Hydrocodone Rehab Guide
Abuse of hydrocodone and other prescription pain medications is widespread in America.1 Of all the prescription pain medications, hydrocodone was the most frequently abused in 2019.1 In 2019, over 5 million Americans aged 12 or over had abused hydrocodone within the last year.1 Approximately 1.4 million Americans aged 12 or older had an addiction to prescription painkillers within the last year.1
In Nevada, 3.87% of the population that was aged 12 or older had abused prescription pain medication within the last year.2 Nearly 0.6% of the Nevada population that was aged 12 or older had an addiction to prescription pain medication within the last year.2 The age group affected the most was 18- to 25-year-olds.2
The purpose of this page is to help you learn more about:
- What hydrocodone is and why it is used.
- The side effects of hydrocodone.
- Whether hydrocodone is addictive.
- Signs of hydrocodone addiction and abuse.
- How to know if you are addicted to hydrocodone.
- How to treat hydrocodone addiction.
- How to find hydrocodone addiction help.
What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller that belongs to a class of medications known as opioids.1,3 Hydrocodone is the generic name for the drug. Brand names include Lortab, Hysingla, Norco, Vicodin, and Zohydro.1, 3 Some formulations are available as extended-release, while immediate release formulations are only available when combined with other analgesics, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.4 Hydrocodone is approved to treat acute pain and to manage coughs, while extended-release hydrocodone is used to manage severe, around-the-clock pain.3,4 While no formulations of hydrocodone are illegal, similar drugs are illegal, such as heroin.3,5
Side Effects of Hydrocodone
When you take hydrocodone, you may experience side effects while under the influence or shortly afterward.3,4,6 If you abuse or have an addiction to hydrocodone, side effects may be more severe, or you may be more likely to experience them.3 These short-term side effects can include:3,4,6
- Dry mouth.
- Constricted (pinpoint) pupils.
- Difficulty paying attention or remembering things.
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy.
- High or low blood pressure.
- Impaired judgment.
- Lack of awareness of surroundings.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Reduced appetite.
- Sleepiness or insomnia.
- Slow pulse.
- Slowed and shallow breathing, which can become life-threatening.
- Slurring when speaking.
- Sneezing or stuffy nose.
- Stomach issues, such as constipation, nausea, upset stomach, and/or vomiting.
Hydrocodone use can cause side effects after long-term use as well, some of which can be permanent.3,5 These may include:3,4,6
- Cough or shortness of breath.
- Development of serotonin syndrome, which can be very dangerous and includes symptoms of agitation, hallucinations, difficulty controlling body processes (heart rate, body temperature), lack of coordination, stomach issues, and stiff or twitching muscles.
- Impaired sexual functioning and fertility.
- Swelling affecting your hands or lower legs.
Is Hydrocodone Addictive?
Hydrocodone is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be highly physically and psychologically addictive.3,4,5 If you abuse hydrocodone, addiction is more likely to occur.3,5
After using hydrocodone for an extended period of time, your body may become physically dependent on it to function.5 If you stop using hydrocodone after you are physically dependent, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.6 Withdrawal symptoms aren’t life-threatening but can be extremely uncomfortable.7 Symptoms of withdrawal can include feeling depressed, irritable, or anxious, having trouble sitting still, muscle or bone pain, runny nose, tearing eyes, dilated pupils, goosebumps, chills or sweating, yawning, trouble sleeping, fever, an increased response to painful stimuli, and stomach issues, such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.6
Over time, you may notice that hydrocodone doesn’t work as well, and you need higher doses to get the same effect or get you high.6 This phenomenon is known as tolerance, and can potentially lead you to abuse hydrocodone by taking larger doses than prescribed, or taking it differently than prescribed, such as crushing and snorting or dissolving and injecting pills.6Doing this can increase the risk of side effects, overdose, or developing an addiction.3
The effects of hydrocodone addiction can negatively impact your physical health over time.6 Chronic dry mouth can harm your dental health, while long periods of constipation can create bowel issues.6 Snorting pills long-term can damage nasal passages, and if hydrocodone is injected it can damage the veins, lead to infection or abscesses, or increase the likelihood of contracting diseases like hepatitis C or HIV.6
Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse
You may be wondering, “How do I find out if I’m addicted to hydrocodone?” There are some warning signs to watch for that may indicate that you or someone you care about has an issue with hydrocodone abuse or addiction. Social signs can include:6, 8
- An inability to stop using even after experiencing ongoing issues with social relationships caused by hydrocodone.
- Becoming more secretive.
- Borrowing money, or stealing money or valuable items to pay for hydrocodone pills.
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
- Changing social groups.
- Continuing to use hydrocodone after it has caused or aggravated a physical or mental health condition.
