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Hydrocodone Addiction and Treatment

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller that is often abused for its euphoric effects. Overcoming Hydrocodone addiction begins with learning the signs of addiction and how to overcome its dependency.

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What Is Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a commonly prescribed semi-synthetic opioid painkiller. Due to its addictive nature, the line between sanctioned use and crippling dependence can be slippery

For seven years, between 2004 and 2011, hydrocodone was the most prescribed medication in the United States, sold under the brand names Anexsia, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, and Zohydro. If recently undergoing surgery, this Schedule II substance was likely prescribed. 

Even though hydrocodone does have therapeutic qualities and can be a valuable relief for those in tremendous amounts of pain, many patients misuse the medication afterward for recreation. Hydrocodone is commonly used concurrently with other drugs to enhance their effect, drastically increasing the danger of taking either substance by themselves. 

When a hydrocodone addiction is formed, the physical and psychological dependence created is debilitating. Those with underlying mental disorders are especially vulnerable to developing an awful and dangerous dependence on the drug. 

Hydrocodone Effects 

Hydrocodone is prescribed to help those experiencing moderate to severe pain. Some physicians may also employ combination prescriptions, including hydrocodone, to counter a cough. 

Like other opioids, hydrocodone acts on the opioid receptors to alter the user’s perception of pain. This means those suffering feel fast-acting and long-lasting relief. On top of this palliative effect, hydrocodone users also experience dose-dependent sedation and euphoria.

Street Names For Hydrocodone 

Drug users, especially teenagers, have developed a creative and codified range of nicknames for hydrocodone. Opioids, as an umbrella substance, have amassed a collection of generalized street names. People could be talking about hydrocodone when they use the terms: 

  • Hillbilly heroin 
  • Percs 
  • Perks
  • China girl 
  • Juice
  • Dillies 
  • Painkiller 
  • Schoolboy 
  • Cody 
  • Dance fever 

Hydrocodone and Alcohol 

Many abusers use alcohol to enhance the effects of hydrocodone. This is incredibly dangerous. Doing so amplifies the most negative side-effects, such as cardiovascular and respiratory depression. Cocktailing hydrocodone and alcohol can result in severe and life-threatening side-effects, including: 

  • Drowsiness and fatigue 
  • Slowed or even stopped breathing 
  • Dangerously slowing heart rate 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Unresponsiveness 
  • Coma 
  • Death 

Signs Of Hydrocodone Abuse 

Hydrocodone addiction can come about without the user realizing they’ve entered into dependence until the inability to quit or lessen drug use becomes too apparent. Even still, many of those deep into their habit are often in denial about their substance abuse disorder.

Because of this, if you suspect someone in your life is abusing hydrocodone, keeping an eye out for these behavioral changes may help in determining a problem: 

  • Seeking hydrocodone prescriptions from multiple physicians 
  • Taking more than prescribed 
  • Being secretive or lying about dosages 
  • Resorting to forging prescriptions or buying off the street
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities and relationships
  • Spending large amounts of their finances on their drug use 
  • Confusion, agitation, or restlessness  

Symptoms Of Hydrocodone Use 

The immediate effects of hydrocodone use include pain-relief, relaxations, feelings of euphoria, and sedation. However, these initial positive effects are short-lived as hydrocodone tolerance builds, and addicts increase their dosage.

Prolonged hydrocodone abuse can lead to severe side-effects, increasing in intensity as doses escalate. These unwanted and debilitating effects include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Tremors
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Urinary changes 
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed heartbeat

Hydrocodone Withdrawal

The symptoms experienced during withdrawal will depend on the level of dependence. Also, multiple factors dictate how long a person will experience the symptoms of withdrawal. Because of this, everyone experiences opioid withdrawal differently. However, withdrawal from hydrocodone abuse is hazardous and should only be done with medical supervision.

Early symptoms in the first 24 hours typically include:
  • Frequent yawning 
  • Restlessness 
  • Watery eyes
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Inability to sleep 
As the first day ends, symptoms become more intense and severe: 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Blurred vision
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • High blood pressure

Hydrocodone withdrawal becomes unbearable and dangerous quickly, and many people relapse quickly to avoid the horrible symptoms. They also often make the mistake of trying to manage these symptoms on their own without medical supervision or other forms of support.

However, when withdrawal strikes, medical treatment in a controlled environment will make the user more comfortable, safer, and have a greater chance of long-term success.

Get Your Life Back

Hydrocodone can be challenging to overcome, but there is hope. Battling addiction is challenging to do alone, but you are not alone. If you or a loved one suffers from a hydrocodone addiction, contact one of our Treatment Navigators today. They will guide you through the recovery process and help you find the right facility for you. We’re here to help.

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