Out of the many medication addictions one can struggle with, codeine is a scary one. Nearly 1 in 3 people in the US know somebody who is addicted to opioids, and it usually starts with prescription medication.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help right now. If you believe you or a loved one have an addiction to codeine, there are some important signs to look for.
Let’s talk about codeine addiction, what it is, the signs and symptoms, and what you can do about it!
What Is Codeine Addiction?
Like any drug addiction, codeine addiction is a physical and/or psychological dependence on a particular substance. Codeine is prescribed to patients with moderate to severe pain, as well as cold symptoms like a severe cough.
It is the most common active ingredient found in prescription cough syrups, making it seem harmless at first, but it can quickly become a serious problem for many users.
Codeine is in the opiate family, along with oxycodone, hydrocodone, and the brand-name pills they are associated with like Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycontin. Like these other drugs, it is a highly addictive, controlled substance that can lead to serious complications.
Overdosing is a serious threat for any opiate, killing 128 Americans every day, as well as moving on to harder opioids like heroin or fentanyl. There’s also the increased risks of lung infections, bowel damage, irregular heart rates, sleeping disorders, and even brain damage over the course of time.
Signs Of Codeine Addiction
Those who find themselves or a loved one in the grips of a codeine addiction are in a very serious situation that needs to be addressed immediately. In order to treat a codeine addiction, you must first recognize it for what it is, intervene if necessary, and then seek treatment. Here are the signs.
Constantly feeling ill is a common sign of opiate use, as withdrawal symptoms are really devastating on the body. One may also use illness as an excuse to get more pills from their doctor, as they are used to treat bad coughs.
If they are appearing to be regularly ill, look for the common symptoms of withdrawal, especially if their prescription has run out. Physical symptoms of withdrawal may include:
- Mood Swings
- Oversleeping or nodding off
- Decreased appetite
- Stomach pains
- Weight loss
- Slowed breathing
There are more symptoms to be worried about, but these are the most common. If you or your loved one have been exhibiting multiple of these symptoms while using codeine, this is a likely sign of physical dependence.
Using Prescriptions Too Fast
If the addiction started with a prescription, which is often the case, monitor how quickly the pills are being used. If it’s a 30-day prescription that lasts a week or two, this is a serious danger. These medications should only be taken as prescribed.
If this is a loved one you are worried about, ask yourself if they’ve been complaining about their doctor refusing to refill their prescriptions, or if they’ve mentioned running out before their next refill.
Claiming They “Need” Their Pills
If somebody is in serious pain, they may actually need their pills. However, if they have stopped complaining about their pain and turned more to complaining about not being able to function without their pills, this is a sign of psychological dependence.
Again, if they were prescribed this medication for pain, and they are taking the pills as prescribed, this isn’t necessarily the case. However, if they’ve mentioned the pain improving, or if they’re using the medication more often than prescribed, this is a cause for concern.
Moving On To Harder Substances
If a doctor is not prescribing this medication to them anymore, and they are still addicted, they will likely seek out alternative substances. Buying prescription medication illegally is very expensive, so in many cases, they will turn to heroin or fentanyl, as they are cheaper, more potent, and still give a similar effect.
Lying about whereabouts, constantly going broke, distancing from family and friends, and hanging out with new people are signs that can add up to this frightening conclusion. Treatment is a must.
If you or a loved one are believed to have a codeine addiction, reaching out to the proper treatment centers has to happen as soon as possible. It’s important to intervene if a loved one is currently struggling. From there, you’ll have a few different options for treatment.
Therapy is a great option for those who have already detoxed and have the tools they need to get back to their lives while maintaining abstinence. There are individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy options available to people in need.
Detox treatment is, at the very least, a good start. Getting yourself off of the substance and safely getting through the withdrawal symptoms is one of the first major hurdles to clear on your road to sobriety.
In-person rehabilitation centers are the most effective way of getting you on the road to recovery. With this option, you’ll be able to safely detox, have therapy and support groups available to you, and be in a controlled environment safe from any substances.
You will also be given the tools to return back to your life in a safe, sober way.
Codeine addiction is no laughing matter. It is a serious illness that will only get worse if left untreated. Every moment it is put off is another moment at risk of overdose or other serious complications. Keep yourself safe, get the help you need, and find out how to find the right rehab in San Diego!