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Codeine Addiction – Signs and Symptoms

Nicholas Conn
Nicholas Conn

Nicholas is a leading addiction expert UK's go-to man on related matters for the national press, TV and radio.

Man lying down on couch whilst talking to therapist for advice

Codeine, an opioid medicine often prescribed to individuals to relieve mild pain and coughs, has a high risk and potential for addiction. While the substance is effective for its direct use, misuse of codeine can lead to physical dependence, addiction, and a variety of other issues.

Acknowledging the signs and symptoms of codeine is key. This will intervene and prevent the development of addiction allowing an opportunity for the use of treatment at an earlier stage.

In this blog, we will explore the various aspects of codeine addiction, its signs, symptoms and the steps and treatment required for recovery.


What is Codeine?

Codeine is a form of medicine that has many similarities to morphine and oxycodone. It is typically found in prescribed medications such as Tylenol and Codeine and specific cough syrups.

Codeine operates by binding the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, adjusting the perception of the brain and suppressing the cough reflex.

When codeine enters the body it is converted into morphine which will bind to specific receptors that are found in the brain and spinal cord. The process of binding results in a decrease in the perception of pain.


The Medical Uses of Codeine

The use of prescribed codeine is becoming more common due to its many benefits for medical usage. The substance is being used in prescribed medication to help reduce levels of pain and illness. Here is what Codeine is commonly prescribed for:


  • Pain Relief: Effective for mild to moderate pain
  • Cough Suppression: Used in cough syrups to reduce the need to cough
  • Diarrhoea Control: Can sometimes be used to treat severe diarrhoea


How Can the Usage of Codeine Lead to Addiction

When used for its direct use as a prescribed medication, codeine is considered a safe and effective medication. However, the misuse of codeine often occurs when individuals take higher doses of the substance than prescribed, use it for non-medical purposes, or continue beyond the recommended period.

Over time, the body will develop a tolerance to the usage of codeine, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. This can lead to a dependence on the drug and leading to the development of drug abuse.


Signs of Codeine Addiction

Recognising the signs of codeine addiction at an early stage is highly beneficial for helping prevent further development of an addiction. There are a variety of signs that may indicate you are developing an addiction. Here are some of the key signs to look out for:


Physical Signs

Recognising the signs of a codeine addiction is beneficial for seeking treatment as soon as possible.

Physically some signs may be a key indication for intervening and allowing you to present the development of an addiction. Here are some of the key physical signs of codeine addiction:


  • Increased Tolerance
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Pinpoint Pupils


Behavioural Signs

While using codeine for medication purposes and discovering that your doses have increased over time, you may experience changes in your behaviour. These changes may be an indication that you are developing an addiction. Here are some behavioural signs to consider:


  • Increasing Prescriptions
  • Lying or Secrecy
  • Neglecting Responsibilities
  • Increased Isolation
  • Financial Problems


Psychological Signs

Psychologically, the development of a codeine addiction can be a key indication. Understanding the key signs of a codeine addiction psychologically can help you intervene soon and prevent experiencing an addiction. Below are some of the common psychological signs of codeine addiction.


  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Obsessive Thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Loss of Interest


The Symptoms of Codeine Addiction

The symptoms of codeine addiction can be displayed in various ways, impacting your physical health, mental well-being, and overall lifestyle. Below are some of the key symptoms to look out for:


Behavioural Symptoms

When dealing with a codeine addiction it is common to experience behavioural symptoms. This can impact your overall lifestyle and relationships with family and friends. Here are the common behavioural symptoms of codeine addiction:


  • Compulsive Drug Seeking
  • Risky Behaviours
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Neglect of Self Care
  • Relationship Problems


Physical Symptoms

Experiencing physical symptoms is common when dealing with a codeine addiction. Seeking treatment for these symptoms is crucial for preventing the further development of your addiction. Below are the common physical symptoms of the addiction:


  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Muscle Aches
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Sweating
  • Heart Problems


Psychological Symptoms

High and frequent doses of codeine can have an impact psychologically. There are various psychological symptoms that you can experience with the addiction, Here are some of the key symptoms below:


  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Increased Anxiety


Long-term Effects of Codeine Addiction

Codeine abuse can have long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health. Prolonged or incorrect use of this opioid can lead to the build-up of tolerance and require higher doses to achieve the same effects. These effects can often result in:


  • Respiratory depression
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Coma

The long-term effects of the addiction can be dangerous and can have impacts on not just yourself but also your loved ones. Seeking help and treatment for this addiction is crucial in preventing further damage and for a successful recovery.


Seeking Treatment with Rehab Centres UK

Codeine addiction is a serious addiction with long-term consequences. Recognising the signs and symptoms is crucial for early intervention and a successful recovery. If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction it is essential to seek professional help. With the correct support and codeine detox treatment, a healthier lifestyle can be achieved.

Take your first step towards recovery with our specialist team at Rehab Centres UK. We are passionate about getting you on the right path to a healthier lifestyle. With our drug rehab programmes, you or your loved one can overcome the challenges of codeine addiction. Start your journey today and take one step closer towards a drug-free lifestyle.

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If you are looking for rehab for your addiction, contact our 24/7 support line for help at 0808 175 7225 today.