So scared of my codeine addiction

Posted , 5 users are following.

I am a 34 year old mother of 4. I have been addicted to codeine for about 5 years, gradually taking more and more over the years.

I was first prescribed it for backache.

My addiction has got totally out of hand. I manage to get 200 30mg codeine phosphate tablets every 4 weeks off my GP. I also get other people to get me them too. I buy them off the Internet and I buy codeine linctus syrup off the internet too.

I currently take 4 tablets (120mg) every 3 hours throughout the day. I am usually asleep by 11pm and il wake at about 7am and have my first dose of the day.

After lots of research, I can't find anyone who takes as much as I do which is terrifying. I need to stop this. I know I need to speak to my GP but I am absolutely terrified that social services will become involved as I am a parent, even though there is absolutely no cause for concern regarding my children.

Please, can anyone give me any advice.

Thanks in advance!

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  • Posted

    Oh sweetie, firstly you have made the first step by recognising you have this addiction, I totally understand your situation, I was a codiene addict for 14 years , originally prescribed for backache/ fibromyalgia. I used to get 300 tablets from gp each month of 30/500 solpadol so codiene/paracetamol combined and I would use all 300 in 2 weeks and would then obtain further supplies off friends and family who were also using them by saying I just needed a few to get me through to my next script as well as buying all types of codiene products available over the counter from various pharmacies, when you develop this dependency you become very clever at obtaining what your body craves in some ways deceptively but it's controlling us , don't forget that because at this point in our dependency we have lost all control of our emotions and ability to know right from wrong. I eventually knew I needed to address this as was getting worse and worse and was giving me no pain relief at all, in fact I think the pain was getting worse due to the medication overuse??? I went to my gp and broke down, that was the start of what was going to be a new me!!! I then admitted to my family and work and already I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, so this is when the hard work began the getting off it!!!! Instead of slowly withdrawing I knew this wasn't an option as I was massively over using up to 30 tablets a day if not more, and because I knew even with gp decreasing my dosage that wouldn't help as I could still purchase other ways as I had been, I decided with the support of gp friends and family I would go cold turkey!!!! So that was the start of my journey, it's up to you how you start your journey??? But first open up to gp and you will then find all your decisions will follow naturally to support your journey. You will not lose your children darling as through all this I'm sure you've never neglected them or put your needs first as a mother of four I always put my children needs first!!!!! Anyway it's been 17 weeks today since my first day of withdrawal and it's been tough but I won't ever look back now and I am so proud of myself as are my support network around me, I wish you all the best sweetie, you have a real inner strength it's just refinding it so you can beat this!!!!!

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    • Posted

      Well done panners!!! I've just seen your post after I replied to Sara! Well done!!!!! I'm on day two of cold turkey and it's hell!!! Just crying I don't know what to do with myself!!! I'm so cold sweating bad stomach aching .......... Does it ever get better?! Will I ever feel normal again xx

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much dash, yes darling it does get better and you hang in there, I found day 1 of cold turkey was tolerable and then day 2-4 were absolute he'll like you say and are experiencing and then day 5 seemed to calm a little and each day that passes it gets less distressfull and then it's just fighting the temptation of a habit you have had for a long year which then causes anxiety and agitation, but I just kept thinking I've not just gone through the past few days of he'll to go back to my old ways. Each day that passed I'd think of the bad withdrawal and how proud I was of myself for doing it and that got me through, it takes 22 days for our brains to finally accept and realise it's no longer getting what it's used to and after then it should get a lot easier. You keep it up darling, I promise you the hell is worth it as my God my life is so different again now, I've finally found the real me now, I'm in control of my life now and not that stuff. Keep in touch and my thoughts and prayers are with you xx

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    • Posted

      Hi dash, I just wanted to also let you know to help you through the symptoms and build your strength and fight fatigue and help with the repair of any internal damage to organs due to medication overuse, porridge and plenty of it !!!!! I was advised by my pharmacy colleague to eat porridge for all these reasons so I did and lots of it, I stocked up on the pots that you just add water too and if you have an Aldi or b and m near you they are very cheap and just as good as brand names and I still eat lots now along with taking b12 vitamin daily and multivitamins and iron and plenty of fruit all will help now and in the long term in your rehabilitation to discover your true self again darling xxxx
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    • Posted

      Hi drew, I am so glad my replies to other members have helped you with questions and concerns, the anxiety was a big issue for me after the initial withdrawal symptoms, I still have to say I still suffer it now but very minimal now and it's been 4 months, mostly when going out on my own I feel the anxiety of shakey hands and flushing and sometimes stuttering and I can't explain the reason for this as I no longer crave and I can trust myself not to feel the urge to bypass a pharmacy and buy. I can feel the onset of it coming on so I try to control it by sitting and just taking deep breaths and thinking of something nice or looking at family pics as happy memories, it's all about control drew and I now have that power back so I make sure I use it to control the anxiety rather than it control me xxx

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Panners. That is very encouraging. I lived ok without it before and I hope I can again one day. I do believe others will find these posts helpful. Thanks again for taking the trouble to reply. Drew x
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  • Posted

    Hi Sara. Thanks for your message. I am very similar. I took Nurofen Plus originally for shoulder pain and my intake escalated quickly. I have taken codeine phosphate on its own but I find it makes me so drowsy. When I take it in painkillers, it seems to give me the lift I need but, within a few hours, I feel horrible (sick and aching) so I have to top-up again to function. It's a vicious circle. Every day is a nightmare trying to get the supply I need. Like you, I have bought CP on-line which is expensive. I have tried to cut down but this proved difficult because I was taking them so erraticly. You have made an important first step. You have admitted that you have a problem and want to deal with this. One thing that could help you is that your dose is quite structured. You seem to take a set amount at regular intervals. You may find it easier to cut down than someone like me who is taking different amounts at different times, depending on how I feel. I don't know what country you live in but I have sought help from a Drug Rehab charity and everything is confidential. If you could talk to a trusted professional who could help develop you a schedule to cut down, that would be one way. Cold turkey is possible but it depends on what you could cope with. There are lots of good posts here where people have discussed both ways of quitting. There is hope. Kind regards. Drew

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  • Posted

    Hi everyone,

    Firstly, thanks for your replies. It's a great help to me.

