Hydrocodone Facts

Hydrocodone is a semi synthetic analgesic (pain reliever) and antitussive (cough suppressant) used to treat moderate to severe pain. This narcotic drug is only available by prescription and not in its pure form. Hydrocodone is often compounded with other less effective, non-opioid compounds. These include acetaminophen (Vicodin and Lortab), ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines and cough syrups. Hydrocodone is available in capsules, tablets and liquid form. This drug relieves pain by binding to the opioid receptor sites in the brain and spinal cord.

Hydrocodone has a high potential to become habit forming and can easily lead to a physical and psychological dependence if abused. Hydrocodone should only be used as directed and by those who have a prescription. When used in high doses, Hydrocodone combined with acetaminophen can cause severe liver damage. Separate warnings are issued for this combination based on the serious risks for liver damage and failure. Another serious risk of high dosage hydrocodone is respiratory depression. All opiates are central nervous system depressants and can adversely affect breathing in some circumstances.

Hydrocodone May Not Be The Right Medication For Some People

Hydrocodone should not be taken:

  • By anyone with a history of drug use and addiction
  • In conjunction with alcohol
  • For longer than prescribed
  • In larger amounts then prescribed
  • By anyone who is allergic to narcotics
  • In conjunction with other substances that have CNS depressant effects

Risks Of Hydrocodone Use Range From Sedation To Respiratory Depression

Hydrocodone can cause sedation, sleepiness and confusion for some patients. Because of effects such as drowsiness, Hydrocodone should not be taken when operating heavy machinery, driving a car or engaging in any other potentially dangerous activity. Activities should be limited until patients are aware of how the drug will affect them and how they will respond to Hydrocodone side effects.

Hydrocodone use can have many negative side effects and as previously mentioned, may depress the central nervous system. This is most common when hydrocodone is combined with other CNS depressants. Combing drugs like this can have very serious consequences and could possibly lead to accidental death. These substances include: other opiates, alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics and muscle relaxers.

Whenever taking prescription medications, it is important to follow all the guidelines closely. These guidelines are meant to maintain the safety of the patient. All prescriptions include an insert with information about the drug, along with warnings, precautions, directions for safe use and possible opiate side effects. It is important for patients to know which other drugs can act adversely with the medication.

How To Stay Safe When Taking Hydrocodone And Other Prescription Narcotics

Opiates are widely known for their ability to fight pain. They have been used throughout the years for this purpose and for others. For many people, there are no complications. For these people, they can provide comfort and relief during difficult times. For some however, the use of Hydrocodone and other opiates can lead to problems if they become opiate dependent.

One of the risks when taking Hydrocodone is the possibility for an allergic reaction to develop. Many people experience this early on when they begin taking the medication. An allergic reaction to Hydrocodone has the potential to turn fatal. Anytime the following symptoms arise, it is important to seek emergency medical attention immediately:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Closing of the throat
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat and face

If a person takes Hydrocodone for an extended period of time or in high doses, it has the potential to become habit forming. With the risks that exist, recreational use of opiates is not a good idea. The use and abuse of opiates has escalated over the last several years and has become a very serious epidemic in this country. Hydrocodone abuse can lead to addiction, overdose and can also result in death.

Hydrocodone Dependence And Addiction Should Be Taken Seriously

If Hydrocodone is taken for a long period of time, it is possible for a physical dependency to take hold. At this point the body will become used to the drug in the system and if a person tries to stop their use, opiate withdrawal symptoms will develop. These symptoms manifest in a variety of ways and can be intense. Many people find the experience to be unbearable, and some describe quitting opiates as "impossible" without help.

When a person has become physically and psychologically dependent on the drug, it is likely that a Hydrocodone addiction has developed. This is a very serious problem because it speaks to the likelihood that there is some degree of misuse or abuse going on. Hydrocodone misuse of any kind can quickly spiral out of control.

