Substance Use

Hydrocodone Use Disorder Treatment

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Treating addiction to hydrocodone, a schedule II drug and potent opioid pain medication, and hydrocodone use disorder, encompasses medical interventions, psychological support, and significant lifestyle changes aimed at helping individuals break free from the chains of dependence on hydrocodone. (1)

This path to recovery is paved with patience and commitment, requiring a tailored approach to meet the unique needs of each person battling addiction. The treatment typically kicks off with detoxification—carefully managed under medical supervision—to navigate through the challenging physical symptoms associated with drug withdrawal.

In essence, navigating away from dependency towards a fulfilling life hinges on implementing a comprehensive strategy that addresses both physiological dependencies and emotional well-being.

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Hydrocodone Abuse and Addiction Treatment Options

Hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller used to manage moderate to severe pain. A doctor can prescribe it for short or long-term use, but it is not recommended for people who have had addiction problems with other opiates like morphine and heroin. (2)

Learn more about the adverse effects of hydrocodone on your body, how it affects you psychologically, and what detoxing from this drug entails. We will also talk about the available hydrocodone abuse and addiction treatment options.

What Is Hydrocodone Addiction, and How Does It Affect the Body?

Hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller that affects the body similarly to morphine. When someone uses this drug, it binds with opioid receptors in their brain and blocks out pain signals.

People addicted to hydrocodone often use more than what was prescribed because it gives them a euphoric feeling, similar to when you take heroin.

If hydrocodone is used as a long-term prescription drug, it can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain (3)

Eventually, the body will get used to having these drugs in its system, so people will start taking higher doses than what was prescribed by their doctor. Doing this puts them at risk for other side effects like slowed breathing or heart rate.

What Are Some Adverse Psychological Effects of Hydrocodone Addiction?

Hydrocodone addiction can profoundly impact an individual’s psychological state, leading to a cascade of adverse effects that extend beyond the immediate circle of friends and family. As dependence on this opioid intensifies, individuals often find themselves ensnared in a web of compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, overshadowing hobbies, responsibilities, and relationships that once held significant value.

This shift in priorities not only isolates them from their social support systems but also erodes their self-esteem as they grapple with the guilt and shame associated with their addiction.

The psychological toll of hydrocodone dependency, codeine use, or fentanyl use includes heightened anxiety and depression—conditions that may have predated drug use or emerged as direct consequences thereof. The constant worry about securing the next dose can create a perpetual state of stress, exacerbating underlying mental health issues or triggering new ones. (4)

Erratic mood swings become common; euphoria quickly gives way to irritability or aggression when access to the drug is threatened or unavailable.

Cognitive functions are not spared either; prolonged hydrocodone abuse can lead to difficulties in concentration, decision-making impairment, and memory lapses. These disruptions faced in daily life make it harder for those affected to perform at work, manage household duties, and maintain healthy interpersonal interactions.

What Are the Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction?

A few signs can indicate you have become addicted to this drug. Common symptoms may include:

1. Developing a Tolerance to the Drug

Needing to use more of it to feel the same euphoric effects. (5)

2. Neglecting Activities You Care About

This could be your job, relationships with family and friends, or hobbies. If you don’t have a sound support system of people who love and care for you, it may be harder to help get clean if they see these signs.

3. Missing Work or School Because of Hydrocodone Addiction

Being constantly late to work or school or having a bad attitude towards your employer or teachers/professors because you don’t want to be where you’re supposed to be may be a sign of hydrocodone addiction. 

4. Neglecting Family and Friends Because of Hydrocodone Addiction

Family and friends are the people who love you unconditionally no matter what, so if they notice a change in your attitude towards them, it might mean that something is wrong.

5. Finding Paraphernalia From Using Hydrocodone

This may include syringes or spoons with burn marks on them because of heating the drug to inject it or small plastic bags containing white residue left after smoking some drugs like heroin.

6. Spending Excessive Amounts on Hydrocodone

This could be spending all your money on drugs or stealing from family and friends with whom you may have a good relationship.

7. Lying About How Much You Take, Where You Get It, and Who Else Takes It With You

Lying is a sign that something is wrong, so if you tell someone who cares for you lies about what they see, it could mean the drug has taken over your life.

