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escaped codeine and changed my life
  1. #1
    winner71 is offline New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Default escaped codeine and changed my life

    I wanted to share this. I didn't know I could feel so weel. I didn't know it was the codeine that was ruining my life and mind.

    My xmas present to myself has been, after nearly 5 years, to escape codeine.

    I have multiple glomus tumours which is an extremely painful condition. Its benign nerve tumours in my hand, not malignant, so its not cancer. Its one of the most painful known conditions. After failed surgery and serious adverse reactions to other pain management, I have been on a codeine prescription: 15mg codeine phosphate tablets PRN. I understand why, my pain is extreme.

    Trouble is I also have clinical depression and PTSD. For my depression I am on subclinical dose of quetiapine for sleep (knocks me out completely) but that was recently stopped because I was too sedated (they don't know about the codeine), lamotrigine and escitalopran. They weren't working.

    You can imagine what happened with PTSD and PRN codeine phosphate.

    I reached the point where I was supplementing my prescription with Boots ibuprofen with codeine (12.5mg), Solpadeine Max (12.5mg) and cough syrup that I was buying online.

    It wasn't loads but it was constant. I'm quite a small person and very med sensitive. So I was taking around 75mg around 4-5pm and 120-160mg at around 2pm. This was enough to keep me completely fuzzed out 24/7. I wasn't taking it for glomus pain, oddly it never reduced that much. On 160mg my nerve tumours would still feel like my hand bones were full of nettle leaves and knives. This is severe pain and only neurological meds like amitryptaline and gabapentin resolve it. I can't take those.

    Recently i started getting bad bone pains when I didn't take it, was taking it, but wasn't feeling a buzz. I researched online and realised this was dependency.

    I tried tapering but just ended up taking more. being advised by a friend to take 40mg 3 times a day was a disaster. That became 90mg 3 times a day and the dependency symptoms got worse.

    So, 9 days ago I just stopped. Now my mind is clear, I'm awake at 7am (instead of 3pm), asleep at midnight (instead of 5am), tidying my home (I was shocked) and enjoying life and having an active, awake mind. I still have bone aches and cold symptoms but those are mild. I'm going to request nail removal surgery on my hand which has helped reduce pain before.

    So I thought I'd share my withdrawal timeline.

    I can't remember it, but wrote notes daily. I also created a calender with a 'success day' to tick off daily. I was unable to leave the house for 5 days and confined to bed for about three. I kept mindful of my condition, in order to call for help if it got too much, with emergency codeine syrup next to bed if it got too serious. I didn't need it. I should have had an advocate involved but I'm a socially isolated person with no one to ask. I'd recommend an advocate.

    day 1.

    Bones pains set in fast and were bad. I'd say 'strong aches', not unmanagable pain but I do have a strong pain threshold. They were like moderate toothache. general feeling of being unwell. Bone pain kept me awake.


    bone pain in feet in addition when walking. needing to retire to bed due to feeling ill. Glomus pain starts to increase

    42 hrs

    kept awake by bone pain in legs shoulders and arm. Tight chest. Sometimes coughing to improve breathing, to open my lungs. No sleep, gave up at 7am. managed to go downstairs for a while to walk through bone pain. Stretching joints to ease tension in limbs. I find white noise helps with fuggy head feeling and general discomfort. I write in my notes 'its getting worse and its going to get worse'.

    49 hrs

    Limbs start to jerk. This feels like restless legs (which I am used to) but stronger , with strong jerks. Not painful but feel I am jerking arms at strange angles. I am now confined to bed, burrowed into mattress. Stomach cramps (not too bad, just breathe through them and fine). Glomus pain increases. Sweating. Fuggy head.

    I feel this was the first peak. Bone pain too strong for sleep or walking, so take max dose of ibuprofen (without codeine) and paracetomol. This helps a lot. I only needed to do this once.

    I write in capitals 'THIS IS HARD!'


    Pain is easing, feel ok, just fuggy headed and achy, but am out of bed. Glomus pain is getting strong though.

    78hrs. I write 'I feel amazing, I did it!' Just mild aches, and strange buzzy feeling in my nerve endings that feels like I took codeine when I hadn't.

    88hrs. Oh dear. Period starts. A shock second peak. very sudden. Nausea, hallucination (I blew at it and it vanished... I get night terrors so I know how to manage visual hallucinations). Pass out. Flu symptoms. Diarrhoea. Massive period pains and flooding (I never get that). Vocalising with pain in hand, womb and skull. All that bone pain travelled into my skull. I write. "Great distress, dissociating badly'. Pass out until 96 hrs.

    This part I can't remember, I was only half conscious I think. It sounds pretty nasty, and it looks like I did dissociate completely.

    96hrs. As above but milder. Sweating. Another hallucination. I blow at it and it vanishes. I write 'maybe this actually is severe flu, not withdrawal'.

