Call Recovery Ranger for help today. +1-866-256-2052 Helpline Information

Why is Codeine Addictive?

Mark Halsey
Chief Editor of - Cleanbreak Recovery

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands...Read more

Codeine is an opioid drug commonly used to treat mild to moderate pain, as well as coughing and other respiratory illnesses. It is widely prescribed, however, its use carries the risk of addiction. In this article, we will examine the addictive qualities of codeine and why it has become so widely abused. We will also look at the signs of codeine addiction and what can be done to help someone who has become addicted to this powerful drug.

Why is Codeine Addictive?

What Makes Codeine Addictive?

Codeine is a powerful opioid analgesic drug that is commonly prescribed to treat mild to moderate pain, as well as coughing and diarrhea. It is derived from the opium poppy plant and is classified as a narcotic. Codeine is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the world, and its addictive properties make it a major public health concern. This article will explore the factors that make codeine addictive, and why it has become so prevalent in the modern world.

Codeine works by acting on the body’s opioid receptors. When codeine enters the body, it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and causes a feeling of euphoria. This feeling of euphoria is what makes codeine so addictive, as it causes the user to experience a rush of pleasure that can lead to dependence.

Codeine is also highly accessible and relatively inexpensive, which makes it a popular drug of choice for those struggling with addiction. It is widely available through prescription, over-the-counter medications, and on the street. This makes it easy for individuals to acquire large amounts of codeine and abuse it with relative ease.

The Dangers of Codeine Abuse

Codeine abuse can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences. The most common side effects of codeine abuse include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and drowsiness. In extreme cases, codeine abuse can lead to respiratory depression, coma, and death.

Over time, codeine abuse can cause physical and psychological dependence. As the user’s tolerance for the drug increases, they will have to take increasing amounts of codeine to achieve the same effects. This can lead to dangerous levels of codeine in the body and can increase the risk of overdose.

Treatment for Codeine Addiction

Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available for those struggling with codeine addiction. The first step is to seek professional help. Treatment typically involves a combination of behavioral therapy, medication, and support groups.

Behavioral therapy helps the user identify and address the underlying causes of their addiction, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Medication is often used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Support groups can provide a safe, judgment-free environment for the user to share their experiences and learn from others in similar situations.

Preventing Codeine Abuse

The best way to prevent codeine abuse is to ensure that the drug is only taken as prescribed by a doctor and that it is not shared with others. It is also important to take steps to increase awareness of the risks of codeine abuse and addiction.

The Role of Education in Preventing Codeine Abuse

Education is an important part of preventing codeine abuse. It is important for individuals to be aware of the risks and signs of codeine abuse and addiction. They should be encouraged to talk to a healthcare provider if they are concerned about their own or someone else’s use of codeine.

The Role of the Healthcare System in Preventing Codeine Abuse

The healthcare system also plays an important role in preventing codeine abuse. Healthcare providers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of codeine abuse and addiction and should be proactive in identifying and addressing cases of codeine abuse. Additionally, healthcare providers should be trained to identify and refer individuals to appropriate treatment and support services.


Codeine is a powerful and addictive opioid analgesic drug that can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences if abused. It is important to understand the factors that make codeine addictive and to take steps to prevent codeine abuse. Education, prevention, and access to appropriate treatment and support services are key to reducing the prevalence of codeine abuse and addiction.

Related Faq

What is Codeine?

Codeine is an opioid analgesic, or painkiller, derived from the opium poppy plant. It is used to treat mild to moderate pain and to suppress coughs. It is available in many forms, including pills, syrups, and injectable solutions. Codeine is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

How Does Codeine Work?

Codeine works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other organs in the body. This binding activates the reward and pleasure pathways of the brain, leading to sensations of euphoria and relaxation. Codeine also reduces the perception of pain by inhibiting the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

What are the Side Effects of Codeine?

Common side effects of codeine include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and dry mouth. Long-term use of codeine can lead to dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Other serious side effects include respiratory depression, confusion, and slowed breathing.

Why is Codeine Addictive?

Codeine is addictive because it produces a powerful and rewarding feeling of euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief. This feeling encourages people to continue taking codeine, even when it is no longer medically necessary. Over time, codeine use can lead to physical and psychological dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

What are the Signs of Codeine Addiction?

Signs of codeine addiction include cravings for the drug, a loss of control over codeine use, taking codeine in larger amounts or for longer periods of time than intended, and continuing to take codeine despite negative consequences. Other signs of codeine addiction include neglecting responsibilities, social isolation, financial problems, and legal issues.

How is Codeine Addiction Treated?

Codeine addiction is treated with a combination of medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Medications such as buprenorphine and methadone are used to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is used to address the underlying causes of addiction and to develop coping skills for managing cravings and preventing relapse. Lifestyle changes, such as engaging in regular exercise and eating a healthy diet, can help support recovery.

Understanding codeine addiction – Dr Adrian Reynolds

Codeine is a powerful and highly addictive opioid drug, and is one of the most commonly misused drugs in the world. It is considered an opioid because it has the same chemical structure as morphine. Codeine has been found to affect the same areas in the brain as other addictive drugs, such as heroin and morphine, making it highly prone to abuse and addiction. The drug has a high potential for both physical and psychological dependence, and users quickly develop tolerance, requiring more and more of the drug to get the same effect. The inability to stop using codeine, despite experiencing negative consequences, is a sign of addiction. The longer codeine is used, the more powerful and difficult it becomes to quit. For these reasons, it is extremely important for individuals to be aware of the potential dangers that codeine can pose.

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands the complex needs of those struggling with addiction and utilizes a comprehensive and holistic approach to address them. He is well-versed in traditional and innovative therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness-based interventions.

More Posts

Leave a Comment