Codeine Abuse and Addiction

It is not a very commonly used recreational drug. Abuse usually starts after the drug is given for some therapeutic purposes, like for treating irritating cough or pain.

This drug is a opioid narcotic, and is used as a antitussive to control cough. Also, it’s used as a pain reliever in cases where the pain is too much, and is not relieved by common analgesics.

Conditions Where Codeine is Used as a Medicine

Codeine is used a as a medication in more than one conditions. These include:

  • Cough, not being relieved by common antitussives. Codeine may be given. It acts directly on the brain cells, suppressing cough reflex.
  • As a pain medication, it may be given in moderate to severe pain, where a little sedation is not unwanted. The action here is simple. The drug goes into the brain, attaches to the opioid receptors there. It alters the way we perceive pain sensations. This considerably reduces pain. The drug may cause drowsiness, which is sometimes an added feature in relieving pain.
  • It is commonly given in post operative pains.
  • In cases where premature uterine contractions are seen, codeine may be given to suppress them.
  • Codeine is given in myocardial infarction, both, to reduce pain and to depress the cardiac function, lessening its work.
  • May be used in controlling certain cases of diarrhea, especially the non infective ones.
  • As an anxiolytic in certain cases of depression.

Action of Codeine on Our Body

Codeine acts directly on the brain. There are certain opioid receptors in our brain, spinal cord and the gastrointestinal tract. When taken, the drug goes and attaches itself over these receptors.

It slows down the brain function on the whole. Induces sleep, makes the person look drowsy. Depresses the breathing center of the body. By its action on the GIT, it may cause constipation.

Codeine influences our sense of perceiving emotions. Initial doses of this drug may make you feel euphoric. This is why it may be used as a recreational drug.

Codeine as a Recreational Drug

These actions of codeine are exploited for recreation. When taken, the drug sedates you, leaving behind a high euphoric state when you get up.

Caution During Lactation

It is commonly given after episiotomy to mothers to relieve pain. The drug induces sleep and reduces pain. Unfortunately, it goes in to the breast milk and the infant sucks it while you feed him.

Codeine acts directly on the brain. It may make your infant look sleepy and sluggish, retarding his brain cells. Sometimes, if the dose is high, brain retardation may be on a permanent basis.

Side Effects of Codeine

On a short term use, you may feel some nausea or even vomiting. The drug makes you fell drowsy and little constipated. If the dose if large, these side effects are more marked and disturbing.

When taken for a long period, the drug may cause slowing of the heart, called bradycardia, cod and clammy skin and in extreme cases, even respiratory depression. The patient may go into major depression.

Drug Withdrawal

This has to be done under the supervision of a doctor. This is so because, sudden cessation of the drug may produce certain side effects.

You may feel an intense craving for the drug. Chills with intense sweating. Different muscle groups of the body may go into spasm. The affected individual may suffer a kind of psychosis and become irritable.

Thoughts about killing the self or someone else may come in mind.