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Codeine Dependence – Signs of Codeine Use Vs. Abuse, Tolerance

Is Codeine Addictive?

How addictive is codeine?  This medication is a controlled substance in the United States with a Schedule II classification. Schedule II indicates that the medication has proven to have high rates of abuse and a high likelihood of addiction. Codeine is often prescribed by doctors to assist with pain resulting from injury, trauma or illness.

The medication also has antitussive benefits, preventing harsh coughs, and is very common in prescription cough syrups. Some success has been found with the drug when used as an anti-diarrhea cure, as well. Codeine is often easily obtainable through these products. This drug is derived from morphine and shares addictive effects with heroin and other opiates.

Understanding Codeine Dependency and Tolerance

codeine dependenceCodeine dependence typically takes the form of physical dependence. As the body begins to develop a need for the drug, it produces less dopamine and similar chemicals. These chemicals are responsible for the normal operation of the body and feelings of contentment or euphoria. As such, the patient’s body loses the ability to easily produce such feelings. Abusers will then begin to seek the drug in order to regain those lost feelings and their accompanied physical reactions. These psychological dependencies can range from obsessive cravings for the medication to increased anxiety and irritability when not experiencing the highs of codeine. Tolerance levels build quickly in those under the effects of codeine, requiring steadily higher dosages to receive the same effect.

Most doctors prescribe only the lowest level required for pain relief or antitussive benefits in order to decrease the speed at which tolerance develops and dependency becomes an issue. Those suffering the effects of codeine may fail to realize their increasing dependency on the medication. For more information on the dependency and tolerance factors related to this drug, you can fill out a quick contact form here.

Effects/Side Effects

The main effect of the drug is cough suppression and pain relief. The drug’s effects are similar to that of other opiates as it stimulates the brain’s receptors that provide positive feelings. A patient experiencing these effects is relaxed and euphoric, usually unable to feel much. The narcotic high is very enjoyable for the patient. Coming down from codeine can have precisely the opposite effect. Pain is increased as it returns to a patient’s awareness, and they are likely to experience symptoms of anxiety, paranoia or depression as the drug’s primary effect wears off.

The long-term effects of codeine use are likely to result in physical dependency as well as serious psychological risks. Side effects of codeine include itching, nausea, vomiting, constipation and coughing. The after-effects of the drug are often linked to its psychological risks; a craving for the medication and sense of hopelessness or depression is likely to develop.

Withdrawal and Detoxification

Detox, Rehab, and Treatment Options

detox When someone develops a dependency on an addictive drug, detox is often taken as the first step toward sobriety. The basic goal is to cleanse the body of the drug to allow the healing process to begin. The detoxification method used will depend on type of drug addiction, as well as the treatment center’s protocol.

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Withdrawal from codeine often produces extremely unpleasant effects. The return of any underlying pain is compounded with sensitivity from the reduced levels of euphoria. Withdrawal symptoms may result in irritability, physical pain, intense cravings, insomnia, muscle spasms and chills. A doctor should develop a long-term plan for detoxification as the physical and psychological dependencies that may result from codeine use can overwhelm short-term or personal attempts aimed at preventing use or abuse. During the detoxification process, a healthcare professional may prescribe similar non-opiate drugs to help alleviate the effects of physical dependency. Withdrawal effects are likely to continue for a very long time, based on the amount of time that the patient has been taking codeine and the effect it has had on his system.

Treatment for Codeine Addiction

Codeine abuse treatment typically combines education and therapy with medicinal changes. A doctor may recommend a psychological evaluation to help deal with any residual dependency urges, and many patients recover quicker upon discovering the actual effects of the drugs on their systems. Most patients learn that their bodies are capable of returning to a state similar to that before the medication after a long-term step-down procedure involving gradual reduction or replacement of the opiate medication. Someone suffering the effects of codeine addiction may resist the intervention of family and friends, and the individual’s psychological and physical need for the drugs may drive them to lash out at well-meaning loved ones.