Codeine Detox/Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline and Rehabs

by | Jul 17, 2019 | Codeine | 0 comments


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How to Receive Help for Codeine Addiction


A drug addict will experience many things when they first begin a medical detox. Mental health and physical health are affected when a person is dependent on the drug they use. So, being without their substance of choice is bound to be a challenge.

In the case of codeine addiction, the withdrawal symptoms are very severe because opiate receptors cling fiercely onto illicit drugs. These receptor cells begin to function better with the substance as the substance abuse increases.

Continuous use of a drug when withdrawal symptoms are severe can develop an addiction. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about codeine detox.

From Codeine Use to Abuse to Addiction

Codeine abuse usually turns into a drug addiction when a patient begins to use the drug for more than its intended purpose. People who are more prone to addiction get attached to the high that comes with using a higher dose of codeine. Often times, drug addicts will mix codeine with alcohol or other narcotics to maximize the high feeling.

Using opiates recreationally can form a physical dependency very fast. Codeine use increases morphine levels. The brain loves this and latches onto this morphine. This is how physical dependence happens and causes someone to become addicted to codeine.

An overdose of codeine would come from anything higher than 900mg. Withdrawal symptoms for codeine detox are severe and require medical supervision.

Medical Risks of Codeine Addiction

As with the abuse of many drugs, there are medical risk factors when a drug user abuses codeine. Codeine use alone can cause respiratory depression or very slow breathing. Codeine mixed with other drugs such as Tylenol or alcohol can increase the chances of liver failure and a decrease in blood flow.

Codeine is intended to relieve pain, so it is not necessarily bad for you if you take the required dose. However, because it produces a high, it is not advised to take any more than what you are prescribed. If you are prone to substance abuse, ask a loved one to help you control the dosage of your prescription. If you feel that your use of codeine has gotten out of hand, you may need addiction treatment in a rehab facility.

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Being that codeine’s intended use is to relieve pain, there are going to be many physical withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal and detox can also be a very emotionally challenging time because being in pain naturally makes people upset. So, when the solution to a patient’s pain is taken away, their mental health can take a hit.

In the case of drug addiction, quitting codeine is going to make an addict feel like they are quitting cold turkey. Their body will need to adjust to prescription drugs for the withdrawal symptoms to become less severe.


Codeine addiction comes with these withdrawal signs and symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Teary eyes
  • Running nose
  • Sweat
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors

With many drugs, withdrawal symptoms are simply the opposite of the effects of the drug. In the case of codeine, since it relaxes the body, relieves pain and causes constipation, the withdrawal will show the opposite effects.

How Long Does Withdrawal Last?

The withdrawal timeline for codeine detox can last anywhere from a few days to months. It depends on certain factors surrounding the substance abuse habits of the patient.

Some factors that contribute to the length of codeine withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Duration of Codeine use
  • Severity of addiction
  • How much a patient feels that they need the drug
  • Genes

How a Drug Rehab Treats Codeine Withdrawal

A common way to treat codeine withdrawal is with a Medically Assisted Detox. This is when the rehab facility provides medical supervision to assist the needs of the drug addict. The choice of medication is dependent on the drug.

Opiate Replacement Therapy or ORT is a method used to treat opioid addiction specifically. ORT works to mimic the effects of opiates as a patient detoxes.

An addiction specialist will prescribe drugs to opiate addicts that ease different withdrawal symptoms by tricking the opiate receptors.

Some of these prescription drugs are:

  • Buprenorphine: produces feelings of happiness, reduces dependence
  • Naltrexone: prevents opioids from interacting with the opioid receptors
  • Hydroxyzine: prevents nausea, helps with anxious feelings
  • Methadone: reduces cravings

Duration of Withdrawal: What Can I Expect?

As with anything the body experiences often, a tolerance to codeine will develop if it is taken too often. This tolerance is the foundation of addiction and will bring about withdrawal symptoms.

According to MedLine, patients who use codeine for clinical purposes can experience withdrawal symptoms after as little as one week of use. Weaning off the drug is necessary for patients who have developed any kind of dependency.

Common codeine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Aches
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Stuffy nose
  • Yawning

The withdrawal timeline depends on how severe the substance abuse problem is. Generally speaking, severe physical withdrawal symptoms last for the first few days after quitting drug abuse and end after 2 weeks.

Does It Make A Difference Where I Detox?


The short answer to this question is yes – because each person who uses and abuses codeine is different. There are different kinds of treatment offered by each rehab facility that provides a medical detox.

Codeine detox, in any case, will make sure the patient does not have to quit a drug cold turkey. This can be damaging to the physical and mental health of the patient.

Inpatient rehab can provide patients with hands-on care around the clock. Medical supervision is more constant because patients live in the treatment center.

Outpatient rehab still involves prescription drugs and careful supervision. But, there can’t be supervision of the patient’s medical habits outside of the treatment center. If the addiction is severe, it is recommended that the patient stays in inpatient rehab.

The Next Step in Breaking Codeine Addiction

After medical detox, the rehab facility gives patients the opportunity to work on mental health. This really helps for many people, especially those with co-occurring disorders. Behavioral therapy is typically used by addiction specialists. This approach to therapy helps addicts find new ways to react to stress.

Family therapy is also commonly used. The rehab facility invites loved ones to rebuild trust in the relationship. During therapy, there is continued medical supervision to check in on how dependent an addict is after the detox process.


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