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Many people start out taking codeine to treat pain symptoms resulting from an injury or chronic pain condition. When taken as prescribed, there’s little need for worry. However, codeine’s effects can gradually lure users into taking larger doses than prescribed or taking the drug for nonmedical purposes.
Codeine, one of a large family of opiate drugs, carries a high abuse and addiction rate. In 2008, opiate drugs accounted for the largest number of drug treatment admission rates of any other drug, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For people trying to get off the drug, codeine withdrawal symptoms often become the biggest obstacle to following through on living a drug-free lifestyle.
Codeine withdrawal symptoms can come on hard and fast during the detox period. When armed with just a few tips for reducing distressing withdrawal effects, a person greatly increases his or her chances of making it past this difficult stage.
What Causes Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms?
Codeine may well do a good job at reducing pain symptoms, but its mechanism of action inside the brain can do more harm than good over time. According to Harvard Health Publications, codeine, like all opiates, closely resembles the brain’s natural endorphin chemicals, which accounts for why the brain comes to rely on codeine’s effects with ongoing use.
Codeine withdrawal symptoms take shape as endorphin-secreting brain cells come to depend on the drug’s effects. This dependence grows as brain cells weaken and so require larger doses to function normally. When needed dosage amounts are lacking, the brain can no longer regulate bodily processes normally. Withdrawal effects are the end result.
Get Proper Rest
Not being able to get a good night’s sleep can actually make codeine withdrawal symptoms worse. A lack of sleep will further weaken brain and body functions making it that much more difficult for the body to repair itself.
Rather than turn to over-the-counter remedies, it’s best to incorporate a daily exercise routine to burn up excess energy. Also, eliminating stimulant-type substances, such as caffeine and nicotine can go a long way towards getting a restful night’s sleep.
Codeine withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomach cramping and nausea can take a toll on the body’s overall energy levels. Pepto-Bismol and Imodium A-D do a good job at relieving nausea and diarrhea symptoms.
Codeine withdrawal symptoms in the form of random muscle aches and pains can be expected during the detox stage as the body works to repair nerve signal transmission functions throughout the body. Non-steroidal pain-relief medications, such as naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen do a good job at alleviating aches and pains.
For people with a long history of codeine use, brain chemical imbalances have reached a point where over-the-counter remedies can do little to alleviate codeine withdrawal effects. Prescription medication therapies, such as methadone and buprenorphine, support damaged brain chemical processes and thereby eliminate withdrawal symptoms.
Drink Lots of Water
People who’ve used codeine for months or years at a time likely have codeine residues stored up inside fat tissues throughout the body. These residues can intensify codeine withdrawal symptoms as well as prolong the detox stage. Staying hydrated works to flush out residue materials and helps the body’s repair processes work more efficiently.