Codeine addiction is often overlooked because it is not thought to be as dangerous or likely to occur as hydrocodone, oxycodone, or morphine addiction. In reality, codeine is more commonly abused by younger individuals who mix cough syrup containing the drug with soda in order to get high. Over time, this kind of behavior can lead to dependence and compulsive use. It is important to know what steps to take, should you find yourself addicted to codeine.
Talk to Someone
According to the NIDA Teen, “High doses and repeated abuse of cough and cold medications” containing codeine “can lead to addiction,” as well as abuse of codeine on its own. This issue is not normally a concern of the young people who abuse the drug, causing them to find themselves in an extremely frightening situation if they do become addicted.
If you have been abusing codeine and are under the age of 18, it is especially important that you talk to an adult you can trust. This person could be a family member, a teacher, a guidance counselor, a doctor, or anyone you believe will be able to get you the help you need. Talking to someone will ensure that the entire issue is not on your shoulders and that you will have someone else looking out for your best interests.
Codeine addiction means you will experience a compulsive need to abuse the drug. This is why you should remove all codeine-containing medications from your home as well as any other opioid-based drugs. Alcohol should also be removed in order to help you avoid abusing it as a substitute for codeine.
Attend Detox Treatment
Once you remove the drug from your life, you will likely experience intense withdrawal symptoms because your body and mind will be dependent on it. According to the NLM, these symptoms include:
- Teary eyes
- Widened pupils
- Runny nose
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Fast breathing
- Fast heartbeat
- Hair on your arms standing on end
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle aches
These symptoms can make it extremely difficult to avoid returning to codeine abuse. This is why you should consider attending a detox treatment program and receiving medication which will minimize your symptoms. You will slowly be weaned off the medication as your symptoms begin to subside.
Continue with Addiction Treatment
Those who stop treatment after detox often relapse and begin abusing codeine again. This is because their cravings for the drug and behavior of abuse have not been treated. Therefore, addiction treatment is the next step. Patients learn ways to avoid codeine abuse and how to better cope with the stresses of their lives.
Attend a Support Group
Either after or during your addiction treatment program, you should consider attending a support group like Narcotics Anonymous. In these meetings, members are able to discuss their similar issues with opioid drug abuse and draw strength from one another. This kind of follow-up treatment can help ensure that you avoid relapse and stay strong in your resolve to stop abusing codeine. If you follow these steps, you will gain the tools which will allow you to quit.