Hydrocodone is an opioid used to treat those with severe pain, it is often referred to by the brand names including Hysingla® and Zohydro ER®. While many associate Vicodin with hydrocodone, Vicodin contains both hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Hydrocodone abuse can begin when someone stops taking their prescriptions as directed by their healthcare provider. This can include taking more of the medication than the doctor prescribed or misusing the medication such as crushing or breaking the pills.
While addiction is a complex issue with no single cause, there are some factors that may indicate someone is at an increased risk of addiction. These factors can include:
Signs that someone is addicted to hydrocodone include:
Hydrocodone is often prescribed after surgery or to help manage severe pain. Due to its high potential for abuse though, hydrocodone is generally prescribed for a very short period of time and requires careful monitoring by a physician to ensure the patient’s safety. Those taking this drug may develop a tolerance for it which can cause some to consume larger amounts of hydrocodone to achieve the desired effect. The euphoric feeling that some people experience while taking this drug makes it difficult for them to stop taking hydrocodone. Because hydrocodone is highly regulated, some will begin “doctor shopping,” or seeing multiple providers for the same condition in an attempt to procure more prescriptions. In addition to having a high potential for abuse, opioids can be extremely dangerous, and are thought to have contributed to over 70% of all drug-related overdoses globally.
The effects of opioid use, including hydrocodone, can be detrimental and include:
One can experience withdrawal if they stop taking hydrocodone suddenly. Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms can last up to 2 weeks and may include:
A key first step in treating a hydrocodone addiction is a medically monitored detox for men and women. Detox, or detoxification, is the process of clearing the body of toxins. Anyone who has been taking opioids, such as hydrocodone, for two weeks or more will need to detox from these drugs while under the guidance of a medical team. Someone undergoing a medically monitored detox may experience few if any side effects; however, when present, they can include:
There are a number of treatment options for opioid use disorder including hydrocodone addiction. While medication assisted treatments (MAT) such as naltrexone (often called by brand name including ReVia and Vivitrol) do exist for hydrocodone addiction, it is important to combine these, if applicable, with therapy. Therapy is an important step in understanding the root causes of hydrocodone addiction for many people.
Types of therapy include:
In addition to therapy, physical rehabilitation and pain management are often very helpful for those suffering from a hydrocodone addiction. Many begin taking hydrocodone to manage pain and their long-term recovery is dependent on having healthy alternative options for pain management after leaving treatment. At Lakeview, we have a team of pain management physicians, physical therapists, and a dietician to help our patients find non-addictive ways to manage pain. You can learn more about our pain management program here.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to hydrocodone, reach out to the Lakeview Health team today at:866 704 7692.