Addicted to codeine, anyone else?

I've been addicted to Solpadeine plus (500mg paracetamol, 8mg codeine and 30mg caffeine) for the last 3 years, I've been taking them every day, I'm now taking up to 12 tablets per day, 6 doses of 2 tablets, and the recommended dose is a maximum of 8 tablets (4 doses) per day and they are not to be taken for longer than 1 week, so I'm way past that limit.

I know there are people out there that take these tablets and probably take way more than me, there's also more serious addictions like heroin and other hard drugs, so whenever I tell people about my addiction they just laugh at me, like it's not serious, so I suppose I never took it seriously. Even when I went to see a drug rehabilitation therapist, she was a bit shocked when I told her what I take and how often, I was made to feel like a stupid child, so from that I only went to 2 appointments then gave it up as I felt I was not bad enough to be there and they didn't take me seriously.

I've tried stopping these things so many times, I've lost count, but it has never worked and I keep getting sucked back into taking them. I've become reliant on them, if I don't take them throughout the day my energy level and mood goes south for the winter, I can't be bothered to move and I become snappy and moody with others, but after taking these tablets I'm fine again.

I've been diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, I take 100mg sertraline, the antidepressants to help, only been on them for 3 months but I can tell a big difference in my general mood after starting these tablets. I made a promise to myself that if I could get antidepressants, I'd stop the codeine, as I started taking them in a stupid attempt to help my anxiety and make me feel better, it was stupid and it has gone way too far, they no longer help me, only make me feel worse.

I rarely go out of the house because of lack of energy and social anxiety, I would love to have a job, but instead I claim ESA benefits, I just hate my life and all I do is sit at home, playing Xbox and collecting dust basically, I feel useless. I smoke too, since I do nothing with my life, I have nothing better to do, so smoking and taking codeine is basically my daily routine, I can't get out of it until I have something to live for, something more important that what I think is important at the moment.

My mood has plummeted lately since I was always fighting with my boyfriend, we were in a long distance relationship and I barely got to see him, he was very possessive and controlling and would never let me have friends, it really got to me and he'd accuse me of cheating on me whenever I spoke to any other guy. I still love him and I was always faithful to him, but his behaviour drove me crazy and I do feel a little better without him, there's no drama and I can focus on myself, but I do miss him and his company, besides blaming me for everything he was actually the only good friend I had, so now I have nobody to talk to, since I don't leave the house, I have no real life friends to talk to, besides my Mum, how sad is that?

So yeah I'm in a bit of a pickle at the moment, life seems to suck, I really want to turn my life around but I just don't know how to do it or where to start. Does anybody have any advice, personal experiences etc? I need a bit of inspiration on how to cope and fix things.

5 Replies

  • Oh Dilly, you are not alone with addictions or anxiety/depression. However, it is not the end and you are not beyond "repair." I am surprised that your doctors are not taking you seriously. Please see a therapist or attend a rehab group program. I don't know if you are a Christian or not but if you are, please seek counseling from your pastor. Pray and ask God for help. He hears you and loves you. Praying that you will be healed from what is making you. You mum probably is the best person to talk to...she probably has your best interest at heart. Sorry for your problems. Don't give up.

  • Hi. You are not alone in being addicted to something - a lot of us have or had addictions. I used to smoke, and was sure I could never give it up. The same day I had my first heat attack I gave up smoking and have never gone back again. For me it was the shock of what happened that helped me realise that my addiction was killing me. In your case you have developed an addiction to painkillers. I am sure that we have all heard of famous people who get addicted to pain killers and go from one type to another, eventually doing great damage to themselves. So I think your situation should be taken seriously.

    The first thing that struck me about your post is how depressed you sound. The medication issue may be a reaction to that. It sounds to me like you have depression and anxiety going on for a long long time. I find it odd that any medical person would just dismiss your addiction. Yes the painkillers are low level, but we all react differently to any type of medication, and low level damage over a long period can end up being very serious.

    From all you have written I get the feeling that you need proper medical intervention, not only to deal with the addiction, but also to begin to address the obvious, and more serious, emotional issues. My advice would be to talk with your doctor and really say the things you have said here. It might be helpful to write it down if you feel you might forget to say things. I took that approach after my heart attacks when I felt that I always forgot things to tell my cardiologist that were niggling at me. Doing nothing is not an option for you I think. There is help out there. I wish you well.

  • This is very concerning. You need help quickly, I recently watched a programme where a doctor stayed with various families, a man on the programme was taking a high level of cocodomol which are codeine paracetamol based, the doctor managed to wean him off them. He took them for pain as he was a weight lifter. You have such a lot of problems to deal with. Have you told the doctor that you take these tablets every day? They are dangerous and could damage your liver, I urge you to go back to the doctor and see if they will describe antidepressants as to me you are clearly depressed. You say you do not go out, are isolating yourself, your boyfriend was controlling this is all negative. Treat one thing at a time, tell the doctor everything as without knowing they cannot treat you, if he/she does not give you antidepressants then see another doctor until you get this sorted.

    Do not give up, gradually decrease the painkillers every day, even if you get some symptoms keep going, you have to be strong, I hope you have a loving family who you can talk to, if not we will support you on this site. Gradually you will recover from this, please make an appointment today and you will soon be on the way to recovery, try doing something you enjoy daily, when the sun shines, make yourself go for a walk, it will not be easy but you will feel so much better.

    Let me know how you get on 😊😊😊😊xx

  • Hello

    Yes I have been addicted to them and it is not very nice at all

    Was prescribed them for pain and before I knew it I was addicted

    The best thing you can do is stop taking them

    I would seek help from your Doctor , tell them the truth they will help you gradually wean of them safely as you do have to go through some withdrawal symptoms if you have been taking them regular over a long period of time , but it does pass

    The way I did it was like if I was taking 8 a day I dropped one of a day waited a few days till my system adjusted then knocked another one of and so on , it was not to bad till I got say down to half and was on 4 a day and that is when I had to be determined as I dropped the last few of and use all my will power but can be done

    I think with these drugs we feel they are safe as we can get them over the counter and if used correctly they can be a life save with people in chronic pain but for some as you have found out they can be addictive and do the opposite

    You are young and you have got yourself in a pickle but one you can slowly get out of and enjoy life to the full , I know at the moment you may feel stuck but you can work through this

    How much support if any has your Doctor offered you other than maybe medication ?

    I am pleased you have your Mum to talk to and maybe together you could go to the Doctors tell them just how bad this is now and ask for some extra support they could refer you to Counselling and talking therapy which would be a huge help

    Set yourself small goals each day , we have to put some work in even though we feel it is not worth it or we do not have the strength but if we set just little goals what we can do and we achieve them at the end of the day no matter how small it may have been it actually makes us feel good and realize we can do more than we thought we could

    Concentrate on you at the moment , once you get in a better place ( which you will ) friends and relationships will start happening but until we have sorted ourselves out these can tend to flop , so you come first and life we start to get better

    Wishing you all the best , I know you can do this , get all the support you can including talking on here

    Take Care x

  • Your first problem is it the codeine but your overdosing on paracetamol. You know that the max daily is 8 x 500mg spaced out. Overdosing can cause severe damage to your liver and, in some cases, can be fatal. You really need to seek help as soon as possible.

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