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Codeine Addiction, Detox and Treatment for Recovery

If you’re battling a codeine addiction, you need the right treatment in order to recover. This may include going through a period of detox and then entering a rehab facility.

Codeine is one of the most popular opioid drugs on the market. It’s also one of the most underestimated. This medication can be abused accidentally. However, more often than not, people misuse it for recreational purposes. Regardless of what your use of it is, you need to know that there’s no shame in asking for help.

It’s important to get as much information about this drug as you can. Once you see the risks involved with continued use, it is our hope that you’ll see the need to recover. We’d like to provide you with everything you need to know to make the right decision for your future.

What is Codeine?

Codeine is a drug that is used frequently for a number of different reasons. It’s an opioid, and it is generally considered to be quite safe, despite its addictive nature. It’s often given to those who have a chronic cough or who suffer from diarrhea. This medication should only be used in small doses, and only for a very specific period of time. If people use it for too long, it’s easy to form an addiction to it. Also, when the drug is modified, or consumed in larger quantities, an addiction is almost guaranteed.

Today, codeine is at the center of some of the newer drugs on the street. People will mix it with Sprite or Mountain Dew and sometimes add candy to it to produce a concoction that many are using to get high. This mixture goes by a number of different street names, such as:

Drinking this combination is very dangerous. It can be up to 25 times more potent than the syrup itself. There have been many deaths reported because of codeine overdoses. However, it still continues to be used because of the euphoric high and altered states of consciousness that result.

Mental and Physical Side Effects

When this drug is taken as prescribed, any side effects should be minimal. However, there are some effects that many will experience, including:
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Getting drowsy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Becoming constipated
  • Excessive sweating
  • Getting a rash
  • Mild itching
Sometimes the side effects can become much more pronounced. There are some people who may experience adverse effects, even if they use the drug appropriately. These effects include:
  • A slow heart rate and weak pulse
  • Fainting spells
  • Bouts of confusion
  • Feeling agitated
  • Having hallucinations
  • Feelings of extreme sadness or happiness
  • Seizures
  • Difficulties with urination

Any of these side effects should immediately be reported to your doctor. They may wish to discontinue this drug and give you something else.

Did Hip-Hop Culture Contribute to the Popularity of Lean?

Lean is a drink that was developed around Houston in the 1960s. During that time, blues musicians would use Robitussin and cut it with beer. Once wine coolers became popular, they were substituted for beer. Rappers who grew up in that area started taking up this practice as well. This is what brought the use of codeine into the hip-hop culture.

By the 1980s, the formula had changed quite a bit. People started using codeine, lemon-lime soda and Jolly Ranchers candy. The phenomenon stayed in Houston for quite some time until rapper DJ Screw released songs that mentioned it in the 1990s. It’s believed that he actually died as a result of drinking the concoction.

It wasn’t long before Lean spread to other parts of the country. In 2004, the University of Texas learned that more than 8% of high school students had used it to get high.

The danger of codeine as a drug is twofold. Lean itself carries its own risks when it’s abused. However, there is also the concern that it serves as a gateway drug into the use of harder substances, like cocaine.

This is a great video that talks about how hip-hop has influenced the use of Lean as a drug among young people:

Consider the following statistics on codeine:

  • Codeine is currently the most widely used prescribed opioid drug in the world.
  • In many countries, it is available as an over the counter drug.
  • The effects of it begin quickly; within 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion.
  • Once it takes effect, it can last for as long as six hours, depending on the dose.
  • The abuse of prescription drugs like, and including codeine cost the U.S. about $484 billion per year.
  • It is considered to be a Schedule II drug in the United States.

When it comes to any opioid drug, overdosing is the key concern. Medications like codeine are frequently abused, which can easily lead to an overdose.

Currently, the U.S. is facing an opioid overdose epidemic, as evidenced by the following statistics:

  • In 2015, there were 52,404 fatal overdoses in the United States.
  • This makes overdoses the leading cause of accidental death in our country.
  • Opioid abuse and addiction are at the heart of this problem.
  • There were 20,101 overdose deaths during that same year.
  • Between 1999 and 2008 overdose death rates and substance abuse treatment admissions increased at the same rate.
  • The number of overdoses in 2008 was nearly four times what it was in 1999.
  • There were 259 million prescriptions written for opioid drugs like codeine in 2012.
  • This is enough to give everyone in the U.S. their own bottle of pills.