8. Becoming Increasingly Moody While Taking the Medication

While you shouldn’t just stop taking the drug suddenly if you become more irritable than usual when on this medication, it might be a sign that your body is becoming dependent and needs medical help to get clean. (6)

9. Not Being Interested in Activities That Used to Be Enjoyable for You

If you don’t feel like doing things that used to bring joy to your life, it might be a sign of addiction.

10. Using Hydrocodone in Dangerous Situations

If you are taking this medication while driving, exercising, or doing something else that could put you at risk for injury, you should stop immediately and seek medical help because the drug has taken over every aspect of your life.

How to Detox From Hydrocodone 

Detoxing from hydrocodone can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that include nausea and vomiting, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain, just like if you were to stop taking morphine or heroin. (7)

The best way to avoid these effects is by seeking a health care provider at an addiction treatment center, where medical professionals will monitor your health throughout the process so you won’t have anything dangerous happen before getting clean.

  1. Consultation with Healthcare Professionals: The first step in detoxing from hydrocodone involves seeking advice from healthcare professionals who specialize in addiction medicine. They can assess your physical and psychological health, determine the level of dependence, and create a personalized detox plan tailored to your specific needs.
  2. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): MAT involves using medications like buprenorphine or methadone alongside counseling and behavioral therapies; it’s proven effective at managing cravings and mitigating withdrawal symptoms during detoxification processes while also supporting long-term recovery efforts. (8)
  3. Supportive Care Measures: Addressing symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, muscle aches, and anxiety through appropriate supportive care measures—such as over-the-counter medications for symptom relief—is crucial during detoxification periods where discomfort may be significant but manageable under proper care guidelines.

Other things you can do to help during your detox are:

  • Get rid of any drugs you have in your house, like opioid medication, pain relief medication, or other prescription drugs
  • Drink lots of water to flush out toxins
  • Eat healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and nuts
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Find ways to manage stress that don’t involve substances – meditation or yoga are good options. 
  • Spend time with people who support you instead of those who encourage drug use
  • Get enough sleep, which for most people is seven to eight hours each night 
  • Do not take acetaminophen or any pain relievers
  • Spend time outside in the fresh air, such as going for hikes or bike rides with friends 

The Dangers of Quitting Hydrocodone Cold Turkey Without Medical Supervision

If you want to get clean from hydrocodone and don’t have an addiction treatment center available, it’s essential for you not to try quitting cold turkey. If withdrawal symptoms are too severe, this can cause a heart attack or stroke, which can be fatal if they last too long without medical supervision. (3)

Once the drugs leave your system, people who were once addicted become more sensitive to pain because their bodies are no longer numb, so any minor aches and pains could feel worse than before detoxing. Going slow with exercise will help keep these symptoms at bay while getting healthy again.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Hydrocodone withdrawal can cause a variety of symptoms. This substance use disorder will cause the following, including:

1. Nausea and Vomiting

Hydrocodone withdrawal will have you vomiting and feeling sick to your stomach, so eating healthy during this time is essential. However, sometimes constipation occurs, and if this is an issue, speak with a healthcare provider to deal with this safely. (9)

2. Headache

You might feel a headache from the stress of withdrawal and dehydration, which can be remedied with lots of water throughout the day.  

3. Muscle Aches and Joint Pain

This will probably be one of the most uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but exercising daily should help keep it at bay until detoxing is complete. 

4. Insomnia or Vivid Dreams

If you’re not getting enough sleep each night, these effects will only last a few days before giving way to more restful nights. Sometimes, lightheadedness will affect individuals.

5. Cravings

If you suffer from a hydrocodone addiction, be prepared for cravings that can last a few days or weeks.

6. Anxiety or Depression

Using drugs like hydrocodone changes how your brain works by changing the neurochemicals that regulate your mood, so it’s essential to seek help from a therapist for these symptoms. (10)

7. Cold Symptoms

Having the flu and a runny nose is more likely while withdrawing because of how hydrocodone affects your immune system, but these symptoms should pass after complete detoxing. Clammy skin will also occur, especially if there is a physical dependence.

8. Loss of Appetite

You’ll probably lose weight during this time, which isn’t ideal, but you can regain that weight once things return to normal.  Sometimes liver damage may occur, or other life-threatening diseases that affect internal organs.

9. Difficulty Concentrating

When in withdrawal, people will have difficulty focusing on anything and might feel ‘foggy’ all over. However, there are ways around this, like exercising every day or taking short naps throughout the day if needed when not sleeping at night. This is where the central nervous system is affected.

