Are you concerned you or a loved one may be addicted to codeine a.k.a. “lean”? Discover the signs of codeine addiction to know if someone is abusing this opiate based prescription drug.
Did you know that roughly 33 million people use codeine every year? That’s including those who use the drug for medical purposes. According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.7 million people in America alone admitted to non-medical use of prescription pain relievers, including codeine.
Unfortunately, that means that if you suspect that a loved one is abusing prescription drugs, there’s a good chance you’re correct.
There’s no question that abusing an opiate like codeine will have a negative impact on your loved one’s well-being. In the final stage of opiate addiction, the drug abuser can completely losing control of their life.
The effects are often fatal. In fact, an average of 62 deaths involving prescription opioids occur every day.
If you suspect someone you know may be abusing codeine, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Learn to spot the signs of codeine addiction.
Hidden in Plain Sight: 10 Signs of Codeine Addiction
Drug addicts will generally do their best to conceal or downplay any symptoms that might give away their addiction. This can make it especially hard for people close to the addict to pick up on any obvious signs of codeine addiction.
However, there are a few key symptoms that can clue you in on whether or not your loved one has a problem abusing codeine.
1. Making excessive purchases of over-the-counter codeine drugs
This is a sign that might seem obvious but can be hard to spot initially. Codeine-containing drugs include cough syrups and other cold medicines. These are all drugs that can easily be obtained over the counter.
The Telegraph states that an addiction to over-the-counter painkillers like codeine can develop in just three days of use.
You might be more likely to think of prescription drugs when you think of a serious drug addiction. However, it’s important to note that drugs containing codeine can be obtained much more easily over the counter.
If you know that, you’re more likely to recognize excessive purchases of these drugs as a red flag.
2. Visiting the doctor frequently to try to get a codeine prescription
You may have noticed your loved one has started making more frequent visits to the doctor’s office. Your loved one may be able to give you logical explanations for their visits.
However, keep in mind that their underlying motive may be may be a desire to gain a medical prescription to satisfy the addiction.
3. Faking symptoms to gain a prescription
Along with that, you may notice your loved one feigning symptoms to try to convince everyone that they need a prescription to codeine. They might complain about having a severe cough that keeps them up at night.
They may even go so far as to fake a cough in front of you.
4. Wanting constant access to their codeine prescription
Your loved one may have an actual medical prescription for codeine. If so, you might not recognize their use as an addiction if you’re not looking for this sign.
Codeine is often prescribed for the management of pain. If your loved one always has their prescription on hand, that’s a sign that they might have developed an addiction.
The need to have the prescription readily available even when they are not experiencing pain suggests a growing dependence on the drug.
5. Lying to people close to them about their use of the drug
Some liars are easier to spot than others. However, depending on how close you are to the person you suspect of an addiction, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to tell if they’re lying about their use.
Codeine addicts may try to conceal their over-the-counter or prescription drugs. However, careful observation will make it easier to spot a slip-up.
6. Disconnecting from the world
Along with the previous signs of codeine addiction, you may notice your loved one has begun neglecting family obligations or avoiding any social interaction.
Codeine is a drug that can completely consume one’s life. It can cause the user to withdraw from the people they care about.
This change suggests that your loved one may have developed an addiction that prevents them from leading a normal life.
7. Changing sleep patterns
Opiates like codeine disrupt the stages of sleep. If you notice your loved one is tired all the time or has been having increased difficulty with sleeping, that could be a sign of an addiction.
8. Major mood swings
Codeine addicts show increased irritability and agitation. Their whole personality will seem to have changed. If your loved one begins to have unexplained mood swings, angry outbursts, or depressive episodes, that could point to a codeine addiction.
9. Neglecting personal hygiene and overall health
Codeine addicts are single-mindedly focused on obtaining and using codeine. That means that things like personal hygiene, grooming, and general personal upkeep fall by the wayside.
The same goes for health. A codeine addict may neglect proper nutrition, hydration, or exercise.
10. Denying that there is a problem
Finally, a good tell for whether or not your loved one is addicted to codeine is how strongly they may insist that they do not have a problem. Because they are addicted, they want to convince both you and themselves that there isn’t a problem.
It’s up to those who care about them to spot these signs of codeine addiction and provide the support they need to get better.
Get Help for Your Loved One
You’ve spotted some of these signs of codeine addiction and are convinced that your loved one is abusing codeine. From here, the best thing you can do is support the addict in seeking professional treatment.
Even if your loved one is willing to admit their problem and wants to stop abusing codeine, it’s important to help them get medical supervision. Abruptly stopping use of codeine can lead to some nasty withdrawal symptoms that should be managed by a medical professional.
At Muse Treatment, we have a number of program options to help your loved one learn to manage their addiction.
Contact us to speak to one of our addiction specialists!