Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment
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Hydrocodone Addiction and Treatment
Hydrocodone is, without dispute, one of the most commonly prescribed and abused narcotic painkillers in the country, and a direct driver of the nation’s continuously escalating opioid epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that hydrocodone is among the top three causes of opioid overdose year after year, alongside oxycodone and methadone. The drug was a major contributor to the more than 47,000 opioid-related deaths that occurred in 2017 and continues to be the most commonly prescribed narcotic painkiller.
Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) cited that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicates that 11.5 million people in the U.S. population ages twelve and older misused hydrocodone in 2016. Vicodin® (hydrocodone and acetaminophen) is one of the most common variations of hydrocodone and is highly addictive. It’s commonly used for the management of acute postoperative discomfort and other more severe pain issues. Other common brand names of hydrocodone include Anexsia®, Xodol®, Zolvit®, Lorcet®, Panacet®, Vicoprofen®, Lortab®, Norco®, and more. Cough syrups containing hydrocodone can also be addictive.
Understanding Hydrocodone Addiction: What Does Hydrocodone Addiction Look Like?
While each user’s signs and symptoms are different, there are a variety of common physical and behavioral indicators.
Some of the common hydrocodone addiction warning signs include but are not limited to:
- Physical Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction
- Extreme changes in weight
- Enlarged pupils
- Sunken eyes
- Goosebumps on skin
- Physical withdrawal symptoms
- Psychological Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction
- Aggression and irritability
- Paranoia and fatigue
- Dramatic mood swings
- Confusion and disorientation
- Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
Behavioral signs of hydrocodone addiction include lying and deception about use, legal issues related to drug abuse, irritability when confronted about use, financial issues, and failure at work or school.
Effects of Hydrocodone on the Body and Brain
Prolonged and untreated hydrocodone abuse hijacks users’ brain chemistry and severely inhibits their ability to abstain from the drug. People get addicted to hydrocodone primarily through the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which regulates the brain’s reward center and causes pleasurable and comfortable feeling. Abrupt cessation of dopamine can trigger tolerance-based physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms for which users should seek professional help. Users can become addicted to hydrocodone after a very short time, or after months of use, depending on their body chemistry and volume of abuse.
Some of the short-term effects of hydrocodone abuse on the body include:
- Acute drug craving
- Dizziness and drowsiness
- Blurred vision
- Itching and sweating
- Migraines and headaches
More serious effects on the body, including those experienced during an overdose, include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Slowed or ceased heart rate
- Incoherent and slurred speech
- Slowed respiration and breathing
- Seizure and coma
These side effects of hydrocodone addiction and abuse are different than the various physical and psychological symptoms exhibited during hydrocodone withdrawal.
Common Symptoms of Hydrocodone Withdrawal
Physical and psychological withdrawal is one of the first and most immediate indicators of hydrocodone addiction. The scope and duration of hydrocodone withdrawal are contingent upon how much and how much of the drug the person has been using.
Some of the more common symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal include but are not limited to:
- Stomach illness (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea)
- Opioid-induced constipation
- Flu-like symptoms (watery eyes, runny nose, fever)
- Severe joint and muscle pain and body aches
- Hot and cold flashes
- Sweating and perspiration
- Abdominal cramping
- Tremors and shaking
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Difficulty sleeping
Withdrawal symptoms can manifest in as little as six hours after the last cycle of use and typically last for seventy-two hours to a week. The hydrocodone withdrawal period is typically divided into three stages: early, acute, and long-term.
Treating Hydrocodone Addiction and Withdrawal
Overcoming hydrocodone addiction requires comprehensive treatment for the immediate medical and long-term psychological and behavioral aspects of the disease. The best hydrocodone treatment is a program that can offer medically supervised hydrocodone detox and comprehensive behavioral rehab to help patients live independently in recovery. Detox from hydrocodone typically lasts three to five days and helps patients safely, comfortably, and discreetly eliminate the harmful toxins that have accumulated in their bodies from hydrocodone abuse. Patients have the benefit of trained doctors and nurses who can provide relief for withdrawal symptoms and quickly intervene in the event of a potential medical emergency.
After Detox: Rehab for Hydrocodone Addiction
Once patients are medically stabilized, rehab for hydrocodone addiction can help them address the behavioral and lifestyle impact of their addiction and address the root causes of their abuse. There are many different types of behavioral hydrocodone addiction treatment options, including but certainly not limited to:
- Inpatient hydrocodone rehab – Patients stay at their facility for an average of thirty days and complete group therapy, individual counseling, and various supplemental therapy modalities. Long-term rehab and relapse prevention programs for hydrocodone abuse can last for sixty to ninety days and include sober living or step-down programs. The behavioral therapy offered at these programs teaches individuals how to alter certain thoughts and behaviors related to hydrocodone use and learn healthier life skills.
- Outpatient hydrocodone rehab – Patients attend multiple weekly treatment sessions that include counseling, psychotherapy, and various occupational therapies relevant to their care needs and substance use history. Regular outpatient programs typically last for four to six weeks, with sessions three to four days per week. Intensive outpatient (IOP) programs typically last six to eight weeks and include six treatment sessions per week for eight hours a day.
All hydrocodone rehab programs should customized aftercare plans that offer referral information for local therapists and contact information for recovery meetings. These programs are key to maintaining long-term recovery and help patients use the behavioral tools cultivated in treatment. Those who attempt to hydrocodone addiction treatment at home are at significantly heightened vulnerability for relapse. If you need help finding the right treatment program for you or your loved one, please explore our comprehensive database of hydrocodone addiction treatment centers.
Do I Need Hydrocodone Treatment?
The pervasiveness of hydrocodone addiction has affected Americans of every age group, including teens, senior citizens, and everyone in between. The legally regulated nature of this drug can blur the lines between acceptable use and abuse. It’s important, however, to monitor your hydrocodone intake and that of your loved ones to ensure dependency doesn’t develop. If it is in fact determined that a problem exists, having a hydrocodone intervention can help guide your loved one toward treatment. Interventions are gatherings of concerned loved ones to confront an addicted person about their substance use and how it has impacted their lives and relationships. They typically include families and close friends and are usually moderated by an experienced, certified addiction intervention specialist.
Don’t Lose Yourself or Your Loved One to Hydrocodone Addiction
It’s entirely too easy to get ensnared by hydrocodone addiction; however, it’s also possible to bounce back. If you or your loved one needs hydrocodone addiction treatment, it’s entirely possible that your insurance can help offset the cost. Medicare and Medicaid can also help make the process more affordable and accessible. The most important thing is to get help before you or your loved one pays the ultimate price. There are more treatment options than ever before. You can do this.