May 3, 2018 Felicia Durling

Is Codeine Addictive?

As the popularity and severity of prescription opiate addiction grows, left out of the mix is codeine. Increasingly, treatment centers, governmental institutions and even communities of recovery support are reporting a sudden flux in the amount of concern over codeine addiction. In America, codeine is a controlled narcotic, available only by prescription. In other countries around the world like Ireland, codeine is available over the counter. Previously thought to be not as harmful as other addictive substances, codeine is proving itself to be a threat.


What is Codeine?

Codeine is an analgesic, like other opioid products such as heroin. Commonly, codeine is prescribed to treat chronic coughing, such as in the case of pervasive bronchitis. Often sold in a syrup form, codeine can be found in pill form as well.


What are the side effects of codeine?

Because codeine is an analgesic, it creates feelings of relaxation and numbness. Taken in higher doses, codeine can create feelings of euphoria, dysphoria, or dissociation. Chronic codeine use can negate its otherwise medical uses and enhance its adverse side effects. Adverse side effects of codeine can include: nausea, hypertension, vomiting, urinary retention, drowsiness to the point of impairment, and constipation, a common side effect among opiates.


Can you overdose on codeine?

Codeine, like other opiate drugs, creates its analgesic effect through brain stimulation as well as slowing down the heart to induce relaxation. When codeine is abused in high doses, respiratory depression can occur. Respiratory depression refers to shallow breathing to the point of not taking in enough oxygen. Prescription opiate painkillers are known to cause overdose by means of relaxing someone so deeply they fall asleep, oblivious to the slow stopping of their heart. Codeine overdose can lead to dangerously low heart rates, or total heart failure.


Are there withdrawals from codeine?

After prolonged abusive use of codeine, a sudden stop in intake can produce symptoms of withdrawal because a chemical dependency has formed on a physical level. Similar to symptoms of withdrawal from other opiates, symptoms of codeine withdrawal can include: cravings, irritability, depression, constant yawning, runny nose, persistent itchiness, restlessness, anxiety, digestive issues, ‘kicking’ symptoms of spasming muscles, and weakness.


Can you Recover from Codeine Addiction?

Recovering from codeine addiction is possible. After a careful detox period, treatment can begin to discover underlying issues, co-occurring disorders, and gain information to prevent relapse in the future.


Codeine addiction is new but not untreatable. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may suffering an addiction to codeine, call the Center for Life Change in Temecula today. (951) 775-4000

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