Hydrocodone Addiction Is Marked By Compulsive Use Of The Drug

When a person becomes compulsive about his or her Hydrocodone use, it is fair to say that opiate addiction has developed. This compulsiveness can appear like a preoccupation with obtaining or taking the drug. Typical, drug-seeking behavior can include diversion, theft and "doctor shopping." Other signs to look for if you suspect an addiction:

  • Neglecting health and hygiene
  • Sickness or irritability if a person runs out of Hydrocodone
  • Mood changes
  • Lack of motivation

Possible Side Effects Associated With Hydrocodone

Prescription drugs all carry the risk of side effects. Some patients experience them and some do not. Many patients will have mild symptoms that are fleeting - they may quickly disappear after patients who begin taking Hydrocodone become used to it.

Hydrocodone side effects can include:

  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Flushing Skin
  • Blurred Vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

There are more serious side effects that can occur and they should be reported to a doctor promptly. These side effects may include: change or loss in hearing; breathing irregularities; changes in amount or color of urine; fear; mental or mood changes; and unusual tiredness.

Hydrocodone Abuse Can End Up Costing You Much More Than Money

Oftentimes, people end up misusing their prescription medication by accident, while others may alter their dosage because their tolerance has increased and their pain management has become compromised. However, there are those who abuse opiates simply to obtain a "high." This is characterized by feelings of euphoria or a "rush." Whatever the reason, misuse of any kind can be deadly, possible leading to addiction or a fatal overdose.

Problems with Hydrocodone and other opiates have been recounted in the pages of newspapers in communities around the country. Some experts call this an epidemic that threatens people of all walks of life. The profile of someone who abuses drugs today is very different when compared to the profile from just a few years ago. Today, anyone can fall prey to the lure of opiates if they're prescribed for legitimate purposes and a dependency develops. So, how can you spot someone who may be abusing Hydrocodone? He or she may display some of these characteristics:

  • Taking more Hydrocodone than prescribed
  • Taking Hydrocodone for longer than prescribed
  • Taking Hydrocodone in conjunction with other substances to achieve a greater high
  • "Doctor Shopping" to get more medication
  • Forging prescriptions or other means of prescription fraud
  • Resorting to unsavory behaviors in order to obtain Hydrocodone
  • Changing the dosage in a way that allows for rapid absorption (crushing, snorting, injecting)

Hydrocodone Misuse Is A Challenge That Doesn't Seem To Have Clear-Cut Answers

The image of the typical drug abuser has changed drastically over the years. No longer are these people only found in poverty-stricken areas, living a depraved lifestyle. Today, a lot of people who fall victim to drugs are professionals, suburban housewives and people from all backgrounds and ethnicities. Drugs do not discriminate and anyone is susceptible to their power. Drug use often starts and escalates innocently. Any injury that requires some form of pain management can leave someone in need of opiate pain medication. Most people can take them safely, but every effort should be made to avoid opiate risks.

There are plenty of opiate treatment options, but communities are struggling to figure out ways to prevent this problem. Education regarding warnings is imperative. Many argue that doctors are overprescribing these substances and that opiates are overused in our society.

People tend to delay seeking treatment because of fear of opiate withdrawal and what they may have heard about the symptoms. Withdrawal can be intense, however, patients need to know that it can be tolerable. There are treatment programs available that offer safe and effective methods that can ease patients through the detox process and help them achieve long-term recovery.

Withdrawing From Hydrocodone Can Be A Manageable Experience

Possible symptoms of opiate withdrawal include:

  • Extreme physical and psychological cravings
  • Mood changes
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Runny nose
  • Chills
  • Sneezing
  • Yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiousness
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Depression
  • Hallucination
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Muscle spasm

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological and it may seem like the addiction is impossible to beat. However, patients need to know that the right Hydrocodone treatment program can give them the strength they need to win this battle. And, it can be accomplished in a safe, comfortable environment that supports individuality and allows patients to maintain their dignity.

Withdrawal from Hydrocodone can be intense and in some cases fatal. During withdrawal, the body can go through extreme physical reactions and this often leads people back to the drug, so they don't have to endure these symptoms. Seeking a professional treatment program to detox gives patients the medical intervention they need to ease withdrawal symptoms and keep them on the road to recovery. It is not recommended that patients try to stop using hydrocodone on their own once dependency has developed.

