Doctors regularly prescribe strong painkillers and sedatives to those with conditions such as chronic pain, sleep disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Those who suffer from mild to moderate pain may be given a prescription for codeine. Codeine is an opiate drug in the same family as other opiates that include methadone, morphine and hydrocodone. Although codeine is not as strong as some of the other opiate drugs, it is still very addictive and should be taken only as prescribed by a GP. There are a number of side effects of codeine, but long-term use can result in addiction and a host of health problems.
Those who take codeine tend to experience feelings of relaxation and warmth. They might also start to feel tired and sleepy. Codeine taken in large doses can produce feelings of calmness and euphoria, but it can also result in feelings of nausea and confusion. Some people will feel depressed and anxious and could also suffer from constipation, itching and sweating.
Since codeine is a chemical substance, the body reacts when a person takes it. It tries to adjust to the presence of this drug, which results in the person developing an increased tolerance to it. After a while, the drug does not provide the same relief as before and so the individual is often tempted to take more to achieve the desired effect.
Taking more of a drug than advised to by a doctor is classed as abuse. Misuse of the drug also includes taking codeine that has been prescribed for someone else and taking it more often than advised to. Codeine abuse typically leads to addiction, which can result in a number of mental and physical health problems as well as lifestyle consequences for the individual and his or her loved ones.
Family members and friends might notice that their loved one is acting strangely but could be unsure as to why this is. If you suspect that someone you love is taking more of a prescription drug than he or she should be, you should be alert to the signs of addiction.
Behavioural signs of addiction include lack of energy, decreased appetite, strange sleeping patterns and neglecting spending time with loved ones. The person will probably lie to you about the amount of codeine that he or she is taking and could be hiding prescriptions to prevent you from discovering the extent of the abuse.
As codeine is a depressant, those who take it may feel drowsy and spend more time than before sleeping. Other symptoms of codeine addiction to watch out for include dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, rashes, memory loss, breathing problems, and hallucinations.
Those who abuse codeine are at risk of developing an increased tolerance to the effects of the drug. They may become physically dependent on it, and will begin to exhibit drug-seeking behaviour when/if they are unable to source the medication.
There are other health risks for those abusing codeine. This drug relaxes the body, effectively slowing down its responses. Taken in large doses, it can result in low blood pressure and breathing problems. One of the more significant issues with codeine abuse is the fact that many people mix it with other substances such as alcohol and other opiates.
Codeine is found in small doses in some over-the-counter medications, so codeine addicts may take large amounts of these drugs when desperate. The problem with this is that these drugs often contain other drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin or paracetamol. Taking large amounts of these substances could be fatal.
While most regard codeine as one of the more harmless opiate drugs, it is necessary to point out that there are not only many side effects of codeine but that it is also highly addictive. Even those who take codeine exactly as prescribed can be in danger of developing an addiction if they continue to take the drug regularly over an extended period of time.
It is important to get help for codeine addiction as soon as you notice a problem. It is often not until a person’s prescription finishes that he or she realises that they have become dependent on the drug. The individual in question begins to experience the side effects of codeine withdrawal, which can include anxiety and craving for the drug in the early stages.
Some will desperately try to get their hands on the drug by calling their doctor for another prescription. If these attempts fail, the person may visit a number of physicians in order to get new prescriptions, or he/she might turn to the internet where prescription medication can be purchased at very low prices. The problem with this is that there is no way to know if the drugs bought online are the genuine article or whether they have been manufactured to look like the real thing. Fake prescription medication often contains harmful chemicals that can be extremely dangerous to health.
If you have a codeine addiction or if you are worried that you may have, contact us now at Recovery.org.uk. We can offer advice and support as well as information on what it is like to be addicted to codeine. We will listen to you and will assess your situation. If you do have a codeine addiction, rest assured that you are speaking to the right people regarding getting the help you need. If you do not have an addiction to codeine, we can help you put your fears to bed so that you can carry on as normal.
We offer a free service to clients and will never exert pressure on you to move forward into recovery unless this is something that you want. We work with organisations in the private and public sectors, and we will work with you until we find a provider that suits your needs and your circumstances.
Call Recovery.org.uk today for more information and some free, confidential advice.