: Drugs, alcohol and mental health

Discuss the twin challenges of mental health and substance use

17 replies

My codeine addiction

I am a 28 year old, female and I have been addicted to codeine since 2012, and this is my first time ever admitting it to anyone. No one knows, I'm good at hiding it.

It all started after surgery in 2012, I was given codeine to help with the pain and I then started buying it online. I got to the point where I was taking 12x 30mg tablets 4-5x daily. Every single day! That's 1800mg a day and some days I would even take more. Some days I'd take 2500mg.

The thing is, I like taking it, I'm functional on it and it makes me feel happy, but I'm so determined to stop. I'm in so much debt that it's all I can think about, I must spend £700 a month on codeine and it's disgusting. It's time to stop.

I'm tapering down. I have 112 tablets left to taper down from and I can't afford to buy anymore either.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can cope with the withdrawal? I'm so f***ing determined to get my life back.

I'm taking citalopram (prescribed) and multivitamins.

I got down to 9 30mg tablets 4x daily and now I'm on 7 30mg tablets 4x daily. My plan is to go to 6x4 tablets tomorrow, 5x4 the next day, then 4x4, then 3x4, then 2x4 and the 1x4 and then nothing. I know this is fast, but like I said I just can't afford to buy anymore now.

So far I feel okay, somehow.

Any help, advice or support would be greatly appreciated. I really need some help right now.

Thank you

replying to Addictunlikely

I am no expert but maybe try and get some help, to support you mentally as well as with the physical withdrawal. My husband did a supported detox for alcohol and I don’t think he could of done it without the support. You are absolutely amazing, you have admitted to yourself that you have a problem and are grabbing it by the balls to get your life back. Good luck

2 replies

replying to Addictunlikely

Hi AddictUnlikely firstly you are not alone, secondly codeine WAS my drug of choice for 12 years on and off the last 2 years been the worst and currently I’m on day 26 and starting to really feel the benefits of been off codeine.

I did it cold turkey tho as my personal opinion is if you don’t have someone controlling your taper then the chance of just taking “a few more” is massive and a few more leads to more and then you’re back to square one, but that’s just my opinion and tapering does work for a hell of a lot of people they say tho that the best way is a 10% reduction a week.

The withdrawals I won’t lie are hell but all you need to remember is it’s only a few weeks and you WILL start to feel better both physically and mentally for me the hardest was the mental side and I struggled in the first 2 weeks with low mood, no energy, no motivation and just feeling like it’s not going to get better I’m never gunna feel good again but I’m telling you it certainly does ! You just have to take it one day at a time.

The first week is mainly physical withdrawals so for that I used ibuprofen for the aches, hot baths aswell are a god send, light excercise (walking) helps massively with RLS and takes your mind off the withdrawals. Laropomide for the loose bowls (last about 2 weeks) plenty of fruit to help your body heal because you are going to be weak, plenty of water for the dehydration. Over the counter Nytol for the insomnia. After max 7 days you will feel physically better but the insomnia will likely remain. I myself now tho don’t really have any issues sleeping so that also gets a lot better. Now the mental side the depression is hard because you’re brain has been using codeine to feel pleasure and it’s the only way it knows how to release dopermine (happy chemical) so you are gunna feel low and no enjoy anything for a few weeks but after these few weeks your brain has worked out how to work again on its own and how to feel pleasure etc, the last 2 days for me have been really good I’ve felt the best since I stopped I’ve felt pretty amazing tbh. As the days and weeks pass by you get bad and good days mentally but slowly the good days outnumber the bad one, thru out all of this I kept up the walking tho because it tires you out so easier to rest and sleep, it’s a nice distraction, it gets the blood pumping and gets your brain firing.

I hope this helps in some way and I visit this forum often so I’m happy to help you in any way I can any questions you may have any specific advice you want I’ll try my best.

Good luck and all the best you can and will beat this

Side note if you can build up the courage. Tell someone. I told my wife and that instantly halved my problem and she’s supported and helped me every step of the way, I also told my mother and my Dr.

1 reply

replying to Dadict

Hi Dadict

Thank you so much for replying.

So far I'm doing good. It's my 5th day now and I've had no slip ups and stuck to my reduction plan. I don't understand how, but I'm currently not really getting any side effects, or they are so mild that they aren't bothering me at all. I'm so thankful for that, but I don't understand how, because I was taking such a high dose for 7 years.

I'm trying to change my thinking, like this morning I was making breakfast, after getting in from a night shift, and I thought "I'll take my codeine before breakfast, so the empty stomach gives me a better high." I had to tell myself no, eat your breakfast! You are taking these tablets to stop them now, not for the high.

I feel amazing, but honestly I'm terrified that once I've completed my reduction which will be on Monday, that the withdrawals will come full force. Also I feel like without them, my safety blanket is gone.

Again, thank you so much for replying, I really appreciate it.

Well done on being clean for 26+ days now, you should be extremely proud of yourself, and for plucking up the courage to tell your wife. Unfortunately I have no one to tell, other than my GP anyway, but because of the job I do, I can't even tell my GP.

I'm feeling happy, full of energy, but also terrified of any withdrawal I may get and the days to come without any codeine to fall back on.

replying to Addictunlikely

How are you doing? I am really impressed with your positive attitude towards helping yourself and am sending you good vibes and wishing you all the best.

replying to Addictunlikely

I would agree with another post above that some outside support might help you.

It sounds like you’re determined to stop and ready to change so that’s a great start! Good luck

replying to Addictunlikely

Hi I am day 22 into my codeine recovery and like you was addicted to high doses for nearly 7 years.

I've passed the physical withdrawal but still having psychological withdrawals in particular anxiety and depression, each day is getting better, the only thing keeping me going is my desire to be a clean mam and I'm not going back thought this withdrawal for anyone!!

Good luck stay strong and keep us updated with your progress

replying to Addictunlikely


What an inspiring and encouraging post you wrote!

I myself am currently coming off opiates and I’m on day 15 CLEAN and my mood is terribly low but I am able to function.

I abused opiates for 7 years on and off and like yourself the past year or two has been the worst, utter hell! I am determined to stay clean now, I was killing my self. I’m attending NA and getting a whole bunch of support!

Sending you and everyone else love and positive thoughts!


replying to Dadict


You were right, the withdrawals were hell, I've never felt anything like it, and I'll be damned if I'm going through it again.

I couldn't do it alone in the end, so I plucked up the courage to tell my GP. She was amazing and put me on a reduction programme and Ive been going to a drug and alcohol group.

When I tried alone, I relapsed hard, the withdrawals were too much. I'm two weeks clean today, I'm now over the worst of the withdrawal. It's now just psychological and cravings, but I keep thinking about those withdrawals to stop me relapsing.

At my absolute worst I wrote a list of why I was getting clean and its helping to look back at it.

I would urge anyone to go to their GP for weaning off, the withdrawals are awful.

My main issue now is that I just cant sleep, no matter what I do.

How are you doing?

Thank you for your support everyone x

1 reply

replying to Addictunlikely


Oh yeah I totally agree about the withdrawals..

I’m clean 23 days today and that last withdrawal was right out of hell! I hid my addiction for 7 years and by day 10 withdrawals I called my Doctor begging for help! I was taking stuff that was more potent than morphine and Fentanyl and so damm easy to buy, I’m not saying what it was as I don’t want anyone going through what I went through!

Are you attending meetings? NA and AA are my saviour! I’ve been sober almost 6 months from alcohol only because I was popping so many pills!

Sleep will return, I’m the same at night!

Keep in touch!


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