Hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller with a potency similar to morphine, is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. The prescription medication is most frequently combined with the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen, which enhances the effects of hydrocodone. These drugs are sold under the brand names Vicodin, Norco, Lorcet, and Lortab, among others. Pure hydrocodone, sold under the brand name Zohydro ER, comes in an extended-release capsule.
Because of its potency, hydrocodone is habit-forming, which means a person can quickly develop a physical dependence on it, sometimes without realizing it. Misuse and abuse can lead to hydrocodone withdrawal, which occurs when long-term users suddenly stop taking the drug. Withdrawal happens when the body is attempting to function without the drug in its system. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable, and its effects include flu-like symptoms, constipation, and insomnia.
Hydrocodone Abuse, Addiction, and Withdrawal
Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the US, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It also is linked with more drug abuse than any other licit or illicit opioid, the agency says. While the drug is used to relieve pain, recreational users abuse hydrocodone for its relaxing and euphoric effects. Compulsive, long-term misuse of the drug can lead to acetaminophen toxicity and liver damage among other serious medical conditions.
Quitting Hydrocodone Cold Turkey Is Not Recommended
Health professionals advise heavy hydrocodone users to avoid suddenly quitting the drug, also known as “going cold turkey.” Going about the withdrawal process in this manner is dangerous. The safest way to detox from the drug is with the help of licensed medical professionals who can guide you or your loved one through the process. The process of tapering off hydrocodone, in which the user is gradually weaned off the substance, is also an option, but should be done with medical supervision.
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Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Common Hydrocodone Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms
For some users, hydrocodone dependence and addiction are hard to track because it’s easier to build up a tolerance for the drug without realizing it. However, once longtime users have stopped using the drug, they may start to notice signs of withdrawal.
The duration and intensity of withdrawal depends on a few factors. Among them are:
- The person’s age, health, lifestyle habits
- Hydrocodone tolerance
- How long hydrocodone has been used
- Dose taken
- If other substances were used along with hydrocodone, such as alcohol
Physical symptoms can occur within six to 10 hours after the last dose and peak within a day and a half to three days. This experience will vary for everyone for a variety of reasons, but below is a general idea of what to expect.
Physical symptoms include:
- Bone pain
- Cold flashes
- Dilated pupils
- Goose bumps
- Involuntary leg movements
- Muscle aches, pain
- Runny nose
- Stomach pain
- Urinary retention in higher amounts
Mental effects of may bring:
- Appetite changes
- Distractions (or problems concentrating)
- Insomnia (or other sleep disorders)
Psychological withdrawals from hydrocodone include, but are not limited to:
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbances
- Depersonalization (a state in which one’s thoughts and feelings seem unreal or not to belong to oneself)
Are Your Withdrawal Symptoms Severe?
Symptoms of withdrawal are rarely life-threatening, but they are uncomfortable and enough to make some people consider using again just so they can stop feeling ill. Some withdrawal symptoms can lead to more serious health complications, so if you are experiencing:
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat (which can lead to heart failure)
- Painful urination
Or any other serious conditions that are causing great discomfort and pain, call 911 immediately or visit an emergency room or urgent care center immediately for medical attention. These symptoms are red flags that yours is a more urgent situation, and you must seek help now.
You Don’t Have to Go through a Long, Painful Withdrawal By Yourself
We at Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you find a treatment center that can start a medical detox for you and offer support, reassurance, and guidance. The sooner you make the call, the sooner you can start feeling better. Call us now at (855) 619-8070.
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline
The process can take at least a week or longer, though each person’s situation and experience will differ. Duration and intensity depend on several things, including the kind of hydrocodone ingested.
What takes place during withdrawals from hydrocodone addiction or dependence and how long withdrawals take depends on several factors including:
The kind of hydrocodone that was taken. Regular hydrocodone, which has a half-life of 3.8 hours to six hours will mean a shorter withdrawal, whereas extended-release hydrocodone means a longer withdrawal.
Age, genetics, medical history, daily use habits, and environment, among other things, will all affect how long and how difficult the the process will be.
Here’s a general outline of what a seven-day withdrawal looks like.