Far too often, drugs like codeine fly under the radar. People tend to believe that it’s safe because it’s a prescribed medication. If anything, that only makes codeine much more dangerous.

What are the Side Effects When People Abuse Codeine?

When you abuse codeine, you’re likely to experience serious side effects.
Codeine Rehab Information

You may notice that you suffer from:

  • An abnormal heart rate
  • Breathing issues
  • Frequently feeling lightheaded
  • Signs of depression
  • Nausea
  • A fever
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Temporary euphoria
  • Possible seizures

People who abuse this drug are doing so for the sensations of euphoria that can result with higher doses. What they don’t realize is that there are so many other side effects that go along with that good feeling.

An addiction to codeine can develop once someone has been abusing it for too long. Unfortunately, most people believe that they are immune to addiction, and they think it could never happen to them. That just isn’t true.

When you start taking any type of opioid drug, it starts to cause changes to occur in your brain. The high you experience comes from the excess amounts of dopamine that the substance releases in your brain. Dopamine is the “feel-good” chemical that you experience when something makes you happy.

As dopamine levels go up, you start to have euphoric sensations. That euphoria can be very addicting, and eventually an opioid use disorder forms. It often isn’t long before your brain is no longer capable of making that chemical on its own. Because of this, you find yourself drawn to it over and over again just to feel like yourself. It’s safe to say that codeine is very addictive for this reason.

You could be at risk of becoming addicted to codeine if you use it irresponsibly for any period of time. It’s rare for someone to form an actual addiction to it after they have only used it once. This is what makes people think it’s OK to do it repeatedly.

All instances of addiction begin with abuse. If you’re continually abusing codeine, it is very likely that you’ll become addicted. In fact, the very next time you use could be the time that results in it.

How Can You Tell if You’re Addicted?

It’s not uncommon for people to be completely unaware that they have a codeine addiction. This may be the situation you’re in. Maybe you’ve been abusing this drug for a long time, but you’re sure you have your use under control. It’s important for you to recognize whether or not you’ve become addicted.

Do you know the signs of opioid addiction? Knowing what they are may help you to identify your own dependence on this drug. They include:
  • Being chronically depressed
  • Having anxiety attacks
  • Not having much motivation
  • Having bouts of irritability
  • Sleeping more or less than you usually do
  • Frequent mood swings
Other signs of addiction include:
  • Trying to set limits for when or how much you’ll use, and then being unable to stick to them.
  • Going through withdrawal whenever you don’t use.
  • Attempting to stop, but realizing that you can’t.
  • Forming a tolerance to the drug, which means you need more of it to get high than you did previously.
  • Having relationship problems that are directly related to your substance abuse.
  • Having a hard time keeping up with your responsibilities.
  • Having financial problems due to spending so much money on drugs.

If you’ve never dealt with your own addiction, it might be hard to identify it in someone else. It’s very important to know how to tell if your family member has a drug problem. You can do that by answering some questions:

  1. Do they take a larger amount of the substance than they should?
  2. Do they use the drug for a longer period of time than they should?
  3. Do they spend a lot of time obtaining, using and recovering from their drug use?
  4. Do they tell you that they have urges or cravings to use?
  5. Is it difficult for them to manage their normal responsibilities?
  6. Do they continue to use, despite the consequences that have resulted?
  7. Would they rather use than spend time in social settings with friends and family?
  8. Do they use even when doing so puts them in danger?
  9. Have they started taking more of the drug than they previously did to reach a desired effect?
  10. Are they using only because they like the way it makes them feel?

If you answered yes to more than one of the questions above, you’re right to suspect codeine abuse. This might be a very hard reality for you to face. No one likes to learn that someone they love is abusing a drug. However, it’s better for you to know so that you can assist them in getting the help they need.

Can You Stop Using Codeine Cold Turkey?

You should never stop using codeine abruptly, or cold turkey. One woman did precisely that, and she states that it made her want to die as a result. She claims, “It feels like the worst flu you ever had, the sickest you’ve ever been, times suicidal thoughts and complete and total confidence that you are never, ever, ever going to feel better.”

