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Codeine Addiction
  1. #1
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Default Codeine Addiction

    Hi all.

    After 15 years of codeine phosphate addiction, I have today (after realising what was wrong with me) decided that enough is enough.

    I've been prescribed them ever since a having a herniated disk - and more recently for osteoarthritis and suspected Fibro. I've been put on Gabapentin recently, and have taken 50mg of amitryptiline every night for 15yrs too. If I'm honest with myself, the gabapentin has almost entirely removed my need for codeine, but still I kept getting them.

    I had on some days been taking well in excess of 800mg, but mostly around that mark. 3 lots of 30mg, 3 times per day is my prescription. After reading posts on here, that'd make me a higher than average user (don't tell me how bad it is, I know that and telling me would only add anxiety), so I'm even more scared.

    After taking much more than my 800mg for a stint, I reined myself in. Went back to my 800mg about a week ago. I was fine on Sunday night but I woke up on Monday feeling so blue. Crying at the drop of a hat and worrying about stuff that wasn't even on the horizon yet. I'd lost interest in things that had made me happy, just the day before and that's where I've been at for the last 4 days.
    Anyway, earlier tonight, I started to feel beginnings of what would have been my 2nd ever panic attack. While I was listening to a sound recording of a lovely old lady talking me through my breathing, I started to cry (because I clearly haven't been doing enough of that these last few days..). I was crying because I was admitting to myself that I was a plain and simple opiate addict and that was why I now felt miserable.

    I'm determined - I'm going to cut myself down gradually over this next week, and then the week after, begin cold turkey. I'm telling my one good friend in the morning, and I've got an appointment booked at my doc's for Tuesday, when I'll tell her too.

    I'm not looking forward to more cold sweats - which I'm already having after just going back to my normal amount - I know this is going to hurt. What terrifies me isn't the shame of my friend & family knowing, or the aches, restless legs, sweats, nightmares, diarrhea etc - it's this awful, awful depression and anxiety. If it's bad now, I can only expect much, much worse. Because this one thing, is the one thing that has me questioning whether I can actually do it. My mood has for so long been dependent on Codeine, that I'm scared I'll never get any motivation for life back. I am just so utterly depressed at the moment.

    Any advice would be great. Annie.

  2. #2
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    No no no, don't fear it getting worse. A big cut like you've done will make you have withdrawal depression, but as you taper down, if you are gradual, it won't be more intense. It will just get annoying, really old, really tedious, but it won't be any more than you can handle if you're handing it already. But the fear that it will get worse is the anxiety itself, and as you know, anxiety is a head game, it's not really reality.

    If you stabilize right now on your dose, let the depression and anxiety smooth out a bit, then make another cut, and see if you can maintain a manageable level of these bad feelings. Only if you decide to go cold turkey will it become intense but there is a plus side to that, and it's getting it over with more quickly. It might even make you feel motivated to get it done. After through withdrawal, and you are completely off, I won't lie, the depression and anxiety lingers. But it gradually gets better. If you can stick with it, once you are completely off the codeine, do not take any at all, not even one dose, no matter how you feel, and push through it and in a few weeks you will be surprised you will feel better than you have in years.

    But if you stick with tapering, yes that drags it out, but you may remain more functional and not have to take a week off to "be sick", so it's your choice, but try not to fear it. Fear is what I believe keeps a lot of addicts from ever taking the first step into life without the drug, and they go years avoiding it, until much of their life is gone. I don't think your depression and anxiety will be any worse than it is now, as you taper.
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  3. #3
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Thanks for the reply. I've had 4 x 30mg today so just under half my prescribed dose, Weirdly, the knowledge that the depression is purely down to those little tablets, has lifted me out of it. Today, I've just now started to feel the cold, so I'm wrapped up in a blanket. I've two teenage boys and I've explained the situation. They're being great, bringing me green tea and food. I thought they might be ashamed, but they say they're proud.

    I can handle this, I know I can, but as you said, the depression lingers - I'll take it, because I know I've been through worse.

    I'll check in tomorrow, let you know how I am. Tomorrow I'll aim for one less, another on Sunday and then cold turkey from Monday. I'm finding talking about is quite liberating and cathartic.

