When a person becomes addicted to codeine, the drug will actually change them in a number of ways, especially changing the way the brain works so the individual will require treatment in order to stop using. Here you can learn about how codeine addiction affects an individual.
What Does Codeine Do to Your Body?
A person can take codeine safely under a doctor’s prescription. According to the National Library of Medicine, an individual can either take codeine as a treatment for pain or as a cough suppressant. Both types of medicine are only available by prescription. However, many people participate in codeine abuse.
- When a person takes large doses of codeine, the drug causes intense euphoria, drowsiness, pain relief, and relaxation. These symptoms can feel extremely good, similar to the high caused by other opioids, so many people use the drug without a prescription or in larger amounts than prescribed to experience them.
- Unfortunately, those who use codeine even once can experience a deadly overdose if they take a large enough amount. In addition, those who take codeine often and in large doses without a prescription are setting themselves up for dependence, tolerance, and a host of other issues.
- Sadly, codeine—just like other opioid drugs—can be addictive if it is abused.
Codeine can affect the body in a number of ways, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and constipation. But one of the most severe effects is the one codeine causes on the brain.
Is Codeine Addictive?
Yes, codeine is an addictive drug, and as such, it causes changes to the way the brain works when it is taken in large doses frequently and consistently. These changes start working the minute a person begins abusing a drug like codeine.
- According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, frequent substance abuse causes the reward center of the brain to become flooded with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for creating the positive feelings we experience when we do something good. These positive feelings are meant to be a reward for the beneficial actions we take (such as eating, sleeping, exercising, etc.). However, a drug like codeine causes an intense dopamine rush, especially when it is taken in a large amount.
- When the brain experiences this rush of dopamine, it assumes that the action the individual is taking is beneficial. It will then want to take that action again in order to experience more positive feelings. This is how cravings begin to set in. The individual will want to do more of the drug in order to feel good again. In a way, the brain is being tricked into doing something that harms the body simply because it feels good in the moment.
- After a person abuses codeine over and over in large doses, the brain will stop being able to manage its own creation of dopamine for other behaviors. As such, the individual will come to rely on the drug to provide positive feelings, as no other behaviors will be able to achieve this. When this occurs, it leads to dependence.
- Finally, individuals will experience addiction, which will mean they cannot stop taking the drug, even if they want to. Their own ability to choose when to use and when to stop will become compromised, and sadly, they will not be able to stop without proper treatment.
These are the steps that lead to codeine addiction. Those who become addicted to codeine will not be able to control their misuse and will need help putting an end to their dependence and drug abuse in a safe way.
How Long Does It Take to Become Addicted to Codeine?
Every individual will experience a different timeline associated with codeine addiction. One person might become addicted after as few as three or four uses while others may take months to become fully addicted. However, it is important to be aware of the problems that can occur and the codeine addiction side effects you will experience when this drug takes over your life.
Some of the severe side effects of codeine addiction include
- Losing an important relationship
- Going to jail, getting arrested, being fined, etc.
- Hurting someone
- Experiencing physical issues like gastrointestinal disorders, seizures, overdose leading to brain damage or death, etc.
- Getting expelled, losing your job, etc.
- Experiencing financial problems because you are spending all of your money on codeine
And many more…
If you have come to realize that one or more of these issues is occurring in your life as a result of codeine abuse, or if someone you love is addicted to this dangerous drug, it is time to seek help. Treatment centers exist where you can put a stop to your codeine abuse and protect yourself from further addiction problems. You can also learn to live safely in recovery and avoid relapse.
Where Can I Find Help for Codeine Addiction?
Call 877-959-7271 now to learn about the treatment facilities near you where you can begin your recovery. Don’t wait – you can find help for your addiction today.
Nicole R. is an experienced and accomplished writer with special interests in the fields of Anthropology, English, and behavioral health, and has written countless articles for newspaper publications, institutional research journals, and Find Addiction Rehabs.
Her alma matter is Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Nicole hopes to spread awareness of and combat the stigmatization surrounding addiction and substance abuse treatment through her writing and work in the field.