According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2012 there were an estimated 2.1 million people addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers in the United States alone. Hydrocodone falls under the category of prescription opioid pain relievers, and is, in fact, one of the most popular in the country. Going under the name of Vicodin, Lortab and other commercial names, hydrocodone has been used by millions in the U.S. Some of those users eventually find themselves unable to stop without professional drug rehab.
Prescription painkiller addictions can sneak up on you, so it is important to keep an eye out for addictive behaviors in yourself and your loved ones when a doctor prescribes opioids such as hydrocodone. Not everyone will become addicted, but if they do, it can be difficult to quit without the help of professionals. Statistics indicate that young adults are most at risk.
If you think you are addicted to hydrocodone, remember – help is out there. You can seek addiction treatment from drug rehabs in your area that will help you learn to lead a life without depending on hydrocodone.
What Is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a prescription medication given to patients who are experiencing moderate to severe pain. It is made from a semi-synthetic opioid created from codeine, which comes from the opium poppy – the same plant that is used to produce all opioids. The pills containing hydrocodone are typically made with a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Both are used to lower the need for the opioid component and to discourage abuse.
While prescription opioid pain medicine is used all over the world, the actual hydrocodone formulation is used almost exclusively in the United States. Because of its widespread use in the U.S., hydrocodone has become well known as part of the opioid epidemic, along with other similar drugs like oxycontin.
How is Hydrocodone Abused?
As a prescription medication, hydrocodone is typically ingested orally. The doctor will prescribe a certain dosage and list plainly that the dosage is not to be exceeded. Of course, recreational use does not adhere to the instructions on the bottle. When someone is abusing hydrocodone, they may take far more than the recommended dose, which can quickly lead to an addiction.
Hydrocodone is also crushed up and snorted, and sometimes even injected after dissolving it in a solution. Injecting hydrocodone is particularly dangerous, as it can lead the individual to take far more than is safe.
Effects of Hydrocodone Addiction
Like all opioids, hydrocodone bonds with the opioid receptors in the brain to produce a feeling of euphoria, relaxation and general warmth. The pleasant feelings can last for some time, but eventually, the dose will wear off and the body will want more of the drug – which is when the unpleasant side effects start showing up. The more the person uses hydrocodone to feel good, the fewer opioids the body will make naturally. Long-term use can cause depression for some time, until the body starts making enough opioids again to stabilize the person’s mood.
Some risks of hydrocodone use include:
One of the biggest risks of excessive hydrocodone use is liver damage. Many hydrocodone products are combined with acetaminophen, which can cause serious liver damage if the user takes too much. Because the person is trying to get high, he or she may not pay attention to how much acetaminophen is in the doses. Too much and the liver can shut down.
Some users are more prone to nausea than others, but even regular users can sometimes encounter nausea unexpectedly.
Like all opioids, hydrocodone can cause constipation. This is often counteracted with other forms of medication used to regulate stool.
Too much hydrocodone can cause the body to stop breathing correctly. If the problem goes unnoticed, such as if the person appears to be asleep, the user can suffocate.
Treatment Programs For Hydrocodone Abuse And Addiction
Hydrocodone addiction can come to rule the life of the user, leading to health complications and social problems. Like any opioid addiction, the damage done to the user’s life can be considerable. A good rehab program is often the best way to end the cycle of addiction, and to learn how to live a high-quality life moving forward.
The best way to determine which treatment option is right for you is to talk with a rehab specialist about your situation. A professional can help you decide which treatment will give you the best odds of success.
Some of the most effective hydrocodone rehab options for addiction recovery include:
Detoxing from hydrocodone can be uncomfortable and stressful. Often people will start using again just to avoid the detox symptoms. With medically assisted detox, you can avoid many of the unpleasant side effects of detox, which means you can push through detox and get on with your rehab journey.
Staying at a treatment center means you get 24/7 support from medical professionals during the first part of your recovery. Residential programs can last 30 days, 45 days or even longer, depending on your needs.
With outpatient treatment, you can continue to take care of your daily obligations while still getting regular treatment. Outpatient treatment usually requires getting treatment several times a week, including group and/or individual therapy.
We Are Your Resource For Hydrocodone Rehab
If you or someone you love is struggling with hydrocodone addiction, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Our helpful team can make sure you get access to the treatment you need as quickly as possible.