What is Codeine?
- Codeine is an opiate used to treat mild to moderate pain and is the main ingredient in prescription cough suppressants.
- It’s a naturally occurring substance and is the most commonly ingested opiate.
- Like morphine, heroin, and other opiates, codeine affects the brain’s reward centre, creating sensations of pleasure, contentment, and wellbeing.
- Codeine is less regulated than other prescription opiates that are considered more dangerous, like Vicodin and OxyContin.
- Acquiring and misusing codeine happens quickly. Often, people are prescribed a codeine-based cough syrup. Or, you might start using codeine recreationally because it’s portrayed as less dangerous than other drugs—even though it’s chemically similar to drugs like morphine and produces similar effects.
- Codeine goes by the street names Schoolboy and Captain Cody. When mixed with soda or alcohol, codeine often goes by lean, purple drank or sizzurp.
Side Effects of Codeine Abuse
Like any opiate, users run a high risk of building a tolerance to codeine over a relatively short period.
Whether you’re prescribed codeine or taking it recreationally, after a while, it takes more and more of the drug to feel the same effects.
When your tolerance grows, you’re more likely to develop a dependence on codeine. And once your body is dependent on the drug, normal functioning becomes difficult without it.
Signs, symptoms and effects
If you think you or someone you know may be developing a problem, there are a few key signs of codeine dependency to look out for.
Most often, people abusing codeine experience nausea, as it’s a common side effect of taking more than the recommended dose of cough syrups.
- Misusing codeine can also result in emotional side effects like anxiety, depression, or mood swings.
- After an extended period, codeine misuse can cause bowel damage, sleep difficulties, and sometimes even brain damage.
- Codeine can also make you feel drowsy, causing you to sleep more or nod off while performing other activities.
If you’re misusing codeine and experiencing these side effects, you may increase use to find relief from this added emotional pain.
But beyond the physical side effects, abusing codeine tends to have a significant impact on your ability to enjoy life.
Many people are prescribed codeine for physical pain or take recreational codeine as an escape from emotional pain.
But as you become increasingly dependent, your quality of life suffers.
You may find yourself struggling to maintain relationships, perform at work or school, or neglect other responsibilities.
Common Codeine Combinations
Codeine is frequently combined with other substances to enhance its euphoric and sedative effects.
Alcohol is the most common of these.
In the US, the beverage was known as ‘lean’, ‘purple drank’, or ‘sizzurp’ combines codeine with either alcohol or carbonated drinks to be ingested in high quantities.
Mixing codeine with alcohol is particularly dangerous.
As both drugs depress your central nervous system, people who mix codeine and alcohol risk suffering from respiratory failure, coma, or even death.
Codeine is sometimes part of a more significant addiction issue, acting as a gateway drug to other substances—especially more potent opioids like morphine or heroin.
Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms
If you’re misusing codeine and your body has become dependent on it to function normally, you will experience withdrawal symptoms if you cut down or stop suddenly.
For most people, withdrawing from codeine feels like a bad case of the flu.
You might have a runny nose or watery eyes, and you may vomit, have stomach cramps or diarrhoea. Muscle pains, loss of appetite, and weight loss are also common.
If you’ve misused codeine over an extended period, withdrawal symptoms can be much more severe.
Withdrawing from opiates is often deeply uncomfortable.
Because your body has come to rely on the drug to function normally, detoxing on your own can have potentially dangerous complications.
For many people, the physical symptoms of withdrawal combined with intense cravings can cause them to relapse.
But after even a brief break from opiates, your body can lose tolerance.
Starting at the same dose, you were taking before attempting detox can result in an overdose.
Codeine Withdrawal Timeline
Withdrawing from opiates is different for everyone and depends on many factors.
These can include how long you used codeine, your dosage, and whether you mixed it with other substances.
Typically, the physical symptoms of withdrawal are the most severe for the first few days after your last dose and taper off after a week or two.
Codeine withdrawal symptoms usually start to appear within the first 12 hours after your last dose.
- You may begin yawning excessively and experiencing your first flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches or watery eyes and a runny nose.
- You’ll also likely experience cravings and have trouble sleeping.
- Over the next several days, these symptoms will come to a peak. This is when you may feel nauseous or suffer from diarrhoea, vomiting, or excessive sweating.
- After five to seven days, most of your physical symptoms should begin to fade away.
- At this point, you may still struggle with psychological signs of withdrawal like anxiety and depression.
These can last for weeks or even months, making it very important to receive proper care to address these conditions and prevent relapse.
Codeine Addiction Treatment
When recovering from opioid abuse, comprehensive inpatient addiction treatment is considered the best option to ensure your comfort and success.
At Castle Craig, we’ve been treating opioid addiction since 1988.
We combine medically managed detox with evidence-based, experiential therapies in a residential setting to help you start the next chapter of your life in a safe and supportive environment.
What happens during rehab for codeine addiction?
In our integrated codeine addiction treatment programme, patients can focus on their recovery away from the triggers and distractions of the outside world.
This intensive programme includes round-the-clock care throughout medically assisted detox (if necessary), followed by personalised treatment using a combination of evidence-based and complementary therapies to help you holistically heal.
Inpatient rehab at Castle Craig gives you the chance to investigate and address the root causes of your addiction and develop tools for managing triggers so you can reintegrate into a meaningful life without drugs.
Detox for Codeine Addiction
Often, the first step in codeine recovery is detox.
Withdrawing from any opiate can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
No matter how much you want to stay off codeine, the withdrawal symptoms and subsequent cravings can make abstaining from the relief that relapse promises feel virtually impossible.
A team of addiction-specialised medical doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses work together to create and monitor your unique treatment plan in our detox centre.
Each patient receives bespoke care fit to their medical history and personal needs.
You’ll receive 24/7 care to make sure your detox is as safe and comfortable as possible.
Detoxing with medical supervision not only makes it easier to manage your withdrawal symptoms but it raises your chances of successfully detoxing.
Detoxing on your own can be uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Throughout detox at Castle Craig, a psychiatrist will modify your treatment plan according to your progress.
You’ll also be able to begin attending therapy sessions during detox, easing the transition to residential treatment.
Therapy for Codeine Addiction
While physically removing the drugs from your system through detox is an essential first step on the road to recovery, it’s during therapy that you have the opportunity to work through the underlying causes of addiction and create healthy lifestyle habits you’ll continue to use long after rehab.
Each patient enters our programme with unique life circumstances, which our team considers when they develop your custom treatment plan.
You’ll receive a combination of therapies in inpatient treatment at Castle Craig:
- Individual therapy and group therapy
- Experiential therapy and complementary therapies
- Therapy for families and specialised tracks for specific client groups
At our residential site, you’re immersed in a daily routine specifically structured to help you heal your addiction.
You’re surrounded by peers and supportive staff who understand what living with addiction feels like and can offer empathy and support.
You’re fed delicious and nourishing meals and have access to a variety of fitness programs.
Receiving therapy for codeine addiction in an inpatient setting helps you focus on your recovery away from the lifestyle and surroundings that contributed to your addiction in the first place.
You’ll have the opportunity to heal in a safe and supportive environment at Castle Craig, so you can return home feeling capable of living a whole and satisfying life without codeine or other drugs.
If you or someone you know is struggling with codeine addiction, contact us today to get help.
A life free of drugs is not only possible but so much more fulfilling than staying stuck in the cycles of addiction.