How to Stop A Codeine Addiction
Codeine is a mildly strong opiate painkiller normally prescribed for mild to moderate pain. When combined with other ingredients, it is also prescribed for different types of coughs and is a common active ingredient in many cough and cold syrup concoctions. Because of its ease of access, codeine ranks highly as one of the most abused drugs in the United States. Codeine addiction and abuse are common contributors to the country’s runaway opiate abuse statistics. In the U.S., the problem is especially pronounced, with the country leading in global painkiller consumption. Over 52 million Americans abused prescription painkillers like codeine over a one-year period in 2011, costing the taxpayer over $480 billion annually.
Codeine acts on different cells in the brain that suppresses regions that are responsible for coughing, thus making it an effective cough suppressant. As a painkiller, codeine attaches itself to receptor cells on the brain that change the way pain signals are transmitted. Under normal circumstances, the brain produces chemicals called endorphins that reduce pain perception and induce some level of natural happiness. Codeine replaces these chemicals by attaching to their receptor sites on nerve endings, thus suppressing pain.
Dependency and Addiction
When codeine is taken to suppress pain or manage coughs and colds, it is normally very efficient. However, when it is taken for a long time, it becomes less efficient as a pain suppression drug. You may find that more of the drug dose is needed to suppress the same amount of pain. This happens as the brain reduces its production of natural endorphins until you are fully dependent on the drug. Addiction kicks in when you are fully dependent on the drug for normal function. At this stage, your body produces only minimal amounts of endorphins and fully depends on codeine produce dopamine, one of the body’s happy hormones. A drastic reduction of your codeine dose at this stage will result in adverse reactions called withdrawal symptoms.
Codeine addiction, like the addiction to harder drugs, causes various adverse effects around an individual’s social, economic, and physical life. As an addict, you may have difficulties maintaining your job, family, friends, and many social activities. You also run the risk of advancing to harder drugs when codeine becomes ineffective at enabling you to achieve your regular high. Therefore, it is important to make the decision to quit from an early stage before the problem becomes magnified.
One of the things that you will most likely experience when you stop your codeine dose are symptoms related to the body’s reaction to the lack of endorphins. These usually manifest as adverse withdrawal symptoms that begin as early as 12 hours or as late as 24 hours after your last missed dose. You may opt to quit cold turkey and stop your doses at one go or you may opt to reduce your dosage until you can finally quit. Going cold turkey will expose you to a barrage of withdrawal symptoms which most people may find overwhelming. On the other hand, tapering off will enable you to quit with minimal withdrawal symptoms over a period of time and may even allow you to continue with your daily schedule.
Depending on how you choose to quit, you may experience a myriad of withdrawal symptoms that may include muscle aches and pains, Restless Leg Syndrome, fatigue, cold and hot sweats, cold chills, runny nose, and other flu-like symptoms during the first few hours of your withdrawal. Later on, you may begin experiencing psychological symptoms that include insomnia, confusion, anxiety, mood swings, depression, agitation, and in some cases, hallucinations. Other people report having nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and an elevated blood pressure as the withdrawal period advances.
Stopping your Codeine Addiction
If you still have a job or a functioning daily schedule, you can still quit codeine with minimal symptoms. At CalmSupport, we believe tapering is the best route to going clean from any form of opiate addiction. Depending on how long you have been on codeine, the dosage you have been on, body chemistry, and other factors, you may choose to begin the tapering process while still carrying on with your daily activities. However, when you can, it is advisable to take some time off and equip yourself with some basic items to help you through your taper.
It is advisable talk to your doctor about your intention to quit. They may provide helpful insights on a tapering plan that will enable you to comfortably quit without having adverse reactions. Once your plan is in place, it is advisable to stock your house with some basic items that will help you through the procedure.
The important role of fluids during the taper can never be overemphasized. Vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and most of the symptoms that you will experience will leave you dehydrated most of the time. Stock your kitchen or refrigerator with a fortnight’s supply of energy drinks, fruit juice, water, and fluids rich in electrolytes. These will come in handy during bouts of vomiting and diarrhea that will leave you weak and dehydrated. If you manage to maintain your daily routine, ensure you always carry a bottle of water or any other type of fluid.
Secondly, remember to stock up adequate food supplies. Avoid fast food, greasy food or other types of food that will mess around with your sensitive digestive system. Go for vegetables, fruits, and other light dishes and ensure you distribute your eating times throughout the day. If you plan on going to work or taking a stroll around the neighborhood, carry healthy packed lunch to reduce the temptation to order fast food which may be unhealthy for you.
Thirdly, ask your doctor to recommend some good medications to help you through muscle pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pains. If you plan to get them without your doctor’s prescription, ensure you select non-addictive medications like Imodium AD for diarrhea and Benadryl for anxiety and the runny nose.
Fourthly, if you plan on tapering at home, ensure you are fully stocked with napkins and other sanitary supplies. Between the sweating, vomiting, and, diarrhea, you will need to ensure your house stays clean and tidy. While not everyone experiences some of these symptoms, it pays to be prepared.
Lastly, keep your mind occupied through the withdrawal. Whenever you can, take a stroll around the neighborhood to flex your muscles. Find a new hobby like yoga or cooking or perfect one you already have. Stock up on the latest video games or movies to keep your mind off the withdrawal experience.
CalmSupport is a natural withdrawal aid packed with bio-available ingredients that may provide noticeable relief during opiate withdrawal. CalmSupport was formulated by naturopathic physicians and registered herbalists who are experts in the field of natural remedies. CalmSupport contains active vitamins that provide the broken-down body of someone in withdrawal with essential nutrients that the body needs. The calming organic herbs were chosen specifically for their therapeutic properties and the ability to relieve stress during this incredibly stressful process.
After successfully quitting, surround yourself with positivity. Enroll to the local support group and find friends and family who will enable you to lead a constructive, drug-free life.