Codeine not only relieves pain, but in high enough doses the drug can also produce a sense of pleasure and reward, along with a euphoric calm.

When codeine enters the brain, the brain responds by activating its hormones which are part of the brain’s “reward system.”

According to users of codeine, the excessive release of these hormones and stimulation of the reward system, is much like that of heroin, though in a milder form.

The problem is to reach and maintain that initial high takes increasingly larger amounts of codeine, which in a short amount of time will lead one to dependence on, then addiction to the drug.



Codeine tends to have a short-lived but intense burst of euphoria. Of course, that short burst comes at a price. For one, if enough codeine is taken, it can slow one’s breathing to the point that they stop breathing. This, of course, will lead to death.

The other aspect about the short burst of euphoria is users regularly look for a longer burst of euphoria, but at the same intensity level.

Engaging in an action like this can lead not only to dependence and then addiction. Death is a true reality as well, simply because continued use of codeine for that one-time euphoria will usually involve increasing dosages of the drug.

Of course, other than increased dosages of codeine, there are other symptoms to watch out for when a friend or loved one may have issues with codeine.



  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Excessive drowsiness, dysphoria or confusion.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Constipation
  • Allergic skin reaction or rash.



  • Vertigo or dizziness.
  • Upset Stomach and loss of appetite.
  • Indigestion.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Tremors.
  • Depression.
  • Urinary retention or inability to urinate.

A user can lose consciousness after taking an excess dose of codeine. Respiratory collapse and/or cardiac arrest is also a possibility.

Over a long period of use, this can result in decreased oxygen in the blood, which could irreparably harm various organ systems. A compromised amount of oxygen to the brain and/or heart can lead to permanent organ damage or even death.



Codeine withdrawals can vary mightily between codeine users. This is based on how much and how often they abuse the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms for codeine users can range from mild to severe. However, the symptoms are usually not life-threatening.

Nonetheless, withdrawal from codeine can feel quite uncomfortable, particularly if a person is a long-time user. They can expect a more acute and difficult withdrawal to overcome.

Withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Mood swings.
  • Restlessness, insomnia.
  • Runny nose, watery eyes.
  • Nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Aches and pains.

Though codeine is not as powerful as other opioid medicines, it still packs a punch. And that punch is just enough for you or a loved one to fear codeine as a gateway drug to stronger painkillers.

Your best bet is to address the potential addiction as soon as you can. Don’t let codeine addiction ravish you or someone close to you.


If you feel you or a loved one has an issue with codeine, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery within 30 days. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.