Are you aware of the side effects of codeine? Learn more from WhiteSands Treatment
Are you abusing codeine? If you are, then it’s time to quit before you develop codeine long term effects that can seriously impact your life. Codeine is an opioid narcotic that is often prescribed to treat mild to moderate pain, suppress coughs and manage gastrointestinal problems. Codeine should not be taken long term because codeine long-term effects can develop into a codeine addiction. When used properly at the recommended dosage, and not abused, most individuals do not have a problem with codeine.
Codeine is classified as a Schedule II controlled narcotic in the U.S. and has a high potential for abuse and addiction. The drug is derived from morphine and has the same addictive qualities as heroin and other opiates. Physical dependence on the drug usually begins when the body builds up a tolerance to the drug, and the user must consume more of the drug to get the same desired effects as before. Codeine floods the brain with the neurotransmitter dopamine and creates feelings of euphoria and well-being. As the brain acclimates to the higher levels of dopamine, it stops naturally producing dopamine and becomes dependent on the drug as its supply source. The normal functions of natural dopamine also cease as the drug source takes over. Normal functions of dopamine include:
- Behavior and cognition
- Pleasurable reward
- Prolactin production
When dopamine is produced in excess, or the brain is deficient in dopamine, diseases such as Parkinson’s disease can develop. An excess of dopamine can cause the body to make involuntary movements, such as tics, which is one of the side effects of codeine. To compensate for the lack of normal dopamine functions, the addict may become totally dependent on the drug to produce these important functions. This can create a psychological dependence to the drug that can lead to excessive craving for the drug, or negative feelings and emotions when the drug is not taken. Some of the side effects of codeine include:
- Dilated pupils, slurred speech, itching or rash, nausea, vomiting
- Low blood pressure, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, blurred vision
- Impaired judgment, a lack of coordination, involuntary body movements
- Apathetic behavior, short attention span, depression
Codeine long term effects include:
- Muscle spasms, liver or kidney damage, suppressed respiratory system
- Anxiety, depression, impaired memory, confusion, agitation, hallucinations, mental dependence
- Fatigue, sedation, reduced heart rate, convulsions, overdose, death
Overdose is always a concern when an individual has a codeine addiction, because just one extra small dose can cause his body to have a toxic reaction. It doesn’t matter how long or how much of the drug is taken before dangerous repercussions develop. Codeine addiction can occur just a few short weeks after the first dose was taken, so it is important that patients are monitored by their physicians when taking this drug. There have been cases where individuals who take codeine will progress to other opiates or heroin.
Medical statistics indicate that depression, one of the reported codeine long term effects, seems to affect many patients who take codeine. Approximately two-thirds of patients complain about mental problems, mostly depression, as one of the codeine long term effects.
For individuals with a severe codeine addiction, withdrawal from the drug should be done at a drug treatment center, because dangerous health complications can occur that will need immediate medical treatment. Some side effects of codeine withdrawal are: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, muscle and bone pain, paranoia, anxiety, impaired concentration and speech, depression and insomnia.
Codeine overdose symptoms include: drowsiness, fainting, difficulty breathing, clammy skin and unconsciousness. If someone is experiencing an overdose from codeine, call 911 for immediate medical assistance.
If you are struggling with a codeine addiction, you can get professional help at a drug treatment center. After a medical detox, and psychological and behavioral therapy, you should be well equipped to begin a new drug-free life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.