Codeine withdrawal symptoms

Posted , 46 users are following.

So to cut a long story short I have been addicted to codeine for over one year. I knew I had a problem but was unable to reduce my intake so decided enough was enough and decided to go cold turkey. I was taking at least 240mg per day. I am now 10 days since last codeine. I'm not going to lie and say it was easy - it was the worst week of my life but the past couple days have been a lot easier and feel so much better and normal again. My only symptoms I am having now is diarrheoa - I have had diarrheoa at least once a day for 10 days and have lost quite a bit weight. How long does the diarrheoa last?! I have bought Imodium but don't want to start messing about with them but feel I might need to. Another problem I am having is sleep - falling asleep okay at nights but wakening up in the middle of the night and struggling to get back to sleep. I have started taking vitamins to start look after myself a bit better and hopefully help with this but any advise would be appreciated. Thank you.

4 likes, 476 replies

476 Replies

  • Edited

    Hi Lee,

    I would say a couple more days of diorhea. Mine lasted about 8 days but can vary. Best thing to do now is try to exercise a little and eat healthy. Healthy body healthy mind and all that. I took Imodium for a couple days and then stopped when things toughened up haha.

    The sleep can be a problem, again mine lasted about 2 weeks before I started having my 8 hours again so hopefully not too long though. Just do things to tire you out. Lastly well done! You've managed to do something a lot of people can't and it's good that you are reminding yourself how much better you feel from when you first started....


    • Posted

      Thanks very much for replying. Hoping it won't take too much longer for both diarrheoa and sleepless nights to settle.

      I would be lying if I said I didn't get cravings every now and again but I couldn't physically go through the pain of withdrawals again so hopefully they will pass with time.

    • Edited


      Re the diarrhoea.This is to be expected when withdrawing from this toxic substance. Immodium However you need tosee adbvic on the best type of magnesium to take bcause magnesium citrate causes diarrhoea.

      ​I would avoid ready processedfoods and eat fresh veg and fruit, avoid artificial sweeteners as they cause diarrhoea , for example sorbitol.

      reExercise is important to stimulate the productionof endorphins thatopiates/codeine have  suppressed.

      Ignoreany cravings it is the bodys way of crying out for more poison.Youcontrol thedrug not vice versa.

      You can do it.

      I have found that having suffered the agony of withdrawal that even the tiniest dose of codeine/opiate is sufficient to start the whole agonising side effects then withdrawal off again.

      It  is simply not worth it.

      Get yourlife back and put this stuff where itbelongs, down the toilet.

      Sorry for the rant but this drug according to my neurologist and other drs should be banned.

    • Posted

      Lee I do not know what went wrong with my reply a whole chunk has disappeared!

      I was prescribed co codamol then codeine alone for a dislocated shoulder. Fortunately I never craved this drug but whether you do or not does not alter the very realdangerous prospect of suffering the many side effectsof this drug.

      Codeine is highly addictive taking only three days tobecome addicted.


      Personally I was unable to take it due to it beng contraindicated in my case.

      I was advisd by my pharmacist to keep well hydrated and to avoid spicy foods and drinks.

      Drinking lots of water helps to flush this toxic substance out of your body.


      ?Magnesim helps with the muscle spasms attached to withdrawal from opiates/codeine/tramadol.

      One can buy it in many forms oral, oil or flakes for a magnesium soak/bath.

      My dr said that it is counter productive to take drugs to help with withdrawal as then one has to taper off the drugs prescribed to help withdrawal.

      I abruptly stopped cobcodamol and codeine on medical advice despite only taking 3 to 4 tablets of codeine a week.

      Ten days later started to improve.

      I would never touch this stuff again as long as live.

      One can choose whether to discontinue this 'drug' abruptly or to taper.

      I chose to discontinue it abruptly.

      It is over six months since I last took codeine and even then it was a one off dose of 15 mgms. I started to feel verydepressed within an hour or so it did not even relieve my painful knee and caused a gastric upset as well.

      Sorry to be pushy but I do not want anyone else to suffer like I did.


    • Posted

      Thanks for you reply.

      Yeh I can't believe how better I feel both physically and mentally. I initially thought that the drug was giving me a "buzz" making me feel happy but I honestly have never felt better. Me and my partner used to fall out quite a bit because of my mood swings and constant tiredness, but I can honestly say we have never been better now. I am so happy.

