Codeine Withdrawal & Detox
By The Recovery Village Ridgefield
Editor Thomas Christiansen | Medically Reviewed By Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Last Updated: May 26, 2023
Editorial Policy | Research Policy
Codeine is an opioid-based medication that is used to treat coughing and pain. Codeine works by stimulating opioid receptors in the brain, which slows and suppresses nerve signals that transmit pain and the urge to cough. Stimulation of these opioid receptors also releases chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These chemicals create a sensation of pleasure and euphoria called a high. The high that can accompany codeine use can create an addiction to codeine.
Someone who has a craving for codeine that they give in to, even when they intend not to, may have an addiction to codeine. When someone is addicted to codeine and is unable to stop by themselves, they may need to seek a professional codeine detox treatment plan. This plan could involve outpatient treatment, but will often require inpatient treatment in a rehab facility.
As codeine is used over a longer timeframe or in large amounts, the body begins adjusting to the presence of codeine and develops both tolerance and dependence. Tolerance develops when the brain adjusts to the level of codeine used and stops responding with a high, as it previously did. This change makes it necessary for the individual to use larger and larger amounts of codeine to obtain the original high.
Dependence occurs when the body adjusts to the level of codeine that is constantly in the bloodstream and the suppression it causes within the nervous system. When dependence develops, stopping codeine leads to several uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms as the body must adjust to the absence of codeine. Dependence is the main cause of codeine withdrawal symptoms and can make it difficult or even dangerous to stop using codeine.
Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms
When dependence does develop during codeine use, there are several symptoms that are typically experienced when codeine use is stopped. Codeine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Cravings for codeine
- Increased respiratory rate
- Excessive sweating
- Runny nose
- Dried or irritated eyes
- Stomach cramps
- Tremors or muscle twitching
- Fast pulse
- Fevers and chills
- Vomiting or nausea
These withdrawal symptoms are not typically deadly, but will be very uncomfortable and, in some cases, may become dangerous. Someone who is experiencing these symptoms when stopping codeine use may greatly benefit from professional help in detoxing from codeine.
Finding Codeine Detox in Washington
When deciding to detox from codeine, it is best to seek professional help if there is any possibility that withdrawal symptoms will occur. There are several factors to keep in mind when seeking codeine detox help. Some of the most important considerations to have are:
- Inpatient versus outpatient treatment – Inpatient treatment is the best solution for someone who is likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms or who tried to stop using codeine before, but has been unsuccessful. Outpatient treatment is better for those who are trying to stop using codeine for the first time and are not likely to have withdrawal symptoms.
- Cost – The cost of codeine detox treatment can sometimes seem daunting, but there are many options to help, including insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and payment plans. It is important to find a treatment option that is with a facility or organization that has a plan to help you find the treatment that is within your budget.
- Reputation – There are many addiction treatment options available. It is important to find an organization that has a good reputation and is established as an authority in the field of addiction recovery services.
- Location – With outpatient treatment, it may be better to find a more local treatment center. With inpatient treatment, however, many people find that part of the benefit of this treatment option is being out of their normal environment and away from their hometown and any associated triggers. Those seeking inpatient treatment may benefit from being outside of their hometown, or even their home state.
- Follow-up care – One important consideration when seeking codeine detox treatment is the follow-up provided once the initial detox is completed. Becoming free of codeine use is a vital part of treatment, but staying free of codeine use is just as important.
Codeine Detox Timeline
One common question about codeine is about the expected codeine withdrawal timeline. The codeine detox timeline typically lasts about a week and starts within about twelve to twenty-four hours. Symptoms will typically peak at about three days into withdrawal and gradually subside over a week.
The timeline for codeine detox will vary for everyone depending upon the amount of codeine they use and if other substances are also used.
If you or a loved one are ready to address your codeine addiction, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today. By utilizing personalized treatment programs, The Recovery Village Ridgefield addresses each patient’s addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders in a way that works best for the patient. You deserve a healthier future, call today and find out how The Recovery Village Ridgefield can help you achieve lasting sobriety.
Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.
O’Mally, Gerald F. & O’Mally, Rika. “Opioid Toxicity and Withdrawal.” Merck Manuals, March 2018. Accessed May 9, 2019.
Medscape. “Codeine (Rx).” 2019. Accessed May 9, 2019.