Hydrocodone Abuse: Symptoms and Treatment

Table of Contents

Hydrocodone is a commonly written painkiller, commonly known as Vicodin, which is one of the largest abused prescription painkillers in the United States. Addiction to painkillers is on the rise and in 2013, over 124 million prescriptions were written for hydrocodone. If you are struggling with addiction or abuse, you are not alone. If you’re tired of needing the medicine to get through you day, then it’s time to recover from your addiction and start the path towards a healthier life.

Have you been depending on your hydrocodone or Vicodin to get through the day? Are there times where you want to buy hydrocodone off the street because you abused your prescription? If so, you are not the only person suffering from this affliction. Addiction to hydrocodone and other painkillers is definitely on the rise in the United States; this can happen to anyone.

Going through rehab can be difficult, but when you go to the right treatment center for you, you’ll find caring staff on hand to help you through every step of the process.

Hydrocodone is often seen as a gateway drug to more serious addictions including additional opiates and painkillers. Like most opiates, your body begins to build a tolerance to the drug, causing you to need more and more of the drug to feel the relief or to function normally.

You may have gotten a prescription from your doctor after an accident or injury and had a very legitimate pain with which it was helping you deal. However, you enjoyed the feeling of the drug and started taking a little more and a little more until you were addicted and couldn’t do without it.

You may feel ill if you run out of hydrocodone, you may be doctor-shopping or committing illegal acts to purchase the drug and feed your increasing need for pills, and you’re probably taking the medication in larger quantities than prescribed. If this sounds familiar, you’re addicted to hydrocodone. It’s time to admit that your use of the drug has become problematic and seek treatment.

Seek help to beat hydrocodone abuse

Signs and Symptoms

Abusing hydrocodone is dangerous for your health and even your life. It can lead to liver damage, especially when use is mixed with Tylenol or alcohol. Taking too much at once leads to liver failure, overdose, and death. If you’re using hydrocodone socially and while drinking, you’re putting yourself at an increased risk of harm, blacking out, and coma.

It can be difficult to recognize the signs of hydrocodone addiction because you started taking the medication with a legitimate need and prescription. You view the drug as something that is giving you health and life, not causing issues. The first step towards finding a cure is admitting your use goes beyond normal and that you need help.

Side effects of hydrocodone use can range from physical to mental to emotion and can create huge problems in your personal and professional lives. The longer you’re on the pill, the more damage to your body, life, and often your finances.

  • Short-Term Effects: When you’re initially using hydrocodone, you may find that you experience side effects including trouble sleeping, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor.
  • Long-Term Effects: If you continue to use and abuse hydrocodone, you may suffer liver problems and failure, hearing loss, nausea, constipation, and respiratory depression. These can all be signs that it’s time to start weaning off the medication and going back to a healthier lifestyle.
  • Overdose Symptoms: It can be surprisingly easy to overdose, especially as your body builds up a tolerance and it takes more and more to achieve the original pain relief. Overdose of hydrocodone stands a high risk of death because it depresses and slows down your respiratory system to the point where you stop breathing. Signs of this include clammy skin, small pupils, itching, and vomiting. If you see someone you believe may have overdosed on hydrocodone, call 911 immediately.

Accepting Hydrocodone Addiction

Once you recognize the signs of addiction in yourself, you’re ready to move on to finding a treatment option. Ignore feelings of failure or frustration at yourself – getting addicted to a prescription medication can happen to anyone. Instead, look forward. Visualize yourself successfully beating your addiction and emerging from rehab with a healthy glow and the energy to really accomplish what you want in your life. Even just acknowledging your addiction takes strength, and if you can do that, then you have what it takes to beat the drug.

Going through rehab can be difficult, but when you go to the right treatment center for you, you’ll find caring staff on hand to help you through every step of the process.

Hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed opioid and the most commonly abused in the United States, according to the DEA. With the US consuming almost 99 percent of the world’s supply of hydrocodone, this is a national problem. Prescriptions for hydrocodone have increased dramatically in the last 25 years which has also boosted the drug’s availability on the black market. In 2013, 4 million people reported using hydrocodone for nonmedical purposes, some of which led to overdose and death.

Drug Profiles

Learn more about the symptoms, risks, and treatment methods of specific drugs:

Helping a Loved One Address Hydrocodone Addiction

If you have someone you love that you believe may be addicted to hydrocodone, then you’re doing the right thing by researching the best way to help them. Know that addiction can happen to anyone and learn enough that you understand what they’re facing.

When you’re ready to talk to them, make sure you find a time when they aren’t under the influence of their drug. Make the time to talk to them in a loving and supportive space, perhaps surrounded by other friends and family members. Start by sharing that you’re aware of their problem and concerned, but that you’re talking to them because you care and want to help them overcome their addiction. Share how their addiction is negatively impacting them and those they love, and show them the treatment options you’ve discovered.

Throughout the conversation, remind them that you love and support them, and will be there to help them every step of the way. They may not be ready to listen right away, so just bring the topic up again until they agree to treatment. Make sure you’re not addressing them in a hurtful or judgmental fashion. With your support, they can succeed.

