Is It Safe for People in Recovery to Take Codeine for Pain? December 5th, 2019 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News Is It Safe for People in Recovery to Take Codeine for Pain?

Is It Safe for People in Recovery to Take Codeine for Pain?

A hospital patient in distress

Whether you have dealt with a substance use disorder or not, it is likely that at some point in your life, you have needed some sort of pain reliever. The problem is that, for those with a history of substance use disorders, finding a safe pain medication to take can be difficult.

Opioids and opiate painkillers are addictive and should generally be avoided during addiction recovery. In the search for non-opioid pain management, many people think that codeine is a safer alternative to other opioid painkillers because it is an ingredient in certain cough medications.

Is it truly safe for people in addiction recovery to take codeine for pain?

The Dangers of Codeine for Those in Recovery

Taking codeine while in recovery can be dangerous. Codeine use can lead to codeine addiction that mimics its opioid painkiller counterparts, like oxycodone. Taking codeine in addiction recovery can trigger an unwelcome recurrence of use.

Codeine is part of the opioid family. Codeine is a natural plant alkaloid that is obtained from opium itself. Due to its ability to be well-absorbed within the human body, its analgesic effects are not as potent as well-known opiates like morphine. Thus, it can be prescribed within reason for suppressing a severe cough and treating mild to moderate pain for a person who does not experience an addiction.

Like other opioids, extended codeine use or misuse can lead to a codeine addiction. Opioids and opiates can become habit-forming when taken in high doses or for a lengthy period of time. It is easy to develop a tolerance for the pain-relieving effects of codeine, creating a desire to take more to achieve the same level of relief originally found. That is how addiction can occur.

A codeine bottle and a spoon

What Pain Medications Are Safe?

There are several effective methods for managing pain without opioids altogether. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are a great alternative to codeine and other opioid pain medications. Other nonaddictive options that can be used include aspirin and acetaminophen. These medications are readily available to the public over the counter and can be prescribed in higher dosages by your physician if needed.

Rather than risk a potential recurrence of substance use, talk with your doctor honestly about your pain management and your desire to support your addiction recovery in every possible way. Your medical team can work with you to find a solution that protects your sobriety and addresses your pain appropriately.

Finding Help for Codeine Addiction

What if you have already become addicted to codeine or some other prescription medication? Reach out for help from addiction professionals in your area. Contact The Recovery Village Palmer Lake today to discuss your particular situation with qualified intake specialists who will direct you to local resources to help.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.