Codeine is a prescription drug used by people suffering from mild to moderate pain. It is the main ingredient in most prescription cough syrups. Compared to other opiates, codeine, which is in tablet form is considered less potent. Therefore, it is used alongside aspirins or acetaminophens for it to be effective. In spite of codeine not being a strong opioid, it still has the potential for abuse and subsequent addiction.
How does codeine become addictive?
Just as other opioids, codeine induces a feeling of euphoria, contentment, and relaxation. Prolonged regular use causes the user to develop cravings due to the calmness its use brings about. Using it over a long period could result in codeine tolerance. This implies that its use becomes less effective.
If you or someone you know exhibits the following signs, you should immediately seek codeine addiction treatment:
- A person abusing codeine continues using the drug even after the symptom for which they were using it fades. Therefore, an addicted person begins by making frequent visits to the doctor or pharmacy to get another prescription or buy over-the-counter drugs that are codeine-like.
- Finishing up a prescription faster than intended is another warning sign of codeine addiction. This is because the user takes the drug in larger amounts than medically necessary as he is unable to control its use.
- High doses of codeine have the same effect as alcohol intoxication. As such, a person addicted to codeine use may appear inebriated or display a changed sense of consciousness.
- An addicted person may have trouble focusing or concentrating before they use it. After the prolonged abuse, a person could become codeine dependent to accomplish basic tasks.
- Opiates, including codeine, disrupt normal sleeping patterns. A codeine user is most likely to suffer from insomnia.
- Continued use of the drug even when one is aware of its negative consequences on themselves and the other people around them is also a sign of addiction.
- If you suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as feeling irritable or depressed, sweating, loss of appetite, teary eyes, a running nose, dilated pupils, chills, muscle aches, a faster heartbeat, and trouble sleeping, seek codeine addiction treatment immediately.
The market is full of codeine formulations, and in most cases, people do not even know they are taking medication whose main ingredient is codeine. Some of the drugs that contain codeine include; Tylenol 3, Nalex AC, Cotabflu, Floricet, Maxiflu CD, Phenflu cd, and Pediatuss.
Apart from physical dependence, the long-term effects of abusing this drug are liver and kidney damage as well as respiratory depression. You are less likely to abuse codeine or develop tolerance if you use it exactly as prescribed.