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How to Help a Codeine Addict

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. Help for Codeine Addicts
  3. Is Codeine Addictive?
  4. What are the Signs of Addiction?
  5. Addiction Treatment

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Helping someone overcome an addiction is sometimes an arduous process, and recovery won't happen overnight. Addiction treatment takes time and often imposes stresses on both the abuser and the ones they love. While it may prove difficult, successfully navigating the period of recovery from codeine will be more than worth it, however, to ensure a healthy and happy life.

Addiction treatment takes time and often imposes stresses on both the abuser and the ones they love.

Help for Codeine Addicts

When a codeine abuser begins to exhibit signs of addiction, they often need help to stop.

There are many options for treatment. Broadly, these options include:

  • Inpatient treatment centers. In this scenario, the addict gets clean at a rehabilitation center and is provided intense, 24-hour care. This is recommended for severe cases of drug abuse.
  • Outpatient treatment centers. This form of treatment allows the patient to return home after appointments. This treatment may benefit those individuals who do not have medical complications, and those who can follow their treatment plan in a supportive home environment.

Either of these treatment types can be great options; which one is "better" depends on the individual's situation. Both allow the abuser to learn about addiction and its root cause in different ways.

Codeine addicts need more than a hospital

A recent study looked at opioid user death rates for those who only went to a hospital for treatment compared to those who went into an addiction treatment program. The study found that those who engaged in formal treatment had significantly lower death rates than those who only went to a hospital for treatment. Having professionals with extensive experience in identifying and treating codeine addiction can provide the comprehensive care (including psychological support) that a recovering person needs.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017). Opioid Abusers at Higher Death Risk When Addiction Specialists Not Part of Care. Medline Plus.


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Is Codeine Addictive?

Codeine is an opiate narcotic pain reliever. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified it as a Schedule II substance, which means it has noted abuse potential.

The drug is typically prescribed for cough and pain relief. The drug itself is addictive - that is, repeated use can lead to dependency and withdrawal.

When used in doses and frequency that exceed what is outlined on a prescription, users can quickly develop a dependency to codeine. There are various routes of administration for this medication, including:

  • Liquid (as is commonly found in prescription cough syrup).
  • Pill form (under trade names such as Tylenol 1, Tylenol 3 and Tylenol 4 - all combinations of varying doses of acetaminophen and codeine, sold as a Schedule III drug when codeine content is not above 90 mgs.).
  • Injection (less common than administration by pill or liquid).

What are the Signs of Addiction?

A codeine addiction has likely taken hold, to some extent, once the body begins to build up a tolerance to the drug. The abuser of the drug will begin to notice that the initial dose of the medication no longer "works", and repeated or more frequent doses of the codeine are required to achieve the desired effect.

When taken in high doses, it can cause:

  • Euphoria/drunk-like feelings.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Nausea.
  • Slowed breathing.
  • Constipation.
  • Constricted or "pinpoint" pupils - a telltale sign of opiate use.
  • Clammy, cold skin.
  • Convulsions.
  • Urinary problems.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Seizure.

It is not uncommon for those with long-standing abuse of codeine to experience hallucinations and delusions. This can be a scary side effect for many, and it is important to keep a close eye on someone experiencing these symptoms, as they may hurt themselves.

Am I Addicted to Codeine?

If you are battling any of the aforementioned signs of addiction, you may be addicted to codeine. Further, you may be addicted if you experience withdrawal symptoms upon stopping use. Withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Runny nose.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Irritability, agitation, and panic.
  • Nausea and vomiting, with or without stomach pain.
  • Cravings for more codeine.
  • Sweating.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Goose bumps.


Addiction Treatment

There are several options for getting help for a Codeine addiction. It is important to help someone find treatment right away once they have decided they want to get help. Someone facing an addiction is susceptible to shifting moods and motivations. When they agree to treatment, get treatment started right away.
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Beyond the general categories of inpatient or outpatient treatment, codeine addiction programs are offered in a variety of settings and with a number of different treatment facets or modalities. The recovery process may be supplemented by:

Even though the journey is tough, once you are free from addiction, the struggle to become sober will be well worth it.

Last updated on December 5, 2018
2018-12-05T22:50:26+00:00
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