Overview of Codeine Abuse

Codeine addiction is a widespread, far-reaching problem that spans across ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. As we said in the last edition it is an opiate drug often found in prescription-strength cough syrups, or in a combination formulation with various other analgesics (for example, with acetaminophen – under the brand name Tylenol 3. It is used clinically to treat pain and coughing. It is an addictive drug with potentially dangerous effects at high dosages. It essentially acts as a depressant of the central nervous system. This leads users to experience feelings of relaxation, euphoria, drowsiness and slowed heart rate. These effects are perceived as pleasant, and the user may become addicted to these effects and, in turn, the drugs.
The addictive nature of codeine, and the physical dependency that may develop over time, can lead to difficult and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms including sweating and chills, malaise (feeling of unwell), extreme irritability, abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. If you think someone you are close to may be addicted to codeine, apart from the withdrawal symptoms, the signs and symptoms of abuse to watch out for include: Dizziness and staggering, Itchiness and scratching (often of the nose), Constricted or pinpoint pupils, Memory loss, Loss of coordination and motor skills, Fatigue or Sleepiness, Slow breathing, Confused mental state, complaints of Constipation, Blue appearance to lips or finger nails, Nausea and Vomiting, Delirium and Hallucination, and Seizures.
Other unpleasant side of codeine abuse, some of which can be fatal, include Gastrointestinal distress, Clouded thinking and impaired judgment, Depression, Drastic lowering of blood pressure, Slowed heart rate, and Liver malfunction (especially with the Tylenol formulation). Markedly lowered heart and respiration rates can result from central nervous system depression. The resulting decrease in oxygenated blood to the brain and other vital organs can lead to seizures or even death. These effects of codeine abuse are even worse in those who mix codeine with alcohol. Alcohol notoriously increases the high associated with opioids, as they are both central nervous system depressants. Mixing codeine and alcohol is particularly popular with young people.
Addiction is a medical disease, and can be cured only by seeking treatment. Treatment can take place in a variety of locations and for varying length of time depending on severity of condition and availability of facilities. There are many rehabilitation centers around. One has to seek out one and avail oneself with the facility. One thing very important in the management of drug abuse is commitment. You must want to be helped. You must present yourself to be helped. You must accept that you have a problem and seek for solution. Commitment to counseling and therapy is very necessary for the success of treatment for drug abuse.
Treatment for drug abuse can involve several different therapeutic components ranging from 30 day stay at drug rehabilitation center, to outpatient counseling sessions. Also treatment may or may not involve maintenance medication depending on the type and severity of the addiction. All types require some form of detoxification to clear drug from the body. Inpatient or residential treatment may be required for some severe cases. Admission into a hospital or rehabilitation facility may be necessary for closer monitoring and effective counseling. Slowly reducing drug use in a safe and secure health care setting with close monitoring, in rehabilitation centers may be necessary in some cases. Detoxification is the first thing in all cases. The purpose of codeine addiction treatment is to assist with physical detox of the drug and to also treat the psychological aspect of patients’ addiction. After detoxification one will attend individual (private) and group therapy sessions. There is also some medication-assisted treatment or other complimentary treatment depending on the condition of the patient and the facility. These we are going to leave for the experts.
Let me conclude by letting us know that the best form of treatment for codeine abuse is not to abuse codeine in the first place. Prevention is better than cure. Take all drugs as prescribed by your doctor. If you must be high, be high in the Lord almighty, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Remain blessed.

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