Specifically, what is codeine?

The abuse of prescription medications is an alarming problem across the United States today. These painkilling drugs are creating a wave of people with addiction that often move on to drugs like heroin. What exactly is codeine though? How does this drug affect those who use it? And how does one overcome codeine abuse in his or her life? 

Thankfully, there are answers to these questions. If you or someone you know is suffering from codeine abuse, know that there is help available. Here at Crest View Recovery Center, we offer treatment for a variety of substance use disorders (SUDs), including prescription drug dependence.

What is Codeine: Understanding the Drug and Its Effects

Understanding the effects of prescription abuse requires a basic knowledge of the drug of choice. When a person is abusing a prescription drug such as codeine, the effects can be life-altering. So, it’s important to understand what codeine is and how it impacts those who use it, especially in cases of excessive codeine use.

Codeine is a prescription narcotic that relieves moderate to severe pain. For example, it may follow certain surgical procedures or other medical interventions. Although it’s effective in controlling pain, it carries a high risk of abuse and addiction.

Since codeine is a legal and medically-prescribed substance, many people underestimate the seriousness of its effects. But, regardless of the fact that this medication is sold over-the-counter and is fairly accessible, it’s important to realize that using this drug in excess could be very dangerous.

Using a substance like codeine can lead a person to develop a higher tolerance for the drug. In other words, a person’s body might begin to get used to the effects of a regular dose of codeine. As a result, the individual may not feel the desired effect of codeine when he or she uses the drug. This means that his or her body has a tolerance for codeine.

After people develop a tolerance for codeine, they may begin to use higher doses of the substance in order to feel its effects again. This leads individuals to abuse codeine, as they use the drug outside of its intended use or in higher amounts than instructed. 

Substance abuse may lead to full-blown addiction, which can sometimes occur without individuals even realizing it. Overcoming addiction may prove to be a very difficult challenge for those who are suffering from SUD. In fact, it may even be dangerous to attempt ending substance abuse without professional treatment.

Codeine Abuse: Mixing Codeine and Other Substances

Sometimes, people who misuse codeine eventually begin experimenting with various mixtures and combinations. Many times, people mix codeine with alcohol. This is very harmful and dangerous because of the nature of these substances. Both alcohol and codeine are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. This means that they slow down the functioning of one’s nervous system. Using either of these substances can lead individuals to experience highly sedative and tranquilizing effects. So, using the two substances simultaneously can strengthen their depressant effects. This might lead to cognitive and brain activity depression. It could also lead to respiratory problems.

Another harmful combination that involves codeine is “sizzurp” or “purple drank”. Many people mix codeine cough syrup with soft drinks. They consume this mixture to achieve a sense of euphoria. But, this combination can lead to very severe and even deadly consequences. These results could include seizures, coma, dangerously low blood pressure, respiratory depression, and more.

Common Effects of Codeine Use

When a person uses codeine, he or she will experience specific, short-term effects. Often, individuals encounter a euphoric effect as a result of codeine use. This drug can also cause people to feel relaxed and drowsy. Codeine may also cause individuals to experience apathy.

In the short term, prolonged use of codeine can cause decreased muscle tone, breathing problems, seizures, or even codeine withdrawal symptoms. However, with prolonged use, the risk of developing an addiction to codeine goes up drastically.

Short-Term Effects of Codeine Use

Initially, when a person uses codeine, he or she experiences effects shortly after use. These effects might include the following symptoms:

  • Seizures
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure

Some of these short-term effects of codeine use can be considered “mild”. But, many of them are potentially deadly. 

Long-Term Effects of Codeine Abuse

After using codeine in excess for a while, individuals may experience the symptoms of long-term use. These might be:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Liver problems
  • Muscle spasms
  • Kidney problems 
  • Difficulty with memory

Excessive codeine use can also lead to fatality in some cases. This is why it is so important for individuals who are struggling with codeine abuse to seek help before the problem worsens. It’s also important for people to be aware of the signs of codeine abuse and addiction. Knowing more about the way this problem affects people can help individuals to identify a SUD in a loved one’s life.

Learning to Identify the Signs of a Codeine Addiction

Obtaining appropriate codeine addiction treatment requires an understanding of the signs of an addiction. If you or someone you know uses codeine regularly, it’s best to be aware of the signs that a codeine use problem is present.

It is also important to note the fact that many people who suffer from substance use problems do not realize it. Sometimes, it is their close family members or friends who recognize the problem. So, if you know someone who uses codeine for any reason, you should be aware of the signs of codeine abuse. Knowing more about this problem can help you or your loved one to seek help before the problem gets more severe. 

Changes in Routine Behaviors

Those struggling with an addiction will usually not be able to maintain their normal daily schedule. In fact, they might have trouble holding down a job, caring for their children, or running necessary errands.

Mood Swings

Those facing codeine abuse issues also often struggle with their emotions. They may experience chronic mood swings that make maintaining healthy relationships impossible.

Physical Differences

Many physical changes can also result from substance abuse. The most common physical changes are weight loss, poor skin, and problems maintaining good personal hygiene.

Ending Codeine Abuse and Addiction

Still, many people who abuse this drug continue to do so despite the knowledge of these effects. In fact, some may have even had near-death experiences as a result of codeine abuse. But, regardless of these experiences, addiction prevents people from ending substance use in their lives.

Contrary to what many people think, addiction isn’t a choice. It’s not something people can simply walk away from. This is due to the fact that substance abuse alters the way a person thinks and behaves. It also causes the body to change and develop a dependence on the substance a person is using. As a result, even individuals who want to stop using drugs like codeine struggle to do so because their bodies don’t know how to function without the drug. 

This is where professional treatment comes in. Through a rehab program, individuals who suffer from substance abuse can end problematic drug use. They can also learn more about how to prevent this problem from coming back into their lives. 

Therapy and Treatment for Codeine Abuse

Here at Crest View Recovery Center, we offer treatment for drug and alcohol use disorders. Those who are struggling with these problems can find hope and help through our therapy and treatment programs.

One of the most essential elements of addiction treatment is therapy. There are various forms of therapy that can help people who want to overcome substance abuse. Some of them include the following:

Holistic therapy approaches can also help individuals to end addiction in their lives. Approaches such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and more can assist people as they work toward sobriety.

Finding the Right Rehab Facility

Locating the right kind of rehab center for your precise needs does not and should not have to be a challenge. Many people find it helpful to talk with their loved ones about their goals and expectations regarding treatment. This type of open dialogue can uncover additional challenges and ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you are concerned about paying for rehab, you can use this time to contact your insurance company regarding possible coverage. Additional codeine treatment programs may also be available to help make covering the financial side of recovery a bit easier.

Crest View Recovery Center is a skilled addiction rehab facility in Asheville, North Carolina. The rehab treatment team at CVRC uses a creative form of reality therapy to provide personalized treatment results. The calm and inviting mountain setting also allows for deep reflection during the healing process.

Don’t remain stuck in a cycle of self-destructive behaviors. You can learn to overcome the most serious addictions with the help of a high-quality rehabilitation center. Call Crest View Recovery Center at (866) 986-1371 to learn how the innovative treatment techniques offered here can get you started on the path to recovery and healing.