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Hydrocodone Addiction, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Hydrocodone-based drugs are one of the most frequently prescribed types of painkillers in the U.S., according to Kaiser Health News. Although it’s effective, hydrocodone can easily lead to addiction, however.

As hydrocodone prescriptions have become increasingly common, more people are at risk of becoming addicted. A 2014 Express Scripts report revealed that Americans consume nearly 80% of the world’s hydrocodone supply.

Regardless of why you begin taking this medication, it does not take long to develop severe physical and emotional dependence. And untreated dependence often leads to addiction.

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What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an antitussive (anti-cough) agent and also an analgesic for mild to moderate pain control. It is prescribed in pill form to be taken orally. Pain management doctors often prescribe this drug to patients for whom non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication would not suffice.

The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies hydrocodone as a Schedule II drug, including combination products containing less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dose. Schedule II substances have a high potential for abuse that can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Hydrocodone Drug Side Effects

Hydrocodone can cause serious physical side effects, such as bowel obstruction, pulmonary issues, and slow heart rate. Combination drugs, such as those containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen, can cause numerous side effects, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Rash

One of the most harmful side effects of all, however, is addiction itself. Addiction entails compulsive and frequently negligent drug use that negatively impacts every part of a person’s life, despite the harm it creates.

Understanding Hydrocodone Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is a skyrocketing problem around the world, due in large part to the availability of the drugs through both legal and illicit means. According to a report by the Drug Enforcement Administration, more than 93 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2016, and more than 83 million were dispensed in 2017.

As people consume hydrocodone, they can watch for several indicators of developing a problem with the drug. There are physical warning signs, such as side effects and building a tolerance. Additionally, behavioral changes can occur, which can be signs of an addiction developing. Patients who spot these red flags might need to discuss symptoms and treatment options with a doctor or addiction treatment specialist.

Opioid Tolerance

Addiction is often a consequence of physical dependence. In other words, when opioids are taken regularly, a person’s brain and body adapt to its presence. Consequently, physiological changes and disruptions to body functions occur.

Tolerance minimizes how a person responds to the effect of the drug. People end up taking larger and larger doses or taking it more often to achieve the same effects initially. This repetitive dosing is also known as opioid abuse disorder. If people suddenly stop taking the drug, they could suffer painful physical consequences, which is known as withdrawal syndrome.

Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

Once opioid abuse disorder is present, controlling the cravings, use, and dosage becomes increasingly difficult, leading to addiction. Furthermore, the fear of suffering through withdrawal keeps many people from seeking the help they need. Addiction causes users to believe that they must use the drug to perform regular daily tasks despite the harmful consequences it has on health, lives, or loved ones.

Common Physical Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

Physical symptoms of hydrocodone addiction include but are not limited to:

  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Slow heartbeat

Long-term hydrocodone abuse can cause:

  • Pneumonia
  • Narcotic bowel syndrome
  • Vomiting
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage

Behavioral Changes Associated with Addiction

Physical symptoms of long-term hydrocodone use, including an opioid tolerance, can also result in behavioral changes. Some common behaviors that can indicate someone is addicted to hydrocodone include:

  • Increased isolation and secrecy
  • Lying or exaggerating pain issues to receive additional prescriptions
  • Seeking prescriptions from different doctors.
  • Spending a considerable amount of time thinking of how to obtaining the drug
  • Sporadic mood changes

Consequences of Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone addiction can cause numerous problems for a person physically and socially, such as:

  • Damaged relationships
  • Difficulties with job performance
  • Economic hardship
  • Hydrocodone withdrawal syndrome
  • Irreversible health conditions
  • Legal issues
  • Mental health problems
  • Overdose and even death

As devastating as hydrocodone addiction is to the user and those who love that person, it is possible to recover. Understanding the condition and researching treatment options is the best way to find the best solution.

No one is immune to drug addiction, regardless of their age, race, social status or gender.

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Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Once someone is dependent on or addicted to hydrocodone, they can experience a withdrawal syndrome if they stop taking the drug. Hydrocodone withdrawal can cause significant physical and emotional distress. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, such as:

  • Chills
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Regardless of its intensity, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant enough to create a significant obstacle to so many in need of help. These symptoms — and the fear of them — are often what cause a person to stay on the drug instead of getting off it. Therefore, undergoing a detox process in a medical facility or under medical supervision is highly recommended.

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment Options

Although outpatient and inpatient options are available, inpatient detox is safer and more effective. In a hospital, doctors can use stronger drugs to minimize suffering while carefully monitoring patients’ health.

If hydrocodone addiction is damaging any part of your life, you must seek the right treatment for you. The first step should be getting off the drug, and you will likely need medical assistance during detox.

Waismann Detox™ for Hydrocodone

Located in Southern California, the Waismann Detox™ offers one of the highest success rates of any opioid detox treatment in the U.S. Furthermore; the program provides medical detox protocols tailored to each patient’s health needs. Our team of board-certified physicians and skilled healthcare professionals will assess and discuss the best available treatment options for you.

What Is Medical Detox?

Medical detox, or medically assisted detoxification, is a critical part of a successful addiction treatment program. An effective medical detox helps people establish a new foundation on which they can start a healthy path. Medical detox and rapid detox are safe and effective treatment options for many people struggling with opioid dependence or addiction, including hydrocodone addiction.

Detox typically is physically and emotionally stressful. Ensuring privacy and comfort throughout this challenging process can mean the difference between success and failure. To address these needs, the Waismann Treatment™ uses the highest safety standards, and our treatment center provides unparalleled care.

Our medical detox center includes:

  • Comprehensive medical evaluation before the detox treatment
  • Private room for each patient in a JCAHO-accredited hospital with 24-hour clinical care
  • Treatment is performed by a quadruple board-certified medical doctor with over 21 years’ experience in opioid detox and rapid detox.
  • Supportive recovery medications, if appropriate.
  • Inclusive recovery retreat
  • Individual counseling sessions
  • Nutritious meals
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture

This necessary process can be challenging for most people. For this reason, non-medical detox at home going cold-turkey or even at rehab centers can be dangerous. Enrolling in an inpatient medical detoxification program such as the Waismann Detox™ can significantly maximize the patient’s comfort during the opioid withdrawal process, his or her safety, and the detoxification’s success.

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