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What Codeine Detox Treatment is Really Like

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For an individual dependent on codeine, detox treatment is often necessary. Dependency on codeine can lead to withdrawal symptoms, discomfort, pain, and, if the individual is abusing codeine, addiction and other problematic circumstances. Detox can help patients through the difficult time of withdrawal and help them transition into substance treatment for codeine abuse. But what is codeine detox treatment really like?

Starting Treatment

According to the NLM, a person will start experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms anywhere from 12 to 30 hours after their last exposure to the drug, depending on the specific opioid drug and the individual’s history with dosage size and frequency of dosages. When the individual decides to attend a detox center for withdrawal treatment, they will usually experience these tests initially:

  • Blood tests and liver tests to decide if the individual has been taking high doses of codeine
  • CBC tests
  • Questions about medical history
  • Questions about past drug use/abuse
  • Discussion about any other issues experienced by the individual patient

As stated by the NLM, “Your doctor can often diagnose opiate withdrawal after performing a physical exam and asking questions about your medical history and drug use.” Codeine is a commonly abused drug, and those who have been abusing it will need a specific type of detox treatment that helps them transition into addiction treatment. Once your detox treatment plan is set, you will begin receiving your treatment.

Medication

There are several types of medication used in codeine detox treatment. Certain individuals respond better to different ones, although in most detox settings, clonidine is the most commonly used detox treatment for opioid detox (NLM).

  • Clonidine provides relief from several different issues including anxiety, flu-like symptoms, muscle pain, and cramps. While vomiting and diarrhea are often treated with other medication, clonidine can be very helpful in minimizing several of the most problematic and detrimental withdrawal symptoms codeine dependent individuals face. Clonidine is often used in hospitals, detox facilities, and in treatment by doctors who want to minimize their patients’ withdrawal reactions.
  • Buprenorphine can often be used as a detox treatment for clonidine as well. It is commonly prescribed as the brand drug Suboxone which also contains naloxone. The second ingredient in Suboxone discourages patients from abusing the drug by causing withdrawal symptoms when it is crushed and snorted or injected. That is why this medication is often ideal for those who are receiving outpatient detox or detox treatment through a doctor’s office.
  • Methadone also treats codeine withdrawal and can be used in detox. It is an opioid drug that, in regulated doses, does not cause the euphoria and other effects that opioids normally cause dependent individuals. Methadone is also beneficial to those who need long term detox treatments and who have been abusing codeine for a long time.

Medication is almost always necessary during detox treatment for codeine because of the extreme pain individuals who are not being treated pharmacologically go through as a result of codeine withdrawal. Because codeine can cause pain relief, suddenly not having the drug in one’s system may become extremely painful.

While some individuals wish to attend medication-free detox, SAMHSA states that, “It is not recommended that clinicians attempt to manage significant opioid withdrawal symptoms without the effective detoxification agents” like methadone, clonidine, and buprenoprhine. This can cause “needless suffering” which is often unnecessary, and patients are able to detox from codeine with the use of medication simply and safely. Medication also helps ensure that many individuals will not be as likely to relapse because of the pain of withdrawal.

Therapy

Even if a patient is not abusing codeine, it can be necessary for them to attend therapy as a part of codeine detox. Becoming dependent on codeine can be extremely troubling and a person may need someone to talk to in treatment. Especially if the person was abusing codeine, though, this therapeutic treatment can help. It will likely always be a part of codeine detox programs.

According to Harvard Medical School, “Behavioral therapists regard opiate addiction as the effect of learned associations and patterns of reward and punishment.” These therapies help patients learn to change those patterns and exhibit different and better behavior so that they can stop abusing codeine and begin to break away from its hold on them. As a part of detox, therapy changes the way patients think toward their codeine abuse. It also helps to steer them toward addiction treatment after their detox has finished.

Further Treatment

According to the NIDA, mixing codeine-based cough syrups with alcohol or soda has become a recent trend among drug abusers and it can cause individuals to branch out into other kinds of drug abuse. It can also be extremely dangerous on its own, leading to respiratory depression and death in some cases, especially when the codeine is mixed with alcohol. Many young people, especially teenagers, are likely to experiment with this type of abuse and that is why there may be the necessity for further treatment.

In codeine detox, patients are assessed based on their needs and the risks that they present to themselves for further drug abuse. These individuals are then often recommended further treatment based on these assessments. If the person needs more intense treatment for codeine addiction after their withdrawal symptoms have stopped, they can be referred to an inpatient facility. If they only need mild addiction treatment, they can attend an outpatient program.

Detox Treatment for Codeine

Detox itself does not treat addiction, only withdrawal. This is why patients may need further treatment after their detox from codeine is through. And it is especially why an individual should not be considered cured of addiction after attending detox. What codeine detox treatment is really like is a stepping stone to whatever further treatment is necessary for the individual.

Dependence can be a problem that leads to many other issues for drug users and abusers. If these issues are not present, then detox can often be done through a doctor’s care or through a facility before the individual can be through with their dependence on codeine. But there is always the possibility that further treatment may be required afterward.

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