- Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Codeine
Codeine is an analgesic (pain fighter) in a class of drugs known as opiates. It can be found in the opium poppy plant but is often synthesized from morphine. In addition to pain relief, codeine can help with a chronic cough and diarrhea. Its secondary effects also include respiratory depression, constipation and the ability to produce feelings of euphoria and drowsiness. Also, codeine is widely known as a drug with an abuse potential, which can lead to opiate dependence and addiction.
Codeine is thought to be less potent than morphine. Codeine, morphine and other opiates work by binding to opiate receptors in the brain and body to block pain signals. Receptors are activated once opiates reach the brain, producing effects such as analgesia and stimulating pleasure centers that signal reward.
Codeine and other opiates activate pleasure centers through the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter involved in the body's reward and pleasure centers. This is what's responsible for what some users describe as an experience of a "rush" or intense feelings of euphoria. These feelings are usually short lived and are replaced by a sense of calm and relaxation.
Long-Term Codeine Use Could Cause A Chain Reaction Leading to Addiction
Codeine is a prescription drug that is marketed by itself and in combination with non-narcotic pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and other medications. It is also available in codeine cough syrup form. Continual, repeated or long-term use of codeine can cause opiate dependence and addiction. Codeine addiction develops when there is a continual intake of codeine, a continued activation of the reward system and the resulting excessive release of dopamine.
Long-term use or abuse of opiates can cause the brain and body to rely on the presence of these substances. First off, it can lead to codeine tolerance. This is when the body becomes used to the drug and doesn't respond in the same way at the current dosage. Increasingly higher dosages will be needed. In addition, physical dependence can develop. This is evidenced by physical opiate withdrawal symptoms. The presence of both physical and psychological dependence is indicative of opiate addiction.