Beyond a Cough: Why to Think Twice Before Taking Codeine

The Recovery VillageAddiction

What do you do when you have a cough and a cold?

When you are not feeling well, do you reach for the cough medicine? If you have challenges with substance abuse, think twice before you reach for codeine. This is because codeine can actually be addictive, even if it is part of a medication that you might use for minor illnesses. What are the potential dangers of codeine?

Concerns About Codeine

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), codeine is an opioid pain reliever used to treat mild to moderately severe pain. It is also used in cold medicines to reduce coughing. Regardless of how they’re used, opioid medications can be addictive.

Like other opioids, codeine interacts with the brain’s neurotransmitters and can lead to pleasurable feelings such as euphoria. However, the brain quickly gets used to the presence of codeine and starts to rely on this input to feel normal. This effect is what causes addiction to develop.

If you are using cold medicine that contains codeine, heed the warnings you find on the label. Take codeine exactly as you have been directed by a doctor or other health care professional. This helps you avoid developing a substance use disorder.

However, even when you use it as prescribed, codeine is not recommended for some groups of people. Risk factors for codeine addiction can include:

  • Having family members who have had problems with alcohol abuse, using illicit drugs or becoming addicted to pills or other medications
  • Having a history of, or a familial history of, depression or other mental illness

There are many other ways to stay healthy and avoid using codeine.

What Does Codeine Addiction Look Like?

Codeine comes with a number of health risks. According to Medline, codeine use may cause serious or life-threatening breathing problems, especially during the first 24 to 72 hours of your treatment, and any time your dose is increased.

If you have experienced breathing or lung problems such as COPD, asthma, a head injury or other similar problems, your doctor will likely tell you not to take codeine. People who overuse codeine can experience slow breathing, pauses between breaths and shortness of breath. You may also notice blue lips due to a lack of oxygen.

In addition to these problems with codeine, there are other signs and symptoms of codeine misuse. These include:

  • Changes in mental health, such as developing anxiety or depression
  • Losing interest in once-enjoyable activities
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Twitching muscles
  • Lying, theft, and fraud to try and obtain more of this medication

Recovering From a Substance Use Disorder

When you are looking for support and want to recover from codeine addiction, connect with a treatment center that can help, like The Recovery Village Columbus. A treatment center will give you a wide variety of possibilities for support. These may include inpatient and intensive outpatient programs that include counseling, family therapy, medical support for recovery and other forms of therapy, such as recreational therapy. If you have a co-occurring disorder, like a mental health condition, you can also receive treatment for that simultaneously so that you can recover mentally and physically.

At The Recovery Village Columbus, we want to help you overcome substance use disorder and embrace a stronger, healthier future. We offer codeine addiction treatment and many other recovery programs. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus today to learn more about treatment options.