Who would ever suspect that an innocent bottle of cough syrup could be problematic? But the reality is that contained in that prescription cough medication is an opioid called codeine. Codeine misuse may start through the legitimate clinical use of the cough suppressant, or it could result from recreation use known on the street as Lean, Purple Drank, Sizzurp, and Texas Tea.
Regardless of the origin of the codeine abuse it can lead to increased tolerance, escalation of dosing, and ultimately addiction. Once someone has decided they are ready to stop using codeine there is a knee-jerk impulse to abruptly stop using it. However, just as with all opioid dependency, it is important to understand how to stop taking codeine safely.
About Codeine Addiction
Codeine is derived from the poppy plant and has been used for medical treatment for 200 years. Although codeine is available as a stand-alone prescription analgesic in pill form, it is often combined with other ingredients. These medications may include other pain relievers such as Tylenol or promethazine and is available in pill, capsule, or liquid forms. Codeine-containing medications are used to treat a variety of symptoms, including cough, diarrhea, and low-level pain. Codeine is a Schedule II substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, which could result in addiction or dependence. In combination medications containing 90 milligrams or less of codeine, the classification is Schedule III, designating a slightly lower risk of abuse.
Codeine abuse tends to be most prominent among young, urban males. Rappers have added to the allure of the concoctions created using codeine, only increasing the popularity of codeine abuse. The drug acts by blocking pain signals to the brain, acting much the same way as morphine does. In fact, a portion of the codeine is converted by the body into morphine in approximately 70% of those who use the drug.
Effects of Codeine Abuse
As with other opioids, the body will become more tolerant to the drug’s effects, prompting the individual to begin using heavier doses. Over time, the drug may be combined with other substances, such as benzos or alcohol, to achieve the desired high, and in some cases switching to more potent opioids.
While the initial effect of the drug is relaxation, pain relief, and mild euphoria, prolonged use will begin to cause side effects. These might include:
- Itching or rash
- Pinpoint pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed heart rate
- Shallow breathing
- Mental confusion
- Problems urinating
- Lowered blood pressure
- Delirium and hallucination
When codeine abuse escalates it can depress the central nervous system, dangerously slowing the respiratory rate. Risk of overdose death is increased if the codeine is used with alcohol, which could cause respiratory failure.
Different Forms of Recreational Codeine
Detoxing From Codeine
Knowing how to stop taking codeine in a safe manner is essential when deciding to get clean and sober. There is a risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if the drug is abruptly stopped, so detoxification should only be accomplished through a residential detox. These residential detox programs will create a tapering schedule that will ease the person off the codeine safely, allowing the body to adjust.
While withdrawal symptoms can be somewhat regulated through tapering, some unpleasant symptoms are unavoidable. These symptoms will be managed through medications and treatments that will help minimize discomfort.
Codeine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme irritability
- Abdominal discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue, malaise
Treatment For Codeine Abuse
The fact is that, over time, certain addictive behaviors became habit. The mind is a powerful instrument in relaying thoughts that would lead the individual to reach for the codeine. To overcome the codeine addiction or dependency, it is critical to make changes in thought/behavior patterns. Without making these core shifts in thinking and reacting, cravings for the drug, or ingrained addictive thought processes, would simply drive the person right back into using codeine.
After detox is completed, a rehab program will help the person accomplish these fundamental changes using cognitive behavioral therapy as an essential tool. Therapy will be offered in one-on-one settings as well as group settings, and combined with other treatment elements, such as detox treatment, 12-step meetings, and relapse prevention planning.
Ken Seeley Communities Treats Codeine Abuse and Addiction
Ken Seeley Communities offers detox, rehab, and sober living services for treating codeine addiction in California. Because codeine addiction follows the same trajectory as any other opioid addiction, it is helpful to understand how to stop taking codeine through a tapering schedule. This allows the detoxification process to go smoother, increasing the chances of successfully completing detox and then transitioning into treatment. Treatment can be received through either an outpatient or residential program, depending on the severity of the codeine addiction. Ken Seeley Communities offers compassionate support at every juncture of the recovery process. For more details about the program, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.