    Wish me luck and good health.
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  4. #4
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Absolutely, talking about it makes a world of difference. Just knowing you aren't all alone and that so many others have been through the exact same thing is really helpful. When I got off my meds coming here and getting support from these people just made it so much easier. I'm glad you have people there taking care of you. That is also something that really helps.

    The depression is helped a lot by getting out and doing things or talking to people. You might not feel like it during withdrawal, (in cold turkey I mostly just stayed in bed) but I mean later the lingering blues. You don't feel like going out, but if you can force yourself, it really helps lift the mood. Random interactions (of a positive nature, like chatting with a neighbor in the yard or going to the store) with other humans really helps. We are a social species. When we are depressed we tend to want to hole up alone in the house but this only makes it worse.

  5. #5
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Hello again.

    Today, I've had 1 30mg tablet, at 9am, and yesterday I had 4. I've been taking my gabapentin and amitryptiline and right now, apart from feeling a little light headed, I've just started to get mild stomach cramps. Shouldn't I be feeling worse than this? I'm not sweating, not feeling sick, no pain, no runny nose etc. This is making me nervous - see, my anxiety levels are still high

    I was really hoping by only having one today, and 4 yesterday, that things would be progressing and I could start feeling really sh*t from today, all day tomorrow, then by monday, I'd be on the worst day. I guess it's not set in stone.

    So, nothing really to report today, annoyingly.

  6. #6
    Spange is offline New Member
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    So, yesterday was uneventful - just the 1 30mg tablet first thing, but nothing today. I can handle all of the symptoms, and I'm feeling positive - the restless legs are a b*tch; it starts in my hips, and it's impossible to remedy - Managed to get a couple of hours sleep, but my legs are like that 24hrs at the minute. I'd appreciate any tips on managing it. Thank you.

  7. #7
    Elcey is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spange View Post
    So, yesterday was uneventful - just the 1 30mg tablet first thing, but nothing today. I can handle all of the symptoms, and I'm feeling positive - the restless legs are a b*tch; it starts in my hips, and it's impossible to remedy - Managed to get a couple of hours sleep, but my legs are like that 24hrs at the minute. I'd appreciate any tips on managing it. Thank you.
    Hiya Spange. Your codeine #'s and amounts caught my eye as it's so much like my own story (for another time). Been on and off this wonderful site for ages now, not making the commitment to GET THE JOB DONE - yet. Anyways I registered just now so I could send you an answer.

    For your legs, I read on here about Hyland Restful Legs and it really did give me some relief. Seems every month I'm 'detoxing' cause I've used my monthly quota too soon. Just the last couple of months I've tried the Hylands and it helps. Also I read lots about people having their heating pads on warm setting and that helping too.

    You've taken yourself down fast (I seem to have great difficulty tapering - all or nothing) and wish you continued success. Hope you'll continue to advise how you're doing with progress and symptoms. I know that I'll be following along right behind (or at least almost ) you. Good luck!
    Elcey

  8. #8
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Hi elcey, sorry for the gap and no update yesterday - it was exactly the same as the day before. Restless legs have gone, I'm sleeping normally, got my appetite back (damn it), and thanks to my lovely doctor, I have beta blockers and my anxiety levels are nil. I had a few sneezes earlier. But no aches, cramps, nothing.

    Still I'm worrying, because from what I've been reading, my dosage was high (in excess of a 1000mg some days) and it was for the full 15 years. I can't believe that those 3 days of mild flu symptoms were it. Was it the gabapentin and amitriptyline that saved me? They were just low dosage and what I always take. I mean I drank green tea (once, I hated it), ate black and blueberries, dark greens. Nothing earth shattering at all.

    Now this beta blocker has kicked in, I feel good. Planned a night out with the girls, booked my campervan in for a service and I'm ready to start living without being beholden to that >>>>ty, little white pill.

    Elcey, I say go for it. Unless something is about to rain down on me, I was more scared at the thought of coming off than I was actually doing it. Can't help but think I've just been a long time reaching the proper withdrawals - but this is day 4 cold turkey, so surely I got it beat?

    Anyway, unless there's a huge difference in the next couple of days, I'll post back with a final account of my withdrawal.

  9. #9
    Elcey is offline Member
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    [deleted - swearing]
    Last edited by Anonymous; 09-28-2016 at 07:36 PM.

