Codeine Abuse Treatment


Into Action Recovery Centers offers high quality, customized codeine abuse treatment programs. Our staff is experienced in working with patients who are addicted to codeine and other prescription narcotics and will work with you to overcome the addiction and to identify alternative solutions to treat any underlying medical condition that required the use of the drug. If your addiction is the result of using codeine without an underlying medical cause, we will provide you with the tools to successfully overcome your addiction.

We offer a range of rehabilitation treatment options, from long-term residential programs to outpatient treatment and support programs. Into Action Recovery can get you started on the path toward freedom from your addiction, so you can live your life to the fullest.

What Is Codeine?

Codeine, a naturally occurring chemical from the opium poppy plant, is a prescription pain reliever and cough suppressant. It is most often taken orally as a pill for pain relief and is used in liquid form for cough suppressants. When used as prescribed, codeine decreases activity in the central nervous system, lessening pain signals and reducing coughing. While codeine can alleviate pain and diminish symptoms, the drug does not and cannot treat the underlying cause of symptoms or speed up recovery. Codeine is an addictive opioid that has properties similar to morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, and fentanyl.

Decades before the opioid crisis began, codeine was available via over-the-counter medicines in the United States, including cough syrups and cough drops. But as codeine abuse started to rise and the opioid crisis became an epidemic, pharmacists removed codeine from the shelves. Today, a prescription from a licensed doctor is the only legal way to obtain codeine. Even still, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists codeine as a Schedule III drug because of its potential for misuse and abuse.

Common Symptoms of Codeine Abuse

Typically, people who are misusing codeine will display symptoms that affect their emotions, behavior, body, and mind.

Emotional symptoms include:

  • Euphoria
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings

Behavioral symptoms include:

  • Drowsiness and increased sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Apathy
  • Frequent ER visits for vague pain complaints
  • Faking illness to obtain more codeine
  • Indifference toward family members and friends
  • “Doctor shopping” or visiting several doctors to obtain more codeine prescriptions
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Ordering codeine or other drugs on the internet
  • Stealing prescriptions from family and friends
  • Lying to conceal the frequency and amount of codeine used
  • Consuming more codeine than prescribed

Physical symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Fainting
  • Muscle twitches
  • Rashes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decreased libido
  • Constipation
  • Hypotension
  • Blue tinge to lips and fingernails
  • Slowed breathing and respiratory depression
  • Seizures

Psychological symptoms can include:

  • Delusional behavior
  • Lack of emotions
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
How Does Codeine Affect the Body and Brain?

As a short-acting opioid, codeine’s effects on the brain and body only last for a few hours per dose. As a result, most people find themselves using codeine quite frequently. In fact, some patients and users take codeine every one to two hours. This, of course, significantly affects how the body and brain function.

When first consumed, codeine attaches to opioid receptors in the brain. The drug then blocks pain signals sent from the brain, which results in users feeling less pain. Codeine also impacts parts of the brain that affect the way people perceive pleasure and pain.

Although it’s not clinically categorized as a depressant, codeine does depress some activity in the central nervous system. In doing so, certain aspects of the physical body slow down, as seen in some of the drug’s side effects including nausea, dizziness and numb or tingling sensations. Sluggish nerve signals can also cause constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and a drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

Chronic codeine misuse and abuse can lead to depression, hallucinations, seizures, coma, and permanent lung, kidney and brain damage.

Short-Term Adverse Side Effects of Codeine

The most common short-term effects of codeine on the body include:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A sudden drop in heart rate
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Heightened pain sensitivity
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
Long-Term Adverse Side Effects of Codeine

After consistent use of codeine over an extended period of time, the body starts to experience a range of long-term effects, which include:

  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Pain when not using the drug
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Seizures
  • Organ damage
  • Coma
Is Codeine Use Dangerous?

Codeine is addictive due to its narcotic symptoms, which include a euphoric state; many patients self-medicate and abuse the drug, leading to addiction. Although codeine is far less potent than most opioids, it can still be a dangerous drug. Part of codeine’s risk comes from how it’s metabolized by the body. Codeine is first absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract followed by the liver. Once the drug has been metabolized by the liver and excreted through the kidneys, codeine breaks down into morphine.

Even though only a small portion of codeine converts to morphine, it’s important to remember that codeine is a short-acting opioid. As such, patients and users take it more frequently, building up potentially harmful levels in their system.

Other risks of codeine use include:

  • An increased risk of coma and death when users mix codeine with other opioids or depressants like alcohol
  • An increased risk for misuse of other opioids like morphine and heroin

If you or a loved one are taking codeine prescribed from a licensed physician, be sure to keep them informed of any unfamiliar symptoms. Do not significantly reduce the amount you’re taking or stop taking codeine without medical supervision as this can lead to withdrawal.

Codeine Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Chronic misuse and abuse of codeine can lead to physical dependence. When someone with a codeine dependence suddenly stops using the drug, they will likely experience unpleasant and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. As such, codeine patients should only reduce or stop taking codeine under the supervision of a trained medical professional.

The most common symptoms of codeine withdrawal include:

  • Runny nose
  • Cravings
  • Chills
  • Extreme sweating
  • Goosebumps
  • Stomach cramps
  • Mood swings
  • Teary eyes
  • Excessive yawning
  • Muscle spasms
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Homicidal thoughts
Treatment for Codeine Addiction

Medical Detox Program

Treating a codeine addiction begins with detox. Here at Into Action Recovery, we have an on-site medical detox program. Our 24/7 medically supervised detox program provides clients with a customized detox plan catered to their specific needs. As the body detoxes, our staff monitors our clients’ heart rates, blood pressure, respiratory levels, and body temperature.

Inpatient & Outpatient Treatment Programs

Once complete, clients begin rehabilitation treatment in our inpatient or outpatient programs. Clients that choose our inpatient program live onsite at our residential facilities while receiving treatment. Outpatient clients receive treatment while continuing to live at home. Although our inpatient and outpatient programs have different residency requirements, both programs include:

  • Education programs like life skills training, mindfulness training, post-trauma intervention, motivational interviews, and relapse prevention
  • Family, individual, and group therapy
  • Peer support groups like Narcotics Anonymous, 12 Step Program, and our alumni program.

At Into Action, we recognize the difficulty in convincing the addict that help is needed to treat their codeine abuse. Our compassionate, experienced staff works with each addicted person to develop a custom treatment and support program to provide them with the best opportunity for long-term success and recovery.

Overcoming addiction to codeine takes time. It won’t be easy, but it is possible. Our warmhearted and experienced staff are willing, ready and able to help you find the path to long-term recovery.

Don’t hesitate to call us today at 844-303-3969 if you or a loved one are dealing with codeine addiction.


Clients benefit from our proactive, people-first approach that ensures they experience personalized, attentive therapy and treatment throughout their recovery journey. We stand by our clients even after they graduate with ongoing alumni events and support.

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