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About Codeine Addiction

Codeine is an opioid painkiller that is used to treat mild pain and coughing. Codeine has a calming effect on users and relaxes the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract, which is why it is often prescribed for coughing. Codeine is a weaker opioid with chemical structure much like morphine, but much less potent. This drug can be found over the counter in some countries around the world, but it is only available legally by prescription in the United States. Despite it’s weaker strength, codeine is an addictive drug and can cause codeine addiction and dependence when used beyond the scope of therapeutic dosing.

Codeine is combined with other drugs such as acetaminophen which add to it’s pain relieving properties. Codeine tolerance can occur quickly and can drive the user to increase their dosing beyond safe levels just to get the same pleasant feelings. Codeine addiction can be difficult to detect as it can be masked by some of the symptoms the drug is being used to treat. Many people who develop codeine addiction are unaware that the drug they are taking with regularity is causing dependence until it is too late. The risk of codeine addiction from individual to individual varies as each person metabolizes chemicals differently.

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Path of Codeine Addiction

The path to codeine addiction can be slightly different for each individual, but there are commonalities that all with codeine addiction will eventually experience. The first is the development of codeine tolerance. Tolerance can happen within a short period of time for individuals and will often lead to increasing the frequency or the amount of the drug taken. The second is the obsessive thoughts about getting more of the drug. Once codeine tolerance has occurred, and individual will then progress to the stage where every waking thought becomes about getting more codeine. This can cause an individual to become hostile and frustrated, often the first sign to loved ones that there is a problem. A third is the compulsion to use codeine, even when it is apparent that it is destroying relationships and health. Finally, the presence of codeine withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped is an indication of codeine addiction and treatment is the next step.

Signs and Symptoms of Codeine Addiction

  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Cold sweats
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of coordination
  • Withdrawal from activities
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Drowsiness

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