Codeine is an opioid – a narcotic analgesic – commonly used as a cough syrup also. It blocks signaling pathways between the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). As a CNS depressant, it diminishes the cough stimuli when other cough suppressants become ineffective.
Like other opioids, codeine may lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction. When people abuse codeine, they use the drug in increasing amounts to get the same effect they experienced when they consumed it earlier. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is “an inability to exert control over the impulse to use drugs despite adverse consequences.”
Dependence on codeine
Before we know the effects of codeine, it is important to learn about dopamine. It is a chemical that is produced naturally which helps one experience pleasure. It also influences motor functioning and controlling the release of some important hormones necessary for wellbeing.
Now, increased amount of codeine intake causes changes in the brain and the natural production of dopamine is interrupted. It leads to imbalance in dopamine levels. The body then starts relying on codeine for the production of dopamine. Withdrawal symptoms may result when it is stopped which can be painful and harsh.
Preventing codeine addiction
There are certain steps that one can take to prevent getting addicted to codeine:
- Stop misusing codeine: One should consume codeine only for the period for which it is prescribed. It should never be used in amounts more than prescribed, for longer periods or for recreational purposes. Once the ailment for which it is being used is under control or cured, its use should be discontinued. The physician should be contacted if the given dosage is ineffective and self-medication should be avoided.
- Follow abstinence in preliminary stages: Abstinence is the best way to get rid of addiction. In case of a dependence, withdrawals, to some extent, will be imminent, but, stopping use is better than continual usage. Therefore, if one faces some discomfort due to codeine abstinence, he/she should bear it for a few days.
- Do not use codeine if the following symptoms appear: Codeine use should be stopped when one develops cravings, have fear of running out of stock, obsess over the next dose or starts to experience similar other unwanted physical or mental side effects.
- Do not use codeine for purposes other than what it is intended for: Codeine should never be used for other than its intended purpose. These purposes may include relieving psychological disorders of depression or anxiety. Once the CNS depressant is used for nonmedical purposes, it will start wreaking havoc.
- Do not mingle with people who encourage abuse: It is always a good idea not to get involved with other opiate abusers. It is the root cause of addiction in majority of cases. If drugs are frequently traded, discussed or used in one’s peer group, it is better to leave the group because this can turn out to be a catalyst to abuse.
Stop abusing codeine now
Codeine abuse can turn out to be lethal. When the drug is used excessively, it may cause death due to overdose. So, if you have it in your possession, you need to keep its consequences in the mind. Check out the options to get rid of it, if you have developed a dependence.
Contact the Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline immediately if you are into codeine abuse. Our experts can guide you to one of the reputed drug treatment centers of Florida, who are known to provide evidence-based treatment. Chat online with our representative or dial the 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 to connect to one of the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Florida.