10. Increased Heart Rate

This directly results from how hydrocodone affects your body’s neurochemicals, so it will only last for a few days after detoxing. Respiratory depression will be a result of this increased heart rate. (1)

11. Blurred Vision

This can happen because the pupils in your eyes get smaller when you’re withdrawing, which causes less light to enter.

12. Drowsiness

You may feel intense sleepiness while going through withdrawal, and that’s normal since without drugs like hydrocodone telling you to ‘stay awake.’ Nothing prevents you from resting as much as possible during these challenging times. 

If any of these symptoms are too severe, don’t hesitate to seek help at an addiction treatment center where professionals monitor you and help keep you safe.

Treatment Options Available for Hydrocodone Addicts

If you or someone you know is addicted to hydrocodone, don’t wait until it’s too late. Many treatment options are available for people who want help with their addiction.

The top treatment options for opioid overdose or opioid use disorder include:

1. Inpatient Rehab Centers

An inpatient center will provide 24-hour medical supervision and treatment for at least 21 days. This is the best option to get clean from hydrocodone because it gives addicts a safe place where they can’t use drugs or alcohol, learn how to cope with their addiction without using substances, and have access to mental health services if there are underlying problems that lead them towards drug abuse.

2. Individual Therapy Sessions

This involves meeting regularly with a therapist who will help you understand your addiction and find ways of coping when life becomes too stressful so you don’t turn back to substance abuse. These meetings also work as checkups for people recovering from addictions so therapists can ensure no relapse when temptation arises again.

3. Group Therapy Sessions

During these meetings, addicts will learn to trust people going through similar experiences and share stories so they can see that others have coped successfully without turning back. This helps them feel more confident about their ability to quit drugs for good and provides a support system of friends who all want the same thing: sobriety.

4. 12-Step Programs

This involves completing abstinence from drug use by following an established plan created by recovering addicts or healthcare professionals. Each step is accompanied by rules that teach ways of living life sober and coping when temptation arises again.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for getting clean from hydrocodone addiction because everyone is different, so it’s essential to find the treatment options that suit you best.

5. Methadone or Buprenorphine Maintenance Therapy

This is a long-term treatment option that requires addicts to take medications daily. Methadone, Naloxone, prescription opioids, and buprenorphine help keep cravings under control without causing the same euphoric high as hydrocodone.

Controlled substances for these addictions and combination products are beneficial for those suffering from a negative use of hydrocodone. (11)

6. Long-Term Residential Rehab Centers

This program provides 24-hour supervision, medical care, and therapies like those mentioned above for at least 30 days but lasts much longer than an inpatient center (usually 180 days or more).

Because patients don’t attend work or school during their stay, they can focus all their efforts on getting clean from drugs without worrying about anything outside rehab walls, which increases the chances of long-term sobriety.

7. Inpatient Detox

This is a necessary first step towards rehab because it helps addicts safely withdraw from hydrocodone so they don’t experience any severe withdrawal symptoms that can land them in the hospital or, worse, cause death.

While on an inpatient drug detox program, patients will also be able to work with therapists and doctors specializing in substance abuse disorders to create treatment plans for getting clean after successfully leaving rehab.

8. Intensive Outpatient Treatment

This program allows addicts to live at home and work on their recovery to continue supporting themselves financially. This treatment will help individuals build up the strength needed to become sober for good without spending several months away from friends, family, and daily life.

9. Harm Reduction

This approach involves reducing harm instead of quitting drugs entirely, making it a practical choice for people who cannot stop using opioids or oxycodone right now or those who don’t want total abstinence to feel better about their addiction problem.

Harm reduction focuses mainly on preventing overdose and opioid addiction by teaching addicts how to reduce risks and use alternative methods like drug testing kits (i.e., pill testing, safe injection sites) if they choose not to quit immediately but want support for reducing harm from their drug use. (12)

Get Help With Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment Today

Hydrocodone addiction or hydrocodone overdose is a severe health problem that can ruin lives and tear families apart if left untreated. Luckily, several treatment options are available for a period of time for those who want to get clean from hydrocodone abuse and return to living healthy, drug-free lifestyles.

If you or your loved one is looking for help, contact Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439. You can also find information about drug abuse at the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). 


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