Hydrocodone Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Programs

Hydrocodone is an addictive opioid that can be misused for its effects. Treatment programs for hydrocodone abuse and addiction can help people get sober and provide alternative strategies for pain management.

Hydrocodone Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options

Hydrocodone is one of the most common prescription opioids used to treat severe pain following injury or surgery. It is also highly addictive and may be misused for its ability to cause a rush of pleasure and relaxation.

Becoming addicted to hydrocodone can take over a person’s life. It may affect how someone thinks, acts, and feels. People who become addicted to hydrocodone may pull away from their loved ones, struggle to hold a job, and suffer serious health consequences.

Hydrocodone abuse and addiction can be life-threatening without treatment. In the New England region of the United States, tens of thousands of residents suffer fatal opioid overdoses each year.

Even more, hydrocodone abuse can also cause long-term organ damage, insomnia, and exacerbate mental health disorders like depression.

Recovery from hydrocodone addiction is possible. At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we understand how difficult it can be to ask for help.

Here you’ll find information on:

  • hydrocodone abuse, addiction, and side effects
  • hydrocodone overdose symptoms
  • hydrocodone addiction treatment options
  • an overview of our Massachusetts drug rehab center

What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a powerful opioid drug similar in nature to prescription painkillers like codeine and oxycodone. Hydrocodone is available in several formulations but is most often prescribed in pill or tablet form to treat severe and chronic pain. It is also prescribed as a cough suppressant.

Hydrocodone is the active ingredient in several prescription pain relievers. Some hydrocodone combination products, like Vicodin, contain a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen—the active ingredient in Tylenol.

Common brand names for hydrocodone prescription drugs include:

  • Norco
  • Vicodin
  • Hysingla
  • Zohydro ER
  • Lorcet
  • Lortab

Hydrocodone works in the body by binding to the body’s opioid receptors. This can result in pain relief, as well as have effects on mood and behavior.

Taking hydrocodone for more than a week may lead to increased tolerance and drug dependence. This can make it difficult to stop taking the drug. Physical dependence can develop both in people who take the opioid drug as prescribed and in those who misuse it.

How Is Hydrocodone Misused?

There are several ways that hydrocodone can be misused. Drug abuse is broadly defined as taking a drug in any way other than prescribed.

Common forms of hydrocodone abuse include:

  • taking higher doses than prescribed
  • taking it more often than prescribed
  • crushing and snorting it
  • injecting hydrocodone
  • mixing hydrocodone with other drugs (including alcohol)
  • stealing hydrocodone from a family member’s prescription
  • taking the drug for longer than prescribed

Effects Of Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is commonly abused for its effects. Pain relief is its most well-known side effect. However, it can also have other powerful physical, mental, and emotional effects.

Short-term side effects of hydrocodone may include:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • intense rush of pleasure
  • feeling of relaxation
  • constipation
  • dry throat
  • anxiety
  • abnormally happy or sad mood
  • difficulty urinating
  • small pupils

Side effects of hydrocodone may be stronger in people who misuse hydrocodone, compared to those who take it as prescribed by a doctor. The types of symptoms people experience, and the severity may vary according to dosage and other personal factors.

Hydrocodone Overdose: Signs And Symptoms

In 2018, nearly 70 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the United States involved opioids. Understanding the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose can be life-saving.

With immediate treatment, opioid overdose can be effectively reversed and treated. The most immediate treatment for opioid overdose is naloxone, also known as Narcan.

Signs and symptoms of hydrocodone overdose may include:

  • slowed or stopped breathing
  • slow heart rate
  • unresponsiveness
  • bluish lips and fingernails
  • cold, clammy skin
  • constricted or pinpoint pupils
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness

An overdose occurs when someone has taken too much of a drug in a short time-frame, or when someone has taken multiple drugs at once. Drinking alcohol or taking other sedatives while using hydrocodone may increase overdose risk.

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment Programs

Drug addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, or income level. No one is immune. Addiction can make it difficult for people to imagine a life free from their addiction and may cause feelings of depression and hopelessness.

Treatment programs for hydrocodone addiction can help individuals break free from the cycle of addiction. Recovering from addiction is rarely something that someone can do alone. Addiction rehab centers offer a range of treatment programs to help people conquer addiction for good.

