Codeine addiction - overcome for the last time?

Posted , 11 users are following.

Hi. I just wanted to share my expereinces with regard to codeine addiction. I have noted that some threads talk about codeine not being addictive - I could not disagree more. I have been taking dihydrocodeine and co-codamol on & off for about 4 years. It started by self medicating - I had a nerve infection in my face that doctors or dentists could not treat, until I was given some co-codamol by my relatives. This worked - wow!! it really numbed the pain. I began taking 2-3 at a time, until the infection passed. I still had 10 or so left, and I decided to take them to cure a hangover!! they worked - they numbed the symptoms and left me feeling calm and dreamy. I loved the feeling it gave me.

From this point on, I began to see the benefits of the drug and it made me feel nice - but i was stealing dihydrocodeine and co-codamol from my relatives, taking the odd pack of 10 at a time.

I began training for a half marathon, and found that taking co-codamol after a long run had a soothing effect on my body. I began stealing more & more tablets until it ran out, and then I embarked on searching companies on the internet that could supply me it.

I began to order 100 co-codamol at a time, regularly taking 8 to 10 or so in the evening to draw my mind away from stressful days at work. I would wake up fine the next day & look forward to taking them again in the evening.

About 2 years ago, I went on holiday for 7 days and forgot to take them with me - i secretly panicked inside!! I noticed that after 2 days of not taking it, my body began to ache and ache - mainly my legs, and I would have cold sweats at night. I also suffered confusion and began to ruminate a lot about negative things on my life.

One good thing was that I managed to kick the habit that week - I told my future wife & my son that I had caught an infection on holiday, but secretly i knew the truth.

I went about 8 months clean of codeine, until events in my life pushed me towards taking them again, as I yearned for the dreamy numb state the tablets gave me. Codeine is good at making you numb - especially to relationships which it secretly destroys.

I was gradually becoming so dependent on it that I started taking them at work, as I could not function without them or think straight. It gave me confidence at work, but at the same time it also meant that I cared less. I even gave up my safe job when redundancies were being offered, knowing that I had no job to go to and a mortgage to pay & family to support. But hell, the redundancy money meant i could take time out and take codeine whenever I wanted.

Which brings me up to now.

I have just returned back from a weeks holiday from my new job, and I treated this holiday as "rehab" "cold turkey" . I just needed to be clean for the sake of myself and others.  I have been clean of codiene now for 11 days. I spent 4 days of my holiday going through horrible withdrawal (aches, pains, nausea), blaming it on a viral infection.

I had an email from my online pharmacy/doctor last week stating that they would no longer be selling me dihydrocodeine unless I had a prescription from my GP - maybe this is the push I need to stop using?

Must admit, I feel great now that the physical symptoms of withdrawal have passed, and I am now looking to moving forward in life. I have rejoined my local gym, started focusing on new things and have told myself that there is no going back to codeine ever.

I am really really hopeful that I have kicked it this time. I do miss the feeling of taking those small round tablets, but I do not want to ever go back to them.

My advice to anybody who feels that there is no way out is that there is! Think of the harm they do to you and what you will miss in life when you are both alive and dead from codeine addiction.


4 likes, 14 replies

14 Replies

  • Posted

    Excellent post phil! Well done. It sure aint easy!. This is my seventh day off the Dihydrocodeine and the main problem is weakness, exhaustion and sleeplessness plus heavy body. But I know that will all go and I feel alive again! Those pills trick you into thinking they give comfort and safety but in reality just give (for me anyway) depression, increasing tolerance, self-disgust and isolationism (not to mention constipation lack of sex drive etc etc. They are really not a great buzz. Your post has inspired me even more. Keep Strong. John
  • Posted

    I'm on day 3 and 24 hrs cold turkey as I became severely allergic to my dihydrocodeine, sigh, and it's miserable! Both posts give me hope I 'm nearly through the worst of it now.

    Hope you're both going strong, clear and clean.

    • Posted

      Hang on in there Pumpkin1 it does get better and better. It is now over 9 weeks for me since I last took Dihydrocodeine or anything at all. I am now sleeping properly (still wake up early but I go to bed early so thats ok. Loads of energy, regular as clockwork and can laugh again! Life is good and I have got my real self back. Keep strong.John
    • Posted

      12 days 18 hours and I'm beginning to feel awake and alive again :-) still feel restless and like I have sandpaper in my veins but it's easing. Sleep still fractured and I'm having to adjust to getting up early, too!  But I'm coming through loud and strong now and it's great. 

      Thanks again for the support, it made all the difference, helped me cling onto hope...

    • Posted

      Nice one Pumpkin yes the early morning thing takes a bit of adjustment but it is not such a bad thing. Glad you are getting your life and your self back. John
  • Posted

    I need to join in on your post. Thank you you have given me hope. I am taken a worrying amount of DHC between 30-45 a day. I was taken tramadol for the last 4years and DHC on n of for 4year but this last year i have had a turn around and am severely hooked on DHC. It has spiralled out of control. I wake up 1st thing in the morning and take 15tabs with my morning coffee and that sets me up for the day i feel amazing 20mins later. I am relaxed and carefree and can conquer ANYTHING. I went to an addiction meeting today bc i cant live like this anymore i dont want to rely on a pill to make me happy. I work have a child and not the typical poster child for a druggy so to speak. I went to addiction meeting today (1st step) the doctor culd not believe i was an addict he said i looked well and was well dressed presentable and my bubbly personality was shining through :-) that was nice to here. Ive decided to try cold turkey and only take 2 or 3 tabs when i desperately need them but known i will have a natural high once im of them is goin to keep me motivated. I want that so bad. I have been through W/D b4 and im not looking forward to it as it was the worst time of my life esp the leg bit where i want to chop them of lol. My body is telling me to stop now i have started having fits coused by tramadol and DHC time to get a grip.
    • Posted

      I can't imagine how awful cold turkey from that amount of dhc will be - I'd be very, very reluctant to do that one, for sure, unless I was an inpatient in hospital hooked up to calming fluids and soothing meds to take the edge off the pain and misery. 

