Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse

Known by the brand names of Vicodin, Norco and Lortab, Hydrocodone is a powerful painkiller with a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Understanding Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is the powerful main ingredient in narcotic painkillers for moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is considered to be an opioid and is similar in nature to morphine, codeine, and Oxycodone. It is generally administered orally to treat short-term dental and injury-related pain.

People who use Hydrocodone over a long period of time or in larger doses may start showing symptoms of hydrocodone addiction.

How Hydrocodone Is Used

Hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen or ibuprofen in brand names such as Vicodin, Norco and Lortab. The Food and Drug Administration has also approved a pure Hydrocodone product known as Zohydro.

Those abusing Hydrocodone may crush up their pills and snort or inject the contents. In 2014, lawmakers changed Hydrocodone from a Schedule III to a Schedule II controlled substance because of the increased dangers of addiction and abuse. Request a call for more information on hydrocodone and addiction treatment.

Hydrocodone Brand Names

There are several brand of Hydrocodone marketed in the United States. Individuals with an addiction to Hydrocodone usually have a preferred brand because of the practical and psychological effects.

Vicodin (5mg, 7.5mg, 10mg/300mg)

Each Vicodin tablet has 300 mg of acetaminophen and comes in three different dosage levels of Hydrocodone: 5 mg, 7.5 mg and 10 mg. It is generally prescribed for one tablet taken every 4 to 6 hours.

Norco (7mg, 10mg/325mg)

Norco is most often prescribed in two strengths: 7.5 mg or 10 mg of Hydrocodone combined with 325 mg of acetaminophen. Some addicts chose Norco in an effort to avoid the increased risks of consuming too much acetaminophen.

Lortab (5mg, 7.5mg, 10mg/325mg)

Lortab is a prescription drug that combines Hydrocodone with acetaminophen. The addition of acetaminophen increases the pain relieving effects of the drug.

Zohydro (10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 50mg)

The first purely Hydrocodone product approved by the FDA, Zohydro is only prescribed for severe pain. Because Hydrocodone can be addictive, use of Zohydro is carefully monitored and regulated.

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Hydrocodone Effects and Abuse

Hydrocodone abuse can be hard to recognize. Many people abuse Hydrocodone products for the high that comes from them.

Some of the immediate effects of Hydrocodone abuse include:

  • Relaxation
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Calmness
  • Happiness

High doses of Hydrocodone can create these effects more quickly. However, they can also lead to overdose. Drowsiness, confusion, nausea, and depressed breathing can be caused by a Hydrocodone overdose.

Addiction to Hydrocodone

Get help for a hydrocodone addiction now.

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Treating a Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone powerfully addictive. Medical detoxification and a professional treatment program makes it easier to break this addiction. If you or someone you care about is struggling to get out from under the pull of these drugs, let us help you break free.

Recognizing a Hydrocodone Addiction

Because Hydrocodone is so potent, it’s not uncommon for people to develop an addiction to it. An addiction to Hydrocodone is diagnosed on a use disorder spectrum from mild to severe.

There are a few signs to be aware of when someone you care about is abusing hydrocodone products. Signs of hydrocodone abuse may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Constricted pupils
  • Rash
  • Slowed or shallow breathing

Immediate Side Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse

Someone abusing Hydrocodone may experience negative side effects immediately after use. The severity of these effects can range from irritating to fatal. Immediate side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blackouts
  • Jaundice
  • Mood swings
  • Shallow breath
  • Liver dysfunction
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Long-term Side Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse

Abusing Hydrocodone for an extended period can lead to irreversible consequences. One long-term effect of Hydrocodone abuse is significant liver damage. Other long-term side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blackouts
  • Jaundice
  • Mood swings
  • Shallow breath
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What is Hydrocodone Withdrawal?

Symptoms of withdrawal appear when someone quits taking the drug. People addicted to Hydrocodone depend on it to keep these uncomfortable feelings at bay.

Withdrawal symptoms start within a few hours of the last dose. As an opioid, Hydrocodone has similar withdrawal symptoms to heroin and Oxycodone.

Common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Sensory hypersensitivity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Memory loss
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Questions about treatment?

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Duration of Withdrawal

People may have different experiences with the duration of withdrawal. On average, the withdrawal symptoms begin manifesting within 6-48 hours of the last dose and can continue for a week or longer.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline

First 48 hours Symptoms start to arise within the first day without hydrocodone. One of the first symptoms is usually aching in the muscles, joints or bones. During this period, some people experience nausea, abdominal cramping and sweating.
Days 3-5 As the body adjusts to life without hydrocodone, withdrawal symptoms will peak. During this time, the body expels toxins through vomiting, diarrhea and excessive sweating. Some people experience shaking and lingering muscle aches.
Days 6-7 Most physical symptoms have subsided, leaving the psychological ones at the forefront. Anxiety, depression and a desire to return to the drug can all show up at the end of withdrawal. Former addicts whose minds have begun to clear often feel shame and remorse for things they did and said while high.
Days 8+ Depending on the person, psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, can linger for a month or more after stopping use.

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment

There are a variety of treatment options for Hydrocodone addiction. Residential treatment centers help people overcome withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Most inpatient programs offer medical detoxification for Hydrocodone addiction.

Many treatment centers can effectively treat a Hydrocodone addiction. Some of these include:

Get Sober Today

For many, recovery seems impossible at first, but turning your life around is more than possible with the right treatment and support. There are countless resources available for those with an addiction to Hydrocodone.

If you are ready to begin your recovery, call us to learn about your options today.