers, like oxycodone or morphine, making it far easy for recreational users to obtain. It is available in a number of harmless-sounding medications, like Tylenol 3, a combination of codeine and acetaminophen, in addition to the more common cough syrup.
However, despite its innocuous appearance and relative accessibility, codeine can be very dangerous, hooking thousands of individuals across the United States every year. Codeine is the most widely used opiate in the world , affecting countless lives with the crushing effects of addiction.
Like with many addictions, the negative symptoms of codeine aren’t always clear to those who begin using with a legitimate prescription. However, the effects are pleasurable and it doesn’t take long before a full-fledged dependency is born. If you or someone you care about is addicted to codeine, there’s no need to suffer alone. We are available 24/7 to take your calls, offering the supportive Codeine detox experience you need to get clean.
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What Is Codeine?
Codeine, which falls into the same class of drugs as opiates as oxycodone, heroin, and morphine, is a narcotic pain reliever often prescribed for mild to moderate pain. Despite popularity over the last several decades, codeine is not prescribed as much as it once was. However, codeine is often easier to secure, making it much easier to abuse than other controlled substances.
Like other drugs of its kind, codeine mimics the natural release of endorphins, the pain-reducing chemicals that occur naturally within the body. When you are hurt, scared, or threatened, endorphins may flood the brain, controlling your pain until you are safe or relaxed. Codeine triggers the release of molecules within the brain that can bind to opioid receptors, controlling the sensation of pain within the body. As these receptors exist across the nervous system, including along the spinal cord, codeine can provide a numbing effect that, when combined with the release of endorphins, creates a euphoric feeling.
Most products containing codeine are Schedule III controlled substances, indicating a propensity for addiction that is notable, although less severe than other opiates.
When taken in small doses, codeine can effectively mitigate low to medium pain levels within the body. However, when taken over a longer period of time, the changes to behavior in the brain can lead to a physical dependency.
Addiction to pain killers starts slow, and is often not noticed immediately by most users. In time, the dosages provided by a doctor will start to feel less effective, driving patients to take larger amounts, push for higher dosages, or start purchasing codeine illegally to feed cravings. At this point, the brain becomes used to the higher levels of endorphins, and users will start to feel psychologically dependent on the euphoria that accompanies pain killer abuse.
Others, however, are never prescribed codeine and instead come across it recreationally, often at a party or as offered by a friend. These users willingly choose codeine as a way to get high, and are thus more likely to develop an addiction. Some individuals may be able to try codeine a numerous times without developing an addiction, but others may be hooked after a few strong doses.
Codeine is less regulated than other opiates, making it easier to access. Some addicts beg for prescriptions from doctors or hospitals, while others purchase pills from online black market drugstores. Some codeine addicts manifest traditional drug-seeking behaviors, including shopping around for doctors to obtain new prescriptions, frequent emergency room visits, and theft from family and friends.
Many users also purchase codeine illegally off the street, where it is more commonly known as cough syrup, schoolboy, or coties. The term “purple drank,” also known as sizzurp, is a codeine-infused concoction made from soda and cough syrup. Popularized in rap songs, the danger of this concept was illuminated when rapper Lil’ Wayne suffered intoxication and seizures related to high dosages of codeine .
Symptoms of Codeine Addiction
Codeine addiction manifests much like other opiate addictions, showing both physical and psychological symptoms. Many users who started out with prescriptions do not realize their addiction at first, wrongly believing that codeine is less dangerous and thus less addictive.
In addition to the drug-seeking behavior outlined above, users often display numerous symptoms when high or abusing codeine, including:
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Disinterest in former hobbies and activities
- Cold sweats and clammy skin
- Mood swings, including anxiety and aggression
- Changes in sleeping habits
Codeine doesn’t offer a high as strong as more potent opiates, so some abusers mix codeine with other substances, like alcohol, to intensify the sensation. This is extremely dangerous, and should never be undertaken. Alcohol or other drugs can both intensify the high felt as well as increase the chances for potentially fatal side effects. Codeine and alcohol can cause seizures, coma, or even death.
Long-term effects are possible, also. Due to the damage that can come from prolonged addiction, chronic codeine abuse can cause problems like sleep disorders, depression, brain damage, and irregular heart rhythms. For those who inject codeine, so-called needle diseases, like HIV, are also a possibility.
