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Codeine Withdrawal and Detoxification

Codeine Withdrawal and Detoxification

Codeine has a high addictive potential similar to the other opiates. As the tolerance for the drug develops, a person will crave for the higher doses of a drug in order to feel the similar effects. The prolonged abuse of the drug results in the development of physical and psychological dependency on the drug. Codeine promptly alters the functioning of the central nervous system which makes the body dependant on the drug. The body fails to function properly and the withdrawal symptoms begin to set in, the drug is needed to curtail those symptoms. There are a number of treatment methods available that can reduce the withdrawal symptoms and build a road to recovery of the patient. The detoxification process is a mandatory step of the treatment protocol for addiction. It is often the most dreaded part and can be very uncomfortable, but it’s crucial for the recovery. Moreover, a combination of various other methods is also utilized to make this process relatively easier and less painful.

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms:

The Codeine abuse mostly starts with the doctor prescribed doses for the illness, the duration of which is then prolonged and improper doses are taken to achieve the Codeine High. The regular abuse of the drug can lead to the dependency on the drug, which then demands a higher dose to achieve the similar effects. Tolerance to the drug develops and it becomes almost impossible to come down to the lower doses of the drug. The time taken for the tolerance depends on many factors such as Genetics, dosages of drug and the duration of drug abuse. Attempt to reduce or quit the drug may immediately develop the withdrawal symptoms. These develop within a short duration of the last dose. The withdrawal symptoms produced by Codeine can be divided into early and late phase.

The Early Symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Teary eyes
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose

The late Symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Depression

The withdrawal symptoms aren’t fatal but if the symptoms get worse, they can be life-threatening. For example, untreated diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and thus, many health complications. It is necessary to go for the detoxification program to ward off the negative balance caused by the drug. There are two methods to quit the drug; one is ‘cold turkey’ and the other is the gradual tapering of the dose of a drug. Cold Turkey is a very quick method but it is often very difficult for the patient to embrace and fight the withdrawal symptoms. The gradual tapering is often a recommended method for quitting codeine.

Timeline for Codeine Withdrawal:

The symptoms of withdrawal can appear within a few hours duration after the last dose. The duration of physical symptoms vary between the individuals but the severity usually continues for a week. Psychological symptoms of depression can continue for many months.

  • 1stto 4th day: It is peak time for the appearance of physical symptoms. The user experiences intense muscle aches, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, headache and restless legs.
  • 5thto 7th day: This is the time when most of the physical symptoms start to fade. The psychological symptoms of depression start to trouble the person. Dehydration can also be present due to an excessive fluid loss in vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Day 8 to end of the first month: All the physical symptoms disappear by this time but the depression remains. The cravings for Codeine and depression continue for a long time after the drug is quitted.

Treatments Used to Ease Withdrawal Symptoms:

Some of the measures that are utilized for treating the withdrawal symptoms include:

Hydration and electrolytes balance: This is very important as the person is usually dehydrated due to the excessive water losses from the body. If dehydration isn’t treated on time, it may lead to many damaging effects on the body. Plenty of water intakes must be ensured at the first step. The proper electrolytes balance is also needed for the optimum body functions.

Exercise and Meditation: These are the two powerful methods that can help reduce the withdrawal symptoms to a significantly lower level. The exercise and meditation help to improve the efficiency of body and the mind. The body adopts a healthy balance and mind gets trained to maintain a positive thought process.

The withdrawal symptoms are very disturbing for the patient. During the detoxification process, doctors manage these symptoms with the use of replacement therapy. It means certain medications are given that will enable the person to endure these symptoms. The various medicines that are used during the detoxification process include:

For mild symptoms:

  • Painkillers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
  • Loperamide for treating diarrhea.

For moderate symptoms:

  • Clonidine for treating anxiety, muscle aches, cramps, and agitation.
  • Diazepam for the treatment of insomnia and muscle cramps.

For advanced symptoms:

  • Methadone: This prevents the intense craving of codeine drug.
  • Buprenorphine: This drug helps to reduce the intensity of various withdrawal symptoms.
  • Clonidine: It also eases the withdrawal symptoms.
  • Naltrexone: This is given to reduce the relapse rates.

Detoxification Process:

Detoxification is the first step for treating the Codeine addiction. The detoxification process must be carried out in a rehabilitation center to establish the early and a complete recovery. A thorough medical supervision is necessary to properly treat the addiction. Medications for the management of withdrawal symptoms are provided to make the detoxification process less agonizing and painful for the patient. Duration of the detoxification process varies among the individuals depending on the duration and doses of the drug abused. The proper treatment through the rehabilitation centers minimizes the relapse rates. Moreover, many other psychological therapies are also employed to achieve the higher recovery rates for the patients.