The type of treatment program someone needs may depend on the severity of their drug dependence, co-occurring disorders, and other personal factors. For most people, drug addiction treatment begins with detox.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms And Detox

People who have become addicted to hydrocodone will need to undergo detox to get sober. Detox, or detoxification, is the process of removing toxic substances (or drugs) from the body.

If you’ve become dependent on hydrocodone, abruptly stopping your drug use may cause unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms. This is known as withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • insomnia
  • muscle aches
  • excessive yawning
  • sweating
  • runny nose
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • goosebumps
  • stomach pain
  • dilated pupils

Withdrawal symptoms can begin within 12 hours after a person’s last dose, and may last for several days. Medical detox programs are the most highly recommended setting for undergoing opioid withdrawal.

These programs can offer medical and behavioral support, including the use of medications that can reduce drug cravings. Medical detox can also remove people from an environment where they may be at risk for returning to their hydrocodone use.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is the most comprehensive form of treatment for people recovering from drug addiction. Residential rehab centers provide 24-hour support, supervision, and structure for people in early sobriety.

Throughout the day, patients may attend a variety of therapeutic activities, including individual counseling, group therapy, mental health treatment, and recreational activities like yoga.

Primary forms of treatment for opioid abuse and addiction include:

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapies—such as cognitive behavioral therapy—are an effective way to modify harmful drug behaviors, shift a person’s thinking about their drug use, and teach supportive strategies for managing stress and triggers in recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction. This means it is proven to improve recovery outcomes. MAT is a “whole-person” approach that involves the use of medications like buprenorphine (Suboxone) and methadone in conjunction with behavioral therapy.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse is a common struggle among people with substance use disorders. Learning tools and strategies to prevent or manage a situation of relapse can be highly beneficial for people in early recovery.

Inpatient and residential treatment programs last between 30 to 60 days on average. Inpatient treatment can reduce a person’s risk for relapse, and can help people learn the skills they need to stay sober for long-term recovery.

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes are a step-down form of care that can ease the transition from inpatient treatment back into your community. These homes offer temporary housing to support the ongoing recovery of people in early sobriety. Sober living homes often partner with nearby drug rehab centers to coordinate continuing care.

Sober living environments may require that residents attend outpatient treatment, find or maintain employment, and participate in community meetings.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs do not involve living in an addiction treatment center. Instead, people may receive treatment on an outpatient basis during the day.

Outpatient treatment is most suitable for people who:

  • are medically stable
  • are stepping down from an inpatient program
  • have mild drug abuse issues
  • are looking for ongoing support in addiction recovery

There are several different types of outpatient treatment programs that vary in the level of structure and support they provide:

Day Treatment

Day treatment—also known as partial hospitalization—is the most intensive form of outpatient treatment. This involves attending treatment at a rehab center or hospital for up to 25 hours a week. During this time, individuals may meet with a counselor, attend group therapy sessions, and meet with a clinical doctor or psychiatrist to adjust or monitor medication use.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Intensive outpatient treatment generally involves attending treatment at a rehab center for a few hours in the afternoon or evening, a couple days a week. This is less intensive than day treatment and may be more customizable to meet the scheduling needs of working professionals, students, and parents.

Standard Outpatient Treatment

Many former drug addicts continue meeting with a substance abuse counselor for an extended amount of time. This can be helpful for people recovering from chronic or severe addiction. People may also attend community support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and check in with a medical doctor as needed.

Begin Your Opioid Addiction Recovery At Spring Hill In Ashby, MA

Spring Hill Recovery Center is an accredited rehab facility in Massachusetts that serves the Greater New England area. We offer residential rehab and intensive outpatient treatment for people recovering from opiate addiction and other forms of substance abuse.

At Spring Hill, you’ll find a peaceful and comfortable treatment environment with staff that empowers residents to identify and utilize their strengths. We offer a wide array of evidence-based treatments and holistic therapies to heal both the mind and body in early addiction recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to hydrocodone, don’t wait to seek help. Call us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and the types of treatment services we offer.

Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team

Published on: October 7, 2020 | Edited on: March 25, 2023

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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