Codeine addiction treatment

  • Evidence-based treatment options
  • Online and face-to-face treatment
  • Highly qualified specialists

Book your FREE addiction assessment today

Call Us
Tap on a number to call
Or book online
Call Us
Tap on a number to call
Free addiction assessment

Page clinically reviewed by Dee Johnson (Mbacp, MNCS), Addiction Therapist at Priory Hospital Chelmsford in March 2024.

If you think you’re struggling with a codeine addiction, the good news is that it's treatable and you don’t have to suffer on your own. The most important step is to get help for your codeine addiction, to start getting your life back on track.

Codeine is a prescription painkiller, which people usually take to treat moderate pain, for example, after you’ve suffered an injury or gone through an operation. You might also take codeine for ongoing pain when less strong painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, haven’t been able to reduce your pain.

When you take codeine appropriately and the way that you’re advised to by a medical professional, it can be an effective type of prescription drug, offering you pain relief and improving your quality of life.

Save 10% on addiction treatment

Priory is currently offering 10% off private self-pay addiction inpatient treatment, for admissions until 31st August inclusive. Get a free initial assessment with a therapist, to help you take the first step towards recovery. Call us on 0330 056 6023 to find out more. T&Cs apply.

What is codeine and why is it so addictive?

Codeine is a member of the opioid medication family, frequently prescribed to alleviate pain. Its addictive potential stems from its ability to induce feelings of euphoria, offering users a temporary respite from discomfort. Upon consumption, the body transforms codeine into morphine, which then acts on the brain’s pleasure and reward centres.

This interaction can initiate a cycle of dependency, as people may repeatedly use the drug to recapture the pleasurable sensations. The continuous quest for these feelings can lead to an increased tolerance, meaning higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect, further fuelling the cycle of addiction.

Initially, many people may begin to use codeine in response to long-term or chronic pain. Using the drug relieves that pain, giving the user a short-term boost to their wellbeing and physical health. However, if it's not managed properly by a medical professional, this can also contribute to a cycle of addiction.

If the pain isn't cured, it might drive the user to continually use the drug. Over time, they'll likely need to take more at more regular intervals to get the desired effect - putting them in greater danger of addiction. Over time, the effects of codeine addiction can be severe.

The signs and symptoms of codeine addiction

A person may have feelings of elation, euphoria, and drowsiness when taking codeine. However, when someone is addicted to codeine, they're unlikely to get the associated high, as they just need the drug to function.

If you're worried that someone you care for may be addicted to codeine, there are signs and symptoms that they may display, which include:

  • Dizziness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slow breathing
  • Blue lips
  • Itching
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Using codeine for small ailments like headaches
  • Regularly visiting a doctor to obtain more codeine
  • Being secretive about their codeine use
  • Isolating themselves socially
  • Running into financial difficulties due to money spent on codeine
  • Faking or exaggerating illness or injury to get more codeine
  • Drop in performance at work, or increase in days taken off sick
  • Sourcing the drug illegally if they can no longer get it via legal routes
  • Signs of increased tolerance - needing to take more codeine to get the same effect

Free addiction assessment

We recognise that reaching out for help can be daunting. That’s why we offer a free assessment with a Priory expert at your nearest Priory hospital if you are struggling with the symptoms of addiction. Call our dedicated team today to arrange a free, confidential assessment.

Call Us
Tap on a number to call
Book now

What causes codeine addiction?

Addictions develop because of a psychological process known as ‘positive reinforcement’. Positive reinforcement helps a pattern of behaviour to form by offering a reward for that behaviour. In the context of codeine addiction, this drug causes people to experience ‘positive’ outcomes such as euphoria and relaxation, which means they’re more likely to want to seek out these feelings again by taking more codeine. This is how people develop an addiction as opposed to just ‘one-off’ behaviour.

