Codeine withdrawal and detox

Codeine is the most commonly prescribed opioid medication in the UK, leaving many exposed to the risk of physical dependency. If you are one of these people, and you feel like your codeine use is getting out of control, codeine detox is an essential first step in breaking your reliance on this drug. Banbury Lodge provides assisted codeine detox in a safe environment, setting you up for a successful onward recovery.

Codeine detox

What is codeine detox?

Codeine detox is a naturally occurring process that happens with abstinence from the drug. During this phase, your body will start to expel any remaining traces of codeine from its system, essentially starting the healing process. Codeine detox is a crucial first step in the treatment of codeine addiction, as it helps to mitigate the physical aspects of dependence and paves the way for long-term recovery.

At Banbury Lodge, our medical staff will safely taper your doses of codeine so as to prevent the onset of severe withdrawal symptoms. You will also receive supportive care, including therapy, throughout the codeine detox period.

Why do I get codeine withdrawal symptoms?

Codeine withdrawal symptoms occur because the body and brain have developed a dependence on the drug after prolonged or frequent use. Codeine is an opioid pain reliever that works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. These are responsible for mediating pain perception and producing feelings of pleasure and relaxation. When codeine is taken for an extended period, the brain becomes reliant on this external source of opioids. This results in physical dependence on the drug to maintain normal brain function.

When you suddenly stop using codeine or significantly reduce your dosage, the brain is left with an insufficient supply of opioids to bind to its receptors. This causes a range of codeine withdrawal symptoms as the body and brain struggle to adapt to the sudden absence of the drug.

What are the symptoms of codeine withdrawal?

Codeine withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and duration depending on your level of dependence, the duration of use and your overall health. Some common symptoms of codeine withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose and teary eyes
  • Excessive yawning
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Intense cravings for codeine

It is important to note that each person’s experience with codeine withdrawal will be unique, so you may not experience every symptom listed above. Despite this, it is important to seek professional help as you undergo codeine detox to ensure your safety and well-being.

How long is codeine detox?

The duration of any opiate detox will depend on the severity of the drug abuse, however, a general timeline for your codeine detox can be outlined as follows:

Eight to twenty-four hours after your last dose: Within the first few hours after stopping codeine use, you may begin to experience initial withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability and muscle aches.

One to three days after your last dose: Your codeine withdrawal symptoms typically peak within the first few days, and you may experience increased heart rate, sweating, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and intense cravings for codeine.

Four to ten days after your last dose: During this phase, codeine withdrawal symptoms generally start to decrease in intensity. Some symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety and cravings, may continue, while others, like muscle aches and gastrointestinal issues, start to subside.

Two to four weeks after your last dose: Most physical withdrawal symptoms will be diminished, but some may continue to experience psychological symptoms like mood swings, anxiety and depression.

Is it safe to detox from codeine at home?

Detoxing from codeine at home is generally not recommended due to the potential risks and complications associated with withdrawal symptoms. Attempting codeine detox at home can lead to relapse as the discomfort and intensity of withdrawal symptoms may be difficult to manage without professional medical support. In some cases, severe dehydration or other complications resulting from codeine withdrawal symptoms can even be life-threatening.

Inpatient rehab is the safer and more effective option for individuals seeking to detox from codeine. In a medically supervised codeine detox programme, healthcare professionals can closely monitor your condition, assist with the management of withdrawal symptoms and ease any discomfort you may feel. Our facility also offers a supportive environment that minimises triggers and access to the drug, which can be crucial in preventing relapse during the vulnerable detoxification period.

Tips for a successful codeine detox

Successfully detoxing from codeine requires a combination of proper support and personal commitment. In order to ensure your codeine detox is successful, consider following the below tips:

  • Build a support network: when times get tough, you will need a support network to keep you motivated and encourage you. Your network could include friends, family or others in recovery.
  • Stay hydrated: adequate hydration is crucial during codeine detox as withdrawal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water and consider electrolyte replacement if necessary.
  • Maintain a balanced diet: eating a nutritious and balanced diet can help support your body’s healing during the codeine detox process. Focus on whole foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables to provide essential nutrients and energy.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation or yoga can help manage stress and anxiety during codeine detox.
  • Stay active: light and gentle physical activity, such as walking or stretching, can help alleviate codeine withdrawal symptoms and improve your overall well-being.
  • Prioritise sleep: getting enough rest is essential for both physical and mental recovery during codeine detox. Establish a regular sleep schedule and engage in a relaxing bedtime routine to promote restful sleep.
  • Stay committed to your codeine recovery: remember that codeine detox is only the first step in the recovery process. Staying committed to your recovery and continuing with a codeine rehab programme is crucial for long-term success.

Overcoming codeine detox is not an easy task, but with the right help and determination, it is certainly possible. By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success.

Codeine detox - meditation

The benefits of codeine detox

Although codeine detox and withdrawal can be challenging, it also offers significant benefits that are both immediate and long-lasting. Some of the benefits of prescription drug detox include:

  • Freedom from the cycles of codeine abuse
  • Improved physical health
  • Enhanced mental well-being
  • Increased self-esteem
  • A sense of achievement
  • Ability to start rebuilding relationships
  • Ability to focus on self-care

As soon as you step away from codeine and the cloud of addiction lifts, you will feel a huge sense of relief. After just a few days, your body will start to feel healthier, rejuvenated and refreshed.

What happens after codeine detox?

After successfully completing the codeine detox process, your journey towards long-term recovery and sobriety continues. Codeine detox addresses the physical aspects of dependence, but it is vital to address the psychological and emotional aspects of your codeine use as well. This is where therapy and counselling play a crucial role.

Banbury Lodge offers a variety of therapies and holistic treatments as part of our comprehensive programme. These include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
  • 12-step programme
  • Art therapy
  • Sound therapy
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Mindfulness

The period after codeine detox is a critical time for addressing the underlying issues contributing to your codeine use and helps you to build a solid foundation for long-term recovery. This ongoing support can help you to achieve and maintain a substance-free life.

If you are ready to begin your codeine detox, or if you have any questions or concerns about codeine rehab, don’t hesitate to give our friendly team a call.

Frequently asked questions

Is there anything I can take during codeine detox?
During codeine detox, you should support your body with appropriate vitamins and minerals, proper hydration and electrolytes. You may take anti-diarrhoea, anti-nausea medication or anti-inflammatory medications depending on your codeine withdrawal symptoms. At Banbury Lodge, your symptoms will be assessed and treated throughout codeine detox.
Can I go ‘cold-turkey’ when I detox from codeine?
It is not safe to suddenly stop taking codeine and go ‘cold-turkey’. Instead, a tapering schedule should be followed to gradually wean you off of the drug and prevent a sudden shock to your body.
Can other substances impact my codeine detox?
Taking codeine alongside other substances, such as illicit drugs or alcohol, can greatly affect the detox and withdrawal period. It is possible that you will experience a lengthier detox period and withdrawal symptoms may be unpredictable. If this is the case for you, it is imperative that you seek the help of experienced professionals.
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UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 3757