  10. #10
    Elcey is offline Member
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    Don't understand why my other message was deleted b/c of swearing, but I've read that around here lots. Anyways Annie, I'm very happy for you that your symptoms have cleared and especially the restless legs. Sleep was another hard one for me in my previous forced detoxes. You are giving me incentive to try again even before I "have" to. My usual dose was 4 pills of 30/300 tylenol, 2 or 3 times per day. Going to drop to 4 pills for a couple of days and then stop altogether. Just have to choose a period when I can lay low and have easy access to toilet, unstress, etc. Don't even feel any effects anymore and KNOW I can't go higher due to the acetemenphine toxicity.

    Others can hopefully answer you re the gabapentin and amitryptilene helping or not. I will not be taking anything else except over-the-counter vitamins, imodium, boost energy drinks.

    Keep going now Annie, especially when you're handling it all so well. Don't play my game of in - out - in - out. It is nothing but exhausting both mentally and physically and I believe takes a further toll each time you do it!

    Will stop now to ensure this doesn't get deleted too. But progress or not, please keep reading and posting on here. I've been hovering for ages on the sidelines and feeling the itch to jump. Sleep well.
    Elcey
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  11. #11
    Spange is offline New Member
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    So, this is my 6th day, and apart from feeling a little anxious (no telling when it's going to happen) every now and then, I feel great. I've noticed I tire easily, but I guess I'm still withdrawing - I literally have no other symptoms and I'm just amazed how well I feel. Hell, 15 years of codeine addiction, done and dusted in less than a week. I can't understand why but I'm starting to think it had to be the Gabapentin. I do have a high pain threshold (drug free childbirth, twice ), but even so, I expected this week to be hellish.

    I know there's a possibility of PAWs, but II'll cross that bridge as and when I need to. Also, I haven't once considered taking codeine - I gave 300+ tablets back to my doctor on Tuesday - although, the first few mornings, when I'd usually take them, I felt a little lost, like what do I do instead? However, that's also stopped now.

    Maybe somebody up there loves me, but I'm still suspecting the gabapentin was a great help. Has to be them.

    Thanks for letting me babble on here, it really helps to put down words.

    Finally - just to ease my mind - is it possible that because my dose and length of addiction were so high/long, that withdrawal hasn't started yet? I just can't shake the feeling that I got off lightly.

  12. #12
    Elcey is offline Member
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    Annie, you've been fortunate for sure and I'd be thanking my own personal higher power if I was that lucky. The trick will be to not assume every withdrawal (gosh forbid you'd ever need it!!) would be so easy. I'd take this one and run with it. I've never heard of anyone's w/d starting 5 - 7 days after stopping the drug so I'd say you're definitely in it. I also read on here a few times that actual PAWS is a fairly rare thing, i.e. it doesn't HAVE to happen.

    I do not know anything about gabapentin and whether that's helped with your w/d effects, but I am going to check it out. You keep giving me encouragement. I do take Imovane for sleep (that'll be the next one after my codeine), but in past withdrawals it had absolutely no effects whatever. In fact it hardly does anything now. I'm lucky if I get 3 x 2hr. snatches of sleep but again, another time and thread.

    This sounds like your time and I hope you continue to take advantage of it. I read the sentence of returning the 300 (!!) pills and I confess, my eyebrows shot up past my hairline haha. But that's MY addict head talking.

    My plan is dropping right down to 4 x 30 for a couple of days to adjust and then stop from there. Once I drop the withdrawal symptoms (diarreha, restless legs, boredom) start right away so I may as well stop completely. As mentioned, I'll start a thread then, maybe over weekend - scared, as usual.

    Way to go Annie, do not waver when you're this far - super easy (at least for me) to let my mind/pain play games with me. Gotta stay strong and in contact with either this forum, AA, NA or people you can trust.

    Sleep well sober one Way to go!
    Spange likes this.

  13. #13
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Sorry for the absence - I'd planned to come and post before now, but I've been so busy getting my mojo back.

    Just over 2 weeks since my last pill, my sex drive has returned, I'm going out to gigs and having fun, listening to music - I just can't tell you how good I feel. Dodgy tummy is almost gone, restless legs too - a couple of days after my post about them. My sleep is better, although I'd always suffered on and off with mild insomnia. No depression and anxiety also seems to have cleared up. I only took beta blockers twice, and then decided I didn't like the way they made me feel.

