What Does Codeine Do?
An opioid analgesic, codeine functions very similarly to morphine and in small amounts is actually converted to morphine in the body. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain – which signal the feeling of pain – and increases the user’s pain tolerance. As a result, there is a reduction in discomfort, but there is still an awareness of the pain. Like other opioids, it is possible to develop a tolerance to this medication. When tolerance increases, greater, more frequent, and/or more potent doses are required to achieve the desired effect.
Codeine Uses and Effects
There are various illnesses that may illicit the use of prescription codeine. This is due to the many effects and applications of the drug. Let’s take a look at a few:
As mentioned previously, codeine is a drug effective in pain management and as a cough suppressant. Although the exact mechanism of action of this substance is not known, it is often prescribed to treat illnesses associated with a severe cough, such as bronchitis. Frequent coughing can cause and be caused by irritation to the throat and lungs, fueling even more coughing. By reducing the irritation, codeine cough syrup can disrupt this unpleasant cycle of symptoms and allow healing.
One of the effects of codeine use is a feeling of drowsiness. This makes it a sedative or hypnotic drug. What might be a side effect of codeine use can actually be beneficial for someone who is in pain or great discomfort and has been struggling to get rest. However, the sedative-like effect of this drug means that operating any heavy machinery is out of the question.
General Pain Relief
Codeine is used to treat various forms of pain and discomfort. In some cases, it is mixed with other pain-relieving medications to produce stronger results. Acetaminophen and aspirin are common medications used in this way.
Just like any other opioid, codeine abuse is not uncommon. Whether obtained via a prescription or illicit means, it is not difficult to abuse this drug if someone wanted to. Although you can crush and snort a tablet or inject codeine intravenously, it can also be abused in its prescribed form. When codeine is consumed, it can create what some call a “high”. If codeine is consumed in greater amounts, this high is stronger. Someone experiencing a codeine high may experience a sense of euphoria, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating.
Codeine is an addictive drug and addiction can happen on a physical and psychological level. Someone who is using codeine to get high is likely struggling with a codeine use disorder. Additionally, someone who has developed a tolerance or dependence on codeine might continue to use it to avoid withdrawal symptoms. These are all signs of codeine addiction.
When codeine is abused, the risk of overdose goes up significantly. An overdose occurs when a dose great than what can be processed by the body and brain is consumed. This risk of overdose is amplified exponentially when codeine use is mixed with alcohol or other drugs. When someone overdoses, they are at risk of going into a coma, seizing, aspirating, experiencing brain damage, and even death. Learn the signs of an overdose and get help now if you or a loved one is abusing codeine or other opioid drugs.
Getting Help for Codeine Addiction
The best option for overcoming any opioid addiction is getting help from a trusted addiction treatment center. At Level Up, we are experienced in treating codeine addiction, and all other opioid use disorders. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need and deserve!