Signs of Codeine Addiction

Each drug has different signs and symptoms that you can look out for that indicate if a person is using that particular drug. Stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine cause users to have large pupils and lots of energy, while a drug like cannabis makes users lethargic and causes red eyes.

Codeine is an opioid and is used medicinally for mild to moderate pain. These drugs affect people differently depending on the amount they use. If someone starts to abuse codeine and takes a small amount of the drug, they are likely to become more chatty and sociable. If a person takes a larger amount of codeine, they may become lethargic. Someone taking very large doses of codeine may start losing consciousness and “nodding out”.

Keep reading to learn more about what codeine is, the signs of its use, and how you can get help if you or one of your loved ones is addicted to this drug.

What Is Codeine?

Codeine is a drug that is classified as an opioid. It is typically used as a pain reliever or cough suppressant. Codeine can be found in both prescription and non-prescription medicines. Codeine works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which blocks pain signals from being sent to the brain. Taking codeine often can lead to opioid use disorder.

What Are the Signs of Codeine Addiction?

The first and most obvious sign of codeine abuse is using the drug more than intended or prescribed. If you find that you need to take more codeine to get the same pain-relieving effect, this is a sign that you have developed tolerance to the drug. Taking codeine more frequently or in larger doses than intended is also a sign of addiction.

If you are addicted to codeine, you may start to neglect your responsibilities at work, school, or home in order to use the drug. You may begin to miss appointments or show up late. Your performance at work or school may start to suffer. You may stop participating in activities you once enjoyed because you would rather use codeine.

Your relationships may also start to suffer due to your codeine addiction. You may become more argumentative with your loved ones or start to distance yourself from them. You may start to lie to them about your codeine use or hide it from them.

Psychological Symptoms of Codeine Use

Codeine addiction can lead to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and paranoia. You may start to experience hallucinations and delusions. You may also begin to have difficulty concentrating, and your memory may suffer.

Physical Dangers of Codeine Use

Codeine addiction can lead to physical health problems like liver and kidney damage, respiratory issues, and gastrointestinal problems. You may also start to experience shaking, seizures, and tremors.

Relationship Dangers of Codeine Use

As mentioned previously, abusing codeine can lead to relationship problems. You may start isolating yourself from your loved ones or become more argumentative with them. Your codeine use may cause financial problems, as you may be spending more money on the drug than you can afford.

Overdose Dangers of Codeine Use

One of the most dangerous aspects of codeine addiction is the risk of codeine overdose. Taking too much codeine can slow your breathing and heart rate to the point where it stops completely. This can lead to coma or even death.

Addiction Treatment for Codeine Use

If you or someone you love is struggling with codeine addiction, many different treatment options are available, so you can find one that best suits your needs. Some people may require inpatient treatment, while others may be able to receive outpatient treatment.

Some people may benefit from medication-assisted treatment, which can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Many different types of therapy are also available to help you understand and cope with your addiction.

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms are the unpleasant symptoms that occur when a person stops taking a drug or reduces their intake. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can include both physical and mental symptoms. When someone is addicted to a drug, they will usually experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit.

Withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on the drug addiction. For example, someone addicted to heroin may experience different withdrawal symptoms than someone addicted to codeine. Withdrawal symptoms can also vary depending on the severity of the addiction.

Withdrawal can last for a few days or even weeks. In some cases, they can last for months or even years, known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Withdrawal symptoms can be very unpleasant and may even lead to relapse.

signs of codeine addiction

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Codeine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sweating
  • Body aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

These symptoms can be mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. Codeine withdrawal is often very uncomfortable and can be dangerous if not managed properly.

If you or someone you know is showing opioid withdrawal symptoms, it is important to seek professional help.

Dangers of Gravitating Towards Harder Opioids After Codeine Abuse

Many opioid users begin by taking codeine. They then feel like codeine is not strong enough and start taking harder opioids like fentanyl, heroin, and prescription drugs like oxycodone. This is extremely dangerous because these drugs are much more potent and can lead to overdose and death.

People start taking stronger drugs for a few different reasons. One reason is that codeine becomes less effective the more someone takes it. This is because the body builds up a tolerance to codeine. So, people start taking more and more codeine to get the same effect they used to get when they first started using the drug.

Another reason why people may start taking more potent opioids is that codeine is not always easy to get. It is a prescription drug, so people may find it challenging to obtain. On the other hand, heroin and fentanyl are illegal drugs that are much easier to come by.

People may also start taking stronger opioids because codeine is not as widely available as it used to be. In some countries, codeine has been banned, or its availability has been restricted. This has led many codeine users to turn to other opioids like heroin and fentanyl.

Dangers of Codeine and Alcohol Abuse

The dangers of using codeine and alcohol simultaneously are very real. Codeine is a depressant, and alcohol is a depressant. This means they both slow down the nervous system. When taken together, codeine and alcohol can cause:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed or difficulty breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment and coordination
  • Coma
  • Death

Codeine and alcohol also have a synergistic effect on the body. This means that the effects of codeine and alcohol are greater than the sum of their parts. For example, codeine and alcohol combined can have double the impact than if they are used on their own, so twice the drowsiness, slowed breathing, impaired coordination and so on.

The dangers of using codeine and alcohol simultaneously are very real and can be deadly.

Dangers of Codeine and Stimulants

The dangers of combining codeine with stimulants are very real. Stimulants are drugs that speed up the nervous system. When taken together, codeine and stimulants can cause:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

People combine these drugs because they think it will make them feel more alert and awake; however, the opposite is true. The combination of codeine and stimulants can cause serious side effects and even death.


Codeine addiction is a serious problem that can lead to many different issues. If you or someone you love is struggling with codeine addiction or any other opiate addiction, there is help available. Many different addiction treatment options are available, so you can find one that best suits your needs.

The team at The Revoke Programme know how difficult living with a codeine addiction can be, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Contact us today to see how we can help.

The Revoke Programme is a visionary service that helps people with anxiety, depression, burnout and disordered eating, and compulsive behaviours such as gambling, sex, alcohol and substance addiction on an outpatient basis. This means that people can receive the treatment they need whilst still fulfilling their duties at work and home.

signs of codeine addiction

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