Codeine is a part of the opioid family. It is commonly prescribed to treat common colds that bring coughs and as a pain reliever for moderate pain. However, it has pain-relieving properties as well and may be used to treat the discomfort that follows surgical procedures. Even though it is classified as a weak opioid, the risk of becoming addicted is quite high. This drug can do tremendous damage to the body and may lead to a fatal overdose. To overcome a problem, it is essential to seek professional help. At Long Island Interventions, we have the resources to provide the essential tools that help individuals maintain sobriety into the future.

Codeine Addiction

What is Codeine?

Originally, this drug was created to treat pain. It is a derivative of the opium poppy plant. When it is mixed with other drugs, including muscle relaxants and similar medications, it puts a person at high risk for suffocation or respiratory arrest. Although codeine is regulated in the United States, people still manage to abuse it. In fact, many teenagers are mixing it with soda, candy, and Tylenol in order to get a buzz. Since this drug is widely prescribed, there is a misconception that it is harmless. However, it is possible to use high doses that can severely slow a person’s breathing, which may be deadly. It is certainly a big part of the country’s opioid crisis.

How Codeine Affects the Body

To repeat, this medication is part of the opioid family. Therefore, it suppresses a person’s nerve endings to control pain by acting on opioid receptors in the central nervous system. It affects other parts of the body as well. Certain users report feelings of nausea, constipation, and tingling sensations. In severe cases, this drug can cause problems with an individual’s heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Fatal consequences may result. It is advised that people who take this medication abstain from driving or operating heavy machinery due to impaired thinking and reaction time.

Who Abuses Codeine Most Frequently?

Since this drug is prescribed for several ailments, anyone can become addicted. However, younger individuals are much more likely to use this medication for recreational purposes, achieving a euphoric high. It is easy for a person to build a tolerance, meaning it takes more of the substance to provide the same effects. This is the reason why this drug is so addictive. In certain cases, people mix the drug with other depressants like alcohol, which can lead to dire effects. Even with a prescription, it is possible to become hooked, especially when used to control chronic pain. This increases cravings and begins a misuse disorder.

Tylenol (Codeine)

Signs of a Codeine Addiction

There are certain signs that indicate an addiction to this drug.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Poor appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Clammy body
  • Constipation/nausea 
  • Slow breathing 
  • Serious digestion issues

Additional Long-Term Problems

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, millions of Americans become addicted to prescription painkillers each year, leading to significant public health problems. Over prolonged periods, abuse can lead to a higher likelihood of developing liver infections, permanent bowel damage, sleep problems, brain damage, and an irregular heartbeat. Addiction disrupts a person’s entire life, affecting relationships and well-being.

  • Liver/Kidney damage
  • Hallucinations
  • Uncontrolled shakes
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle spasms
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Slow heart rate

Withdrawal from this Drug

When a person tries to stop taking this drug, they begin the process of withdrawal, which can be quite challenging and bring a number of symptoms. These symptoms of codeine withdrawal include:

  • Irritability 
  • Insomnia 
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose 
  • Muscle aches 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Stomach issues
  • Chills
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Treating Withdrawal Symptoms

Although some people decide to quit cold turkey, this can be very dangerous. It is best to taper off the drugs so that the body can adjust. Seeking professional assistance throughout the detox process is wise. When a person begins feeling the effects of withdrawal, they may give up and begin using again. However, this is the point when an overdose is most likely. At Long Island Interventions, we have doctors who use medications during this period so that symptoms are less dangerous and bothersome. It is vital to note that these drugs, such as methadone or buprenorphine, are only used on a short-term basis. Patients are constantly monitored to prevent relapse. When the drug is out of a person’s system, true treatment can begin.

Further Addiction Treatment

Detox is just the first step in the recovery process. Indeed, further treatment is necessary.

Inpatient Treatment.

The most intensive treatment involves living in a facility with 24/7 care. Medical professionals monitor patients who receive all types of therapies, including individual sessions and group therapy. Facing problems alone and with support are key building blocks of recovery.

Outpatient Treatment.

When a person has outside obligations and cannot reside in a facility, outpatient programs are a smart option. Patients still receive therapy that gets to the root of the problem so that long-term sobriety is possible. A person attends sessions throughout the day and returns home at night. In both instances, patients are taught healthy coping mechanisms so that they do not use drugs as crutches.

Staging an Intervention

An effective way to push someone towards addiction treatment is to stage an intervention. Often, friends and family recognize a problem that the user does not acknowledge. The purpose of an intervention is to bring attention to the problem before terrible consequences occur. At Long Island Interventions, we can provide help with organizing a successful intervention. It is important to get a person ready to accept that help is needed. By working with a specialist, a person with a misuse disorder receives necessary guidance through the recovery process and follows up with a proven treatment program.

Working with Long Island Interventions

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to codeine, help is available. At Long Island Interventions, we offer New Yorkers a wide variety of resources to begin their recovery. We can help people successfully overcome their opioid addictions, including codeine abuse. We understand that even when the drug is taken by prescription, it can lead to a misuse disorder. Things get even more complicated when mental health disorders are part of the puzzle. Our staff is trained to treat co-occurring disorders as well. Besides conventional therapies, we offer holistic treatment that targets the body, mind, and spirit. In the end, our goal is to help individuals enjoy long-term sobriety. For more information, contact us today.

By addressing codeine misuse and other prescription drug addictions, we strive to improve the well-being of our clients and help them reclaim their lives from substance abuse.

Published on: 2021-10-31
Updated on: 2024-07-11