Thinking About Going “Cold Turkey”? Don’t Do It
It is widely recommended that hydrocodone users avoid suddenly quitting the drug, also known as “going cold turkey.” Going about the withdrawal process in this manner is dangerous and deadly. The safe way to detox from the drug is with the help of licensed medical professionals who can guide you or your loved one through the process. The process of tapering off hydrocodone is also an option, but it is advised that medical help is sought with this process is well.
Treatment is always an option. Call us now at 855-619-8070, so we can help you find a treatment center that will get you started on the right path to leaving your hydrocodone addiction in the past.
Home Remedies: Why You Should Avoid Them
It’s understandable to want an uncomfortable withdrawal experience to end. Some who want to end their hydrocodone dependence may seek out alternative do-it-yourself methods they can use at home or away from a medical center. Drug Treatment Center Finder, however, advises users to seek out medical treatment administered by licensed medical professionals as an alternative option to these methods. A medical center or facility of some kind provides a safe environment in which to detox in. Medical professionals can monitor clients undergoing the detox process around the clock to ensure they get the care they need.
Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment and Detox
Seeking Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment and Detox, First Look
Knowing what to expect as symptoms occur can prepare the user for what to expect. Withdrawing from hydrocodone use is not an easy process for many people. There will be discomfort, and while most withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, seeing a licensed medical professional to manage them gets many through the process.
Hydrocodone Detox: How It Works
Hydrocodone detox is considered the safest way to manage withdrawal symptoms and remove the substance from the body’s system. The most common method for people going through professionally monitored detox is IV therapy medical detox. People who undergo medical detox are monitored by licensed medical professionals who administer medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms while monitoring clients’ overall health and vital signs.
In some programs, medical professionals slow down the dosage of hydrocodone by using other medications designed to counter the effects of the substance the person is using, all with the needs of the client in mind. The length of detox will depend on a variety of factors, such as medical history, history of addiction, and how long hydrocodone has been used, among others. In many cases, time spent in a facility for detox can last anywhere from three to seven days.
Common Hydrocodone Detox Medications
The detox process aims to make the withdrawal process as easy as possible for the affected person as well as ensure they are coming off the drug safely. Users may be prescribed to take the medications to help ease the severity of the symptoms as the hydrocodone clears the body’s system. Common replacement medications used during this process include:
- Buprenorphine – This opioid medication is given at a medical facility or doctor’s office, or it can be used at home under a doctor’s prescription. It affects the same receptors as heroin and morphine do, but it does not give the same intense high or harmful side effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Clonidine – Clonidine stimulates parts of the brain to lower the heart rate and blood pressure. It reduces anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping, among other withdrawal symptoms. It is available as an oral immediate-release tablet, extended-release tablet, or patch.
- Naltrexone – Naltrexone works to block the effects of opioid medication. It is used to prevent relapse in people with drug and/or alcohol dependence. It can be taken in pill form or via injection.
Detox therapies may also include support with diet and nutrition, including methods that promote restful sleep, hydration, pain relief, and relaxation, among other things that promote restoration in the body, mind, and spirit.
Hydrocodone Detox Can Take Place Before Symptoms Get Worse
Detoxing at a medical facility can take place before the symptoms of withdrawal begin. The duration of withdrawal will vary by the person for several reasons, so there is no one answer. The symptoms, signs, and severity of a person’s specific situation will affect their experience and the outcome.
What Happens After Hydrocodone Detox?
After ridding the body of hydrocodone, it is vital that clients have a plan in place for their next step in the recovery process. After undergoing detox, it will now be important to change the environment and identify triggers and other factors that could lead back to abusing hydrocodone. Sobriety is the goal, but it is a process, so take it one day at a time.
A post-detox recovery program can offer clients guidance and a treatment care plan. These plans can address nutritional care and strategies that help improve over health and well-being. They also can include teaching clients coping skills and strategies to manage the issues that started them to use drugs.
Get Help Right Now — Call Today!
If you, or someone you know, are seeking a new life without addiction to hydrocodone, there’s no time like the present to call Drug Treatment Center Finder at (855) 619-8070, our 24-hour helpline. Our database lists treatment centers in all 50 states, so we definitely can help you find a center in your area or the location of your choice.