Codeine Withdrawal Diary

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So I am a codeine addict. I have been addicted to codeine for around 3 years. Have managed to come off the drug for short spells here and there, longest being 3 months after a horrible withdrawal process. I tend to only come off the drug for a maximum of one month then end up craving and back addicted. I have decided enough is enough and need to come off.

No one at all knows of my addiction. I have a family with a young child who is my main reason for doing it. I would rather not tell my family about my addiction really due to embarrassment and failure.

Currently I have been taking codeine for around 6 months - usually 240mg per day however now seem to be taking around 300mg.

I have decided to keep a withdrawal diary which I will post to here daily for my own record and maybe even help others. I will be following a cold turkey withdrawal as using the tapered effect doesn't work for me. I find if I have codeine in the house I will take it and more than intended so need to get rid off all tablets to begin. Currently today I have had 300mg - last dose at 5pm. I normally have 60mg first thing in the morning so tomorrow morning shall be a challenge. I feel I am ready for this mentally.

Anyway of you got this far, thanks for reading.


2 likes, 28 replies

28 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Maureen


    So I had been taking codeine for around a year and half when I went cold turkey and managed to stay off codeine for about 5 months but unfortunately started taking again for short spells over the course of around 3 years. I have currently been taking codeine 10 tabs a day for around 3-4months I think and was planning on going cold turkey as I thought I didnt have the willpower to do a tappered plan. However I feel I am in better place and have more than halved my codeine dose over the course of a week. Currently taking 4 tabs (120mg) . Aiming to drop that to 2 tabs next week. I havent suffered any withdrawals doing this plan so far.

    When I have done the cold turkey - the first time was the worst time ever. Felt dreadful and literally couldnt move. Over the course of the years doing the cold turkey route hasn't been as dreadful but I haven't been on codeine for as long.

    I did use immoduim the first time as the diaarhoea was bad. I also took some vitamins and herbal sleep meds for the insomnia.

    I remember feeling flu symptoms and initially very tired. After that passed the headaches were intense and insomnia was bad. I also had bad diaarhoea which lasted around a month and lost loads of weight.

    hope thus helps and keep us updated on progress


    • Posted

      Dear Lee Thank you so much for your reply I am planning on starting cold turkey on Monday- i dont really FEAR the withdrawal symptoms that much but dread the return of my back pain. However i also take tramadol with no addicition problems- can take it or leave it but left it on my script so perhaps if i up my tramadol dose and just suffer the withdrawal from codeine You might ask why i want to withdraw from codeine as i need a pill for pain - well i HATE that a tiny white pill is in control of me- but i still have pain and always will- surgery not an option so looks like i will have to just replace my codeine with tramadol and hope it does not get the same grip on me My doc has told me to take 400mgs tram per day along with my codeine so i know i cannont go over the 400 mgs of tram as thats the ceiling dose Yes I am a NURSE - how's that for getting bite in the ass! So naturally i have to take a week of work and do this in total secret I HAVE NEVER ABUSED THE HOSPITAL DRUGS AS MY DOC HAS ALWAYS GIVEN ME ENOUGH so i had no need to sneak around for them so from that point of view i was fine but the human resouraces board may not look at it that way Will keep in touch and good luck with your withdrawal -d o you have pain or is it for the buzz. Why tramadol wont bother me is that it never ever has given me a buzz whereas i am one of the unlukcy folk that metabolizes codeine into morphine in the liver and do get that lift Let me know how you are doing and thanks so much Maureen

  • Posted

    hi LEE ,I admire your courage and determination and you know already the road ahead is not going to be an easy ride.

    Keep your child in focus but try to take things slowly .My neurologist consultant in LONDON and doctor both understand my determination to get off my strong addictive pain killers both cocodamol and pregablin both prescibed for severe chronic neuropathic path and familial hemoplegic migraine .Both acknowledge these drugs are highly addictive but here in the UK SADLY although now cbd.oil is legal for severe rare chronic pain illness thousands cannot get an NHS doctor to prescribe it even though the uk export s CBD OIL to EUROPE ! There is world wide proof cbdoil products can help relieve chronic pain better than most products and is not the happy chill out base leaf product but the refined oil .there is no high.

