Codeine is one of the most common narcotics prescribed by physicians for mild to moderate pain relief. It’s short-acting and very effective. It’s a common ingredient in prescription cough suppressants, as well as Tylenol 3.
Though it might not be as potent as some of the other opioids, it still packs a powerful punch when it comes to decreasing pain. However, it also causes a euphoric feeling, especially when someone abuses or misuses it. This good feeling can cause some people to become dependent on or addicted to it within a short time.
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What Are Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms?
Codeine addiction is more popular than many people think. Those that become addicted to the drug are likely to experience some withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit taking it. The exact withdrawal symptoms might vary greatly from person to person. Usually, patients with higher levels of codeine dependency will find that their symptoms are more intense than those with lower dependence levels.
Symptoms that are commonly experienced towards the beginning of the withdrawal period include:
- Faster heart rate
- Teary eyes
- Aching muscles
Later on in the withdrawal timeline, patients can be expected to experience the following symptoms:
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of appetite
All of these symptoms may come and go depending on the individual, and they all may become more intense towards the worst days of the withdrawal period.
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What Are the Stages of the Codeine Withdrawal Timeline?
The exact timeline and intensity of withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly between individual patients. They depend on factors such as:
- Severity of addiction
- The dosage used
- The frequency of use
- Overall health condition
- Mental health condition
- Support system
- Presence of other drugs
- Coping skills
- Relapse or addiction history
- Taper schedule
However, most people undergoingcodeine withdrawal can expect to experience an assortment of symptoms within the following generalized withdrawal timeline.
Generally described as the most difficult segment of the withdrawal period, the first couple of days are characterized by the earliest symptoms listed above. The body will begin to hurt due to the lack of codeine and crave its reintroduction into the system. Pain and discomfort will be felt at their highest points during these first days.
For this reason, the chance of relapse is also the highest during these early days. Therefore, it is imperative that the individual suffering from codeine withdrawal has a support network and the supervision of a medical professional to ensure that relapse does not occur.
Once this point in the timeline is reached, much of the patient’s pain will have dissipated, but some uncomfortable symptoms will persist. These can include chills, sweating, nausea, and similar symptoms. For those that are severely addicted to codeine, these days may still be fairly uncomfortable. During this time, you may not have much of an appetite, but be sure to keep hydrated. You may still be contending with psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and some cravings.
As you near the end of week one, many of the withdrawal symptoms may have subsided. Some minor physical symptoms may persist for a few extra days. However, emotional and mental symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, can linger for up to a month or more depending on how severe the addiction was.
Again, continued professional treatment is recommended to ensure a successful detox and recovery from codeine addiction.
Why Should I Detox?
It’s important to detox under the care of a substance abuse professional rather than quitting “cold turkey”.
Quitting cold turkey or abruptly can be dangerous, as your body is used to having the drug and cutting it out suddenly can cause a shock to the body. This can be very dangerous and includes a higher chance of harmful relapse.
Instead, detoxing through a tapering method with the assistance of a doctor can allow the withdrawal to be controlled and symptoms minimized. Through this method, one’s codeine supply is slowly lowered until it is removed entirely, allowing the body to learn how to survive without the drug once again. This is much safer than the alternative.
Oncecodeine detoxing is complete, treatment at a rehab facility is the next crucial step.
What is the Next Treatment Step?
Detox is simply the first step toward longer-term treatment. Detox rids the body of the toxins associated with the drug. After that, comprehensive treatment and therapy are recommended, as treatment for the underlying psychological and emotional issues which cause addiction in the first place is crucial for maintaining long-term sobriety.
There are several different types of treatment programs available for those suffering from codeine addiction and/or withdrawal. No one type is better than the other, but they are tailored for different patient types.
This first method of treatment is the most intensive, as it requires the patient to remain at the rehab clinic for the duration of their treatment program. During this time, they will be monitored and assisted by medical professionals during all hours of the day. Help or emotional support will also be available whenever they need it—day or night. This is a superb option for those who lack support systems at home or who have a high risk of relapse, either due to their home environment or lifestyle and habits.
An outpatient treatment program gives patients the opportunity to continue living at home while receiving guidance and care during scheduled meetings throughout the week. This program allows a patient to keep their career or family life intact while still providing regimens or habit-building exercises to minimize the risk of relapse. This is a good option for those who cannot afford to quit work or who have exceptional family-based support systems.
Finally, an IOP program combines the freedom associated with the outpatient plans with the intensity of the inpatient centers. These allow a patient to remain at home but require more meetings than a regular outpatient program. IOPs may require medical professionals to come to a patient’s home for observation or assistance, and the regimens and training plans put forward are more intense than those experienced in a regular outpatient program. This is ideal for those patients who need to keep working but who face a high risk for relapse.
Start Your Journey To Recovery Today
No longer do you have to stay stuck struggling with codeine addiction. Regardless of how you’ve become addicted to codeine, know that there is a way out of dependence and addiction. It might feel a bit scary to reach out for help, but trust that there are compassionate and kind professionals ready and willing to assist you in becoming drug-free.
The journey to recovery is worthwhile and it’s never too late to start. Don’t let the fear of going through detox keep you from beating this addiction. We’re able to direct you to a reputable place to detox and receive treatment under the care of expert addiction specialists and physicians. Feel free to contact us today and find out your options for detox and rehab. We’re here ready and willing to answer any questions or concerns you have.
Medline Plus. Codeine. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682065.html
U.S. Food And Drug Administration. Codeine Information. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm118108.htm
Mayo Clinic. Codeine. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/codeine-oral-route/description/drg-20074022
National Institute On Health. Recent Updates On Codeine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658028/