Codeine Withdrawal

Codeine is commonly known as a prescription drug that treats severe pain. It is an orally ingested medication that can be quite addictive due to its levels of opiate compounds.

There are many reasons to be cautious about this medication due to its strong withdrawal symptoms,  which can have damaging long term effects after users quit.

Learn more about the powerful opioid codeine, signs of codeine withdrawal, and the best method of treating and overcoming the withdrawal process.

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Addiction is hard, but recovery doesn’t have to be. Let us do the work, request a call now!

Addiction is hard, but recovery doesn’t have to be. Let us do the work, request a call now!


What is Codeine?

Codeine is a popular prescription pain reliever. It is considered to be one of the most common opioids people take in the United States. One way people abuse the drug is by acquiring it in its over-the-counter form of cough syrup. This allows codeine to become a gateway drug for many young users.

In this form, people mix the substance with alcohol which alters its potency. Codeine, used this way, allows people to build up a dependence which prompts them to become addicted.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Because the user develops a strong tolerance of the drug, higher and higher doses are needed in the long run. This means that the user will become highly dependent, causing the body to develop a powerful necessity for codeine. Prolonged abuse can cause not only physical consequences but also psychological. To understand the withdrawal effects and symptoms, we must understand how the drug operates.

Opiates (which is contained in codeine) functions by entering the body’s central nervous system. This causes the chemicals in the medication to flow into the brain’s chemical wiring, binding to opioid receptors within it. As more and more of the drug is used, the patient’s brain will require extensive amounts of codeine in its system.

Users abuse codeine because it helps stimulate the production of more neurotransmitters that produce pleasure and calmness while sedating the reception of pain. The higher the dosage, the more these feelings are augmented and suppressed, respectively.

When the user stops taking this drug, the withdrawal effects start. Anxiety about when the next dose permeates thoughts. Some of the early symptoms experienced by those who top taking codeine are:

  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness

In some cases (depending on how much, and how long the user has been on codeine) the person may experience backaches, vomiting, high blood pressure, anorexia, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and possibly respiratory problems.

These symptoms are quite serious, and it is not recommended to quit cold turkey. In many instances, people seek treatments and specialists that can help them combat these strong issues of dependency. Eliminating the drug this harshly is never the correct way of approaching freedom from addiction.

What Are the Stages of Codeine Withdrawal?

During the initial hours after the patient has quit cold turkey, they will start to feel the first symptoms that come with ending the recurring intake of codeine.


During this stage, people will start to feel symptoms close to that of the flu. The body will slowly but diligently begin reacting and wondering when the next dose of codeine will be. Anxiety begins to kick in. At this stage the person will begin to pick up something is not right.


People will begin to experience harsher symptoms These symptoms are physically uncomfortable and can be unbearable in the mind. Depression ensues and the person will begin to experience the urge to relapse.


The user still feels depressed and overwhelmingly sad. After two weeks, the strong urge to take the drug have vanished. However, these thoughts can linger on for months.

There are many factors to take into consideration when calculating how long these effects will last. For certain people, it may be only a few weeks, for others, it may take months. Take into consideration how long the user has been taking codeine, and how much the person has been taking per session.

These things play a big role in determining how powerful the withdrawal symptoms will be. Other variables are the patient’s mental health. If, for example, the person previously had suicidal thoughts or had any other mental instability, codeine withdrawal symptoms may only enhance these thoughts and feelings in the person.

How To Tackle The Issue

It is safe to say that the best way to treat these illnesses is by committing to medically administered detox treatment. Most of the time, recovering addicts do not take the proper procedures in order to evade future relapse and addiction. So, the first and most important step in recovery is Detox.

Detox and Why It’s Important

Detox or Detoxification is considered to be the most crucial step towards addiction recovery and a balanced life. This aspect in the road to recovery tackles the initial problems with eliminating dependence. Detox, under supervised medical staff, helps the patient through the difficult withdrawal process safely.

Doctors and a team of trained medical staff supervise a variety of medications that help manage the aches, pains and mental imbalances from withdrawal. Many times specialists treat both physical and psychological factors that may have caused addiction patient in the first place.

Healthcare professionals that have been treating people for years develop individualized custom plans for each person, allowing them to treat each case as a separate one, instead of a “one sizes fits all” approach.

People trying to obtain a sober life will often find it’s much bearable with proper guidance and medication.

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What is the Next Treatment Step?

Choosing a Program

For those trying to find help and recovery, finding a program that helps is key. Many recovering facilities, like Maryland House Detox, offer treatment programs for each individual. For many cases of codeine addiction, a medically-supervised detox will be the first step before transitioning into residential treatment.

The residential treatment plan involves people living in the center for the entire withdrawal and addiction program (usually 30 – 90 days or more). Outpatient treatment plans allow patients to regularly check into the facility to continue their medical treatments while living at home. In these cases, people usually don’t have strong withdrawal issues but are suffering symptoms.

There has never been a better time to begin recovery and treatment for drug or substance abuse. Our treatment centers are there to tackle the problem the best way possible with the least amount of discomfort.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

Find help today for yourself or someone you know by taking action. Maryland House Detox has a variety of solutions for anyone trying to find help today.

Call 855-969-8748 (available 24/7) for any doubts or questions. It’s never an easy decision to make, out of shame or doubt, but it will guarantee a healthy and balanced future.