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Codeine is an opioid used to relieve pain and cough by affecting the brain and central nervous system to alter the way the body perceives pain. For coughs, it slows down the movement in the brain that triggers the sensation. If the dosage is high enough, it can cause someone to feel euphoric; however, over time, one can become tolerant of the drug. It takes more of the drug to get the same feeling, so the brain craves it more and more, leading to addiction. Codeine is one of the most easily accessed substances and is heavily prescribed and used by millions worldwide.
Opioids have been prescribed for many years now, and because the risk of addiction is high, the U.S. has experienced a crisis. Long before prescribers knew of the potential for tolerance, it’s been a fact that opioids have been over-used. When used safely, codeine can be safe, but it’s not intended for chronic use. Codeine can be abused by:
- Taking more than prescribed for longer than should be
- Taking it to get high intentionally
- Taking it in a way that wasn’t prescribed like inhaling or by intravenous injection
- Taking someone else’s medication
Signs of Codeine Addiction
Several signs of codeine addiction include flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, and a runny nose, intense and uncontrollable cravings, drowsiness, and poor personal hygiene, leading to possible weight loss, odor, and medical and dental problems. Behavioral signs of codeine addiction can be life-altering and can affect daily living and relationships. These signs include:
- Withdrawing from activities once enjoyed
- Changes in mood like depression and other mental health disorders
- Misuse of their prescription
- Excessive preoccupation or obsession over the drug (a change in behavior when not taking it)
- Social isolation and withdrawal
- Failure to adhere to responsibilities in many facets of life, such as with work, legal issues, parenting, and unemployment issues that lead to financial difficulties.
- Frantic attempts to get codeine including purchasing drugs illegally, lying, and stealing money to get the cocaine)
Programs for Codeine Addiction
Once a person goes through the detox process of codeine, a therapy program is implemented, including these holistic methods:
- Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, and yoga
- Counseling (cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy)
- Nutritional therapy program
- Medically-assisted treatment (to help with withdrawal symptoms)
- Trauma therapy program
These programs include tools to address challenges that may have led to substance abuse and relapse prevention.
Benefits of Codeine Treatment
Aside from getting past addiction and becoming physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, several benefits can come from getting codeine addiction treatment; these include a better relationship with loved ones, family, and friends, and returning to life in a stable way that enables a person to cope with stress and challenges.
A person can be in a treatment program either on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Depending on the severity of the addiction, it may be best to get the care and support in a residential treatment center, where a person moves into the center and receives the help that way. It protects them from adverse problems that can occur with detoxification since they will be monitored 24/7 and with constant support and care.
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