    advice given to me is to reduce the dosage l very slowly each time over several weeks at each stage ,hopefully reducing the horrible side effects of withdrawal which can be very dangerous health wise if done too quickly .I know how hard it is to come off very strong pain killers myself suffering the shakes , dizziness, nerve pain ,stomach cramps ,leg cramp spasms mood swings ,agitation anxiety and toilet troubles when ever i,m trying reducing both .Now under doctors advise and discussion I am reducing to half the size tablet fewer times a day only when absolutely needed for chronic pain ,reducing very slowly the times I take it a month .i aim to get it down from twelve to ten times a month then lower .i know its going to be long haul depression and very low moods can hit you if you reduce too fast .frustration can take hold and repressed anger at oneself can happen.I hope your doctor will help you .remember you are not alone there are thousands of chronic pain sufferers all over the world being legally given addictive drugs whilst less harmful less profit making drugs for the drug companies are being denied .I have offered myself for a trial in the BRITISH isles but no trials exist whilst we export the product across the globe .a very sad irony when very ill children are being denied cbd.oil here whilst businesses make huge profit exporting it .i believe several

    states in the US and in the EU including IRELAND not only legally prescribe the oil but also allow other products to be purchased and used openly .SURELY concern over peoples suffering should come before £ or $ .There has to be change of the thinking on the medical profession themselves as well as political redress .in the Uk millions of people are lobbying their members of parliament and their doctors .RESPONSIBILITY of prescribing very addictive non curative drugs whilst alternatives with curative properties exist is inhumane .

    the ££and$ mentality of cost does not help the sufferer .

    I SINCERELY wish you the very best in your efforts to improve your health away from addictive legally prescribed medication .I am thinking positively about the future but for all of those addicted to pain killers helping each other perhaps is the best medicine ahead .

  • Posted

    Hi Everyone

    Thought I would give you all an update of my progress. I think I was being naive to think I would be able to post daily.

    However, I am now 7 days free of codeine. The tapered regime didn’t work - when the codeine is there the temptation is too high. So no codeine in the house and just went for it.

    The withdrawals seem to be getting better everyday - headaches and insomnia are still there but improving.

    I feel mentally happier in myself now and feel no need for those tablets. Not saying I am completely there yet. The thought of being 7 days free of codeine used to give me palpitations just thinking about it and the withdrawals. But I seem to be over the worst of it I think.

    Think staying off them will be my biggest challenge as I always tend to venture down that route but I feel more mentally prepared. I have some very good quotes that I have stored when I feel unable.

    Anyway hope all is well with everyone.


  • Posted

    hi all.

    I have had sciatica for 20+ yrs now and been on all sorts of meds. tramadol ibuprofen naproxen co dydramol but the buzz that i receive with cocodamol is different. I have managed to control my pain with massages or acupuncture but a road accident last year has meant my pain is always there now. Every month even a slight bending over to the wrong side and it triggers it. I have previously asked my GP not to give me co-codamol ever but since the accident another gp has prescribed it and it has been bliss. problem is i take 8-10 30/500mg a day. i really want to stop but am to scared to tell my family about my problem. i have two children under 10 and don't like it when i feel agitated or in pain so end up taking the tablets again. I'm not in pain but just like the feeling i get from them.

  • Posted

    Lee Maureen here Thank you so much for your post. My doseage would be similar maybe a bit more but i am in a quandry. I have several mashed discs in my spine L2,3,4 and even steriod injections dont cure the pain but darned co codamol does so as well as the buzz it also cures the pain for about 6 hours None the less i am going to try to cold turkey too I have done this before but done the exact same thing that you did A journal of your withdrawal would be great as i can follow your progress and then start my own withdrawal Godd luck in your attempt and may we be buddies in 'withdrawal' No tapering for me either - cannont do it Maureen

  • Posted

    Lee Just another small thing- last year i had a good spell of being back pain - not free- but bearable and i did cold turkey it and got off it for THREE months- i was living a normal life again! Then of course the pain returned and in my stupidity i thought i could monitor my intake after being free for three months but no as soon as i took my first few tabs i was back to10-12 per day I have the strangest routine i must take the morning, noon and evening does -about 5pm and then i dont even think of it UNTIL about 7am the next am so how come i can last 12 hours pain free and craving free for that long- i have no urge to use these in the evening as i dont need a burst of energy in the evening hours and it would be only if i had to go out - i sometimes do speaker for a vol group of a self help nature and then i would pop a pill or two for moral support By the way my back injury was caused by years of nursing- i am an RN and like so many nurses neglected to use the hoist as often as i should have and used to slide some heavy patients up the bed and in and out etc thus straining and then causing perm spinal damage, then i was 'breaking' a young colt (pony) and got thrown from a height and fractured a bone at the waist level in my back- still lumber region though so all lifting was gone so i lost a career that i loved to bits in the process - not that the why's or wherefor's of the reason we use or misuse the drug really matters but its the NEED to have that wee white pill in our purse or bag or in the house or wherever. Lee just an extra bit of history. How is your withdrawal going? I have not started mine yet as i hope to get some THC before i start to deal with the pain before i tackle the addiction Keep in touch Maureen

  • Posted

    Hey Maureen

    Today I am 2 weeks free from any codeine and I feel great. I don’t even think about the tablets anymore. I was the exact same and whenever I needed a wee bit confidence I would take some pills to give me that boost and buzz. I think my story is very similar to yours in a lot of ways. Also I did not need any codeine after 3pm and could last til 9am the next morning. Very strange.

