Codeine is an opiate drug typically prescribed for conditions causing mild to moderate pain. Although a weaker opiate than other drugs, codeine still has the ability to become addictive; in many cases, it can lead users to take stronger painkillers.
And as with other prescription opiates, codeine users will begin to develop a tolerance to the drug over time, which means they will have to take more of it in order to achieve the same effects.
Many over-the-counter medications also contain low doses of codeine. An increasing number of people across the UK are becoming dependent on these medications, which they take daily as a preventative measure without realising they have actually become dependent on the drugs.
While not everyone who takes codeine will become addicted, for some this can become a destructive illness that threatens to destroy their lives. Those who have developed an addiction to the substance may seek stronger opiates from their doctor or they might begin buying alternatives online. Some will find that they need to take more potent drugs to satisfy their desires and will start to take illegal drugs in a bid to stave off any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Many individuals are unaware that continuous use of codeine can lead to tolerance and dependence. While most people who begin taking the drug do so for legitimate reasons, many will start to abuse the drug without even realising. Those who are taking codeine because of pain may like the fact that the medication makes them feel better. Codeine tends to make users feel warm and relaxed and it numbs any pain they were feeling.
However, it can also lead to withdrawal symptoms that include confusion, mood swings, constipation and nausea. Those who experience these symptoms may not realise that these are the result of withdrawing from the medication and hence they may take more of the drug to make themselves feel better. These individuals are caught in an endless cycle of pill-popping and withdrawal.
After a while, their bodies become tolerant to the effects and they will realise that the drug is not having the same effect it once did. This will usually result in the person taking higher doses, or taking the drug more frequently. Before long, the individual will feel that he or she ‘needs’ to take codeine to feel good. At this stage, he or she has become addicted and will continue to take the substance, even when doing so is having a negative impact.
Most of those abusing prescription medication do not realise the damage they are doing to themselves. They believe that the drugs are having a positive effect and are preventing them from feeling pain. Many fail to see that the reason they feel pain and discomfort can often be attributed to the codeine.
Family members may notice that something does not seem right with a loved one who is suffering from a prescription medication addiction, but it can be difficult to know for sure because many addicts will hide their problem from family members and friends.
There is still a certain amount of stigma attached to addiction regardless of whether the addiction is to illegal drugs, alcohol, gambling, or prescription medication. Those who suffer from addiction rarely admit to having a problem because they are embarrassed or ashamed. This is one of the main reasons so many people fail to get the help they so desperately need.
If there is an affected individual within your family group, you may notice that this loved one is suffering from mood swings. He or she may go from being calm to euphoric to depressed or anxious. You may also notice that he or she spends a lot of time sleeping and is eating less. Those with an addiction tend to lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and they may avoid spending time with loved ones and friends. If you are worried, contact us here at UKAT for more advice.
Codeine can have a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of those who abuse it. It can lead to physical health issues that include vomiting, nausea, shallow breathing, and drowsiness. Those with an addiction may begin to display addictive behaviours such as lying, stealing and cheating in order to get their hands on their drug of choice.
As with any addiction, a codeine addiction can have an adverse effect on home and work life and can lead to damaged relationships, job loss, and financial hardship.
Many people wrongly believe that codeine is not as dangerous as other opiates such as OxyContin or morphine, but the truth is that those who abuse codeine may develop a dependence on it that can then lead them to take stronger medication.
Long-term abuse of codeine can lead to physical and mental conditions, including liver damage, kidney damage, depression, and seizures.
If you are worried about a loved one and think he or she may have an addiction to codeine or another opioid, call us here at UKAT today. We have experience in dealing with patients struggling with prescription medication addictions, and we can provide you with advice and support on how to overcome this issue.
We offer a premium service to those struggling with addiction; our first-class facilities are staffed by fully qualified counsellors, therapists and medical professionals with the knowledge and experience of dealing with all types of addiction.
We believe that drug and alcohol addictions should first be treated with detoxification in order to ensure patients have a clear mind before beginning any rehabilitation treatment.
Once patients have detoxed, they can start the process of overcoming their addictive behaviour with a variety of treatments that can include motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy, and one-to-one counselling.
For more information on UKAT’s treatment facilities, or to discuss the admissions process, get in touch with us today.