Codeine is an opiate that is prescribed for acute pain relief and to control coughs. Use of this drug should always be monitored by a medical professional, and is only meant for temporary use until the pain is managed. Tolerance levels can rise quickly, and a physical addiction can set in without an individual realizing it. Misuse of the drug can begin by innocently upping one’s dosage without a doctor’s permission in order to receive the same pain relief.
While effective at suppressing coughs and aiding in pain relief, Codeine can be addictive because of the secondary high that it often gives users. The feelings of tranquility and pleasure that those who take Codeine experience, can lead them to seek for more. As a result, a physical dependency to the drug is easily developed. This can happen to individuals who are prescribed the medication, and to those who use it recreationally through illegal means.
Either way, prolonged use of codeine can change the makeup of the brain, with neurotransmitters quickly stimulating the reward center. Users get accustomed to the relaxing high, and will seek out more Codeine to maintain its’ effect. This is a mental and physical dependency that needs to be treated as soon as an addiction occurs.
An individual may initially use Codeine for medical purposes, or as a recreational drug here and there, but it can quickly morph into an addiction. In some cases, people begin to use Codeine as a means to mask other problems in their life or they might combine it with other drugs to intensify the high. Codeine is commonly mixed with alcohol as an easy method for increasing and prolonging the drug’s effects. Simultaneously using Codeine and other drugs can lead to unwanted side effects and even conditions such as respiratory depression or coma. Drug interactions can do more than just intensify one’s high, it can also cause irreparable damage to the mind and body.
Codeine itself is not seen as one of the more habit-forming narcotics, but it can open the door to other drug use for individuals who want to experience more of the same euphoria. Those who enjoy Codeine, especially those who use it recreationally, may advance to more powerful and easily obtainable drugs, such as OxyContin.
Codeine can cause an addict to experience both behavioral and physical symptoms. Once an addiction gets to the point where it consumes a person’s life, an addict can make behavioral choices that they would have never even previously considered in a sober state. Many indications that a Codeine addiction exists can be seen through behavioral symptoms, such as increased hospital visits, forging prescriptions, lying about the amount of Codeine they are taking, and possibly stealing money, prescriptions, or medications from others.
Physical symptoms of Codeine abuse might include constipation, nausea, rashes, hypotension, and even seizures in severe cases. An individual might start to suffer from hallucinations and have longstanding memory loss. One symptom associated with the drug that is often perceived as a mental issue, is a lack of emotions. Codeine can dull one’s senses so that they no longer seem to care about others or their surroundings. Once an addiction has gotten to this point, treatment is most likely the only option.
Those addicted to Codeine either started taking it as a prescribed medication or for recreational purposes. Either way, once an addiction has formed, the physical dependency is the same for most addicts. A supervised Codeine detox will be needed to wean the body off the drug completely before further treatment can be taken into consideration. It is important that this takes place in a medically supervised environment, as withdrawal symptoms can be extreme. Intense cravings, flu-like symptoms, and suicidal thoughts can all occur during detox, so it is important that the individual be supervised and led through the withdrawal process carefully. Codeine rehab programs are available to help with addiction to this medication and can offer inpatient care and long term recovery options once an individual is physically clean from the drug.
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