Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.
Cold turkey(51 Posts)
I'm a regular but using a different name for this as I need it stay anonymous. I have a chronic pain condition which is controlled by codeine and ibuprofen. I have a stressful professional job. I don't smoke, drink or use any other drugs. Over the past months, my codeine usage has crept up until I'm running out of my script far too early, and I've come to realize I'm making myself pyschologically dependent on it. I'm now out, and instead of buying OTC to supplement, I'm stopping. I've tried before and failed. Tapering never works for me, so cold turkey it is. This is my first day. I understand I may suffer diarrhea and body pains, so I've got some Diar-stop and plain paracetamol. This isn't going to be easy, so I've set this thread up to keep myself accountable. I'm working away from family and friends and will be until July. I'm lonely, which is part of it, and its far too easy to justify to myself when I'm accountable to anyone. So I'm making myself accountable to Mumsnet. Will post later and say how I've gotten on.
PS - I'm far too embarrassed to talk to my GP. They're not sympathetic and I feel like an idiot for allowing this to happen.
It probably would have been better to tell your GP and work out a 'weaning off plan' but obviously it's up to you, just be careful. Oh and you might get restless legs at night! I did when I came off long term OTC codeine.
Thank you. I did take my doses this morning, so it's kind of a taper albeit a steep one, but that's all I have now. I think I will be successful because this time I actually want to stop - past attempts have been more like feeling like I should. I'm not depressed - I love my work though as I say I'm stuck in a lonely location until July, I'm close with my family and have a few good friends and two cats whom I love. I was analysed for depression after I was diagnosed and they concluded I'm in good mental health, which makes me even more embarrassed that I've gotten myself into this situation. It's not entirely my fault - I never had opiates prescribed before I moved to my present location and this GP service is rather free with the pills compared to my last one - but I take most of the responsibility.
Well, day 1 down. All fine so far, but nervous about getting withdrawal symptoms over the next few days. Help me stay strong please!
I haven't any relevant experience but I admire you for taking yourself in hand with no RL support. You sound as if you'll succeed. Keep posting.
I had a codeine addiction as well (first prescribed, and then I was buying my own OTC). Started when I was 19 and didn't kick it until I was 27. So it took 8 years of my life!! Really hooks you in.
Well done for working to get off it. The physical withdrawal symptoms should subside after about 4 days. Having something to help with the gastro symptoms is good because there are opiate receptors in the brain and digestive system so it affects both. For me I had insomnia, fatigue, restlessness and low mood. You can push through it for the 4 days or so. If you're working on these days you may need to take them off, as it will be like having the flu.
Hope it's going well - keep us posted with how you are doing
Thank you. Luckily I should get the bulk of the symptoms tomorrow and Sunday - can't really take Monday off but only have to be physically in office for about 3 hours, then can come home. I'm feeling positive. When I woke up this morning I got the first thought of 'oh, maybe I could just take a little bit' but I won't. I know where that ends up: endangering my health, spending too much, and taking up too much of my time/thought process. I haven't had any obvious health problems, but I did notice it makes me retain a lot of water which probably suggests a strain on the kidneys. Congratulations namechange - you should be proud of yourself. Does it feel good to beat it?
I slept fine, probably because it hasn't been long enough to be in full w/d yet. Today I'm feeling tired with some aches in my body but nothing too bad. I'm taking regular paracetamol/ibuprofen to keep it under control. Got to go into work shortly, but won't need to stay late - my job is flexible about the number of hours I have to be physically onsite. I'm already feeling emotions more strongly, both good and bad. I'm quite a sensitive person and a lot of the appeal of codeine is that it takes the edge off your feelings - you never feel tearful or upset while taking it. Of course, you never feel delight, satisfaction or any of the good stuff either - you're sort of flattened out.
It's good to be prepared for the worst but maybe it isn't going to be so awful?
How's the chronic pain manifesting at the moment?
Aching back - I have a problem with the joints in my upper body. I'm keeping on a schedule with paracetamol/ibuprofen and Deep Heat at night. Anyway, back from work for today, still on track. Emotions definitely more heightened. I'll probably have couple of drinks this weekend which I hardly ever do, but literally 1 drink/day. I don't like being drunk, luckily, and I really really hate nausea - I would rather be in pain than nauseous. What's adding to it at the moment is that I haven't got a car in the little town where I'm living, so hauling groceries/laptop etc around. Still, onwards and upwards hey. It's tough but I'm trying to use positive affirmations by telling myself I'm tougher . Thanks for the support everyone, this thread is really really helping.
Well that's day 2 done. Had 1 drink and didn't enjoy it really though it'll probably help me sleep. Feeling pretty achy and tired, just on the couch using my back massager at the moment so the one of my cats that enjoys being outside can have some time in their outside area (she's fat, she needs the exercise!). Then I'll have a bath and go read in bed. Will report back in the morning.
Well done and keep going! You're amazing.
You sound mentally ready for this and so far you're doing brilliantly
Thank you . I'm not brilliant - just cleaning up my own mess really! Yes, this morning makes 48 hours now. I had a patchy night but a fair amount of back pain explained by the fact I got my period, which I forgot was due around now. I can't take any more paracetamol for a couple of hours due to the 24 hour limit as I woke up very early, but hanging in there. I have to say I feel very mentally clear this morning, if physically a bit crappy.
I think I am too. I get some instrusive thoughts like 'Ugh I need a little bit....I am actually in some pain, so.....it will make me feel better.....' But then I remind myself of all the other times its started with 'a little bit'. I think I've demonstrated to myself sufficiently that the substance is simply too addictive to my particular brain to use a little bit. I'm trying to imagine myself going through a hedge that gets thicker and more brambly as you go on, and at every point there are easy exits out. But the exit takes you right back to the start and you lose all the progress you've made. I think I'm about a third of the way through. I'm sure I'll feel better once I've had some paracetamol, about 7.30. Today all I need to do is clean the house, which is a state, but I'll just do the essentials.
I do wish I'd never been prescribed any, and perhaps regulations in this country do need to be tightened, but I am the one who chose to use my script for mental not physical reasons. I have a referral to the pain clinic but by the time it comes through my contract will be finished and I won't live here any more! I've been waiting months. A friend who works for the NHS commented to me once that the NHS is excellent at saving lives, and bad at treating long term conditions. Which I guess makes sense.
The hedge is a good metaphor. So tell me what happens after you've scrambled and hacked your way through the thick of it?
I guess the freedom of having my whole brain back?
Well that was a weak moment, but still hanging in there. I finished the housework which I normally do on a Saturday morning. By this time I'm in some pain (especially today due to period) and would normally pop some codeine to kill and relax my brain. But nope, holding out for the next dose of paracetamol. The condition I have is called joint hypermobility syndrome - its a bit like Ehlers-Danlos but nowhere near as bad, because heart/immune etc aren't effect, my joints just have too much range of movement so muscles are being hyperextended. For instance, if I bend my hand forward, my wrist extends to far that my thumb goes past my forearm. I actually have the highest score possible, 9/9, meaning my whole body is affected, but luckily I only get pain in my back and shoulders unless I've actually strained something. Some people have practically no pain with it, some have a lot.
Day 3 done. I have to say, so far, its not been as bad as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong it hasn't been pleasant, but I expected worse.
Is it too soon to think you're glimpsing daylight through the thicket?
Join the discussion
Please login first.