Hydrocodone Detox and Withdrawal

Vicodin is a painkiller; therefore, going through hydrocodone detox will be difficult. Your body has to learn again how to naturally handle pain and produce endorphins. Over time, your body has built up a dependence on the painkiller to provide that function and to numb pain. Withdrawing from hydrocodone means you may experience pain, but doing it under medical supervision means it won’t be life threatening. Often, they can provide other medications to help you manage the pain and withdrawal symptoms.

During detox, you’re monitored by professionals who will slowly wean you off the medication by giving doses that are tapered down until eventually your body no longer needs the medication. They will also work to help you address any physical symptoms that may have been caused by your hydrocodone use.

Sometimes, medications such as Suboxone or methadone are given to ease the process of withdrawal. They should only be used with supervision, however, as they can be equally addictive.

  • Buprenorphine: Approved for opioid rehabilitation treatment in 2002, there are two drugs which can be used to help deal with dependence and withdrawal, Subutex and Suboxone. They are taken as tablets that dissolve under the tongue three times per week.
  • Naltrexone: This medication blocks receptors for opioids to help aid in recovery. It prevents hydrocodone from having it’s normal euphoric effects, discouraging addicts from taking the medication.
  • Subutex: This is made up of pure buprenorphine and designed to ease withdrawal symptoms. It works similarly to hydrocodone and produces a similar effect but with a much lower potential for abuse.
  • Suboxone: A combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that can be used to treat withdrawal symptoms while also blocking the effects of hydrocodone. It is often used to help in overdose situations.

Side effects of withdrawal can be mild or severe, depending on the person, the amount of drug they were taking, and the length of time they’ve been dependent. All these factors and more can change the intensity and variety of symptoms. Sudden removal can have severe consequences for the brain and cause the body to go into overdrive to attempt to recover. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Increased blood pressure and irregular heart rate
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Drug cravings
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Agitation
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Excessive tearing
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating

When you start withdrawing from hydrocodone, you may experience symptoms on the following timeline:

  • First 2 Days: Symptoms of withdrawal will start within the first day after quitting and include aching, nausea, cramping, and sweating.
  • Day 3 – 5: Your symptoms will peak over the next few days as your body adjusts to not having the drug in your system. Your body will eject the toxins through diarrhea, sweating, and vomit. Shaking and muscle aches may continue.
  • Day 6 – 7: At the end of the first week, the majority of the symptoms will begin to subside. This is when the psychological symptoms start to appear and you may experience anxiety or depression, as well as a craving for the drug. These can linger for a month or more after you stop using.

When you arrive at your treatment facility, you’ll go through an intake process. This is where the medical professionals will do an assessment of your condition and you’ll talk to a therapist to help determine the details of your detox and treatment plans. Once those are laid out, you’ll start the detox process. You’ll be taken to a room where you can rest and get the monitoring you need as you withdraw. The length of detox will depend on whether you’re being weaned off the drug and how much you were taking.

After you finish detoxing, you’ll start treatment for the addiction. Depending on the facility you’re at there are numerous therapy options, from individual and group counseling to equine therapy. Some treatment is faith-based while others take a holistic, mind-body approach.

It is possible to beat a hydrocodone addiction, and if you’re ready to start, then that’s the first step in the right direction.

When you’re nearing the end of your treatment, you’ll sit down with your therapist and discuss aftercare options. The goal of aftercare is to continue to provide you with the support you need to integrate back into your normal life while staying drug free. In some ways, this continues the care you were receiving at the treatment facility with individual and group therapy sessions.

If you’ve developed an addiction, your situation is still unique and needs the care of trained medical professionals. Once you’ve admitted the problem, you can find the treatment facility that will work for you. Whether you want a gender-specific facility or one with all the luxury amenities you could want, the goal is to find the best fit to help you recover. Some offer fitness centers, pools, animal, art, and cooking therapy, massage, couples and family therapy, light and sound therapy, acupuncture, and much more.

When you go to a residential or inpatient treatment center, you’ll be surrounded with other people who are on the same journey you are. They’ll be able to provide support, insight, and a positive peer group when you need it the most. Many of these facilities help provide structure for recovering addicts so they can feel secure as they recover.

Paying for Treatment

While going into a treatment center can be the best way for you to beat your hydrocodone addiction, it can also be very expensive, especially the more luxurious facilities. However, if you don’t get treatment, you’ll never be able to get your life back in the place you want it and really live up to your potential. You may also lose your job, friends, and other relationships. In other words, you can’t afford not to get treated!

At Rehab-Finder.Org, we’ve done the research for you. We know which facilities are located in the right area for you and we can help you review your insurance policy to determine what treatment your insurance will cover. You may be surprised to discover that your insurance will cover some or all of your treatment at certain facilities, making recovery more affordable than you thought. Since we’ve done the research, we can help you find the right facility for your needs and financial situation quickly. Then you can get started on the road to recovery.

It is possible to beat a hydrocodone addiction, and if you’re ready to start, then that’s the first step in the right direction. It is hard to admit you’re addicted and need help, so feel proud of what you’ve already accomplished! Keep the right attitude, look towards the future, and know that you can be successful.

If you’re ready to start your recovery from hydrocodone addiction, give us a call today. We can help you find the right treatment facility with all the amenities you want.

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