    I have downloaded a good app called “I am Sober” which is helpful in monitoring progress etc. Might be a good shout for anyone.

    I will definitely write a wee diary of my withdrawals and symptoms when I have a bit more time. Definitely want to help anyone in anyway I can.

    I have to say I feel in a much better place than I have in previous withdrawals.

    However I have been suffering from extensive headaches like migraines since stopping codeine. And been taking paracetamol and ibuprofen which is not helping it at all. I decided to go to my pharmacist to see if I could get anything for migraines and they offered me Co-codamol. Could you believe it?! A previous me would have just gave up and took them. Hoping everyday the headaches get better.


    • Posted

      Lee Hi again. Its Maureen. May i say in a loud voice 'Well Done You' - your progress is great! Sometimes fellow sufferers are still shaking after two weeks and here's you doing so well! If you get a minute or two now and then could you let me know how its going for you. Can you just 'remind me' what the first 72 hours of NO CODEINE is like? I actually forget how bad or good (lol) my last withdrawal was! I share my home with my husband, brother and FOUR dogs and while they know i have serious pain issues and take pain pills they do not have a lot of medical knowledge regarding narcotic addiction and i would prefer to leave it that way BUT if i am to be a shivering flu like wreck for some days i better start showing some flu like signs before i pop that LAST pill- oh the deception we have to go to to try to get of these cursed pills! Someone said Immodium and Benedryl are good stand by's, the immodium is a type of narcotic which does not cross the brain barrier but still stems the bad effects of the withdrawal without any cravings and the anti histimine is to help sleep. I have read of some other OTC things that help but some folk get ready for this like a military operation and i suppose it is! Its ok for me to be trite and chirpy to night as i have had my 10 pills to day (not together) 4x4x2 and i am ok till about 8am. So i have not decided yet which week i am starting as i had some OBGYN surgery last week and have stitches and am sore so maybe give it a wee bit longer I am not stalling for time, just trying to pick the best time in the hope to succed. Do you find you have extra energy now you are of them? Are your moods any different? Your migraines are a problem as co codamol is about all that ever worked for me as i suffer them too, although you can get a perscription drug -imagram its called - non narcotic which is good Good Lord a severe migraine would drive you to anything for relief so resist the opiates at all costs Once again you are doing so well Try to keep in touch I check my mail every day Thanks so much Maureen

  • Posted

    Hi Lee How are things? Still on the good path i assume I do so admire you and envy you too. I HAD soberity of these dammed things for months and then lapsed- i am going to come clean to my friend/doctor and tell him i am over using them b? I would so so be agreeable to take it Hope to day is good for you Maureen

    • Posted

      Hey Maureen

      Yes all good here. All withdrawals have gone and don't even think about the tablets anymore whereas before it was the first thing I thought about.

      When I was taking them I was the same and wishing I wasn't taking them. Any pain or illness I had I kept thinking it was the side effects of codeine on my body.

      I just keep reminding myself that I have been here before and relapsed. This is only the second time iv went through a major withdrawal process. The first time I stayed off them for 3 months. So I'm still just taking every day at a time.

      You can do this. I just kept thinking its a small chunk of your life (3 weeks for me) to get off them then to have the rest of your life not thinking about them or relying on them.


  • Posted

    Lee I'm from Ireland by the way- I lived in your great country for 11 years until 2011 and due to husbands health issues we had to come home I so LOVED THE USA

    GREAT to hear of your continuted soberity Here AGAIN is our similar patterns- either last year or the end of the year before i cold turkeyed this monster and stayed off for three months. Then (get the warped thinking) i took a severe migraine and having of course kept some pills i took TWO only- bang back to 12 a day like a shot The only reason i am delaying starting to cold turkey is this darned sore back- its disc damaged sore so pretty sore but am going to try THC if i can get the proper stuff I find now my routine of taking these dammed pills are so much a part of my life i take them without thinking even! I am sure i haave had days when i have popped an extra four and not even noticed Keep in touch if you dont mind and BE SO CAREFUL- u have done so well- when i was off i had no empathy for anyone- i did not believe in SLIPS etc- when your off its for life RIGHT that was my upper crust attitude well how the mighty have fallen Be safe and sober and again GOOD FOR YOU Mo

  • Posted

    hi lee just came across your story and would like to hear how you are getting on, i was also in the same situation as you a few years ago and i know how hard it is to talk to someone and tell them you are addicted to codeine.

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