      I will never touch this drug again. I think if I touch it again it will just be disasterous. Just hoping the last of the withdrawal symptoms begin to ease.

      Well done for you being off the drug for 6 months. I can't believe how horrible a drug it is.

      I haven't touched any Imodium yet - il see how I go tomorrow but would rather just ride it out. Iv came this far...

    • Edited

      Hi again

      Well done.

      I agree with you.

      I am living proof that there is a life after codeine.



  • Edited

    Hi Lee 

    I went off codeine before Christmas cold turkey ,everything went much the same as you but please dont make the mistake of taking one here and there . I was taken one only as a once off but you end up but on them before you no it .You can be good and go on with your cold turkey ,off them now again but harder this time .


    • Posted

      I agree teresa.That one off dose of 15 mgms was terrible  for some reason even a tiny dose can cause severe signs and symptoms .

      ​Watch out for codeine in Migraleve , Neurophen plus .

      Never again.

  • Posted

    Hi Lee!

    I am currently on day 7 coming off the Cocodamol 30/500 4x a day...was taking for 5 years for back pain had a slipped disc.. I just wanted to know how you're getting along 😊

    I am starting to feel better as each day goes by. I do have a lot of pain in between my left shoulder blade but other then that a minor headache here or there.

    Good luck

    • Posted

      Hi Zarhas.

      I am feeling pretty good. The diarrheoa stopped after about 2 weeks and think my insomnia has settled. I'm keeping really busy making sure I'm tired when going to bed. When I was on cocodamol I was going to bed early because I was so tired and when I stopped the cocodamol I kept going to bed at the same time when I wasn't as tired.

      I do still get cravings and had a testing moment when I found some cocodamol but I chucked them in the bin. I have been feeling great not taking them.

      I keep thinking about the first 6 days or so of the withdrawals and can't bear to go through that again.

      Well done for getting to day 7. Think that's the hardest part. Good luck. X

    • Posted

      Hi Lee

      Thank you so much your post has really helped me, I can't believe how this drug had made me feel so dopy for so many years!! After day 8 I have stopped counting because I've had a burst of energy come from nowhere, I remember feeling very sleepy and tired before almost all the time, I would wake up only wanting to get back to sleep.. I can't believe how the doctors don't warn us about these drugs and just prescribe them so easily.

      I feel like getting together with all the people who have come off this drug and raise awareness of it's long time dangers so others don't have to suffer the way we did..

      How are you feeling? I know I am on top of the world!! 😊😊

      Take care and thank you 😊

    • Posted

      Yeh im feeling great. Like yourself I have stopped counting days as feel fab.

      It is a horrible drug as people don't know how bad it can affect you. Not enough information or education about it I don't think.

      Whenever I think about codeine, as for so long I was always planning when to take my next dose, I always have a memory of when I was at my lowest during the withdrawals and couldn't possible go through that again.

      I just hope other people get the help they need and hopefully get off the medication. With people reading my experiences helps just one person I feel good about that and am happy to help and answer any questions 😊

    • Posted

      Well done lee

      i'm only on day two so the symptoms are quite bad as I was taking atleast 32 nurofen plus a day but I know things have to get bad before they get good.

      It's good to hear that are people who have managed to beat this.

      I remain hopeful :-)


    • Posted

      Hey Paul

      I know it's difficult but keep fighting the withdrawals. The first week I would say was the worst and I'm afraid it does get worst before it gets better. I am now nearly one month clean and have never felt better and wish I had done this sooner.

      You will feel like crap and sometimes you will actually struggle to get through some days. I remember lying on the couch for a couple days unable to move due to weakness and fatigue. But just remember it gets better. Drink pleanty of water and keep busy. I took some vitamins too to help with withdrawals. I never started until later due to now being aware of taking vitamins to help but might be worth a try. My diarrheoa lasted about 2 weeks and the sleepless nights were bad too but again it passes.

      Now that I am not taking the drug anymore I do get the odd little withdrawal for a split second I would like one but it usually passes and it doesn't take me long to remember the whole withdrawal process. It's all very clear in my mind.

      Good luck and if you need any questions answered or advice I'm here.


