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How to Help a Codeine Addict

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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 people they love. While it may prove difficult, successfully navigating the period of recovery from codeine will be more than worth it to ensure a healthy and happy life.

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 with 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 individuals who do not have medical complications and who can follow their treatment plans in supportive home environments.

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 causes in different ways.

Codeine Addicts Need More Than Hospital

A recent study looked at opioid user death rates for those who only went to hospitals for treatment compared to those who went into addiction treatment programs. The study found that those who engaged in formal treatment had significantly lower death rates than those who only went to hospitals for treatment. Help from 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.


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 it is used in doses and frequencies that exceed what is outlined on prescriptions, users can quickly develop dependencies on 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 Codeine 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 codeine are required to achieve the desired effect.

When taken in high doses, codeine 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.
  • Seizures.

It is not uncommon for those with long-standing codeine abuse history 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.

Learn more about the effects of opioid use.

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 opiate withdrawal symptoms upon stopping use. Codeine 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.

Codeine Addiction Treatment

There are several options for getting help for a codeine addiction. It is important to help someone find codeine addiction 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 addiction treatment, get treatment started right away.
Supportive nurse
Beyond the general categories of inpatient and 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.

How to Find Codeine Addiction Treatment Near Me

If you or a loved one is struggling with codeine misuse, help is available and recovery is possible. You don’t have to fight the battle alone; professional treatment can start anyone with an addiction on the path to a happier and healthier life. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted facilities across the country. To learn more about rehab programs and treatment options, please contact a caring admissions navigator with AAC free at .

Recommended Codeine Rehabilitation-Related Articles


How to Help Someone With Alcohol or Illicit Drug Addiction

Help for Prescription Drug Abuse


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Patrick Condron, M.Sc., M.A.C., is an addiction specialist and drug and alcohol counselor. He is Executive Director of Lazarus House, Inc., a transitional residential program for men and women who continue to work on their recovery towards independent living.
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