      I've ended up in hospital 3 times during my own cold turkey after severe allergic reactions and on one ward I was next to someone withdrawaing from alcohol who had all that help for the worst of it. 

      Good luck, though, hope it goes well for you and w'd isn't too horrific.

    • Posted

      Your rite i decided to just cut down which i started today. I dont want to do any more damage to myself plus im not ready for the withdrawal symptoms just yet. I have been strugglin the last few months that will just set me back. Hope you are well tho. Xxx
  • Posted

    I quit 'cold turkey' for 12 days now. But it's hard. Really hard to get rid of the cravings am having. I came to realize the company I keep affects my mind on matters of codeine intake. So I switched to a more hands on group of friends. Who live outwardly. Another thing that keeps me going are affirmation statements. I do this every morning as I wake and just before I go to bed. And recently i  began to exercise more and it also helps. Gets the  blood flowing and all.  Hang in there , we are going to get through this (if you have had the profound realization for the need for  change) my heart goes out to you and anyone going through THIS. 

  • Posted

    Hi l am 6 months clean wont lie it was hard.but all worth it now l came off meth after been left on it for 14 years.l to then went on dff118s.did not no how strong they were.l was really ill for like 3 months coming off thrm evil tablets.but it can be done l had no help got clean by myself.just wanted to give u all hope there is light at the end of the thoughts are with u all good luck never give up tasha
  • Posted

    Hi all,

    I’m new. I’m addicted to dihydrocodeine and I hate it. I don’t take as much as what I’ve read others do but i have to take about 5/6 30mg pills with my morning coffee just to feel normal and then i half the rest and take one half maybe every half hour until I’ve taken 8-10 pills in a day. Recently I’ve noticed that I waken about 4-5 am with severe agitation, sweating and I NEED the pills. The pain of withdrawal is awful. Any of you had success beating this and how did u do it? The pain of withdrawal is enough to make me take a few pills so I don’t see a way out of this. I’m nearly 34 and I’m so scared I’m going to die. I drink occasionally Aswell (like once a month) but I’m

    Now starting to worry I’m gonna go to sleep and not wake up. Any help or words of encouragement would be appreciated,


    • Posted

      dear Anna.

      I know how you feel. hope all is currently well.I promise you won't die with what you are doing. but you need to obviously stop taking them sooner or later.

      I'm a very qualified professional in this area but also had issues with codeine at one point. it's no respecter of status or class.

      good luck.


  • Posted

    Hi guys, please if your taking cocodomol, STOP NOW and replace it with straight codeine it's a lot safer, the paracetamol in cocodomol is lethal there is no coming back from a paracetamol overdose like there is the possibility of a codeine OD. I found a way to get off this rubbish a lot easier, I have posted this previously on here but wanted to add the cocodomol warning for folks out there... Read on

    How to give up opieates with very little withdrawal syndrome

    Firstly please don't attempt this on your own please involve your GP this method seems to work for all opieates, (for the search engines heroin, oxycontin, morphine, dyhidrocodine or codeine) I've been dependent on dyhidrocodine and oxycontin off and on (but mostly on smile for 10 years. I have given them up twice before, first time totally cold turkey which was absolute hell but my Dr put me on pregabalin (pregabalin has been tested up to 8000mg in a single dose without any damage to the tester, but bet he was off his nut lol. It will make you feel a bit drunk so I would recommend not going to work, NOT DRIVING, and stay in bed for the 5 days or so this will take) for another reason and I found it releleaved the snake bones, itchy joints and the jerks (from here on called the heeby geebies) . Your going to need fairly high doses well well beyond what NICE (UK) recommend, I've read that some clinics in the US use it(they say 1200mg but that I'll blow you away) . I found 900mg every three hours is about what you are going to need, but your milage will vary as I am 160kg (22 stone) and you may get away with less, best bet would be wait for the heeby geebies to start and take one (300mg) if that doesn't help after 20mins take another etc..this will find your needed dosage. The heeby geebies for me return after 3 hours at which point I take another dose. I would recommend not pre-empting the onset of the heeby geebies as towards the end they seem to become less frequent and severe.

    Pregabalin is expensive, its about £250 a box of 56 on a private prescription and may not quite be enough I was lucky living in the UK and having a awesome and very understanding GP (General Doctor) who prescribed what I needed under the UKs NHS... Your milage may vary.. I truly hope this helps some folks. Best of luck, its still not easy but the flu like symptoms are a lot easier to deal (and much reduced on pregabalin, just got a stuffy nose and aches and pains this time) with than the heeby geebies you get at the start, I was flipping between the oxy and the DHC 100mg of oxygen a day and 120mg of DHC (to stop the withdrawal from the DHC being) g a tri acting opiate or 400mg/day of DHC that way I got far better pain relief as my tolerence would drop for the oxy (a single acting opieate) a while taking the DHC and vise versa I am told that due to the poor quality of street drugs I was doing about a 10 bag a day.. )

    Anyhow I wish you all the very best breaking your dependence/addiction. Please post a comment if you have success with this procedure or have any questions.

    Best of luck


  • Posted

    That's great news to hear Phil. How are you getting on with it now?

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