Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms Explained

Learn more about codeine addiction, codeine withdrawal symptoms, and where to get the help you need here.

What is Codeine?

The Food and Drug Administration defines codeine as an opioid used in the treatment of mild and moderate pain. Codeine works by acting directly on the opioid receptors and preventing the brain signal from getting to the body. It interrupts the nerve signal that passes pain sensation from the brain to the body. Codeine elicits its antitussive ability by suppressing the activity in the central nervous system that controls coughing.1

Forms of Codeine

There are four different forms of codeine:2
  • Solution for injection (codeine phosphate)
  • Oral solution (codeine phosphate)
  • Controlled release tablet
  • Immediate-release tablet (codeine sulfate)

Is Codeine Addictive?

Codeine is addictive. Repeated use of the substance can make the user get addicted to it. Addiction is a result of the psychoactive effect of the substance on the brain.

Risk Factors for Codeine Addiction

Studies show that more than 10 percent of people who take opioids get addicted. There are some risk factors that increase the chances of an individual getting addicted to codeine. Some of the risk factors include:3
  • Peer pressure
  • Early use
  • Stress
  • Childhood neglect or trauma 
  • Family history
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic medical conditions

Potential Signs of Codeine Use

Below are some of the potential signs of codeine use:
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Social withdrawal 

How Codeine Impacts the Brain

Repeated usage of codeine for long periods of time can cause dependence on the substance. Codeine can negatively affect the brain. It causes sedation, confusion, and dizziness. In the long run, the brain and mind of the individual consuming it will not perform as well without the intake of the substance.

Short-Term Effects of Codeine Use

Codeine users may experience different side effects immediately after taking the substance. The experience varies from one individual to another. Severe headache, vomiting, and nausea are the major short-term effects of codeine use.

Long-Term Effects of Codeine Use

There are some side effects that an individual who has been taking codeine for a long-time may experience. These side effects are serious, and they can lead to death. For example, long-term codeine use can lead to the individual having brain damage, experiencing psychosis, and struggling with respiratory depression.
If you or someone you know is experiencing serious side effects of codeine use, seek medical help immediately.

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Codeine withdrawal is the discontinuation of the use of the substance. The sudden discontinuation of this substance can produce some abnormal physical or psychological symptoms called codeine withdrawal symptoms.

Codeine withdrawal symptoms may be mild or severe depending on the frequency of usage and the individual’s body. Examples of mild codeine withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and anxiety. Severe symptoms include seizures, hot flashes, and depression.

Should You Undergo Medical Detox?

There are various treatments available for people struggling with codeine addiction. One of the initial treatments is detoxification. Detoxification is the removal of codeine from the body system of the person experiencing substance addiction.

Benefits of Medical Detox

Medical detoxification has a lot of benefits. It allows the patient to be monitored medically and reduces the severity of codeine withdrawal symptoms. In addition, it includes pharmacological interventions which help increase stability and reduce the chances of relapse.

Types of Treatments Available During Detox

Some of the treatments available during a detox include:
  • Medical Assessment: A thorough assessment will enable the physician to know the type of substance addicted to and the individual needs. The assessment includes the patient’s medical history and the development of a personalized detoxification process.
  • Withdrawal: This process involves the gradual withdrawal of codeine from the system of the patient. Most patients experience codeine withdrawal symptoms at this stage. The severity of the symptoms depends on how long the person has been addicted to the substance and other factors.
  • Use of Medication: The use of approved medications helps the patient to cope with codeine withdrawal symptoms. Some of them help reduce anxiety and depression, thereby enabling good sleep. 

Tips for Mitigating Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. Below are some of the tips to mitigate codeine withdrawal symptoms.

Diet and Nutrition Tips

Balanced diets and nutritious food help to replace nutrients that are lost during detoxification. Interestingly, a healthy body increases the chance of avoiding a relapse. The patient should stay hydrated and consume leafy vegetables, proteins, and supplements.

Exercise and Relaxation Techniques

Exercise is an important part of any recovery program. Exercise improves the mood of the patient and stabilizes them. For example, yoga helps to relieve stress and discomfort that are a result of codeine withdrawal symptoms. Proper rest also helps to reduce anxiety and depression.

Talk Therapy and Psychological Support

Talk therapy is a one-on-one session with the patient and the psychologist. During these sessions, the patient discusses the daily challenges and other issues with the psychologist. Patients learn coping mechanisms and techniques to prevent relapse.

Treatment/Aftercare Options for Codeine Addiction

Below are some of the aftercare options for long-term recovery from codeine addiction.

Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment Programs

These programs are part of the treatment options that an individual can choose from. The major difference is that the inpatient program requires the patient to be hospitalized while outpatient does not.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

The use of medications is highly effective in the treatment of addiction. Studies show that about 90 percent of people who use medication-assisted treatment maintain sobriety for up to 2 years.4

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies like mindfulness meditation reduce anxiety and increase emotional stability. These therapies are excellent relaxation methods for people struggling with addiction.

Connecting with a Mental Health Professional

Connecting with a mental health professional enables the patient to have access to professional advice, especially about codeine withdrawal symptoms. These professionals also continually support and care for the patients even after leaving the rehabilitation center.

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Codeine Addiction Treatment at Essence Healthcare

Codeine abuse affects the physical and mental health of the person experiencing it. It can be overwhelming when an individual tries to recover from addiction on their own. Fortunately, there are treatments and support available at Essence Healthcare.

What We Offer

At Essence Healthcare, we understand that everyone’s journey to recovery is different. Our team of caring and compassionate healthcare professionals will work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. We offer a variety of treatment options.

These include inpatient and outpatient programs, psychotherapy, and group and family therapy. We also offer more holistic approaches such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness exercises.

Contact Essence Healthcare Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with codeine addiction, help is a phone call away. Reach out to Essence Healthcare today for more information about our available treatment options.

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.