Many codeine users question whether they actually have a codeine addiction or “just need a little time to get themselves together.” If your codeine use has affected you to the point that you are asking this question of yourself, chances are, you have a codeine addiction. Be honest with yourself, people who don’t have codeine addiction symptoms don’t ask this question.
The following are 15 codeine addiction symptoms you can’t ignore.
1. Uncontrollable Cravings
Uncontrollable cravings are a central aspect of codeine addiction. The brain becomes conditioned to respond to an indeterminable number of “cues” or reminders that codeine use is a rewarding act, reinforcing the motivations to use.
2. Increased Tolerance
According to the Institute of Medicine (US), “All drugs of abuse interact initially with receptor or reuptake proteins.” Codeine, like other opiates, activates opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system (CNS) and alters the levels of neurotransmitters that communicate messages of pleasure, pain relief, and euphoria, mainly by increasing the neurotransmitter, dopamine.
Tolerance is a natural adaptation to the codeine effects requiring more of the codeine to activate this communication process. You may find yourself taking codeine more frequently, in higher doses, or looking for alternative ways to achieve the effects you desire.
3. Uncontrollable Use
Have you felt compelled to use codeine although you really didn’t want to? Have you used before going to work or school despite knowing what the consequences may be? Have you used codeine despite consequences to yourself or your family? Uncontrollable use is a major codeine addiction symptom you can’t ignore.
4. Physical Dependence
Physical dependence, like tolerance is a natural adaptation to the altered neuronal process and resulting brain and CNS functions. You may begin to feel a little “off” or “unwell” after several hours of not using codeine. You may want to ask yourself if you need to use codeine as soon as you wake up or before going to bed to avoid these issues.
5. Psychological Dependence
You can’t ignore the psychological dependence on codeine. If relying on the use of codeine to get through your daily routine becomes natural, all signs point toward addiction. Psychological codeine dependence can preoccupy your mind to the point that you lose focus on what is best for you and what really matters.
Physical and psychological withdrawals are codeine addiction symptoms you can’t ignore if you feel like you must continue using codeine in order to avoid them. Cravings, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, irritation, exhaustion, weakness, runny nose, and teary eyes are just a few of the basic withdrawal symptoms, but, unless you go through them and remain abstinent, they will only get worse the next time you attempt to quit using codeine.
7. Using Codeine beyond Therapeutic Levels
Some people are legitimately prescribed codeine and abuse it by using it beyond therapeutic levels to get “high” and with every euphoric experience, your brain adapts to the experiences as behaviors that bear repeating, just like eating, having sex, or other basic survival instincts.
8. Sleep Disturbances
Insomnia, unusual sleep patterns, excessive sleeping, frequent awakenings, and vivid dreams are codeine addiction symptoms that may indicate problems in neuronal communications as a result of codeine use. They can also predispose you to other physical and mental health complications including stress, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
9. Mood Swings
Up one minute and down the next is a cycle of symptoms many codeine addicts go through over and over each day. The mood swings are usually unexplainable and no matter how much you try to ignore them they keep reappearing at the most inopportune times.
10. Loss of Interest in Enjoyable Activities
Loss of interest in enjoyable activities is a codeine addiction symptom that destroys one of the most basic instincts we need to live a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s fun with our family or friends or activities we once enjoyed such as sports or just relaxing and watching television, replacing these activities with codeine use often leads to isolation and depression.
11. Emotional Instabilities
Feeling the need or desire to use codeine to alleviate emotional instabilities is a codeine addiction symptom you can’t ignore. Emotional instabilities like uncontrollable anxiety, depression, aggression, suicide or harmful ideations are some of the most basic “triggers” that compel and perpetuate compulsive use of codeine.
12. Unusual Behaviors
Have you found yourself doing unusual or uncommon things because of your codeine use? Have you changed your activities to make using codeine easier? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “drug-induced changes in brain function can have many behavioral consequences, including an inability to exert control over the impulse to use drugs despite adverse consequences—the defining characteristic of addiction.”
13. Defense Mechanisms
Common defense mechanisms are symptoms of codeine addiction involving confrontational avoidance, denying, lying about, or secretively using codeine. Some people try to blame their use on others, incidents, or losses to alleviate their guilt or prevent relationship fallouts.
14. Fear of Running Out of Codeine or Missing a Dose
The more you come to rely on codeine as a basic part of your life the fear of running out or missing a dose is codeine addiction symptom that can literally make you question your identity. People will go to outrageous lengths to protect their supplies when they are addicted to codeine and just the expectancy of the next dose can make them overly anxious.
If you have ever overdosed on codeine, this symptom of addiction can be fatal. In the least it can lead to other serious health complications and if you were to relapse, you have an exponentially higher risk of fatal overdose the next time.