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Codeine Addiction

Codeine is a common pain killer which until February 2018 was available over the counter in Australia. Now being available only with a  prescription are you worried you, or a loved one, may have a codeine addiction?

Codeine is a common pain killer which until February 2018 was available over the counter in Australia. Now being available only with a  prescription are you worried you, or a loved one, may have a codeine addiction?
Codeine is often sold combined with paracetamol, cold and flu medication, ibuprofen or aspirin. As prescription medication, it can be used for pain, coughs and colds.

Are you asking yourself how to stop using codeine? Are you experiencing codeine withdrawal symptoms? Are you concerned that a loved one may be suffering from codeine addiction? Most sufferers cannot stop taking codeine without treatment for their addiction.

About Codeine Addiction

Codeine belongs to the same family of drugs as heroin, oxycodone and morphine. Over time regular codeine users become more tolerant of the drug and need to increase their dose. It is a common prescription drug addiction.
As an opioid, codeine is highly addictive.
People addicted to codeine may try doctor shopping to get a prescription, or they may steal or forge prescriptions to get their hands on the drug.
Thinking about getting the next dose will be at the top of their mind. This can damage relationships and affect their ability to work. They may also become secretive and irritated if asked about their prescription drug use.
Codeine overdose can be life threatening.

Signs of Codeine Addiction

There are certain signs you can look for that will help you identify an addiction to codeine.
If you are concerned about your own situation, or that of a loved one, consider the following symptoms of codeine addiction:

  • heart palpitations
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • trouble urinating
  • constipation

Codeine addiction has dangerous effects on the body which may include:

  • stomach bleeding or ulcers
  • lowered heart rate
  • liver and kidney damage
  • depression
  • inability to urinate
  • hallucinations

Any combination of signs or symptoms that suggest a potential codeine addiction should not be ignored.
The good news is that proper treatment is very effective at helping addicts find recovery.

Withdrawl Symptoms

If you regularly use codeine, your body needs to learn to work without the drug which causes withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are the various physical and psychological effects of detox and can occur after reducing or stopping codeine use. With codeine no longer readily available over the counter, many people addicted to codeine may experience withdrawal.
Symptoms of withdrawal from codeine include:

Withdrawl Symptoms
  • cramps and diarrhoea
  • nausea and vomiting
  • trouble sleeping
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • sneezing
  • fever and chills
  • joint pain

Facts

  • Codeine-containing products are prescription-only from 1 February 2018
  • Codeine is an opioid drug closely related to morphine
  • Long-term regular use of codeine can lead to tolerance, physical dependence, poisoning and in high doses, even death.
  • Of people who reported misusing painkillers in the last 12 months, 75% misused OTC codeine

Sources/references
Codeine Information Hub
Codeine: The Facts
Codeine – ADF – Alcohol & Drug Foundation

Treatment

It is important to remember that opioid addicts struggle to quit on their own and detox without medical supervision is dangerous.
If you or a loved one are addicted to codeine, the Hader Clinic’s prescription drug addiction programs can help. Our personalised rehabilitation treatment plans offer a range of therapeutic options such as medically supported detox and drug use reduction over time, counselling, group and family therapy, and personal wellness programs.
We provide a safe and supportive environment with experts in opioid addiction rehabilitation on hand to support codeine addiction treatment.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you or your loved one recovery from codeine addiction.

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