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Mixing Co-codamol and Alcohol

Escape the dangers of mixing co-codamol and alcohol with help from the resident experts at Delamere

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Mixing co-codamol and alcohol

Often taken in place of weaker painkillers, co-codamol is a mixture of paracetamol and low-dose codeine. Both medications work slightly differently. Paracetamol interferes with prostaglandins – the substances the body makes to feel pain. While codeine is an opioid that blocks pain sensation in the brain. Available over the counter, co-codamol is used to treat regular aches and pains and is considered to be a ‘mild’ painkiller. However, mixing co-codamol with alcohol can be dangerous.

It is usually safe to drink alcohol in moderation with certain painkillers, but if it is consumed in high quantities with co-codamol it can have unpleasant consequences. Mixing opioids and alcohol gives the user a heightened sense of euphoria, because both substances have the effect of reducing pain and increasing pleasure. When these feelings wear off, the user craves the same rewarding sensation, which can lead to an increased tolerance, physical and psychological dependence and, eventually, addiction.

At Delamere wellness retreat, we help people overcome addiction with personalised support in calming, rural surroundings. Our therapists are experts in treating both painkiller addiction and alcohol addiction through a range of inspired rehab programmes. We often take care of guests who are addicted to polydrug use, where one or more drug is mixed with another. This can be particularly challenging for the individual, their friends and family, but with our trusted guidance, we have helped many people regain control and move on with their lives, addiction free.

If you need help with alcohol and painkiller addiction, contact our team today and learn more about the different programmes we offer here at Delamere.

See how a stay at Delamere can give you the time, space and tools needed to grow beyond your addiction. Book a consultation

The dangers of mixing co-codamol and alcohol

The majority of people who abuse co-codamol do so because it is easily obtainable from any high street pharmacy or supermarket, yet it contains the powerful painkiller, codeine. Combining co-codamol with alcohol intensifies the effect of both substances, making them highly toxic and extremely dangerous. Alcohol speeds up the release of the codeine within co-codamol which increases the risk of overdose and long-term health problems. If you suspect someone you know is abusing alcohol and co-codamol, it’s worth being aware of some of the main side effects to get them the professional help they need.

Side effects of mixing co-codamol and alcohol

Nausea. Headaches. Drowsiness. All medications carry warnings of possible side effects when taken with alcohol. But mixing co-codamol with alcohol can compound these reactions, leading to potentially life-threatening issues. Both co-codamol and alcohol act on functions of the central nervous system, slowing down breathing and altering a person’s state of mind. When the two are mixed in excess, users may experience dizziness, delayed reactions, low blood pressure, confusion, respiratory problems and, in the worse cases, coma and even death.

The risks of mixing co-codamol and alcohol

Co-codamol and alcohol both have a sedative effect which can make you feel drowsier. In small doses this makes people less able to concentrate and slows down reaction times. In higher amounts, this lethal combination can severely impair judgement, leading to the user putting themselves and others in dangerous situations which could result in accidents, injury or death. It’s important that you only ever take co-codamol at the recommended dose and ensure it is completely out of your system before you drink alcohol, which could be up to 15 hours. Always talk to a medical professional if you have been mixing co-codamol and alcohol.

Co-codamol and alcohol-related deaths

Co-codamol is an opioid (a synthetic form of opiate) which contains codeine – one of the constituents that makes it highly addictive. The ONS reported a 25% increase in the number of codeine-related deaths in 2020 and found that over half of all drug poisoning deaths involved an opiate. During the same period, deaths that were directly attributable to alcohol-use increased by 18.6%. (1) When these two addictive substances are combined, the results can be catastrophic.

Withdrawal from co-codamol and alcohol

When people deliberately take co-codamol and alcohol together to achieve a high, they may not realise that they’re increasing the risk of overdosing. If you become addicted to painkillers as well as abusing alcohol you will also suffer unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop. This is because the body has become physically and psychologically dependent on two substances – double the effect. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shivering, extreme agitation, stomach pain and diarrhoea.

It can take even longer to overcome the psychological effects of double dependence. But there is help available. If you know someone who is trying to cope with co-codamol addiction and alcohol addiction we have a team of experts at Delamere who can help them withdraw safely in comfortable surroundings.

The Delamere approach to co-codamol and alcohol addiction

If you’re concerned about co-codamol addiction and alcohol addiction for yourself or a loved one, it’s important that you seek help. Being brave enough to admit you have a problem is the first step to a better future. We come from a place of complete understanding as many members of our team are in active recovery. You will have nothing but our undivided attention, care and support as you find your way through this difficult point in your life.

Your physical dependence on co-codamol and alcohol will be gradually reduced with a comfortable drug detox in trusted hands. We will then help you understand how your addiction began and put the pieces back together. Our approach at Delamere is very different from others. You won’t leave with a short-term fix; you’ll leave with the lasting ability to cope with life without addiction.

Stop. Start. Grow

Our Stop Start Grow model is a refreshing approach to treatment and is what makes recovery at Delamere different. Our goal is always to give you the mindset and tools to grow beyond addiction and live life on your terms once you leave us.


Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
any distractions

Outcomes Outcomes


Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first place

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Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere

Environment Environment


Practice using the tools
while staying anchored to support.
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Our core elements of treatment

We believe that whatever the reason for co-codamol and alcohol addiction – whether from past trauma or present challenges – it has to start somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.


Stopping the cycle of addiction safely and comfortably


Healing whatever
pain is causing
the behaviour


Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth

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Know someone who needs help with co-codamol and alcohol addiction?

If a friend, family member or work colleague is abusing co-codamol and alcohol, it’s important they get help.

Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our therapeutic programmes and make sure your loved one gets the support they need.

Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.