    And secondly, well done to you both for getting help with this horrible, horrible thing.

    I am so scared to see my GP and confess what I'm doing. I'm scared of the professional type of people who may or may not become involved with it all. I don't want to have to go through that.

    I've been reading up on going cold turkey and it sounds horrendous. I know that I'll be able to cope with the majority of withdrawal symptoms, but there's one that I've seen popping up several times which absolutely terrified me. It says you can have seizures. Has this happened to anyone? I'm so so scared of this happening to me.

    Anyway, I have made a start on reducing my intake. I've taken it down to 3 tablets every 4 hours instead of 4 tablets every 3 hours. This is quite a big change for me, but I feel ok so far, although this is only day 1!

    So I'm just gonna try the method of gradually tapering off them. I think this is probably best for me. I'm going to see how it goes, and I will keep updating on here, as I think il get great support here.

    Thanks again :-)

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    • Posted

      Good luck Sara. Because your original intake seems to be quite structured, you should be able to reduce gradually. What I found helpful was to have it written out, like a plan for the coming days/weeks. This gives you targets to aim for. I don't know about seizures but I'm sure someone here can comment. Keep in mind how beautiful life could be if you do this. Good luck again x

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  • Posted

    Thanks Drew!

    That's really encouraging and I'm going to give that a try, and write out a plan. Thanks for the idea x

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    • Posted

      Dear sara, the withdrawal is horrible as you have read but thankfully a seizure was not a symptom I suffered, what you are doing sounds good but as long as you are still getting scripts from gp the temptation will always be there so I agree with dash that you should go to gp and get his support with reducing your dosage as this will really help you darling, I wish I had the will power to cut down slowly but I had no strength to do this and you need strength so the cold turkey was definitely my only option, I am so glad I done it but different things work for different people???? I have 4 children but all grown up so I took time off work and had my partner by my side through the first week of withdrawal and that's why it's important to let those you love know so they can support you in every way they can to achieve your goal. All my prayers and thought are with you darling xx

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    • Posted

      Hello. Like you, I have tried to cut down but lose the willpower. People have suggested I go cold turkey. Congratulations on doing this. How long did it take to get rid of the need to take it and the horrible mental/physical effects? You mentioned the first week with the help of your partner. How many days after that? How have you been since? I am so desperate to stop and reading what you have said is a big help. Kind regards Drew
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  • Posted

    Hi Sara you do need to go to gp and cut off your supply! It is so scary!! I was taking at one point 30 tablets a day 10 in morning 10 dinner time and 10 in evening! When I couldn't afford to buy these codeine phosphate 30mg any more off the Internet and doc was just very limited supply of 7 a day I had to cut down but buying codeine linctus from a chemist I found local and getting sum 30 didohcodeine off my husband who I'm not living with when I can telling him my knees were hurting or headache!! I was just taking whatever I could get my life was a mess!! It's all I think about I also have 3 children and I know I wasn't being there as much as I should doing what I should be doing although they are perfectly fine and looked after but I know I could be doing more!! I went to doc Thursday and asked them to stop my prescription! I also told my husband the truth and to not give me anymore I've told the online supply I have a problem and not to allow me to order anymore! And I am now on day two of not having any!!! 😔😖 it's hard!! So hard!! I'm aching crying cold sweating bad stomach!! But it's supposed to get better after day 4-5??!! I just want to be normal but I don't know what it is anymore!!! I've got a week off work and kids at dads but I know I have to do this. I've been taking them for about 3 years and the dose crept up! Originally from trouble with ear infection and wisdom teeth removed and then ankle op and bad knees xx sorry if not made sense just hurting at mo and wanting the tablets so much xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Dash,

      Well done for stopping, be proud of yourself.

      I can't imagine (yet) how you're feeling right now, but I've had a taster in the past when I've ran out of tablets or medicine. And good for you for telling the doc and everywhere online to stop your supply.

      In your post you say that it's all you think about. I'm the same. Counting down the minutes til 3 hours was up so I could take 4 more pills. Do you know what? They don't even give me any kind of feeling anymore either. They don't take away any pain I have and they certainly don't give me the 'high' feeling anymore.

      I'm scared I won't be able to ever stop. I know I have no willpower at all, I mean, I've tried quitting smoking loads of times and failed miserably.

      I've read a few posts on here where people have suggested taking Benadryl for like, the stress of it all (don't quote me on that though!)

      I'm still taking my 3 (90mg) every 4 hours and my stomach is kind of bad too. I have terrible restless legs aswell, and I know what you mean about the cold sweats because I'm also getting them, mildly.

      Don't give up. You're doing so well. And from the posts I've read, people have said that the worst of it will be over after several days. The first 3 days are meant to be the worst, so you only have one more bad day and then it'll all be uphill from there. It'll get better and easier.

      I swear to god I wish I'd never started taking these pills though and I seriously feel that they shouldn't be prescribed or sold OTC. They should just be available in hospital, under supervision!

      Keep us updated with your progress. Good Luck x x x

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