    • Posted

      Hi lee,

      Cheers for replying

      I've tried so many times and failed And even went to rehab but relapsed but I've never been so adamant about quitting these tablets for good.

      They have totally taken over my life and became all I cared about not to mention the financial side.

      I'm lucky to have a supportive family who help as much as they can but it's ultimately something that I have to do.

      I guess I've taken them as some kind of crutch for life as a way of getting through the day or difficult situations.

      You never fully realise the extent of just how bad they control and change you until your free of them.

      I am not one for talking about my problems but I have joined this forum and found people's support and stories really encouraging.

      I'm only on The second day but I already feel better in my mind if that makes sense.

      I can deal with the diarrhoea etc but it's the rest less legs and insomnia that always gets me that's the problem.

      I've read that Benadryl helps and someone also said magnesium so I'm going to try those and see how I go



    • Posted

      Hi all, I feel for you all. I quit tonight having being refused brufen and codeine from a chemist. Already nervous as I've been through withdrawal 3+ times now.

      Magnesium i will definitely try as the RLS is the worst symptom for me, and not looking forward to the other symptoms!

      There used to be a support website called codeinefree and gutted it's no longer active. Will stick around here and see what happens. Good luck all!

    • Posted

      Hi Ian

      I can sympathise with you there mate I am known in most chemists in my area it became so embarrassing being turned away or talked about by the staff.


    • Posted

      Hi all,

      I'm three days clean and it's been hell and it's made me feel quite emotional.

      I feel as though the real me was lost for all theses years and now although I'm not sleeping ,have restless legs,headache,diarrhoea and anxiety I feel more alive then I have in a while.

      I just hope to god I can stay clean and finally rid myself of this addiction.

      I am here if anyone just wants someone to talk with or discuss tips for relief.Im working full time right now and can't afford to take time off so

      It's been difficult to try and hide my symptoms while at work but I'm hoping I'll start to improve soon.

      My doctor has been useless so I've just had to find what help I can online.

      Hope everyone going through this can see that all this pain and illness is worth going through so we can get our lives back

      Paul 😊

    • Posted

      24 hours in and my skin is crawling ha ha. I have a desk job too so I must look quite fidgity! Must remember why I'm doing this... keep it up everyone!

    • Posted

      Hi Ian ,

      Well done mate the 24 hour is the hardest and there's always so much temptation.

      I only blame myself for this but I wish to god they would put these on prescription ONLY!

      Keep it up mate !!


    • Posted

      I've been thinking the same but when they do they'll be a lot of twitchy people in the country as I do think it is THE silent addiction!

    • Posted

      lol that's very true!

      I had a failed stint in rehab and they actually treat codine addiction just the same as heroin.

      I wish that I knew then what I know now and how dangerous these little tablets are.

      How many were you taking then ? I was between one and two

      Boxes of nurofen plus daily and dreaded being frequently told "we've noticed you've been buying a lot of these"

      If I hadn't got them for the morning or to get me through shifts at work then I'd be panicking and although I'm still in the early stages of detox I feel kind of calm knowing that I didn't have to worry where I'd get my next box from.

      I'd even do a chemist run and stock up. Even go out the area where I wasn't known.

      I can't believe what i had become and the lengths I'd go to. The real joke is that they stopped giving me the "buzz" and really just ended up making me feel lethargic and nauseous most of the time.

    • Posted

      Oh nowhere near that many. 6 tablets a day normally, so a pack every 5 days, but i think they're getting quite hot in the city where i work, and i think i got caught out as the staff work in other branches! Although my withdrawal symptoms I'm sure won't be as bad as yours, they're bad enough! Been addicted for 18 years i guess, and have gone CT three or four times, something will always bring me back, a particularly bad back, or last time a trapped nerve after 5 months of being clean. Although the pain didn't go away, it made me care less! Just want to be rid of it. As you say though, the docs don't seem to care, nor the chemists.

    • Posted

      I only buy 1-2 boxes a week but I would rotate ID's, so if I used my licence last time, I would use my passport the next and I thought about getting an 18+ card to use as well but I haven't had any problems so I didn't bother.

    • Posted

      I would appreciate any advice.  6 days cold turkey and constant diarrhoea.  Driving me mad!!!

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