Seriously addicted to codeine - please help

Posted , 13 users are following.

I need help, this is the first time I've ever written this out.

I am addicted to codeine. My secret, the one I've kept for nearly ten years. I've had a repeat prescription of co-codamol 224 which I get every 3 weeks and then I buy the otc codeine if and when I run out.

On Wednesday I went to my doctors and for the first time he asked me about my prescription and why was I taking it (initially for my arm a long long time ago) he said that I should go on tramadol instead and I insisted that I had to stay on co-codamol. He didn't push it even tho inside I wanted him to push it

.. When is it going to end? I've even tried cutting it down by purchasing those weekly pill tubs and putting them in there so I can see how many I have left. Without them I am anxious and stressed and I can't fuction in my life. But they are the evil in my life and I don't know how to go about stopping it.

What is easiest? Going cold Turkey? Cutting them down? I really need advice.

I know people will say go back to the doctors but I really don't want too, I'm too ashamed I just want to sort this out on my own. Thank you for anyone who reads this

2 likes, 61 replies

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61 Replies

  • Posted

    There is no need to feel ashamed. Addiction can get the best of us
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    • Posted

      I can't go back to my doctors as I work for the NHS and I can't have it on my record that I have an addiction it just isn't possible. It's not even a thought to tell him, seriously if I could I would have done it by now, I need to find out what are the best ways to do it on my own, thanks
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    • Posted

      I know this might sound a scary idea but I had no real support from my doctor and so I went to the local drugs and alcohol team and they have been brilliant - one of the questions they ask is "Will you allow us to talk to your doctor?", I don't think they are allowed to pass on any details, confidential. They have really helped me a lot with both support and relevant medication - Lofexidine is my friend, it took all the withdrawal away. They can also sort out all the other substitutes for you - worth having a chat on the phone.

      Services are different for each area but you can look up your local services here:

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    • Posted

      What happens if you cut down and it gets to be too much? Withdrawal can cause really bad feelings

      What happens if you accidentally overdose etc? The doctor wouldn't have known and if someone chased up what happened, they could go after the doctor for not monitoring the painkillers properly leading to death. (Even if the doctor was unaware)

      Honestly, to get off of it. You need the doctor to not be able to write you more scripts when you run out every time.

      Honestly, I don't mean to be rude but I think these doctors will notice. Pain medication is supposed to be temporary. A doctor can refer you to a psychologist/psychiatrist if you want to talk anonymously about it. They can't say anything to anyone, unless you are at serious risk for self harm or suicide.

      Not sure where you are, but where I am (Australia) it's free.

      Hopefully you can get through this.

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    • Posted

      I understand but my doctor does know, hes been prescribing me 224 pills every 3 weeks and doesn't care. Thanks in advance but if something happened to me that's down to me noone else. I'm not going to the doctors and I won't think about the idea I just want to hear from people who have done different ideas
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    • Posted

      Are you sure he knows? He could just think you're in extreme pain. So he keeps prescribing it.

      If you don't tell a doctor you're struggling with a medication, it will be difficult to get help properly. You shouldn't be ashamed of painkiller addiction.

      I'm on trammadol and I take 300 mgs a day, plus panadol osteo 3 times a day (665mgs per tablet- x2 tabs). Trammadol has actually starting not working as well for me and I felt like I had an addiction to it, and went to a doctor. I tried lowering it, didn't help. Tried pain patches, put me to sleep.

      I was finally prescribed panadol osteo and it's helping, I hope to lower the trammadol down so I'm not taking so much.

      But if I didn't talk to the doctor, I would be stuck feeling in pain (with withdrawal symptoms) and like I had no-one to talk to. I'm making steps towards getting off of it. It may take a bit though.

      That's what they are there for, to help. They can keep it private if you want (patient confidentiality) and refer you to the right services. Please don't give up on the idea of seeing a doctor. They are the only people that can give you accurate medical advice. (Based on your history, medication etc). They can monitor your progress as well and offer ideas.

      Are you actually in pain at all? From the arm? Or is it more of a addiction thing?

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    • Posted

      224 Tablets every 3/52?!! your Doctor needs reporting for misconduct!

      I really hope you find some help.

      What is your dosage? If you would like my email address please let me know (x NHS staff) :-)

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    • Posted

      Oly I clicked on your link and I can't actually believe it but I rang one of the places local to me today and have an appointment on Friday just to talk

      The woman on the phone said that I may need to go on a substitute either subutex methadone. Can I ask the drug that you are taking can you still drive? Thanks so much for your reply

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    • Posted

      Hi gavin, yes I get prescribed 224 tablets every 3 weeks. I then buy nurofen, the cheap co-codamol and solphadine depending on where I am. Yes I would like your email address is there a dm system on here?
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    • Posted

      Way to go, nice work! ... and glad to be of service. Yes you can drive whilst on Lofexidine, so long as you are not drowsy - it's one of the side effects, particularly if your dose is a bit heavy for you. I'm driving happily on it in my second week - once I went down from 4 tablets 3xday to 3 tablets I stopped falling asleep all the time and my blood pressure is far better.

      They will always say you might need to go on a substitute - depends if you classify yourself as addicted or just physically dependent. I know i'm addicted to Nicotene - haven't smoked in 8 months but I still use every Nicotene product going. I know I'm not addicted to Morphine/MST as I hate the stuff! I'm saying this as they don't get many people coming in who are just physically dependent so it's worth thinking about in advance.

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    • Posted

      thank you so so much for replying to me oly because I clicked on your link and went to my local drug centre and have seen the doctor today, the whole process has taken about one week. We talked for two hours about me going on methadone or subutex and he believes I should go on meth.

