What is Hydrocodone?
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What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is closely related to codeine and is used for pain relief and sometimes for cough.
It is in many different oral pain medications such as Norco and Lortab.
Hydrocodone binds to pain receptors in the brain and blocks pain signals.
It can also cause false feelings of happiness.
Hydrocodone is a common prescription medicine that is used after surgical or dental procedures.
Some people become addicted to hydrocodone unexpectedly after taking it under a physician’s care for pain relief.
Common side effects of hydrocodone are constipation, itchy skin, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting.
Some people who take hydrocodone can experience a euphoric feeling which can begin the cycle of dependency.
If someone takes the drug longer than originally intended or for reasons beyond pain relief, an addiction may be developing.
Hydrocodone is an opiate and is considered the most abused drug available.
It is also commonly the first opiate addiction before moving onto other illicit drugs.
Identifying and treating a hydrocodone addiction as soon as possible can may prevent a further decline in additional issues.
Understanding Hydrocodone Addiction
Hydrocodone is highly addictive, and dependency can happen quickly, sometimes without the user even realizing it.
If it has been used regularly for several weeks, there can be a physical dependency on the drug that may have developed.
With regular and repeated doses, the brain becomes used to receiving the opiate and re-regulates for the supply.
When the supply ends, the brain reacts by downregulating and withdrawal symptoms can begin.
Many times, people start taking extra hydrocodone above directions to avoid withdrawal effects.
The ease at which an addiction happens can be surprising.
If you are taking more than prescribed and/or looking for a physician who will prescribe hydrocodone for you, then you may be addicted.
This addiction can have a variety of symptoms. Some are included below:
- Erratic behavior
- Mood swings
- Small pupils
- Getting drugs becomes high priority
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Weight loss
- Financial problems
- Increased sleeping
If you need hydrocodone in order to feel “normal,” then it is possible you have unknowingly become addicted.
If you are crushing tabs, or chewing tabs instead of swallowing them whole, if you are shopping for a doctor to prescribe more hydrocodone or are trying to get it from other sources, those are warning signs of addiction and a sign you may need help.
There is some evidence that opiate withdrawal can continue for a prolonged period, possibly several weeks.
It is this long period of time that can put you at risk for relapse in order to decrease withdrawal symptoms.
An inpatient based treatment center is recommended to manage the detox and provide the tools for a successful recovery.
As your body becomes more tolerant of hydrocodone you may find yourself needing larger and more frequent doses to gain the feeling you desire.
Developing tolerance and continuing to use more is what makes hydrocodone so dangerous.
What might seem like a regular dose to gain the wanted effects can easily become an unexpected fatal overdose.
Effects and Abuse of Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone use can be dangerous because it can happen unexpectedly and within only a handful of doses. It is estimated that some addictions can begin in only a few days. When this happens, the user sometimes cannot even recognize that tolerance is developing and that they are managing an addiction. Only when others intervene, or other life consequences happen are some addictions be discovered.
When addiction is developing, in between doses the user can start to feel the early signs of withdrawal. Withdrawal of an opiate can look like irritable behavior, sweating, stomach cramps or diarrhea, feeling anxious and needing to move around, chills, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty sleeping. Detox from hydrocodone can require careful observation and medical monitoring. If signs and symptoms of withdrawal appear in-between doses, that can lead the user to take higher doses and more frequently than they had before. This creates the cycle of addiction and puts the user at risk of an unintentional overdose.
If you find yourself taking more hydrocodone over time in order to feel the same as you did before, that is a sign you have developed tolerance and possibly an addiction. For more information click here.
Can you Smoke Hydrocodone
When someone desires a faster high, they may choose to crush the tablets and snort them through the nose or smoke them. Hydrocodone only legally exists in a tablet form, so in order to smoke hydrocodone users typically have tell-tale signs of equipment. In order to smoke it, the tablets need to be crushed and then use heat to smoke it. A bong may also be used.
Some types of equipment that may be used are pill bottles, spoons, bong, lighter, tin foil, pipes, or cigarette wrappers. A smell be present leading some users to open windows, use air fresheners, cologne, or other cleaners to hide the scent.
Smoking hydrocodone can lead to respiratory issues including chronic cough, raspy voice, voice changes, and repeated respiratory infections. Smoking hydrocodone increases the risk significantly of a fatal overdose. The user may feel the effects of hydrocodone more intensely and may exhibit more drowsiness, slowed breathing, and passing out. Receiving higher levels of hydrocodone in the brain also can further decrease the breathing center and lead to rapid death due to respiratory depression. Depending on the technique used, less hydrocodone may be available leading to using more and more each time, leading to a fatal overdose.
Smoking hydrocodone is a high-risk and dangerous activity with a significant change for a fatal overdose.
Treatment of Hydrocodone Addiction
Hydrocodone addiction is a widespread problem and one in which professional help is recommended for treatment. Hydrocodone withdrawal can happen as soon as a few hours after the last dose. It can peak about 72 hours after the last dose and withdrawal symptoms may last several weeks. Inpatient treatment of withdrawal is recommended to reduce the withdrawal symptoms to allow for a milder withdrawal experience.
Sometimes managing an opioid addiction may involve other medications to ease the cravings and increase the odds of staying sober from hydrocodone. Other tools for treatment involve assessment for any other underlying mental health issues, counseling, 12-Step programs, and family therapy. Narcotics Anonymous may also be used as a tool for both inpatient and outpatient support.
Treatment of a hydrocodone addiction may vary depending on the level of addiction and environmental factors. Learning to live a life without relying on hydrocodone is possible. Quitting using is not recovery. Understanding the disease of addiction and implementing proven tools and strategies for sobriety can give you back the control and stability that you deserve.
If you find yourself addicted to hydrocodone and want help, we can assist. We offer complimentary insurance verification and assessment of treatment options. Each person is unique, and your treatment course may cost more or less than someone else. We will work with you to determine payment options. We are here to help.
How to Get Help
At XYZ Treatment Center we are familiar with the challenges of hydrocodone addiction.
We have successfully helped many moves through the process of detox, counseling, and discharge to an outpatient program.
We provide you with the tools to remain sober and resist using it again.
If you want control of your life back, give us a call today.