As well as positive reinforcement, research shows that drug addictions can also be influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

  • Genetics – if you have a close relative who struggles with substance misuse, this can mean you’re more likely to develop a similar problem yourself. This could be down to genes or because you may have been exposed to drug or alcohol abuse from a young age, which makes this seem normal to you
  • Environment – environmental factors such as being surrounded by people who abuse alcohol or drugs can also increase the chances of you becoming addicted to substances such as codeine. Also, going through stressful life events such as bereavement or trauma may also lead you to an addiction

Also, some research shows you may have a higher risk of struggling with an addiction if you already have an underlying mental health problem such as depression, anxiety or stress. This is because people might try to self-medicate with codeine to try and control their mental health symptoms, which can have a negative effect on their wellbeing over time.

Save 10% on addiction treatment

Our free addiction assessment explained

Priory is currently offering 10% off private self-pay addiction inpatient treatment, for admissions until 31st August inclusive.

Get a free initial assessment with a therapist, to help you take the first step towards recovery. T&Cs apply.

  • Work with world-class addiction specialists
  • Network of rehabilitation centres nationwide
  • Range of therapeutic techniques used, including equine therapy

Treatment for codeine addiction

At Priory, we understand that without effective treatment, codeine addiction can have a negative impact on lots of different areas of your life, affecting you mentally and physically. Over time, you may find that you develop a tolerance to codeine, meaning you have to take more of the drug to feel the effects you crave. It’s also possible for untreated codeine addiction to lead to alcohol addiction, other drug addictions and behavioural addictions such as gambling, which can cause a whole range of other problems.

However, you don’t have to suffer in silence; we can help you address your issues and take steps towards recovery. Our expert team are dedicated to helping you every step of the way towards overcoming your addiction and returning to the healthy and fulfilling life you deserve. We offer intensive codeine addiction rehab within our nationwide network of hospitals and wellbeing centres, helping you regain control of your life.

Remember, it’s never too late to get help. Contact Priory today to start your journey towards a more positive way of life.

What happens during codeine rehab?

Treatment for codeine addiction at Priory usually takes place as part of our 28-day addiction treatment programme. During this, you'll stay at one of our hospital sites on a residential basis, where you’ll receive specialist addiction treatment and help.

The first step may be for you to go through a medically assisted drug detoxification process if this is needed, to remove all traces of codeine from your body. You’ll then be able to start attending therapy, which will help you to:

  • Discover the triggers for your codeine addiction
  • Learn healthy coping mechanisms for the future
  • Take steps towards a more positive way of life

The recommended treatment time for addictions is 28 days, but we can also consider flexible treatment lengths depending on your individual needs.

Our leading 28-day codeine addiction treatment programme consists of:

  • Free, no obligation addiction assessment, allowing you to discuss your addiction in confidence, receive guidance on our treatment options, and start your journey towards rehabilitation and recovery - book your appointment today
  • Medically assisted detoxification for your codeine addiction, if this is needed. The purpose of this is to remove all traces of codeine from your body, while controlling withdrawal symptoms
  • Individual 1:1 therapy and structured group therapy programmes
  • Family and couples therapy programmes
  • Access to both on and off-site 12-step support groups
  • Free aftercare for 12 months following treatment (aftercare is provided for life following treatment at Priory Hospital Roehampton)
  • Free family support for 12 months following treatment (family support is provided for life following treatment at Priory Hospital Roehampton)

As well as providing addiction help on a residential basis, we also offer outpatient and day care treatment for codeine addiction at Priory. The type of treatment you receive depends on the level of support you need and the nature of your condition. If a detox is needed, this will need to happen on an inpatient basis.

Day care and outpatient addiction counselling can be used as an entry point to treatment, or they can be used as a step down if you’ve already gone through residential treatment. For more detailed information on codeine addiction rehab, as well as the addiction therapy we can offer, please visit our approach to addiction treatment page.

Contact us to make an enquiry or for more information

Call Us
Tap on a number to call