Codeine Symptoms, Signs & Side Effects

In Colorado, including metros like Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, as well as smaller cities and rural areas, opioids are a tremendous problem. One of these opioids is the prescription pain medicine codeine, which is a short-acting narcotic that has the potential to be very addictive.

The following highlights some of the side effects of codeine use, as well as side effects of codeine abuse, and codeine signs of addiction.

Codeine Addiction Symptoms

Later on we’ll discuss the details of what codeine addiction side effects typically are and how they can manifest, but first, it’s important to distinguish between a few things.

Codeine, as a prescription painkiller, can be used to for legitimate therapeutic reasons, but even when it is used as directed by a doctor, it can have certain side effects.

Some of the side effects of codeine may include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, and sedation. Other potential side effects of codeine, whether used by prescription or otherwise, can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Rash

Typically the dose of codeine when it’s prescribed to treat pain is anywhere from 15 mg to 60 mg every four hours as needed, but the higher the dose, the more likely certain side effects of codeine are, and the higher the risks associated with the use of this drug as well.

Side Effects of Codeine Abuse

Some of the side effects of codeine abuse can be so important for people to recognize, whether they’re looking at themselves or they think a loved one may have a problem with this drug. The side effects of codeine abuse are usually the first indicators that someone is on the path toward developing an addiction to this drug.

Some of the signs of codeine abuse include:

  • One of the very first codeine signs and symptoms of abuse occurs when someone has a prescription for the drug but takes larger doses or takes it more often than they’re directed by their doctor.
  • If you take codeine recreationally in any way, it’s considered one of the codeine signs and symptoms of abuse.
  • If you purchase codeine illegally or take it without a prescription, it’s abuse of the drug.
  • People who crush codeine to take it in ways such as snorting it are considered to be abusing it.

What’s also important for people to realize is that one of the biggest and most dangerous side effects of codeine long-term use is addiction as well as physical dependence. The longer you use codeine, whether by prescription or otherwise, the more likely you are to become addicted and/or dependent.

Codeine Addiction: Symptoms, Signs, & Side Effects

Signs of a Codeine Overdose

Since codeine tends to be one of the less potent opioids, people often have the misconception that it’s not dangerous, and that’s unfortunately not true.

The risk of a codeine overdose is definitely real and can happen more easily than you might think. A codeine overdose can occur because you take too much of the drug, take it in a way other than what’s directed, such as snorting it, or when you mix it with other substance like other opioids or alcohol.

Some of the signs of a codeine overdose include:

  • Breathing problems, including breathing that seems shallow or labored
  • A bluish tint to fingernails and lips
  • Skin that feels cold and clammy to the touch
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Twitching muscles
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

The signs of a codeine overdose should never be ignored, and they can ultimately lead to coma or death.

Signs of Codeine Dependence

With codeine and drugs like it, there is a distinction between dependence and addiction. As too many people throughout Colorado unfortunately know, addiction is a psychological disease where you lose control over your use of drugs, because of changes in your brain.

Dependence is a scenario where your body is physically dependent on a substance, but you may or may not be addicted.

One of the first signs of codeine dependence is a building tolerance. Many people build a tolerance to codeine and other opioids very quickly, so they have to take higher doses to get the same effect, whether they’re seeking legitimate pain relief, or they want to abuse the drug and get high.

Another one of the primary codeine dependence symptoms occurs when you try to stop using the drug suddenly. If you experience withdrawal, which with codeine can include cold and flu-like symptoms and discomfort along with mood changes, you have a physical dependence to the drug.

Codeine Addiction Signs

People frequently want to learn more about the codeine signs of addiction because they may feel like their use of the drug has spiraled out of control, or they may see warning signs in someone they care about.

The following are some of the signs of codeine addiction:

  • Abusing codeine by taking it without a prescription or taking it in ways other than prescribed by your doctor is one of the early signs of an addiction to codeine
  • Codeine addiction symptoms can include doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions, stealing from friends or family to get opioids, or purchasing them illegally
  • Signs of addiction to codeine can include trying to stop using the drug and being unable to or feeling like your use of codeine is out of your control
  • Signs of codeine addiction may include withdrawing from friends, family, and responsibilities
  • People who are addicted to codeine may make the drug their sole focus, and this may mean declining performance at school or work
  • If you continue to take codeine even when there are negative consequences, this can be one of the signs of addiction to codeine

Codeine addiction symptoms are similar to addiction symptoms for other opioids and drugs. Essentially if someone seems to be changing how they behave, being secretive or lying, or doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily to obtain the drugs or use them, these can all be signs of addiction to codeine.

Codeine High Symptoms

Most codeine high symptoms are similar to other opioids. Codeine is a sedative, which is what dictates most of the symptoms of being high on the drug. When someone first takes it, particularly a large dose, they feel a sense of well-being and euphoria, which will then fade to drowsiness.

Other codeine high symptoms can include confusion, nausea, vomiting, and itchiness.

Over time as a person continues using it, they may stop feeling the codeine high symptoms, and instead, they keep taking it just to fuel their addiction.

If you or someone you love has any of the codeine signs of addiction or signs of codeine dependence, there are resources in Colorado including The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake where you can receive help. There are also national facilities where you can receive treatment for codeine abuse or addiction.