Side Effects of Codeine You Should Seek Help For

As one of a handful of natural opiate-based compounds, codeine produces fast, effects that treat a range of pain symptoms. Unlike other opiate drugs, codeine is sold as an over-the-counter product, the first of its kind to be made available without a prescription.

Opiate drugs in general interact with brain chemical processes in such a way as to predispose users to certain side effects. When used for prolonged periods of time, side effects of codeine quickly take shape leaving users vulnerable to health complications, abuse and addiction.

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Codeine’s Mechanism of Action

The chemical properties of opiates bear a strong resemblance to the human brain’s own neurotransmitter chemicals. As a result, the brain interacts with codeine and other opiates in the same way it does its own chemicals.

This degree of leeway allows codeine to alter most every major bodily process. Consequently, side effects of codeine develop out of codeine’s ability to change brain chemical processes over time.

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Along with its pain-relieving effects, codeine also produces certain initial side effects, such as total calm and feelings of euphoria. According to Columbia Health, these initial effects account for much of codeine’s abuse and addiction potential. Over time, other more serious side effects of codeine develop along the way.

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Side Effects of Codeine

Tolerance Level Increases

Side Effects of Codeine

Anxiety and depression are signs of codeine dependency.

When taking codeine on a frequent basis, the brain automatically adjusts to codeine’s ongoing effects by cutting back on the amount of neurotransmitter chemicals it produces on its own. When this happens, users experienced a weakened drug effect in terms of codeine’s ability to reduce pain and produce a “high” effect.

More oftentimes than not, a person will up the dosage amount to override this side effect of codeine. Unfortunately, brain tolerance levels will continue to increase with ongoing drug use, which means users will have to keep increasing dosage amounts to experience the desired effects of the drug.

Physical Dependency

The most obvious side effects of codeine take the form of withdrawal effects. A person starts to experience withdrawal once the brain becomes physically dependent on codeine to regulate bodily functions.

Physical dependency takes shape as brain cell structures start to deteriorate from over work. When this happens, brain chemical imbalances develop, which in turn offsets many of the brain’s regulatory functions. Withdrawal-type side effects of codeine are the result, some of which include:

  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiousness

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With frequent, long-term use, a physical dependency on codeine soon morphs into a psychological dependency and addiction. This side effect of codeine has grave implications in terms of the level of control the drug exerts over a person’s will, priorities and motivations.

At this point, a person’s lifestyle undergoes noticeable changes as he or she starts to organize daily routines around getting and using drugs.

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Codeine’s ability to interfere with essential brain chemical processes sets a vicious cycle of abuse and addiction in motion when using this drug on a frequent basis. As codeine continues to impair overall brain and body functions, users place themselves at increasing risk of toxicity and overdose once brain tolerance levels reach a certain point.

the Take-Away

If you are taking codeine and you recognize a loss of control over your use of the drug, if you need more of it than usual to feel its effects, or if you feel sick without it you should seek help.