    (Don't worry, this is the nasty stuff all done with. i think my heavy period speeded up the detox. Women with heavy periods might consider timing detox with heavy period if they want to get it over quicker and harder. it was absolutely worth it. I coped through shut down and sleep and can't remember the suffering). I couldn't understand my heightened pain at the time, but apparently you get pain feedback or something.


    vast improvement. Just bone ache, not pain.. My sense of day and night has gone, which I write I am ready to start correcting. Head feels fine. Cold symptoms instead of flu symptoms. I write that I feel ok, am up and about and will attempt to leave the house tomorrow. I change my clothes for the first time since last dose of codeine having been in the same nightdress the whole time. I bet I stunk. Went out into garden to eat fresh raspberries which feels like a biog turning point.


    As yesterday but even better. I feel good, actually really good. I go do Christmas shopping just for an hour. I should feel wiped but I feel better than I have for 4 years. However, I am still a bit dissociated as I notice negotiating the supermarket. I'm better but not 100%. Bones ache a bit too while shopping.


    Journal no longer needed. I did it. I have bone aches, but not bothered. I'm finding new ways of managing my hand pain using pain confrontation techniques as used by hunter-gatherers (you demand your body gives you the fullness of your pain to experience, you want to confront it and face it and feel it... you would not believe how powerful this is, better than any analgesic. Its like a 'go on give it to me, I want to know and experience every physical feeling associated with it, where and what' attitude).

    So at 8 days I am all done, no more withdrawal. Bones are still achy, and if they continue in 2 mnths I'll get it looked at because I do also have had some early arthritis signals in my bad hand for a few mnths. Could be posture related or the family arthritis.

    So there we are, all done. I don't know what there is to be scared of there. We are all more resilient than we realise.

    I know that some people manage codeine withdrawal with ibuprofen, sleeping tablets and sedative. That perpetuates the same psychological problem though, that pills are fixers. I knew I had to build my confidence to know its me, not pills, that can get me through discomfort and difficulty. I was right, and my relationship with tablets has changed completely. I was taking every kind of tablet: herbal, nutritional, shelf pain killers, nytols, anything.

    I will have to take my depression meds for the rest of my life. I am an outpatient for my MH and will be for a long time. The symptoms I was blaming my psychiatric meds on: the hypersomnia, the out of it feeling, the fuggy mindedness, the loss of concentration... it was all codeine. Now I am free of codeine, I can feel how awesome my psychiatric meds actually are for my brain.

    My depression has eased also, after reaching near suicidal depths during detox (please have an advocate for detox).

    I wanted to write this so people know the experience (for me). I think if anyone is taking a higher dose or feels more dependant than I was, do it under the care of GP.

    I'm so proud of myself. I'm officially hard as nails. As if I need codeine, lol. I'm actually rock hard.

    I also quit my chain smoking the week before, can you believe. Nightmare day 3 in terms of cravings but all done on day 5 and ready to face the codeine problem.

    I had, interestingly, absolutely no cravings for the codeine during detox even though it was right next to me in a bottle. Its as if my whole body and mind just didn't want it anymore.

    Set yourselves free! Wake up to life once more and let it go.

    Its not your comfort, or your friend, or your neccessity. It is ruining your life in ways beyond you imagining. 2 weeks ago I would have defended codeine with all my soul as beautiful, safe and nurturing med that I need to cope to life. I was wrong.


  2. #2
    Faded time is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default congratulations on detox

    You should pat yourself on the back for getting clean. I hope you are able to manage your other pain condition somehow.
    It took two years for my pain management Dr. to get it through my thick skull that dependency and addiction were different things. I'm glad you found that out as well.

    The thing that I would add, is for people to either tell their Dr. they are going off a drug, or ask for the Dr.s advice as to how to go about it. Different drugs have varying halflives and some are more difficult to get out of your system. I'd love to go off all of mine, but with the cocktail i'm on, it would be suicide. Not to mention that the original problem would still be there.

    I hope you continue to feel well of the codeine and your life improves. It must have taken a huge effort not to reach for the codeine when the bone pain became so bad. Your story is motivational for people seeking to come off drugs they either kept taking past the time when the pain ended, or because they feel the side effects of the drugs don't compare with the benefits of an ongoing condition.

    Faded time

  3. #3
    winner71 is offline New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013



    Yes. I was once a nurse, so could kind of keep an eye on myself, but I knew I wasn't being wise to do it alone, without support, absolutely isolated in the house.

    Really, you need someone to know, your doctor and a family member or friend, so that you are safe and supported.

    I still feel so amazing for stopping, I can't recommend it enough. I'm an all or nothing person, I either do something or I don't, so that is what works for me. Once I decide I'm not doing something, that's it, a steel wall comes up and I won't do it.

    That can be a good thing or a bad thing. In this case it was a good thing.

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