Withdrawing from Codeine
Withdrawing from codeine is never a pleasant process. While those with a minor addiction or newly addicted individuals may be able to quit cold turkey at home, those with more significant addictions likely will not be able to overcome the mental and physical side effects without assistance.
For traditional abusers, the process of withdrawing often lasts about a week. Side effects are worse in the first one to three days, with a rise in physical symptoms like anxiety, nausea, muscle aches, sweating, and vomiting. The process is at its worst during this time, and often is accompanied by strong cravings. Most addicts who relapse are likely to do so during this period.
Days four to eight will be better for most abusers, but will not be pleasant overall. Physical symptoms will start to fade at this time, but psychological effects, like depression and paranoia, may take their place. Users may feel physically unwell due to dehydration or a lack of food from throwing up or diarrhea.
After this point, most physical and mental signs will fade away. Users will feel healthier and more energized. Physical cravings will be minor, but psychological cravings can endure for up to a month.
Why Codeine Detox?
If withdrawal can be managed in a week or two, why do you need detox to get clean?
Despite how easy it sounds to simply walk away from a drug addiction, the reality is a different story. A majority of drug users try and fail to quit at least once , and many struggle to stay clean for any enduring period of time.
Due to the physical components of addiction, cutting ties to a drug dependency is extremely hard. Despite best intentions, many substance abusers give in to temptation and relapse prior to overcoming withdrawals. Peer pressure from friends, stressful situations, and unpleasant side effects can all contribute to unstoppable cravings.
A Codeine detox program, however, cuts off access, keeping codeine addicts away from substances in a supportive environment. Physicians and counselors are available 24/7 to provide guidance, prescribe medications to ease the process, and manage withdrawal side effects, creating a comfortable atmosphere in which to focus on nothing but sobriety.
Codeine detox provides a network of assistance to substance abusers, guiding you through the challenges of recovery while you relearn how to live a life of abstinence. Access to Codeine detox professionals can also provide immediate aid should issues arise during detox, including seizures or other threatening medical conditions
Codeine Detox Process
Once enrolled in a Codeine detox program, you will be placed in an environment that strongly discourages drug use. In most facilities, patients are removed from outside distractions, like cell phones and the internet, in order to keep all focus on the process of breaking the cycle of addiction. Codeine detox can last a week or more, but most programs hope to transition patients out of a restrictive detoxification environment and into a community-oriented setting for the remainder of therapy as soon as possible.
How your detox program will progress depends on body chemistry, the nature of addiction, and the severity of dependency. For some patients, full cessation, also known as cold turkey, is the preferred method. Despite the unpleasant effects, codeine withdrawal is less severe or dangerous than withdrawing from other opiates. Those who are in a position to detox this way are encouraged to do so.
For more severe addictions, medical interference may be necessary. Suboxone is a common prescription provided to opioid addicts to promote a safer way to quit. The trade name for a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone is a Schedule III controlled substance that acts as an opioid antagonist to block the effects of opiates within the brain. Naloxene in particular is designed to block all positive side effects of Codeine, curbing cravings and preventing against relapse. Methadone is also an alternative, but due to its highly addictive nature, most doctors don’t use this medication unless it is necessary.
With the help of medications, Codeine detox should last one week or less for the majority of patients.
Codeine Detox and Inpatient Rehabilitation
The detoxification process will be different from one user to another, leading to a unique regimen customized around your needs to help you get clean. A successful rehabilitation program goes beyond simply helping you overcome physical symptoms, however; in addition to taming dependency within the brain, rehab can help you learn the skills necessary to assimilate into normal life once more.
Instead of defining your actions through your drug dependency, your counselors and therapists will help you explore the motivators behind your addiction in order to target areas of weakness or anxiety in your life. Over time, you can learn how to transcend the influence of drugs, focusing on the value you bring to the world and the lives of others.
An accredited rehabilitation program provides:
- 24/7 access to trained addiction professionals
- Group and individual therapy with addiction specialists
- Group support system of others going through the same journey
- Fitness and nutrition counseling
- Coping skills and stress management
Recovering From Addiction
In the United States alone, over 2 million individuals are addicted to opioid pain relievers like codeine . If you or someone you love is a part this staggering number, it’s always the right time to seek help. With professional support and guidance, you can recover quickly and comfortably, leaving drugs behind once and for all.
When you are ready to do what’s right for your health, we’re standing by. Our joint commission accredited facility is a comprehensive resource, helping you to overcome your codeine addiction, one day at a time. All consultations are confidential and we are here 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today at 513-909-2225.