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Need help - never spoken to anyone about this...

My name is Andrew, 26.

A while back I took codeine to help curb the pain of a broken wrist. Ever since then I’ve been taken them everyday.

I started off taking 2x30mg, and then when I found out it had a euphoric effect I started taking more.

I have friends who own pharmacies so supply of codeine was easy to get, but then it started getting out of hand...

I started taking up to around 6-8x30mg up to 4 times a day. Because of the job I had it helped me relax, and found it actually benefited my productivity, so I never stopped.

I then decided that it cannot be good for my health and tried to stop. I took my last dose the day before I flew to Cyprus. It turned out to be one of the most hellish holidays I’ve ever had.

Through the whole holiday I slept for maybe a total of 5 hours. I had cold sweats, severe flu like symptoms, headaches and extremely fatigued. I suffered for the full week. I tried going to the pharmacy looking for Nurofen Plus (contains 12.8mg codeine), but no luck.

I got back, went straight to the pharmacy and bought the Nurofen Plus and took 8 straight away. Within minutes I felt better.

I changed jobs so the supply slowed down, until it eventually stopped. I was buying a 32 pack of Nurofen Plus every few days - taking around 12-18 tablets a day.

Now I’ve found a supply of diphenhydramine, and I’m struggling to get myself off them. It’s ruining me and I really need help and support.

replying to AndrewJamesD

Hi Andrew

You’ve made the first step admitting it and wanting to quit so we’ll done. My advice is don’t beat around the bush with quitting just pick your day and stop cold turkey that’s what I done, I was taking codeine for 10 years and like you it was N+ I’ve been stopped now 2 month and feeling great. When you stopped on holiday for the 7-8 days you will have been going thru physical withdrawals which is as you described the flu symptoms, aches and sweats but usually that’s over in a week so it’s a shame you went back on them when you got back but you just were not prepared by the sounds of it. I’m not exactly sure what advice you need/want but I’m happy to help any way I can I’ve been in your shoes and came out the other side and it’s totally worth it mate. How long you been taking them for and what is your current dosage ? Let me know and good luck

replying to AndrewJamesD

Thank you for replying. I wasn’t sure if anyone would...

I physically and mentally suffered and couldn’t take any more of it. I was severely sleep deprived and in my head this was the only way to get some much needed sleep.

I suffered from anxiety and I feel like the codeine suppressed it.

I’ve been taking codeine solidly for around 3-4 years, various doses. I went down to 30-60mg maybe 2-3 times a day which I thought I was really good, but it’s not quite good enough.

Currently I’m taking 90mg of Diphenydramine 2-3 times per day.

replying to AndrewJamesD

Hi Andrew

That’s a fairly low dose so you can be off to a good start mate !

My main struggle was the depression that set in I felt like it was never gunna end I didn’t want to interact with my kids I didn’t want to do anything but sit on the sofa, I’d say after about 6 weeks it was completely gone tho but each week from week 2-3 it got better and better you just need to tell yourself that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that it DOES get better it 100% gets better and you get back to normal. All it is is your brain re-wiring itself to cope without codeine and it takes time and patience so remember that there was a you before codeine and you do not need it to function my friend.

Let me know if there’s any particular things you would like to know or advice on

replying to AndrewJamesD

Yeah you’re right, it is a low dose. But it’s still as hard to come off them completely. Dyhdrocodeine is meant to be twice as strong codeine as it’s a semi-synthetic doubly potent drug.

Even now when I’m trying to sleep I’m getting brain ‘zaps’ which are scary. I also have sleep paralysis which is even worse, and it’s getting worse still.

I also suffer from depression although it comes and goes. I feel like I should really stay on these tablets until I have a week or two off work - I don’t want it to effect me as colleagues will notice a difference. Like I said I’ve tried it before and it was absolute hell. I really want to do it but it scares me.

Having someone to help me through it would be easier I think.

replying to AndrewJamesD

Hi Andrew,

Having someone close help you is invaluable I told me wife and it made the whole experience so much easier. It might be a good idea to withdraw whilst off work because it is so hard as you know and you will be a different person for the first few weeks, here if you need me mate good luck

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