Nevertheless, it’s played a role in the current opioid crisis that’s plaguing the U.S. The abuse of prescription opioids is notoriously well-known for leading its users to stronger street drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl.
Fortunately, addiction treatment is constantly improving. Research has developed the most cutting-edge therapies to give users the best chance for recovery possible.
Addiction is a complex, progressive disease that requires attention and a customized approach.
Codeine is a naturally occurring, psychoactive alkaloid that can be traced back to the poppy plant. Due to its status as an opioid, it’s similar heroin or morphine, but its effects are much milder than these drugs.
It’s regularly used as a medical treatment for mild to moderate pain, including the pain caused by various surgeries.
It’s also used in various cough medicines, and it’s used to treat irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea, although there’s less evidence to support the latter usage.
Codeine possesses many side effects, such as drowsiness and constipation. It can also cause itching, vomiting, nausea, dry mouth, euphoria, and dysphoria. These side effects are usually more severe when codeine is used in conjunction with benzos or other opioids.
A codeine overdose can cause respiratory depression, which is one of the most dangerous side effects of the drug. An overdose is more likely to occur when codeine is mixed with alcohol and prescription benzos.
Long-term abuse can lead to tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction, which result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These flu-like symptoms include runny nose, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sweating, body aches, and chills.
While the effects of codeine are similar to other opioids, there are a few minor differences. It activates a specific opioid receptor, but it has a low affinity for a sole receptor. Codeine is known as a prodrug, which means it breaks down into more active psychoactive chemicals after being metabolized.
Codeine addiction can lead to severe consequences, which include the use of illicit drugs, legal issues, and infectious diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three out of four heroin users reported using prescription opioids first. Addiction comes with specific signs. Like any disease, early detection is key to preventing the occurrence of severe problems. However, even the most serious addictions can be treated with the right types of therapies.
The first sign of a substance use disorder is a tolerance. Perhaps you’ve been taking codeine for a while, and your standard dose is getting weaker. If so, your body is getting used to the drug. As it adapts to the use of codeine, a chemical dependence can evolve, which is characterized by the cravings users experience when they quit “cold turkey.”
A substance use disorder becomes an addiction when use gets compulsive and out of control. Someone addicted to codeine will keep using the drug, even if it causes serious consequences such as losing a job or getting expelled from school.
Opioid addiction is known for being difficult to treat, but fortunately, revolutionary advances in addiction science have made success more common. But for treatment to be useful, it needs to be tailored to your needs and follow a customized approach.
To ensure users get the treatment they need, it’s also important that they remain aware of the symptoms of codeine addiction. Addiction can come with varying levels of symptoms, depending on the stage of addiction the user is in. Many consequences accompany addiction, which must be addressed in treatment. They include mental disorders, financial struggles, and other medical problems that can eventually lead to relapsing.
When you first enter a treatment center, you’ll go through an intake and assessment process that’s meant to determine the level of care you’ll require. This process will include a medical history, drug history, mental health evaluation, and assessment of the severity of the addiction. The assessment team could determine if you have a mental disorder that’s contributing to your drug addiction. In turn, they’ll give a dual diagnosis that could impact the level of care.
Once the assessment process is complete, you’ll move into a medical detoxification center. During this time, you’ll address any immediate needs, such as infections and withdrawal symptoms. While codeine withdrawal isn’t life-threatening, there are very uncomfortable consequences that could lead to relapsing. Users addicted to opioids may view withdrawal as a significant barrier to treatment, due to the intense cravings and terrible flu-like symptoms. In some cases, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive perspiration can lead to dehydration, which could be life-threatening.
Medical detox involves round-the-clock care from medical professionals. They could offer medication to alleviate the worst of the withdrawal symptoms and mitigate any dangers that could arise. You’ll be slowly weaned off codeine until it’s completely left your system. Once you’ve achieved mental and physical stability, you’ll move onto the next level of care. Your next placement could vary, depending on the severity of the addiction and the stability of your home environment.
You could be placed in a residential treatment center that involves living onsite for up to 90 days and attending group therapy, individual therapy, and family therapies. If you’re deemed as being less of a risk, you’ll be placed into an outpatient center that allows you to commute to therapy sessions, which is an ideal solution for students and full-time employees.
Is your loved one struggling with substance abuse or addiction? Are you? If so, it’s important for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, December 19). Opioid Overdose from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/heroin.html