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The Effects of Mixing Codeine and Alcohol

If you're on codeine, you should be aware of the effects of mixing codeine and alcohol. These two drugs interact in a way that can be life-threatening if the amount of codeine or amount of alcohol is sufficiently high. Codeine and alcohol combinations can cause you to get drowsy or have difficulty breathing; in some circumstances you could collapse or even die. If you're on codeine but you can't resist drinking, you may have a serious problem. Consider calling us to get help with your codeine and/or alcohol addiction today.

Adverse Effects of Mixing These Two Depressants

  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Mental “fog”
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Delayed motor skills and reaction time
  • Impairment of thinking and judgment
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma or death

Accidental overdose is a real risk when you drink alcohol while taking medications containing codeine.

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Are You Addicted to Codeine and Alcohol?

Codeine is a prescription-strength painkiller that doctors often prescribe after surgery or if patients have a lot of pain due to illness or injury. However, because codeine is a narcotic drug, it also provides users with a temporary high. It's easy to get addicted to this high and crave the drug even when your injury has healed. Many codeine users then begin drinking while on codeine. This intensifies the high; however, it also makes it easier for users to overdose on the drug, which can be fatal.

Not everybody who takes codeine becomes addicted to it. If you are on the medication for a legitimate reason and can follow your doctor's instructions - including abstaining from alcohol while on the medication - you probably don't have a problem. However, if you exhibit any of the following symptoms, you may be addicted to codeine and/or alcohol.

  • You continue taking codeine after your injury has healed or after your doctor has discontinued its use.  Doctors carefully monitor codeine use in patients because of its addictive qualities. If you continue taking the drug after your doctor has told you to stop, you may have become addicted. Similarly, if you try to convince your doctor that you really need the drug when he recommends you stop taking it, you may be dealing with a codeine addiction.
  • You feel your overall mood or mental condition is better when on codeine and want to keep taking it to keep depression at bay.  Codeine's narcotic qualities make users feel high while on it. Some users, regardless of whether they were struggling with depression prior to getting on the drug, begin associating good feelings with codeine use and begin craving the drug when they feel down.
  • You can't resist mixing alcohol and codeine. Mixing codeine and alcohol is dangerous, which is why doctors caution patients not to do so. If you can't resist taking a drink or two while on codeine, you may have an addiction problem to one or both drugs. Mixing these drugs may give you a buzz, but it also makes you drowsy and can cause you to stop breathing. It's also easier to overdose on codeine while on alcohol.

Treatment for Addiction to Codeine and Alcohol

Codeine users often become physically addicted to the drug; they can't stop cold turkey without getting physically ill. This is doubly true for people who are addicted to alcohol in addition to codeine because both drugs are depressants and can cause physical symptoms if stopped abruptly. Codeine users who try to stop cold turkey may suffer from seizures and convulsions as well as nausea and vomiting.

To stop safely, you must go through a detox program before attempting rehabilitation. Detoxification involves gradually withdrawing from the drug while under the care of a team of doctors. It usually takes place in a hospital. Detoxification from codeine and alcohol usually takes about seven days.

After you have detoxified from the drug, you may enter a rehab program. Most rehabilitation programs require addicts to live on site for a period of time while getting counseling or other psychological treatment for the addiction. Since codeine is a physically addictive drug, patients may continue to receive medical care along with counseling or therapy. Families of patients who are trying to get off codeine and alcohol may also get therapy to help them understand the addict's behavior and deal with feeling related to the addict's negative behaviors.

Some people prefer outpatient treatment so that they can continue working or their other normal daily activities while only visiting the hospital to get treatment for their addiction. However, this is often not possible for codeine and alcohol dependency because patients require care for physical symptoms of addiction in addition to psychological symptoms.

There are both physical and psychological effects of mixing codeine and alcohol that users must deal with. Whatever your situation is, help is available for your addiction. Consider calling us to take the first step towards freeing yourself or your loved one from a potentially fatal addiction.