Hydrocodone Addiction | Abuse, Signs, & Treatment

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment: Learn more about the short- and long-term effects of Hydrocodone use, signs of addiction, treatment, and more.

Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid painkiller used to treat severe pain in individuals who have struggled to find a sufficient method of pain relief. As an opioid, hydrocodone poses a high risk of abuse, dependence, and addiction.

If you or a loved one uses a hydrocodone prescription in any way other than how it is prescribed, it increases the risk of addiction. Although addiction can be a devastating disease, professional addiction treatment offers effective services that promote long-term recovery.

What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid analgesic (pain reliever) used to treat around-the-clock management of severe pain. Hydrocodone is sold under several brand names, including Zohydro, as well as in combination with other medications.

Commonly prescribed forms of hydrocodone are combined with acetaminophen and include:

  • Norco
  • Lortab
  • Vicodin
  • Lorcet

Effects Of Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system and blocks pain signals.

Once opioid receptors are activated, hydrocodone stimulates the production of dopamine. Dopamine is associated with pleasure and increasing its levels can cause a “high” or feelings of euphoria.

In addition, hydrocodone can also cause the following side effects:

  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • lightheadedness
  • ringing in ears
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • stomach pain
  • headache

Side effects may be worse when you first start taking hydrocodone and can vary. Taking more than the prescribed amount increases the risk of experiencing adverse side effects.

Hydrocodone Abuse

Hydrocodone is a prescription medication and is generally safe to use under the supervision of a medical professional. However, it is also a Schedule II controlled substance and carries a high risk of abuse and addiction.

Someone who abuses hydrocodone may:

  • take a higher dose than prescribed
  • take the medication more frequently
  • take someone else’s prescription
  • crush, snort, or inject the medication

Hydrocodone abuse can lead to tolerance, meaning you need increasingly higher doses to relieve pain. In addition, drug abuse increases the risk of long-term health risks, overdose, and addiction.

Signs Of Hydrocodone Addiction

Learning the signs of substance abuse and addiction can help you determine if you or a loved one is in need of treatment. Addiction can affect anyone and is likely influenced by repeated drug misuse or taking the drug as a stress reliever.

Hydrocodone addiction can cause physical and behavioral changes that may include:

  • pinpoint pupils
  • erratic moods
  • irritability
  • neglecting hygiene or daily responsibilities
  • engaging in high risk activities
  • intense cravings
  • compulsive drug use
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • hiding drug use
  • isolating from loved ones
  • loss of interest in healthy activities

Hydrocodone Dependence & Withdrawal

Frequent hydrocodone use can lead to dependence, which is when your body relies on the drug to function. If you try to reduce the amount you take or suddenly stop, you may experience opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • restlessness
  • teary eyes
  • runny nose
  • sweating and/or chills
  • muscle aches
  • dilated pupils
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • stomach pain
  • difficulty sleeping
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • increased heart rate

If you are prescribed hydrocodone, your doctor can help you safely taper off the medication in a controlled setting. A taper involves slowly lowering your dose while monitoring you for withdrawal symptoms.

If you think you may have a substance use disorder (SUD), or addiction, a professional treatment center can help you safely manage your withdrawal symptoms in a medical detox program.

In a detox center, you also have access to trained specialists who can connect you with valuable treatment resources.

Learn more about Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, & Detox

Hydrocodone Overdose

Hydrocodone abuse and addiction increase the risk of experiencing a potentially life-threatening overdose. If you notice signs of overdose in a loved one, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Signs of opioid overdose include:

  • slow or shallow breathing
  • slow heart rate
  • pinpoint pupils
  • loss of consciousness
  • bluish skin tone
  • clammy skin

Learn more about Hydrocodone Overdose Signs & Symptoms

Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

If you think you may be addicted to hydrocodone, it’s important to look into inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. A high-quality treatment center will offer a personalized treatment plan involving evidence-based treatment options and healthy activities.

Outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment services may include:

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment, also known as inpatient rehab, is a structured setting away from outside distractions. During residential treatment, you will receive around-the-clock support and participate in a wide range of therapies and activities.

Outpatient Treatment

If you require a flexible alternative to inpatient treatment, an outpatient program allows you to live at home and travel to scheduled sessions. Outpatient treatment is also used as a step down from more intensive treatment to help you transition home.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

If you or a loved one struggles with opioid addiction recovery, a MAT program can be a valuable aide. MAT programs combine the use of FDA-approved medications and behavioral therapy to reduce the risk of drug abuse and relapse.

MAT medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) include:

  • Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone)
  • naltrexone
  • buprenorphine
  • methadone

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, Northeast Addictions Treatment Center can help. Please contact us today to learn about treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Hydrocodone CWE?

Hydrocodone Cold Water Extraction (CWE) is a technique for removing acetaminophen and other unwanted compounds from combination pain medications, including Vicodin.

Using CWE, a portion of the prescription opioid hydrocodone can be transferred into a liquid solution, leaving the acetaminophen behind in order to reduce overall liver toxicity.

However, tampering with prescription drugs is considered a form of drug abuse and is ultimately not a safe or safer way to get high or manage pain.

Learn more about How Hydrocodone CWE Works

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?

How long hydrocodone stays in your system varies from person to person. It can depend on your weight, age, and how long you’ve been taking the drug. In general, hydrocodone can be detected on various drug tests between 2 and 4 days after last use.

To learn more, read How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?

What Does Hydrocodone Look Like?

What hydrocodone looks like ultimately depends on the manufacturer. The color and shape can differ depending on the company making the pills and what the dose is. Most pills or tablets are white, but may also be blue, yellow, pink, or orange.

To learn more, read What Does Hydrocodone Look Like?

What Happens When You Snort Hydrocodone?

When a person snorts hydrocodone, they will immediately achieve an intense feeling of euphoria and relaxation. This “immediate high” occurs much more quickly than when a pill is taken by mouth.

Snorting hydrocodone can lead to a number of health issues such as lung damage and nose damage. In addition to this, addiction and overdose is more likely to occur.

Learn more about Snorting Hydrocodone

Can You Smoke Or Inject Hydrocodone?

Yes, you can smoke or inject hydrocodone. Both smoking and injecting are forms of hydrocodone abuse. Abusing hydrocodone can cause severe health effects such as breathing problems, collapsed veins, and an increased risk of overdose.

Learn more about Smoking Or Injecting Hydrocodone

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

©2022 Northeast Addition Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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