Codeine Detox: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

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Codeine is a prescription opioid commonly prescribed for pain management and cough suppression. Codeine is also abused in the form of lean, a concoction of opioids and cough syrup. Any misuse of codeine can lead to the development of physical dependence and, in some cases, opioid use disorder – the clinical term for codeine addiction.

Codeine detox is a process during which individuals who are dependent on opioids discontinue use, ideally under medical supervision. While codeine withdrawal symptoms are not generally life-threatening, they can be extremely uncomfortable and pose substantial challenges to recovery.

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This guide addresses the following issues:

  • Is codeine addictive?
  • Can you get addicted to codeine after using the medication as prescribed?
  • How long does it take to detox from codeine?
  • How to detox from codeine in Southern California.

Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from codeine can be challenging to endure but understanding what to expect can help those trying to break free from codeine dependence. Here are some common codeine withdrawal symptoms:

Early symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Teary eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Appetite loss

Digestive symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps

Other symptoms

  • Chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Cravings for codeine 

Psychological symptoms

  • Depression
  • Low mood

Physical symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

The duration and presentation of these symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on factors like the level of codeine dependence and individual differences in physiology. Seeking medical support during withdrawal can help manage these symptoms and increase the chances of a successful recovery

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Codeine Withdrawal Timeline

The timeline of codeine withdrawal can differ, but there are general phases and patterns that many people experience. The severity of withdrawal symptoms is contingent on factors such as the level of codeine dependence and individual differences. Here’s a general timeline of codeine withdrawal:

Initial symptoms (6 to 12 hours after the last dose)

Symptoms of codeine withdrawal typically begin relatively soon after the last dosage. Initial symptoms may include abdominal cramps and insomnia.

Days 1 to 4

Physical symptoms tend to peak during this period. Symptoms often include nausea, restlessness, sweating, diarrhea, and muscle aches.

Day 3

The most severe withdrawal symptoms usually occur around the third day.

Up to 5 days

The acute withdrawal phase, with the most intense symptoms, generally lasts for five days.

Beyond acute phase (longer duration)

While the acute phase is the most intense, some symptoms and cravings can persist for several weeks.

Seek professional guidance and support during codeine withdrawal, especially if the dependence is severe. Medical supervision can help manage symptoms and increase the chances of a successful recovery. If you or someone that you care about is struggling with codeine withdrawal or lean withdrawal, consider reaching out to a healthcare provider or addiction specialist for assistance and a personalized treatment plan. Here’s what to expect from the process.

Codeine Addiction Treatment

Codeine addiction can be a challenging condition, but there are many effective and evidence-based treatments available to promote sustained recovery. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the addiction and individual needs. Here are some key components of codeine addiction treatment:

  • Medical detoxification: For anyone with severe codeine addiction, a medically supervised detox is usually the first step. Medical professionals can monitor and manage withdrawal symptoms to make the detox process safer and more comfortable.
  • Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapy is a cornerstone of addiction treatment. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), MI (motivational interviewing), and CM (contingency management) are some commonly used approaches to help people change their patterns of drug use and develop coping strategies.
  • Support groups: Participating in support groups like NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or SMART Recovery can provide invaluable peer support and encouragement during the recovery journey.
  • Medications: In some cases, FDA-approved medications like buprenorphine or methadone may be prescribed to reduce cravings and prevent relapse.
  • Comprehensive treatment plans: Individualized treatment plans are essential to address the unique needs of each person. These plans may include a combination of the above approaches and additional services like family therapy, holistic interventions, and vocational training.
  • Long-term follow-up: After the initial treatment, ongoing support and follow-up care can help prevent relapse and maintain long-term recovery from opioid addiction.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment: If someone has co-occurring mental health disorders alongside codeine addiction, integrated treatment for both conditions is more effective than treating either condition in isolation.

Treatment can be highly effective in helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. The specific treatment approach should be determined by a healthcare provider based on a thorough assessment of individual needs.

beach view from california detox, where codeine detox treatments are readily available

Get a Safe Codeine Detox at California Detox

If you need help detoxing from codeine or any other opioid, we can help you achieve this at California Detox.

We offer a supervised medical detox program at our luxury beachside facility in Laguna Beach, CA. Access FDA-approved medications alongside clinical and emotional care to streamline the codeine detox process.

Following detoxification, you can move into ongoing treatment. Our inpatient program blends holistic and science-based therapies for a whole-body approach to recovery from codeine addiction. Treatments may include:

To start embracing life opioid-free, call 949.694.8305 for immediate assistance in Southern California.


Attempting to detox off codeine at home can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. Detoxing from codeine without medical supervision and support can also lead to needless suffering due to the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
Intense withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, anxiety, sweating, and restless legs, can be very unpleasant and challenging to manage.


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