What is codeine?
Codeine is a narcotic or opiate that is available through a doctor’s prescription. It is used to treat less severe forms of pain and is the main ingredient in many prescription cough medicines. It is often combined with other drugs. For instance, when it is combined with acetaminophen, it creates Tylenol 3, a popular pain relief medicine. Other brand names include Aspalgin®, Codral Cold & Flu Original®, Mersyndol®, Mersyndol Forte®, Panalgesic®, Nurofen Plus®, Panadeine Forte®, and Panamax Co®.
The drug comes in the form of a tablet or syrup. In the United States, it requires a prescription to obtain. Although it is considered less dangerous than other narcotics, it can still become habit-forming, especially if it is used for an extended period of time.
This drug is known by several different street names. One of the more popular slang names is “purple drank” or “lean.” If you have listened to any rap songs in the last few years, you may have heard this term. “Purple drank” is made by mixing high-grade cough syrup with soda. The cough syrup ingredient explains the purple color. Referencing the drink in popular culture has been common, and many rappers have promoted or referred to its use in their songs.
Despite its popularity among various entertainers, using the drug for recreational purposes is dangerous. Consuming too much can cause a person to have seizures or even lose consciousness. Without medical treatment, too much can even be fatal. When it is combined with other substances or drugs, the effects are even more severe.
What is codeine used to treat?
Codeine is used to treat moderate pain and persistent, severe coughs. When combined with acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, it can provide stronger pain relief than it can by itself. It is found in a wide variety of medications. Your doctor may prescribe this drug for issues such as severe headaches, muscle pain, fever, painful menstruation, or after you have an operation or dental procedure. It may also be prescribed in combination with other medications to reduce anxiety, relax muscles, induce sleep, decrease swelling, or as a cough and cold treatment.
Is codeine addictive?
Codeine is an opiate, and there is the potential to become addicted to it through extended use. Many people consider it to be less potent than other narcotics so they may think they can use more of it without getting addicted.
Although the substance itself can be addictive, it is often referred to as a gateway drug that leads to the use of stronger opiates like morphine, oxycodone, or heroin, which can be especially deadly. Because it requires a prescription to obtain, people may be unable to continue using it after they have already developed an addiction. This may lead them to start using other prescription opiates or heroin as a replacement.
Some people who start out using this drug will mix it with other substances to obtain an even more intense high. One of the most common combinations people use is codeine and alcohol; both are depressants and serious issues such as respiratory failure can develop from using them together.
There are several signs to look out for in order to spot addiction to codeine. Some of these include:
- loss of energy
- mood swings
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- stomach pain
Extended abuse can cause severe conditions such as brain damage, irregular heartbeat, and damage to the lungs and bowels. Sleep disorders are also a common side effect of abuse.
Codeine addiction causes a lot of physical distress to the person who uses it, but the effects don’t end there. A person who is addicted often spends most of their time trying to get more of the drug, which interferes with other priorities in their life. They can completely lose focus on things that are important such as work and family. Their relationships with friends suffer, they might have problems performing at work or school, and they can experience mood swings and fatigue. Addiction can completely take over a person’s life.
It is very easy to become addicted to opiates. They create pleasure in the brain, which can produce feelings of euphoria. For many people, it becomes difficult for them to stop using opiates. They begin to crave the feeling the drug gives them, which leads them to take more and more of the drug. They might become tolerant to the effects of the medication, so they require more frequent or larger doses to get the same result. Eventually, someone who is addicted may not be able to get much pleasure from any other activities because their brain relies on the drug to create it. This is why opiates are so addictive and can be very difficult to quit.
When a person stops taking the drug after having used it for an extended period of time, they may experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. These include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, stomach cramps, watery eyes, and runny nose; it often feels like having the flu. For those that have used the drug for only a short time, it usually just takes some time before they feel like their usual self. However, those that have used it heavily and for an extended period of time will not have it so easy.
Like with any other opiate or narcotic, it typically takes the help of professionals to recover from severe codeine addiction. There is a substantial risk of relapsing, which can lead to an overdose because the body may not be able to handle the same level of dosage after a period of sobriety.