It’s very hard to cope with opioid withdrawal symptoms. They can begin very quickly, and get severe right away. Please know that this isn’t the way you need to stop taking codeine. You never know if you might suffer from a complication that could be life threatening. It’s best to stop taking it in a controlled, medical setting where you can get treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms are to be expected when this drug is stopped, and they can become quite severe. Some of the more common signs of codeine withdrawal include:

  • Intense and overpowering cravings for the drug
  • A high or low grade fever
  • Profuse vomiting and nausea
  • Chronic headaches
  • Severe dehydration
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Teary eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • A faster heart rate than normal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea

Without getting the right support, it’s possible to relapse and go back to using. When this happens, people often revert back to the dose they’re used to, which is very dangerous.

Your tolerance levels will change once you stop taking codeine. That means that it will take less of the drug in order for you to feel the effects. Taking too much of it after you’ve stopped can result in an overdose, which can be fatal.

You may be wondering how long codeine stays in your system. This drug can be detected in both a urine test and in a saliva test for four days. However, it’s very likely that you’ll be experiencing withdrawal longer than that.

The duration of withdrawals will vary from person to person. It really all depends on a few different factors, such as:

  • Your own metabolic rate.
  • How much of the drug you were taking.
  • How long you’ve been using it.
  • Whether or not you were also drinking alcohol or taking other drugs.
  • Your weight and height.
  • Your age.

Most people find that they will begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms within about six hours after their last dose. At first, symptoms should be relatively mild. This might be the type of withdrawal that you’ve gone through when you weren’t able to stay on your normal dosing schedule.

After the second day, they should begin to get worse. You may notice newer symptoms that you didn’t have in the beginning. This should continue on until about the third or fourth day.

Once you reach that point, you should begin to feel better. However, you should know that your symptoms could return at a moment’s notice, and without warning.

The Best Way to Recover From a Codeine Addiction

Recovering from a codeine addiction isn’t a challenge you should take on by yourself. It’s best to get professional help, which means going through the detoxification process and attending rehab.

Your addiction has two different sides. It has a physical side and a psychological side. It’s critical to address both of them, one at a time. This approach is going to give you the time you need to heal and recover.

An opioid detox program is going to be your first course of action, most likely. It’s important for you to get treatment for your withdrawal symptoms. The help you receive can lessen their severity and make you more comfortable as you recover. You may even find that there are many symptoms you don’t have at all.

Detoxing from codeine may seem like an extra, unnecessary step. However, it’s an important one that you should consider. It’s very difficult to manage withdrawal on your own, and you don’t have to attempt it.

Once you have gone through detox, the next step will be to attend a rehabilitation program to get further help. This is when you’ll work on the psychological part of your addiction. Rehab will assist you in so many ways, and it’s tempting to skip it after you’ve detoxed. You will probably find that you feel a lot better, and you may even have a renewed sense of determination to stay off codeine. The problem is that this feeling is usually only false hope.

It’s very important to get to the root cause of your addiction. This is something you probably aren’t even aware of. You could even be suffering from a co-occurring disorder. This is a mental health issue that often contributes to drug dependence. By finding the cause of your addiction, you can get the appropriate treatment. Your chances of a successful recovery will also be much higher.

What to Expect During Codeine Detox

Most people are nervous about the thought of going through a codeine detox. You may be feeling the same way. It might be helpful for you to know what you can expect.

Your doctor will discuss your proposed treatment plan with you at length before you begin. You’ll be able to ask any questions that come to mind at any time. While everyone is different, you may find your treatment to be similar to the following.

For someone who is taking a prescribed opioid drug, tapering is often the first course of action. This will allow your body to adjust to taking smaller amounts of codeine over time. It’s a method that should reduce the severity of your withdrawal symptoms significantly.

Depending your individual circumstances, your doctor may find that you’re appropriate for medication assisted treatment. This is often referred to as MAT.

MAT tends to work really well for people who are addicted to opioid drugs like codeine. It will involve giving you other medications to help you through the withdrawal phase. Some of these are less potent opioids that work by replacing the drug you’re currently taking. Others may be medications that don’t have that classification at all.

Some examples of medications used during MAT include:

  • Suboxone
  • Subutex
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Vivitrol

Vivitrol and Suboxone are two of the most popular options. They work really well, and many patients have enjoyed long-term success with them.

