Many Americans suffer from heavy dependence on one form of painkiller or another. This is mostly due to chronic pain, which afflicts an untold number of people, most of whom suffer in silence, with the only reprieve coming from the painkiller they eventually become addicted to.
One such painkiller is Codeine, and just like every other prescription painkiller, the potential for addiction to this medication is quite high. Over the years, rehabilitation facilities have had to deal with a massive number of opiate addiction cases, including heavy dependence on codeine, which is why most treatment facilities today count codeine rehab in their services, as the sheer number of people needing it is staggering.
Painkiller dependence is one of the most difficult addictions to deal with because of the nature of what the drug does to the body. Considering that it removes the pain a person feels, it is highly unlikely that people who suffered from chronic pain would want to go through it again should they decide to kick the painkiller habit.
Codeine is an opiate, or a substance derived from opium, and like most other opiates, is used in the treatment of pain. In the case of codeine, it is also used to treat diarrhea and coughing as well. Despite the fact that Codeine is actually just a short-acting painkiller, with most effects only lasting a few hours, it is one of the most commonly used opiates in the world.
Codeine is particularly addictive because not only will it relieve the pain that the person is suffering from, but because it directly works on the central nervous system, it can also affect the reward system of the brain, causing a euphoric sensation in the user.
Another reason why people tend to take so much of it is the fact that it is short-acting, and once the effect wears off, the person is sure to take more of it, and in quantities that are well beyond the prescribed dosage. This is why people take so much of this substance.
What makes codeine use even more worrisome is the fact that it is considered a “gateway drug” or a substance that tends to make people try other substances as well. People who have experienced the euphoric effects from codeine would want to find something similar that could give an even greater and longer effect, leading them to try other opiates.
Most substances come with a side effect that could manifest depending on the person’s physical makeup. Being hooked on a particular substance, however, tends to make these side effects manifest regardless of the person’s physical makeup. Side effects tend to be even more pronounced if the abused substance is particularly potent.
More than these common side effects, long-term abuse of codeine will also bring about these serious side effects as well:
The withdrawal symptoms of codeine are similar to those seen in other opiate dependencies.
These symptoms alone are not anywhere near life-threatening, although the potential complications that could arise from them are the ones that cause concern. A few examples are diarrhea and dehydration. If not treated in time, dehydration could cause the body to shut down and eventually lead to death.
Another worrisome withdrawal symptom is depression. It is not uncommon for many undergoing detox or rehabilitation to have suicidal tendencies. This is because not only are they beginning to realize how bad things have become ever since they started using substances, but the depression is making it all worse by instilling great feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness.
These alarming symptoms could manifest close to each other, or further apart during the entire detox phase, which is why the medical team assigned to a person in detox keeps a close watch throughout the entire phase.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of specific medications to help in dealing with the more severe withdrawal symptoms a person might experience. There are cases wherein people suffer immensely during detox, as their body starts to feel the full effects of not taking substances anymore. These medications are also used to curb the overpowering cravings people feel while in detox.
The medications used in MAT are FDA approved and should only be administered by doctors trained to deal with severe withdrawal symptoms. These medications include:
While medical detox sounds more like a torture than an actual medical practice, it is an absolute necessity for the recovery of a person suffering from a substance abuse disorder. There are many cases where people could not stop taking the substance they were addicted to, either because of the intense craving that kicks in when the high wears out, or because of the agonizing withdrawal symptoms that come in when they stop taking it altogether.
This is where medical detox plays an integral part, as the cravings are dealt with during this phase, either by medication or by other approaches. Medical detox is also where the complications of not using substances anymore are addressed, as some of these complications could turn out to be life-threatening.
It is understandable to be afraid of detox and rehabilitation. A lot of work goes into recovery, and some it could be downright uncomfortable. All of these things, however, are necessary for recovery. It won’t be easy, but you won’t be alone in it.
Magnolia City Recovery has helped many through the worst of it all, and we have never failed to bring anyone right through to recovery. It is completely normal to be uneasy or afraid of the entire process, but what you need to remember is that we will be there with you, every step of the way. This is what we do, and this is how we help people. Let us help you now.
Dr. Olaniyi O. Osuntokun is a Neurology & Psychiatry Specialist based in Conroe, Texas, and Lafayette, Indiana. He has extensive experience in treating Individuals with substance use disorders and addiction. He earned his medical degree from University of Ibadan College of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.