Over 140 million people are prescribed medications containing Hydrocodone every year, making it one of the most prescribed medications in the US. It is becoming increasingly common for those with a legitimate medical problem to begin abusing the drug in attempt to exploit its relaxing, calming and euphoric effects. The potential for addiction is high and the dangers of abuse can be deadly. Understanding the risks of Hydrocodone abuse can help you or someone you know avoid the pain of addiction.
What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller that is the primary ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab. It is also a cough suppressant, and can be found in some medications used to treat whooping cough and pneumonia.
Hydrocodone is classified as an opioid, a chemical with the same effects as opiates. It functions by connecting to proteins in the brain and spine to stop pain signals from reaching the brain. Instead of feeling pain, users feel drowsy and euphoric. Users can develop a tolerance to Hydrocodone, making it necessary to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects and significantly increasing the potential for abuse.
What are the dangers of Hydrocodone abuse?
People often begin abusing Hydrocodone because of its pain relieving qualities. For those with chronic pain, one dose can offer six hours of relief. The problem lies in the fact that tolerance to Hydrocodone builds quickly, leading users to increase their dosage for the same relief. As the dosage increases, the body begins to physically depend on the drug, often blurring the line between legitimate use and drug abuse.
Psychological dependency on Hydrocodone usually develops as users realize the secondary side effects, namely calmness and euphoria. The combination of being pain free and feeling happy can very quickly cause users to move from abuse to full fledged addiction.
What are the symptoms of Hydrocodone addiction?
The symptoms of Hydrocodone addiction vary and are not always easy to recognize. There may be subtle emotional and behavioral changes that are easy to miss, including:
- Unusually cheerful mood
- Emotional ups and downs
- Confused thoughts
- Social withdrawal
- Stealing or borrowing pain medications
- Frequent requests for prescription refills
- Visiting several doctors for similar conditions
There are also physical symptoms of Hydrocodone addiction to be aware of, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Small pupils
- Blood clots
- Rash and itchiness
- Painful urination
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
It is important to recognize these symptoms early to avoid more severe consequences of Hydrocodone addiction. Hydrocodone, like all opiates, reduces heart and respiratory rates making it an extremely dangerous drug. The fact that many Hydrocodone addicts also abuse other drugs increases the chance of dangerous or deadly outcomes. Hydrocodone addiction treatment can help users overcome both the physical and psychological symptoms of their addiction.
What are the treatment options?
Withdrawal from Hydrocodone can result in a variety of physical, emotional and mental symptoms. Hydrocodone rehab is often necessary to help handle the detox process and addiction specialists can help addicts develop healthier coping habits.
Physical withdrawal from Hydrocodone can be particularly intense and can include the following symptoms:
- Heavy sweating
- Constant shivering
- Problems sleeping
- High fever
- Extreme pain
- Rapid heartbeat
The severity of Hydrocodone detox makes relapse far more likely for addicts attempting to recover on their own. Inpatient Hydrocodone addiction treatment can help addicts deal with the temptation to use drugs to relieve their symptoms by providing medical supervision and therapy. Complete detox can take weeks and even months. The body must purge itself of the drug and then heal so that it can function normally again. Detox treatment may include methods to assist full recovery, like cognitive behavioral therapy, dietary changes and alternative medicine.
The psychological addiction to Hydrocodone can be just as challenging as the physical addiction. When an addict stops using, they will not only feel an intense need to take the drug, but can experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings and emotions that may challenge recovery. Professional addiction specialists can help addicts develop tips and strategies for relapse prevention and can suggest on going support groups to help an addict live a drug free life.
If you or someone you know are struggling with an addiction to Hydrocodone, professional help may be the only answer. The specialists at Luxury Beach Rehab can help you through the detox process and provide you with the tools you need to live soberly.