Recognizing the 10 Most Common Codeine Addiction Symptoms

Codeine, one of many opiate-type drugs, offers a quick an effective solution for relieving pain symptoms. Unlike most other opiate drugs, codeine-based drugs exist as over-the-counter medications, which opens up an easy access route for dependency and addiction to take root.

Opiate drugs in general naturally “blend in” with brain chemical processes to the point where the brain grows to accept and integrate opiates as one of its own chemicals. These interactions set the stage for dependency and codeine addiction symptoms to develop.

Codeine addiction symptoms start to appear once the brain and body develop a physical dependence on the drug’s effects, according to Elmhurst College. With continued use, codeine withdrawal effects further aggravate codeine addiction symptoms as users attempt to alleviate withdrawal discomfort through ongoing drug use.

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Over time, withdrawal effects grow worse in severity as codeine addiction symptoms start to influence a person’s overall decision-making and daily routines. Since these processes will continue to reinforce one another with continued drug use, the sooner a person recognizes codeine addiction symptoms the sooner he or she can get needed help.

Here are the 10 most common codeine addiction symptoms to watch out for:

1. Drug Cravings

Codeine Addiction Symptoms

Feeling sick or agitated without codeine is a sign you are becoming addicted to it.

As users come to anticipate codeine’s effects, cravings for the drug grow stronger over time. With continued use, brain cells grow less sensitive to codeine’s effects, which further aggravate cravings effects.

2. Excess Sweating

Frequent codeine use throws off the brain chemical processes that regulate body temperature. Over time, sweating becomes more profuse the more out of balance chemical processes become.

3. Digestive Problems

Opiates in general interfere with specific cell receptor sites located in the brain, spinal cord and digestive tract. Over time, digestive problems, such as diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps develop as receptor lose their ability to secrete needed neurotransmitter chemicals.

4. Muscle Spasms

As a pain-relief drug, codeine disrupts normal nerve-signal communications between the cells. As cell structures start to deteriorate, cells start to misfire causing random muscle spasms to develop.

5. Agitation

Agitation symptoms take shape as the brain tries to compensate for codeine’s “slowing” effects on the body. In response, the brain secretes high levels of norepinephrine as a counter-balance measure.

6. Confusion

As a codeine addiction symptom, signs of confusion indicate significant brain chemical imbalances are at work as the cognitive areas of the brain start to break down.

7. Psychological Dysfunction

Psychological dysfunction may take the form of psychotic-like behaviors, bouts of depression or persistent feelings of anxiety. This symptom also points to significant brain chemical imbalances.

8. Rising Tolerance Levels

As the brain grows more dependent on codeine, brain cell receptor sites become less sensitive to the drug’s effects. Users will need to ingest increasingly larger doses to experience the same desired effects.

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

9. Withdrawal Effects

After a certain point, withdrawal effects will occur more often as brain chemical imbalances worsen. Withdrawal effects commonly experienced include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia

10. Lifestyle Disruptions

According to Columbia Health, lifestyle disruptions in the form of financial problems, damaged relationships and work problems indicate a full-blown addiction is at work. Once codeine addiction symptoms start to invade a person’s daily habits, routines and priorities, it’s time to seriously consider getting professional help.

the Take-Away

Codeine is commonly found in cough syrups and other medications. The drug has abuse and addiction potential, which can lead to many problems in a person’s life.