Codeine is an opioid that’s used in medications all over the world. It’s one of the most common opioid-ingredients, and it’s used in a wide range of products from pain-relievers to cough medicines. However, as an opioid, it comes with some serious potential side effects including chemical dependence, addiction, and withdrawal. Opioid addiction can be difficult to overcome, and it can progress from a mild substance use disorder to a severe addiction quickly. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescriptions opioid abuse often leads to the abuse of illicit heroin. Prescription opioids can become expensive and difficult to obtain after a while and heroin is the most easily accessed illicit drug in the United States, after marijuana.
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Quitting codeine means going through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely difficult to overcome on your own. However, medical detox can help guide you through the process safely. Learn more about codeine withdrawal and how you can get through it as safely and comfortably as possible.
Be the best version of you – start recovery today!
Be the best version of you – start recovery today!
What Are the Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms?
Codeine withdrawal, as with other opioids, can be extremely uncomfortable, which makes it difficult to get through on your own. One of the most common effects of withdrawal is an intense, compulsive desire to use the drug again. When that is coupled with extreme discomfort, trying to detox on your own often ends in relapse. Opioid withdrawal symptoms aren’t known to be life-threatening, but people report experiencing symptoms that are similar to the worst flu they’ve ever had.
Symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Muscle and joint pain
- Dilated pupils
Though codeine withdrawal isn’t usually life-threatening, bad cases can lead to dehydration. Because sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea can cause you to lose fluids quickly, it’s important to hydrate through detox. If you are very weak or nauseous, you may not feel compelled to drink water, and if you are by yourself, you may become dehydrated, which can be life-threatening. According to the Society for the Study of Addiction, deadly hydration from opioid withdrawal is a threat to prisoners without proper care. However, the idea that opioid withdrawal is uncomfortable but not dangerous can lead to neglect. Opioid withdrawal, like the flu, should be taken seriously and safe detox is essential.
What Are the Stages of the Codeine Withdrawal Timeline?
The timeline on which you might experience codeine withdrawal will depend on several factors that can be different for each person. The dose you were used to, the size of your last dose, whether or not you mixed in other drugs, and your size and weight, all play a part in when you might start feeling withdrawal. However, opioid withdrawal does follow a general timeline that you might be able to expect.
At first, you will start to feel mild symptoms like anxiety and general discomfort. Then you will feel like you are coming down with the flu. Finally, you’ll experience peak symptoms before it starts to dissipate. The most severe symptoms will most likely occur after a few days. After the first week, your uncomfortable physical symptoms will start to go away. However, things like anxiety and drug cravings may persist for much longer. Without treatment, psychological symptoms can continue indefinitely, especially if they come from a pre-existing mental health problem.
Why Should I Detox?
Medical detox services in a detox center or a hospital setting can help alleviate your symptoms and avoid any potential complications. Even though codeine withdrawal isn’t typically deadly, you may still want to start treatment with medical supervision. Quitting cold turkey without help from professionals can lead to complications or relapse. If you have become addicted to opioids and other drugs, your detox process may be complicated, especially if a depressant like alcohol or benzodiazepines were involved. Depressants can be deadly during withdrawal, causing seizures and delirium that can be fatal without medical intervention.
In medical detox, you will be treated by board-approved medical professionals that have experience with withdrawal, and its potential complications. Through 24-hour care, your safety will be at the top priority, and your uncomfortable symptoms will be alleviated as much as possible. Detox is the highest level of care in addiction treatment, and it lasts between five to ten days, depending on your needs.
Medically managed care means that you may be treated with medications that ease your symptoms or help wean you off codeine. In some cases, drugs like buprenorphine are used to let your body gradually adjust to life without the drug in your system. However, weaning drugs can prolong the detox process, and it may last longer than a week. Addiction is a chronic disease that can have many underlying causes and consequences that need to be addressed. The full continuum of care can help address deeper needs.
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What Is the Next Treatment Step?
After you complete addiction treatment, you may move on to the next level of care that’s appropriate for your needs. Clinicians will help you find a treatment program that can address any continuing medical and psychological issues you might have, while you begin to address your substance use disorder more deeply. If you still have a high-level medical or psychological need, you may go through an inpatient or residential treatment program that involves 24-hours of medical monitoring each day. In a residential program, you will live in on-site accommodation and have access to clinical services at all hours.
If you are able to live on your own without risk to your health or sobriety, you may move onto intensive outpatient treatment (IOP). In this level of care, you may attend therapy for more than nine hours every week. Partial hospitalization services are a sublevel within IOP that can provide as much as 12 hours of treatment per day.
If you only require a low level of care, you may go through outpatient treatment that involves fewer than nine hours per week. This is an important step in easing you into independent life. Throughout treatment, you will go through a variety of therapy options according to your unique treatment plan. Therapy options can include individual, group, and family therapy, along with several behavioral therapies that are designed to facilitate lasting change.
Start Your Journey to Recovery Today
If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder that’s related to codeine or other opioids, it’s important to seek addiction treatment as soon as possible. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that affects the brain. If you are dependent on a prescription opioid like morphine, you are at risk of moving on to heroin other illegal drugs when prescriptions become too hard to obtain. Illicit opioids are unpredictable, and any given hit may be more powerful than you realize, leading to an overdose. Addressing addiction early can help avoid serious consequences, but even people with severe substance use disorders can be treated.
Learn more about the addiction treatment options that might be available to you by speaking to a specialist at The Palm Beach Institute. Call 855-960-5456 at any time to hear about the therapies that might be able to lead you into long-lasting abstinence and freedom from active addiction. Call anytime to take your first steps on the road to recovery.
ASAM. (n.d.). What is the ASAM Criteria? from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about
Darke, S., Larney, S., & Farrell, M. (2016, August 11). Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal. from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13512
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Prescription Opioids and Heroin. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/relationship-between-prescription-drug-abuse-heroin-use/introduction
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Behavioral Therapies. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-therapies