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Side Effects of Codeine Abuse
Codeine use often starts out with a harmless prescription and no intention of abusing the drug. Codeine is less regulated than some opiates which are considered to be more dangerous, such as morphine and OxyContin. Obtaining codeine is relatively easy. Though less potent, codeine provides effects similar to morphine such as:
People who use codeine may face a high risk of developing a physical tolerance and dependence on the drug. Even though many people begin using codeine to relieve a legitimate ailment, it is frequently abused as a tolerance develops. Many people who use codeine turn to the drug to cope with physical pain as well as their emotional pain.
Codeine abuse or addiction tends to have a profound impact on the satisfaction of life. As the person becomes increasingly preoccupied with obtaining the drug, relationships and responsibilities are hindered.
Physical Side Effects of Codeine Abuse
Over long periods of use, codeine can cause many dangerous physical side effects. Long-lasting codeine abuse may escalate to many detrimental, potentially life-threatening side effects, which can vary from one person to the next. A few of the potential side effects of codeine use include increases in:
- Lung infections
- Bowel damage
- Sleep disorders
- Irregular or slow heart rate
- Brain damage
- Acute pancreatitis
- Liver and kidney damage
- Heightened pain sensitivity and cold skin
- Uncontrollable muscle twitches and cramps
- Decreased muscle tone
Signs of Codeine Overdose
In some cases, one instance of codeine abuse can be fatal. If you or someone you care for is struggling with a codeine addiction, watch for codeine overdose symptoms. Some common codeine overdose signs may include:
- Sudden fatigue, drowsiness and confusion.
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Lips and nails having a blue tint
- Cold skin
- Problems breathing
- Stomach spasms or constipation
- Low blood pressure and weak pulse
Some of these symptoms may be present while using the recommended dosage of codeine. The most common cause of death from codeine overdose is respiratory failure, or when a person simply stops breathing. Non-fatal opiate overdose can damage the body in several ways, including:
- Anoxic brain injury from deprivation of oxygen
- Liver and kidney failure
- Hypothermia, due to the body losing heat
- Fluid in the lungs, or pulmonary edema
- Breakdown of skeletal muscles
Codeine, even though only considered a mild opiate, can be deadly. Opiates weaken the central nervous system, which controls vital functions like the heartbeat and respiratory system. Codeine overdose can cause breathing to slow to dangerous levels, restricting oxygen supply to the brain. Without adequate oxygen, rapid cell death begins, and the affected individual can suffer brain damage, coma or even death.
If you or someone you know is currently using codeine and needs help in the Orlando, Florida area, Orlando Recovery Center can help. To learn more about wide-ranging treatment options for codeine addiction, call the Orlando Recovery Center to speak with a representative.
Medical Disclaimer: Orlando Recovery Center 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.