Codeine Addiction Symptoms, Signs & Side Effects

In Ohio, including larger cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus as well as smaller towns, opioids are a big issue. This is also true of the entire United States of America. One of these addictive medications is codeine, which is a prescription medication that has the potential for abuse and addiction. Here we will look at some of the side effects and symptoms of codeine use as well as signs of codeine addiction.

Codeine Addiction in Ohio | Codeine Symptoms & Side Effects

Codeine Addiction Symptoms

Codeine is a prescription painkiller, which means there are legitimate therapeutic reasons why some patients are prescribed codeine. Even when it is used as directed by a physician, however, it can have some side effects that you need to be aware of.

Some side effects of using codeine can include lightheadedness, sedation, dizziness and drowsiness. Other potential side effects that can accompany codeine use include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Rash
  • Itchiness
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Shortness of breath

When codeine is prescribed to treat pain, it is usually prescribed from 15 mg to 60 mg. On most prescriptions, it’s supposed to be taken every four hours as needed. The side effects are likely to be more intense if the dose is higher, and there are higher risks associated with using codeine for those who are prescribed a higher dose.

Codeine Abuse Signs

Whether you are looking at yourself or a loved one, it can be important to recognize the signs of codeine abuse. Typically, the first indicators that someone is on the path toward developing an addiction to this drug are the side effects of codeine abuse. Some of these signs of cocaine abuse may include:

  • Taking more frequently and/or in larger amounts than prescribed by their physician
  • Taking codeine recreationally
  • Purchasing codeine illegally or without a prescription
  • Crushing codeine and snorting it

One of the most dangerous and most common side effects of abusing codeine in the long term is developing physical dependence and addiction. The longer you use codeine – whether you have a legitimate prescription for it or not – the more likely you are to develop a dependence or an addiction.

Signs of a Codeine Overdose

Unfortunately, there tends to be a misconception that codeine is not dangerous as it tends to be one of the weaker opioids. This is far from the case, however.

If you abuse codeine, the risk for an overdose is very real. It can easily happen as well. This occurs when you take too much of the substance, when you mix it with other substances like alcohol or other opioids or when you take it in a different way that it should be taken.

It’s important to know the signs of a codeine overdose. These can include:

  • A bluish tint to lips and fingernails
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Twitching muscles
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Skin that feels clammy and cold
  • Breathing problems including shallow or labored breathing

If you suspect someone is having a codeine overdose, these signs should not be ignored. A codeine overdose can easily result in coma or death.

Signs of Codeine Dependence

There is a difference between dependence and addiction with drugs like codeine. Addiction is the psychological disease that occurs when someone loses control over drug use due to changes in the brain. Dependence happens when your body become dependent on a substance in order to function. However, not everyone who is dependent upon codeine is also addicted to it.

One of the first signs that someone has developed a dependence to codeine is when they have a high tolerance for the substance and they have to take more and more to have the same effect. This is true of people who take codeine with a legitimate prescription as well as people who take codeine to get high.

Codeine Addiction Signs

It’s good to understand the signs of codeine addiction. These signs can include:

  • Taking codeine without a prescription or abusing it frequently
  • Doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions
  • Trying to stop using the substance and being unsuccessful
  • Withdrawing from relationships
  • Declining performances at work or school

If you or someone you love is suffering from a codeine addiction, it’s important that you seek treatment as soon as possible. Such treatment can be found at The Recovery Village Columbus.


Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.