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Hydrocodone Abuse and Addiction

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Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse and Addiction

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid, unlike morphine and codeine, which are natural opiates. Generally, doctors prescribe it for the treatment of shirt term pain following an injury or dental surgery.

Navigation: Hydrocodone Overview, Hydrocodone Abuse, Hydrocodone Addiction, Rehab is Your Best Chance


Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid that is typically given to patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. But just like other opioids, this drug has a high potential for abuse. In fact, back in 2015, 2 million people were addicted to prescription painkillers, including hydrocodone. That same year, 12.5 million Americans used hydrocodone.

Addiction to this drug may begin as a result of prescription opioid abuse. Some people are given this prescription to manage their pain but end up getting hooked. That is why it is important to talk about the effects of abusing hydrocodone.

A family member who is abusing hydrocodone may show symptoms such as drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, and flushed skin. There are other signs to watch out for, which we will discuss later on.


Hydrocodone Overview

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid, unlike morphine and codeine, which are natural opiates. Generally, doctors prescribe it for the treatment of shirt term pain following an injury or dental surgery. However, due to the addictive nature of opioids in general, users can develop tolerance, dependence, and eventually, addiction.

Hydrocodone is a habit-forming substance. Once the body becomes dependent on it, the user will have to keep taking it just to feel normal. Trying to quit will cause withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings. To keep withdrawal symptoms under control, rehab and medical detox are recommended.

Brand name versions of hydrocodone include VIcodin, Norco, and Lortab. Each iteration actually contains acetaminophen, which is a non-opioid pain reliever that helps boost its effectiveness. Hydrocodone without acetaminophen is sold under the brand name Zohydro.

It is interesting to note that some individuals who are addicted to hydrocodone prefer certain brands over others, despite the fact that they all have similar effects if taken in large quantities. According to researchers, this type of preference has practical and psychological foundations.


Hydrocodone Abuse

The risk for developing a chronic hydrocodone addiction increases significantly in as little as five days of prescribed use. That is because just like other opioids, hydrocodone attaches itself to pain receptors in order to block incoming pain signals. Once hydrocodone binds to these receptors, pain signals are weakened or even blocked entirely.

The addictive side of hydrocodone comes from the feel-good sensation caused by the release of dopamine, which floods the brain in excessive amounts after opioids are taken.

Hydrocodone is typically taken orally. However, recreational users sometimes take the drug by crushing the pills and snorting the powder, or dissolving it and injecting directly into their bloodstream.

Immediate effects of hydrocodone abuse include: constipation, confusion, blurry vision, dry mouth, euphoria, diarrhea, itchy skin, nausea, vomiting, seizures, nodding out, reduced breathing rate, sleepiness, and slurred speech.

Hydrocodone Addiction

Addiction is characterized by the compulsive need to take a drug even when the user is already experiencing its negative effects. Because most people with a hydrocodone addiction begin by misusing their prescription, it can be hard to spot the signs of addiction right away.

An addicted individual will prioritize the drug over everything else, neglecting their responsibilities and losing interest in the things they used to enjoy.

Long term abuse of hydrocodone changes the way the brain functions. The addicted person may suffer from insomnia, liver or kidney disease, anxiety, depression, etc.

It is also possible to overdose on hydrocodone. Taking too much can slow down the respiratory system to the point of failure.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.


Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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