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Codeine and Prescription Drug Abuse

What is Codeine

Codeine, a drug widely prescribed to treat pain which is moderate to severe- is considered a narcotic in the opiate analgesic family; it's class falls within that of antitussives, or drugs which interrupt coughing. It is often combined with Acetaminophen, and prescribed in doses according to what one's physician believes to be most appropriate, and usually given for a limited amount of time to manage pain. Most often prescribed to adults, this medication can be lethal if taken irresponsibly.

Side Effects of Codeine

Codeine is prescribed in doses which come in liquid, tablets and capsules; it should be taken at the prescribed level, and not for any period longer than dictated by a physician. When used illegally, codeine can become habit forming. Sure, it can be addictive when prescribed, however most doctors tend to provide limited amounts of the drug unless the nature of one's pain is chronic or severe. Codeine addiction should be treated as any other addiction, as there are withdrawals which go along with coming down from the drug. Some effects of the medicine include:

  • mood swings
  • headaches
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • abdominal pain
  • urinating problems

If the above effects persist or become troublesome, it is important to contact one's physician if legally prescribed- addicts should discontinue use, and seek medical assistance, which of course should be followed by a drug free treatment facility.

Serious Effects Which Should Not Be Overlooked

Even legally prescribed medications can have ill effects on those who take them. One does not have to be an addict to experience serious side effects of medication. However, it is normally the addict- one who has no clue on what the correct dosage is for their weight, size, condition or tolerance- who usually experiences the worse outcomes when taking codeine. Some serious effects which should be treated immediately, are:

  • respiratory problems- this includes deep or shallow breathing, or not being able to breathe at all
  • cardiovascular problems- palpitations, or irregular heartbeats
  • allergic reactions- this includes having a rash, or hives with * intense itching
  • vision problems
  • seizures

Call your local emergency service if these effects are apparent- an overdose of codeine can be lethal. If you do not believe the situation is of urgency, call your local poison control center. It is important to know that all poison control calls are kept confidential- unless of course an ethical situation arises. For the most part, calling your poison control will not mean you will suffer consequences of being addicted or using illegal substances. Their goal is to make sure all toxic situations are handled to the best of their ability- no questions asked. Should you be in a situation where you question whether you should call your emergency service, it is always best to air on the side of caution. This will avoid making the wrong call. Time can be of the essence when dealing with the effects of drugs, once they enter the blood stream.

Dealing with Codeine Addiction

Codeine is one of the most useful ways in which a physician treat severe pain. When used in its intended dose, the medication can be very effective. If you are prescribed codeine, in combination with another product- in any form, and you believe you may be addicted, consult with your physician. This can happen, so do not be alarmed; it is best to nip it in the bud as soon as possible, and asked to be changed over to a nonaddictive medication. Dealing with addiction for the addict may be a little different, however the premise is very much the same. Stop the use of the drug, seek ways to be treated- not only with medicine, look for alternative treatment. There are programs available which have helped many addicts, with more of a holistic approach. Treating drug addiction with more drugs doesn't make much sense, addiction goes deeper than just one's physical being. There are thought processes, including ways to deal with stress other than through medication, which need to be taught to those who are addicted. Help is available to anyone who desires to become drug free; all it takes is the will to put an end to the vicious cycle of abuse.

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