What are the side effects of codeine use and abuse?
Codeine side effects include many different signs and symptoms. Drowsiness and constipation are two of the most common conditions. Similar to the signs of addiction, additional side effects can include nausea, vomiting, itchiness, dry mouth, coughing, and trouble urinating. Some side effects are much more serious, such as seizures, difficulty breathing, acute pancreatitis, and allergic reaction.
One of the most severe side effects is respiratory depression, also known as hypoventilation. In other words, it can make it very difficult to breathe. Respiratory depression usually occurs during an overdose and can be fatal.
Because it is often combined with other drugs, side effects can vary. It is essential not to use it in combination with any other opiates. A patient should follow the instructions from their doctor to avoid any potential effects of combining drugs. Combining it with other drugs for recreational use can cause many dangerous side effects beyond what it can produce alone.
When it is mixed with other substances, chances of damage to the liver are high. Acetaminophen is commonly mixed with codeine. Because both substances are very hard on the liver, taking more than prescribed can cause permanent damage.
Patients that are prescribed this drug for pain relief are strongly advised only to use it as needed, and to follow dosage levels recommended by their doctor. Improper or excessive use can lead to many of these side effects, including addiction. Addiction can lead to an overdose, which can lead to death, so all precautions should be taken when using it or any other opiate for pain relief.
Can you overdose on codeine?
Extensive use of this drug can cause an overdose, which can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. Because it is an opiate, and therefore a depressant, it can cause changes to a person’s respiratory system and heartbeat because it depresses the central nervous system. Combining it with other substances, especially alcohol, can result in slower breathing, which can reduce the amount of oxygen in the brain. A lack of oxygen to the brain is very serious as it can cause a reduction in brain cells, lead to a coma, and even cause death. Mixing it with other drugs or alcohol can be extremely dangerous or even fatal in a short amount of time.
When signs of an overdose are visible in an individual, they need to receive immediate emergency medical attention. Symptoms of an overdose include:
- difficulty breathing
- excessive fatigue
- low blood pressure
There are medications available to treat a codeine overdose, but an individual experiencing an overdose needs quick attention. If too much time passes, the brain can lose oxygen, resulting in permanent brain damage or even death. Whether a person overdoses by using it recreationally or as a way to relieve pain, they will need emergency medical attention to avoid serious side effects or death.
Can rehab help with codeine addiction?
There are rehab programs available to provide treatment for people who are struggling with substance use. Overcoming addiction is possible, and specialized help is available to you or your loved one today.
Therapies to treat this type of addiction work on addressing the root issues that may have led to addiction in the first place, developing coping skills to prevent relapse later in life, and learning to enjoy healthy activities such as exercise or meditation. This also teaches the brain to feel good from normal experiences instead of relying on drugs to create all feelings of pleasure.
Addiction can be overcome with the help of family, friends, and trained professionals. Seek help today, before wasting any more time struggling alone. You can work through these obstacles and begin living a better and healthier life now.
Can I get help near me in Arizona?
At Pinnacle Peak Recovery in Scottsdale, Arizona, we have experienced and compassionate staff available to provide treatment to people who are ready to overcome addiction. Our trained professionals will create an individualized treatment program for you or your loved one that will revolve around their strengths, interests, needs, goals, and struggles.
We know how difficult it is to overcome addiction. You do not have to go through this process alone. Our facility makes it possible for you to recover with our holistic substance use treatments. Instead of merely detoxing your body and sending you on your way, we actually treat the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. This can help to prevent relapse later when stress, difficult situations, and temptations inevitably arise.
Located on over four acres of land, Pinnacle Peak Recovery in Scottsdale, Arizona provides the best care and privacy to all of our patients while making you feel at home. Overcoming addiction is hard, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable at the same time.
Call us now to start healing
To start your journey to sobriety at Pinnacle Peak Recovery in Arizona, simply give us a call at 480-787-2409. Our knowledgeable staff will guide you in every step you need to take during your recovery.
You or your loved one deserve the best treatment available to overcome addiction and start on the path to a better life. Don’t wait any longer; call us today.