You may also receive non-medicated forms of treatment during detox. This might involve meeting with a nutritionist to make some necessary dietary changes. It might also involve beginning a new exercise regimen. Both of these approaches will improve your overall health, which will help you as you detox from codeine.

Will You Need an Inpatient Rehabilitation Program?

Codeine can be such a dangerous drug when it is altered and abused. An inpatient rehab is the recommended form of recovery for just about everyone who has this type of addiction. You need the support that you find in an inpatient setting. It’s also very important for you to have medical attention available to you all day, every day. That way, if there is an emergency during your recovery period, help is readily available.

You may also find that any other type of recovery method might put you at risk for a relapse. It’s very easy to give in to cravings when you’re not in an inpatient setting. Most people appreciate the support they get, and they like not having access to drugs. You’ll most likely find this to be very helpful as well.

Choosing an inpatient codeine rehab means that you’re making an important investment in your recovery. It’s a decision you will not regret making.

When you go to codeine treatment, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’ll get a lot of support. All of the staff members will be very determined to provide you with the professional help you need to stop using. You’ll receive your own treatment plan that was designed to speak to your specific needs as you recover. You will also experience:

  • Group therapy that will allow you to hear from others and their addiction experiences.
  • Individual therapy sessions that will help you learn the reason behind your addiction so that healing can take place.
  • Family sessions to help your family understand what you’re going through.
  • Instruction to help you build better coping skills and learn how to live without drugs.
  • Relapse prevention counseling and preparation.

It’s necessary for you to come to believe that you no longer need to use any type of drug. Rehab is going to help you through that process. As you recover, you’ll get a lot of support and help to face the challenges that lie ahead.

If you simply can’t commit to going to an inpatient program, there are alternatives you might consider instead. The best one would be to begin an intensive outpatient program. Most IOPs have a great success rate, and people tend to do really well with them.

If you choose an IOP, you’ll be expected to attend several appointments throughout the week. They might be held in the evening hours, leaving you free to continue to work, if you currently have a job. It’s important for you to be compliant with the program if this is the route you choose.

You can also opt for an outpatient rehab, therapy or Narcotics Anonymous. All of these can work well under the right circumstances. You should talk with a professional to find out which form of treatment would be best in your situation.

Can You Force an Addicted Loved One to Get Treatment?

It would be great if you could make an addicted family member commit to getting addiction help. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to do that. However, if you’ve tried talking with them about the addiction, and they’re not listening, there are other steps you can take.

You may want to consider having an intervention. This is a meeting that will take place between you, the addict, an interventionist and other friends and family. The meeting will be a surprise to your family member, but many of them have good results.

The interventionist will work with you beforehand to be sure you understand the process. They may give you instructions about how you can prepare and what you can expect. The good news is that many addicts are very moved when they’re the subjects of interventions. Most of the time, they do agree to get help when other pleas have failed.

What to Look for in an Addiction Treatment Facility

If this is the first time you’ve ever thought about getting help for your codeine dependence, you may be confused. It’s difficult to know where to begin when it comes to seeking out detox and rehab programs.

Online, rehabs often look very much the same. However, it’s best to know the right questions to ask before you commit to one. For instance, you should find out:
  • Whether they maintain a small patient population. This will ensure you get personalized attention when you need it.
  • Whether they participate with your insurance company. You want to be sure that you can keep your out of pocket costs as low as possible.
  • Whether they offer both detox and rehabilitation services. This makes your treatment very convenient for you.
  • Whether they can provide you with medical support in the event of an emergency during your treatment.
  • Whether they have a larger than average long-term success rate.
Amytal Addiction Treatment

How to Begin Your Codeine Addiction Treatment Today

It is our hope that you’re ready to begin your recovery from codeine addiction. At Northpoint Washington, we understand the amount of courage it takes to get to this point. We’re proud of you if you’re ready to take that next step to reach out.

Deciding to go to treatment is one of the best choices you’ll ever make. There will be challenges, but there will also be many rewards. We’re here for you if you’re ready to start the process of changing the course of your life.

Do you have questions about codeine addiction, detox or rehab? Let us know how we can help by contacting us today.

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Northpoint Washington: Opening April 2019

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