Codeine can provide relief for medical symptoms that plague a person’s physical health and comfort levels. Unfortunately, it can also become a risk for addiction and overdose. Because of this, it is best to get help immediately. If you suspect you may have developed an addiction to codeine or experienced codeine overdose symptoms, professional intervention from medical experts can help turn your life around.
What Is Codeine and Is It Dangerous?
Codeine is a prescription drug used to relieve mild to moderate pain. It helps change the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. When combined with other medications, it can also help reduce coughing. Codeine belongs to the opiate family of drugs and comes in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms.
Codeine comes with the risk of developing an addiction. Even when a person has used it as prescribed for several weeks, doctors recommend they taper off the drug under the direction of a medical expert. Stopping the medication suddenly can result in experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These include sweating, rapid heart rate, flu-like symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, and anxiety. Regardless of how long a person takes codeine, addiction presents a real risk. Taking too much codeine can cause a person to overdose and even die. If a person exhibits codeine overdose symptoms, they should seek immediate medical help.
Codeine Overdose Symptoms and Signs
If a person overdoses on codeine, certain signs and symptoms may occur. Codeine overdose symptoms include:
- Blue-tinged skin and lips
- Tiny, constricted pupils
- Sedation or sleepiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed breathing
- Slowed heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Cold, clammy skin
- Coughing that may produce pink, frothy sputum
- Swelling in the legs and ankles
The medication naloxone reverses the codeine overdose symptoms. Delivered as a shot or a nasal spray, it typically awakens a person who has overdosed on opioid drugs. Individuals who may be at risk of overdosing on codeine or their loved ones may want to keep naloxone on hand. The medication is available across the country, with many states not requiring a prescription to purchase it. In addition, the person can administer naloxone to someone who has overdosed but should also immediately call 911 or get the person to an emergency room to ensure they are out of danger.
Codeine medications are sometimes mixed with acetaminophen, which poses its own dangers when it comes to overdosing. Too much acetaminophen can damage the kidneys, liver, intestines, and blood. Therefore, any sign of overdose symptoms should be taken seriously and immediate medical help should be obtained.
Treatment for a Codeine Overdose
When someone suffers from a codeine overdose, they need to get immediate medical help. If a container or sample of the codeine product is available, it is best to take it to the hospital or show it to the paramedic. Give as much detail as possible about the type of codeine ingested, the amount taken, and any other drugs or alcohol also taken. Medical staff will then monitor the individual’s vital signs, and perform tests that may include urine and blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG), or x-rays.
Treatment may include intravenous fluids, laxatives, breathing support, or medication to reverse the effects of the codeine, such as naloxone. Codeine overdose symptoms may indicate an addiction, which may trigger medical personnel to recommend treatment programs to address the substance use disorder.
What to Do If Someone You Know is Abusing Codeine
Whenever someone appears to be abusing drugs or alcohol, their loved ones naturally want to help. In fact, approaching them calmly when they are not under the influence can help begin a much-needed conversation. Let the person know that they have an illness and that professional help is available.
Ask medical and psychology experts for advice on treatment plans, and search for programs that treat codeine addiction. Then, let the person know you can help out with tasks like:
- Call their insurance company to get information about treatment coverage
- Talking to others about their addiction and plans for treatment
- Helping them prepare a plan for taking a break from a job or schooling
- Helping out while they are in treatment by doing things like picking up their mail, taking care of their kids, or pet sitting
- Being a safe place to vent and seek support once they complete treatment
If the person refuses to admit they have a problem, it can help to stage an intervention. Professional interventionists help plan an event during which the person with the addiction is calmly confronted by their loved ones. Therefore, a plan for treatment is then presented to them, and the attendees lay out the consequences of not following through on getting help and staying sober.
Finding Help for Codeine Addiction
While becoming addicted to codeine may leave a person feeling lost and unsure of where to turn, effective help is available. Treatment for codeine addiction begins with a detoxification program. Through this type of treatment, the individual’s body rids itself of all the built-up toxins accrued during addiction, which allows them to reclaim the ability to focus on recovery. Detox is followed up by either inpatient rehab or outpatient care, which helps the person understand issues like what caused them to develop an addiction and how to avoid triggers.
Many people stay in a sober living home to help bridge the transition between intensive residential care and returning home. Aftercare programs help people stay strong in their sobriety, often by involving peer support. Programs for this include group therapy and 12-Step type programs.
Treat Codeine Addiction in West Palm Beach, FL
If you or someone you love has experienced codeine overdose symptoms, it’s time to reach out for the help you deserve. Ambrosia in West Palm Beach offers powerful and proven help quitting codeine. We provide detox, residential, and intensive outpatient treatment that addresses not only your substance use disorder but also any accompanying mental health conditions. If you would like more information, please visit our admissions page today.