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If you or a loved one are struggling to stop using drugs or alcohol, our team of addiction experts can help you get sober a learn the skills for lifelong recovery.

What Does Tylenol 3 Do?

Tylenol 3 is a combination medication that’s comprised of acetaminophen and codeine phosphate. Often used to treat mild to moderate pain, Tylenol 3 is significantly stronger than over-the-counter acetaminophen products, and it is also potentially habit forming. Registered as a narcotic combination drug, Tylenol 3 is not approved for use by anyone under the age of 12. It is the addition of codeine that makes this product addictive. Coedeine is an opioid that acts on the brain’s opioid receptors. Taking more Tylenol 3 than what you’ve been prescribed can result in adverse effects including difficulty breathing and even death. Many people take Tylenol with codeine at the advice of their doctors. This medication is frequently offered for moderate injuries or following relatively small surgeries. It is often prescribed by dentists after wisdom tooth removal, or after other dental or orthodontic procedures. Tylenol 3 prescriptions are sometimes issued to alleviate the pain of broken, contused, or fractured bones. No matter why you’ve been prescribed it, you may find yourself having a hard time functioning without Tylenol with codeine after your prescription has ended. When the body becomes dependent upon any opioid, stopping outright leads to painful withdrawal symptoms. If you’ve ever sought out more Tylenol 3 by asking family members or friends for their prescription drugs, lied to have a prescription filled, or have purchased Tylenol 3 illegally, these are all signs of serious problem. Recognizing how this common pain reliever acts on the brain is important for understanding its addictive nature.

How Opioids Like Codeine Affect the Brain

All opioids stimulate the brain’s opioid receptors. In so doing, they block pain. Rather than healing the injuries for which it’s prescribed, Tylenol 3 helps make the healing process a bit easier. When most people begin taking Tylenol 3, their discomfort is legitimate. They may be advised to take this drug only as needed, however, over time, they may take it more frequently. The feelings of euphoria and relaxation that codeine produces are initially enjoyable. However, not all of the effects of an opioid are pleasant. When taken too often or for too long, Tylenol 3 can result in:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches

It’s important to remember that although Tylenol 3 is largely offered and used for the pain blocking benefits of codeine, this drug also contains acetaminophen. On its own, and when used as recommended, acetaminophen is unlikely to cause any significant side effects. However, when people take Tylenol 3 too often, they run the risk of sustaining serious and potentially permanent liver damage. Too much acetaminophen places tremendous stress on this important filter organ. Codeine is a powerful drug, but it’s hardly the most powerful opioid available. Sadly, when people are unable to comfortably stop using Tylenol 3, many turn to other more accessible opioids. This can result in heroin addiction, fentanyl addiction, and addictions to other far more potent opioids. When the brain’s pain receptors are artificially blocked with drugs like Tylenol 3 for too long, all pain can seem unbearable without opioids. Certain pain receptors may even begin to misfire. This is why many addicts feel excruciating pain when stopping. If the body has become chemically dependent upon an opioid, certain basic functions can begin to flounder and fail without it. The symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be very intense. They can also be long-lasting if they are not properly managed. As such, many addicts have a hard time quitting on their own. Although they may be resolved to stop using outright, most relapse by seeking out opioids to relieve their withdrawal symptoms. Tylenol 3 addiction can happen to anyone. When necessary, acetaminophen and codeine can be quite effective for alleviating significant amounts of physical discomfort. Students, professionals, and many other people have started taking this medication at the direction of their dentists or doctors, but have found themselves unable to stop. If you’ve been using Tylenol 3 and find that you can’t stop thinking about this drug or seeking it out when you no longer have it, we can help. Enrolling in a drug treatment program is the best way to put your cravings to an end. With the right inpatient or outpatient rehab program, you can safely detox from codeine, and can learn healthier and more sustainable pain management strategies. Call 424-499-2603 to find out more about your options in drug addiction treatment.