Self-detox from opiates is seldom effective. Hydrocodone detox at a professional treatment center may be the only logical option available to stay safe and attain a complete recovery.

What A Hydrocodone Overdose Looks Like

Patients should seek emergency medical attention immediately if any of the following symptoms occur: cold and clammy skin, collapse of the circulatory system, depression, stupor, respiratory depression, cardiac arrest, coma and possibly death.

Hydrocodone overdose has the potential to cause serious damage to the body or possibly death. It is extremely important for patients to seek help as soon as possible if they believe they are experiencing an overdose. An overdose can result from any of the following situations:

  • If too much Hydrocodone is ingested at once
  • If Hydrocodone is combined with other substances to intensify the effects
  • If you are physically dependent and quit taking Hydrocodone for an extended period and resume use after your tolerance to the drug has decreased

What Can You Do If You Find Yourself Dependent Upon Hydrocodone?

Often, people are not successful the first time they attempt to detox from an opiate addiction, but don't let this discourage you. Nothing is impossible, especially long-term recovery. Never give up on achieving this. If the first treatment you choose is unsuccessful, it doesn't mean you can't get better. Perhaps you need a new strategy. When people choose professional help to overcome their addiction, their chance for a full recovery increases significantly. There are several treatment options available to help patients reach their goal of being opiate free.

When it comes to deciding between an inpatient or outpatient opiate treatment program, you will want to consider all of your options. The decision you make for treatment should be based on your personal needs, current medical condition, family and work obligations and financial situation. Addiction specialists and medical professionals can help you make the decision that is right for your particular needs and help to keep you safe during your transition into sober living.

Possible Treatment Options To Address Hydrocodone Dependency

Inpatient Hydrocodone Treatment offers a more comprehensive approach to detox and recovery. Most inpatient programs focus their efforts on alleviating withdrawal symptoms and counseling patients to help them heal the psychological destruction caused by addiction. Inpatient treatment in a facility tends to offer the support and structure that patients crave during the recovery process. Programs can include traditional detox in a facility or rapid opiate detox in a hospital.

Opiate replacement therapy is an outpatient option for treatment. This form of therapy uses drugs such as methadone, Suboxone or Subutex to replace the opiate that the person has become dependent upon. While these drugs are also opiates, they are deemed to have less potential for abuse and dependence. The problem with this form of therapy is that the drugs used are also subject to abuse and dependence as well. It is also a fairly long-term strategy to treat this type of dependence.

Rapid detox for opiates is an option that can offer very favorable results in the treatment of opiate addiction, if done properly. Companies that offer this method and do it the right way will focus their treatment efforts on safety, comfort, dignity and privacy. This treatment should only be performed in an accredited hospital under the close supervision of trained medical professionals. The right program can quickly - often within days - eliminate a person's physical opiate dependency.

How Does Rapid Opiate Detox Work?

Rapid Detox for Hydrocodone is a method that uses intravenous medication to eliminate the opiate dependency at the receptor sites in the brain and body. This process should take place in a hospital and usually occurs in less than two hours. During the process, patients are under deep sedation and the withdrawal symptoms pass through their system while they are under sedation. Most patients awaken with most, if not all, withdrawal symptoms gone. Patients should be monitored closely while they recover in the hospital to avoid any unforeseen complications. An aftercare program is encouraged after the detox to address the psychological impact of the addiction and give patients the tools needed to maintain a life of sobriety.

Rapid detox can be a swift and thorough solution for the problem of Hydrocodone dependence or addiction. An aftercare program can provide the transitional services needed to take patients to the next, opiate-free step.

What Are The Odds I Will Recover?

Long-term recovery from opiates is attainable if the patient is committed to the process and ready for a major life change. The first step is to recognize the problem and take action to address it. Opiate addiction can be reversed rather quickly but it may take an ongoing commitment to deal with the physical and psychological issues that have developed as a result.