    I really hope this helps some of you who are nervous about coming off codeine. I was so scared my brain wouldn't let me enjoy life without it, but here I am. No sign of any PAWs symptoms, and my doctor is over the moon with my progress. I honestly don't think about taking it, and all of my friends and family have been so supportive and all have noticed a change.

    Let me know if you'd like any further updates, and if there's anything I think you need to know, I'll be back to tell you. I know I've read these threads for a while and always wondered what happens to the OP when they stop updating!

  14. #14
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Wow! What a fantastic report. Thank you so much for checking back. Always good to know the ones that do well!
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  15. #15
    Smilingstorm is offline Senior Member
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    Spange,

    Awesome! I hear you in every way!
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  16. #16
    anylabtestwaco is offline New Member
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    Thank you for the beautiful report.
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  17. #17
    Spange is offline New Member
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    It feels like a lifetime ago already and I'm still feeling fantastic. No anxiety, depression, insomnia, diarrhea.. It's gone, all of it. I'm even having feelings of what I can only describe as euphoria - unless it's just happiness and I'd forgotten what that genuinely meant?

    I'll pop by once a week with news, or no news
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  18. #18
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Hi all. No news, exactly the same as before - impromptu nights out, trips planned, festival tickets booked.. I think I've got this. I honestly never think about codeine and quitting it has been one of my best decisions ever.

    I don't know if my ramblings will help anyone, but I say go for it - making the decision to stop was scarier than the withdrawal. I was a high dosage abuser, yet here I am. The depression and anxiety was short-lived, as were the other common symptoms.

    Do it, you won't be sorry

  19. #19
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Default Still here!

    Hi all - It's been a while since I last posted and I just wanted to check in and let you know that I'm still feeling good and haven't had one single occasion where I've craved codeine. It's a distant memory and life is so good without having to constantly think about my next dose.

    Anyone that's worried, just do it. I know we all handle addiction differently, but for me it has been unbelievably easy. Like I said previously, I was more scared of the withdrawal and subsequent cravings than I was at any time during it.

    If anyone wants to ask questions or just needs a chat, let me know and i'll be back - otherwise I'm not going to post on here any more (unless something happens that's relevant to this thread).

    I wish all of you the very best of luck and health - and have a fabulous Christmas.
    DravenDomnq likes this.

  20. #20
    Elcey is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spange View Post
    Hi all - It's been a while since I last posted and I just wanted to check in and let you know that I'm still feeling good and haven't had one single occasion where I've craved codeine. It's a distant memory and life is so good without having to constantly think about my next dose.

    Anyone that's worried, just do it. I know we all handle addiction differently, but for me it has been unbelievably easy. Like I said previously, I was more scared of the withdrawal and subsequent cravings than I was at any time during it.

    If anyone wants to ask questions or just needs a chat, let me know and i'll be back - otherwise I'm not going to post on here any more (unless something happens that's relevant to this thread).

    I wish all of you the very best of luck and health - and have a fabulous Christmas.
    Great to hear that all is going well and I'm very happy for you. This coincidentally is my Day 2 (it took me all your time plus, to finally take the plunge). I've had a really bad sinus infection and am contagious/housebound so it's difficult to tell what I'm feeling as it relates to withdrawal. At the moment, it's all just yucky. I won't be able to be with friends this xmas day so will be trying to keep myself up with this forum and telephone conversations.

    I know you had what I'd call a speedy gonzales recovery process and I'm hoping the same can be possible for me. I'll have to try and bundle myself up as best I can and venture out for a walk at least to get out of my own stale air.

    God bless you and stay safe and healthy. Thanks for the check-in - my own thread is in the Need to Talk section.
    Elcey
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  21. #21
    Spange is offline New Member
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    Just popping by to let you know I'm still clean and happy! I got married in May and life is great - good luck to all who are considering coming off codeine, and just know that you can do it!
    Autumnhopes likes this.

  22. #22
    Autumnhopes is offline Member
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    Congrats! You are doing wonderful :-) I'm struggling but was so encouraged by reading your thread!! Thank you for sharing & continuing to check in. Nice to hear happy positive experiences.

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