      He called my doctor and he said I could either do it via them or the doctors. He was concerned I was not a "hard addict" and didn't want me sitting in the waiting room but I said that they have shown more care and help than my doctor who got me in this mess in the first place.

      So I left with a prescription of methadone for the next 3 days. I am taking 30mg each day and go back on Monday.

      I have to continue taking my codeine and write down how many I am taking too.

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  • Posted

    Go and see your doctor don't try cutting down on your own. Stay away from tramadol and other opiates it will make everything ten times you I was ashamed of my problems but belive me you have made the first step now so ho see your doctor. Hope u get well soon
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  • Posted

    Hi Hopefirst

    You and I are in exactly the same position - I WAS addicted to codeine and tramadol but I have been clean for 7 days.

    I would of never thought I would say that! i too work for the NHS and totally get your dilema.

    I tried my local drug and alcohol centre - they said they would taper me off and if that didn't work send me to rehad BUT it would go on my NHS records and may come up when you try for a mortgage etc

    i didnt want it on my record.  So I started looking in to private rehab - if you have the money do this - for a really luxury place where you will get all the therapy you need it was about 5k and they could do it in 14 days (I was going to take annual leave I already had it booked for that reason)

    Then I also found out if you see a PRIVATE psychitrist they can help you too and not out it on your records.

    Cutting down yourself if you have the will power is a really good option.  Can someone help you? Lock them away and give you a certain amout a day? If you cut down it shouldnt be too painful at all.  But you will miss the high so you need NA meetings or therapy on top.  I highly recommend NA - you will meet a ton of people who want to help you  - from builders to doctors to accountants.  I will stop you feeling ashamed.

    I have also told my GP I thought I may be dependant and would he please stop prescribing me opiates and give me something else for my pain.  I went back today and said I was feeling awful (I had to go about something else).  I said I thought it could be the change in pain medication.  He agreed.  He said if I hadnt already come so far he would of helped me.  so dont worry so much about GP's - always talk about being dependant not addicted - there is a big difference todoctors.

    Then you have to work out why you needed them.  Me, I have a lot of issues, mostly around the death of my mum.  I have been referred for CBT on the NHS and in the meantime I am paying  £40 pound a week for some therapy - this is an important part!! Also tell someone you trust - you need support.

    Lastly I went through 48 hours of hell - I got rid of all my tablets.  Then I was switched to subutex (I am not advising this, it was a care plan written for me only - seek help youeself if you choose this method) - only needed 4mg.  Have now cut down to 3mg and intend to be off it all in a couple of weeks - even though apperently the last bits the worse to come off. 

    I know tons of people who have come off it from cutting down and getting therapy/going to meetings - do it you woill feel so much better.

    If you need advice or support ask anytime.

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    • Posted

      Sue please can you tell me how you are feeling on subutex? I actually took the step and rang a drug clinic today and have an appointment on Friday. They said they will only tell my doctors if they end up prescribing me something. I'm so scared but also I can't wait for Friday. But I am not sure I can live without codeine? It's just so ridiculous how I've ended up like this but that Is the power of this addiction isn't it? Thanks very much for your reply
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    • Posted

      I cannot believe you are taking that many with paracetamol.  I don't mean to scare you but you surely will end up doing serious damage to your liver.

      No-one will say it is easy (or they would be lying).  I levelled off on 4mg of sub - but they will tell you you MUST do about 48 hours on nothing first - you NEED to bein withdrawals BEFORE you take the subutex - no matter how bad you feel.   That wasnt very nice but you know the end is never far away.

      First couple of days I felt okay, the 4mg sub took all the physical symptoms away but be prepared that you will no longer have a codiene buzz to deal with your emotions/issues etc.  You feel vunerable and very sensitive.

      I am trying to drop 0.2 every 2 days.  Somedays are okay some days I feel crap - today I am not out of pj's.  I have been signed off work but I am due to go back to work monday - not sure if it will be a good distraction or I will be tired and bursting in to tears!!

      But it is manageable.  I am in very little physical pain and the mind stuff depends why you were taking it.

      5 years ago my mum died, I  hid that behind pills, I have another 3 or 4 traumas since - none of these I have actually dealt with and now is the time.  I was using the pills so I didnt have to feel emotions.  I not have a counselor and CBT set up to try and get through this the hard way but the right way.  I probably sound more positive than I feel.  My mum was my best friend.

      I would also use codeine for confidence - it would make me energetic, chatty - I could talk in board meetings, I wasnt shy anymore.  That does scare me - but unless I want to be a slave to this drug then I have to get on with it.  It is the addict in you that is now saying 'you can't live without them'.  Of course you can.  You may have to make some adjustments but from what I have heard although you start to feel the lows you also feel the highs properly.

      I have a financial incentive too - I was spending a lot on them.

      Plus I was noticing how unreliable, often late and often forget things - thats not the type of person I was it was the pills

      People would say they had told me something and I would have no memory at all!

      Listen email me (not sure if you can privately) i'll be a step ahead so i should be able to tell you what is coming.

      Even right now I am thinking how will i live without them - but I will.

      I may also get to some NA meetings, as soon as I am out of these pj's!!

      Sue x


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    • Posted

      Hi sue thank you so much for your advice, I've seen the drugs team today and was prescribed methadone. He said it was due to the high doses I was taking of codeine and believed this was the better option. I'm still really scared but took 15mg today and that increases tomorrow. I don't know what the future holds but I am more hopeful than I was. If anyone would like to email me, my email is ________

      Emis Moderator comment: I have removed the email address as we do not publish these in the forums. If users wish to exchange contact details please use the Private Message service.

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