Codeine Addiction Information

Codeine Addiction Treatment at Promises

Clients who are addicted to codeine will be assigned to a detox specialist, as long-term codeine use should not be stopped suddenly without supervision. Clients have the option of being treated with Suboxone, a prescription medication that virtually stops all withdrawal effects, allowing clients to detox in comfort. Clients will also be assigned a core treatment team, including one of our independent, affiliated medical doctors, a nurse, a psychiatrist, and family and individual therapists. Promises offers a variety of treatment programs, all tailored to the individual’s needs.

Codeine is an opiate prescribed for pain relief, especially for numbing back pain. According to the World Health Organization, it is likely the most commonly used drug overall. While codeine can be extracted from opium, it is usually synthesized from morphine. It can be used to treat diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, and is found in many over-the-counter drugs, including:

  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Codalgin
  • Mersyndol
  • Nurofen Plus
  • Panadeine
  • Pirophen
  • Prescription and over-the-counter codeine cough syrups

Codeine can be ingested in pill or liquid form, injected subcutaneously or intra-muscularly, or smoked as an additive to marijuana. It binds to receptors in the central nervous system that typically bind with the body’s own physiological opioids such as endorphins and enekphalins. Codeine is frequently abused because in high doses, it can provide feelings of euphoria. However, it has much less abuse potential than some other opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Short-Term Effects of Codeine

Common effects other than piain relief include euphoria, itching, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dry mouth, miosis (enlargement of pupils), urinary retention, depression, and constipation. Another common side effect is lack of sexual drive and increased complications in erectile dysfunction. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to codeine, such as swelling skin and rashes.

A potentially fatal drug reaction is respiratory depression. The higher the dose taken, the more likely it is for breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure to slow to dangerous levels. Because codeine is metabolized to morphine, breastfeeding mothers can pass morphine through breast milk in potentially lethal amounts, fatally depressing the baby’s respiration.

Long-Term Effects of Codeine

Prolonged use of codeine can result in tolerance, which means that some people will increase the dosage to attempt to achieve the same results. This can lead to abuse and dependency. With chronic codeine use, the brain slows or even stops endorphin production, resulting in acute pain without codeine use. Itching, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, constipation, liver damage and stomach ulcers may also occur.

As with other opiate-based painkillers, chronic use of codeine can cause physical dependence, so withdrawal symptoms may occur if a person suddenly stops taking it. These adverse symptoms include drug craving, runny nose, yawning, sweating, insomnia, weakness, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasms, chills, irritability, and pain.

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