Benefits of Counseling in Codeine Addiction Treatment
In therapeutic dose comparisons, codeine is less potent than morphine and is usually found in combination with analgesics such as aspirin or acetaminophen to enhance and increase its analgesic effects and in cough syrups containing expectorants such as guaifenesin or promethazine.
This doesn’t mean that codeine addiction treatment is any less complicated than other opioid addiction treatments, however, because many of the same consequences and resulting negative behaviors can occur.
The Rise in Codeine Addictions
Codeine is one of the most widely prescribed opiates around the world and access to the broad range of medications containing codeine is, sometimes, easier than other opiate drugs such as oxycodone, morphine, or hydrocodone. The DEA has lower restrictions on codeine drugs than most other addictive substances, listing them as Schedule III to V based on the milligrams of codeine content. Combined with the misconceptions of safety regarding the use of codeine products, many fall prey to codeine addiction before they ever realize what has happened.
Developing a Codeine Addiction
Long term use and abuse of codeine medications can lead to physical or psychological dependency and possibly, addiction. Some people are legitimately prescribed codeine and develop a tolerance which causes them to consume more of the medication to achieve the desired levels of relief. They may be unaware that a dependency has developed until they attempt to cease use and experience withdrawals.
In many individuals, the desire to feel good is what compels them to continue using the codeine and in others, it may be the avoidance of withdrawals that keeps them using. Unfortunately, codeine is often abused for its euphoria in higher doses or via alternative routes of administration, and for the enhancing effects it has when combined with other substances.
Over time, regular and repeated use of codeine disrupts normal brain functions and affects the brain circuits involved in memory, reward, inhibitory control, and motivation. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “When these circuits are disrupted, so is a person’s capacity to freely choose not to use drugs, even when it means losing everything they used to value. In fact, the inability to stop is the essence of addiction, like riding in a car with no brakes.”
Counseling in Codeine Addiction Treatment
Patients in codeine addiction treatment receive a variety of counseling services in individual, group, or family sessions that focus on educational interventions, support and motivations for a substance-free lifestyle, and the identification and removal of barriers to treatment retention and participation.
Substance Abuse Counseling
Substance abuse counseling is the cornerstone of codeine addiction treatment. The standard components may include:
- Education about addiction, substance abuse effects, and relapse prevention strategies
- Introduction to mutual-help groups or assistance in locating and joining peer support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Identification of “triggers”, and stress, coping, and time management techniques
- Assistance in complying with rules and regulations of the program
- Assistance for developing a healthy lifestyle and education regarding health issues such as dangers of IV use and unprotected sex
Individual Counseling Benefits
Individual counseling helps the addict identify directly related aspects of their addiction and addictive behaviors and work through the issues toward treatment goals. In the individual counseling sessions, counselors can make recommendations based on their reviews of the addict’s progress and concerns such as how they are coping with cravings or managing their home-life and other struggles.
The benefits of individual counseling may include integration with psychotherapy programs or other psychosocial services and referral assistance for co-occurring physical or mental health issues, domestic relations, traumatic experiences, or environmental issues such as homelessness and unemployment.
Group Counseling Benefits
The benefit of structural guidance throughout the phases of codeine addiction treatment involves group counseling sessions to reduce the sense of isolation, gain feedback and support from others suffering similar addictions, and helping the addict to develop and practice coping skills to remain abstinent.
Other benefits of group counseling, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, are that:
- Groups enable people who abuse substances to witness the recovery of others.
- Groups help members learn to cope with their substance abuse and other problems by allowing them to see how others deal with similar problems.
- Groups provide useful information to clients who are new to recovery.
- Groups offer family‐like experiences.
- Groups encourage, coach, support, and reinforce as members undertake difficult or anxiety‐provoking tasks.
- Groups offer members the opportunity to learn or relearn the social skills they need to cope with everyday life instead of resorting to substance abuse.
- Groups can effectively confront individual members about substance abuse and other harmful behaviors.
- Groups often support and provide encouragement to one another outside the group setting.
Counseling for family, spouses, or partners is important in helping them to be able to cope with the issues of addiction as it pertains to them as well as the addict. They benefit through education, assistance with their own mental health problems, and skills that can prepare them for the unexpected. This helps to increase their own confidence levels as they remain supportive of the addict while rebuilding a more positive relationship.