- Driving under the influence of hydrocodone.
- Getting in trouble at work, or losing jobs often.
- Having difficulty paying attention, or lack of awareness of your surroundings.
- Isolating or quitting activities because of hydrocodone use.
- Missing days at school or work, or showing up late.
- Money going missing with no explanation.
- Mood swings.
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, school, or work because of hydrocodone use.
- Spending a lot of time getting, taking, or recuperating from hydrocodone use.
- Stuffy or runny nose if hydrocodone is snorted.
- Taking hydrocodone in larger doses or for longer than originally planned.
- Visiting multiple doctors to get prescriptions, often complaining of pain to get pills, or stealing pills.
- Wanting to cut back or stop using hydrocodone but not being able to.
Physical signs of hydrocodone abuse or addiction include:6, 8
- Alterations to physical appearance.
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Constricted pupils.
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when hydrocodone use is stopped or significantly reduced.
- Lack of attention to hygiene.
- Needing to take more hydrocodone to feel the same effect or get high.
- Slurring when talking.
- Weight loss.
Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment
The first step toward hydrocodone addiction recovery usually involves attending detox.7 Opioid withdrawal lasts about a week, can be extremely uncomfortable, and is associated with strong cravings. For these reasons, detox facilities commonly offer medication-assisted treatment.6,7,9 Medications are provided to ease symptoms of withdrawal, and staff is available around-the-clock to identify and treat any dangerous complications that may arise, such as dehydration from prolonged vomiting and diarrhea.7 The most common and effective medications used during detox are tapering doses of methadone or buprenorphine, which can potentially eliminate withdrawal symptoms in some cases.7,9
Detox will help you to clear your body of hydrocodone and any other substances you have been using, but won’t help you change your thoughts and behaviors and learn the skills needed to maintain long-term sobriety.9 Toward the end of detox, staff will work with you to determine the best setting for treatment depending on your individual needs and preferences.7,9 The right setting for you will depend on a variety of factors, including any physical or mental health issues you may have, what kind of social supports you have, your employment status, your family situation, your living situation, whether you have any legal issues, and your substance use and treatment history.7,9 Studies show that treatment should last for a minimum of 3 months for best results, although this can be divided between different treatment settings.9
Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility around the clock for 3 to 6 weeks while receiving intense amounts of group and individual therapy.9 Staff is on-site to provide structure and support around-the-clock as you adjust to life without hydrocodone and other substances and psychiatric and medical care is offered as needed.9 Outpatient facilities also offer group and individual therapy, but you live at home and can engage in your normal daily activities.9 Treatment is available on a continuum to meet your needs as you transition towards discharge.9
Treatment for hydrocodone addiction is provided through behavioral therapy; medication-assisted therapy may also be used.9,10 Behavioral therapy techniques can help you to learn how to improve social or family relationships, prevent relapse, improve coping skills, develop peer support, and engage in positive, healthy activities.9 Medication-assisted treatment can reduce cravings, lower the risk of overdose, and prevent relapse through the use of approved medications that can be used long-term.9,10 Medications that are approved to treat addiction to hydrocodone or other opioids include methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone or Subutex), and naltrexone.9,10
Hydrocodone Rehab Near Me
American Addiction Centers is a leading provider of treatment for addiction to hydrocodone and other substances.11 With facilities located across the United States, American Addiction Centers makes it easier than ever to get effective treatment no matter where you are.11 Our Desert Hope facility located in Las Vegas, Nevada offers a medication-assisted treatment program as well as a range of amenities to help you recover from hydrocodone addiction in comfort.12 At all of our facilities, your treatment starts with an assessment to gather information that will be used to develop a personalized treatment plan.11,12,13 Our compassionate, knowledgeable staff are available to help you through every step of your recovery journey, from detox to outpatient and aftercare.12,13 To learn more about what American Addiction Centers offers and how we can help you on your hydrocodone recovery journey, call our free, confidential helpline today. It’s available 24/7 and can be reached at 702-800-2682.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). 2018-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Model-based prevalence estimates (50 states and the District of Columbia).
- University of Michigan Health System. (2019). Hydrocodone (oral).
- Cofano, S., & Yellon, R. (2020). Hydrocodone. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing.
- Drug Enforcement Administration. (2017). Drugs of abuse: A DEA resource guide.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Detoxification and substance abuse treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 45, DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 06-4131. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Arlington County Government. (2021). Signs of opioid use.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (Third edition).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Misuse of prescription drugs research report.
- American Addiction Centers. (2021). American Addiction Centers.
- American Addiction Centers. (2021). Desert Hope Las Vegas treatment center.
- American Addiction Centers. (2021). Substance abuse treatment services.
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