- Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Hydrocodone
Maxidone addiction and other types of prescription drug abuse is “the fastest growing drug problem in the United States,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. Addiction to Maxidone and other prescription drugs has reached epidemic proportions, overshadowing addiction rates to illicit drugs: in 2010, 1.9 million Americans were addicted to prescription painkillers while only 359,000 people were addicted to heroin. Without adequate treatment, Maxidone addiction can result in disability and premature death.
Information about this drug
Watson Pharma, Inc., makes Maxidone in a tablet form for oral administration. Each Maxidone tablet contains 10 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 750 mg acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid pain reliever, sometimes called a narcotic. Acetaminophen is a less-potent analgesic.
Hydrocodone works primarily with the central nervous system, or CNS, to relieve pain, cause sedation, reduce anxiety and produce euphoria. Recreational users target Maxidone because of the euphoric feeling hydrocodone provides.
Hydrocodone soothes a nagging cough by suppressing the cough reflex in the breathing center of the brainstem, the medulla. Hydrocodone acts on smooth muscle groups, including the muscles in the digestive tract.
Drug makers create hydrocodone from codeine and thebaine, extracted from the opium poppy plant, Papaver somniferum.
Acetaminophen use may cause acute liver failure, sometimes resulting in liver transplant and death. Most cases associated with more than 4,000 mg a day, multiple acetaminophen-containing products.
Acetaminophen works as an antipyretic by acting on the hypothalamus, the area of the brain responsible for regulating body temperature. Acetaminophen relieves pain by decreasing the production of prostaglandin, the natural compound responsible for delivering messages of pain to the brain. Prostaglandins also trigger cells into releasing fluid, causing inflammation; because of its effect on prostaglandin, acetaminophen also reduces swelling.
People in the United States take the most opioids. Even though Americans represent about 5 percent of the global population, the people in the U.S. consume 80 percent of the world’s supply of opioids.
Excessive doses, improper use and non-medical use of Maxidone raises risk for developing physical dependence and addiction. To use a drug non-medically means to take it to get high or to treat a condition other than the one for which it was prescribed. Non-medical use is widespread in the U.S: in 2010, 7 million people took psychotherapeutic drugs including Maxidone for non-medical reasons.
Taking large doses of Maxidone, or using this drug for a long time, may increase the consumer’s tolerance to hydrocodone. Someone with a high tolerance to hydrocodone must take Maxidone more frequently to achieve the same analgesic or euphoric effect. Any amount of detoxification reduces the individual’s tolerance, meaning he is more sensitive to the effects of Maxidone.
Risk for Abuse
Hydrocodone is the most widely prescribed medication in the United States. Hydrocodone is available only in combination with acetaminophen or some other analgesic. The most common combination is hydrocodone and acetaminophen, like that in Maxidone
Hydrocodone products are associated with more drug abuse than any other legal or illegal drug, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA. The DEA ranks a drug according to its potential for abuse relative to other drugs. For example, heroin is a schedule I narcotic because it gets the consumer extremely high relatively easily. In comparison, the over-the-counter cough suppressant Robitussin AC is a schedule V narcotic because the user would probably vomit before consuming enough to get high.
The DEA ranks Maxidone as a schedule III narcotic, meaning it poses the same relative risk for abuse as anabolic steroids. To reduce this risk for abuse, Maxidone is available only with a prescription.
The Definition of Addiction
Maxidone addiction is a neurological disease that affects the reward, motivation and memory circuits of the addict’s brain. Dysfunction in these circuits causes certain hallmark physical, psychological and behavioral changes, including craving and drug seeking.
Doctors look for certain characteristics when considering a diagnosis of Maxidone addiction. Someone battling Maxidone addiction craves this drug and has great trouble abstaining from Maxidone use consistently. The addict may have other behavioral control issues, including alcohol abuse or thrill-seeking behaviors. She may be unable to recognize the negative impact Maxidone has had on her well-being and on her relationships with others. She may display a dysfunctional emotional response, such as becoming overly emotional during everyday situations or lacking an emotional response to traumatic events.
Maxidone addiction is a chronic disease, lasting months or years. Like other chronic diseases, Maxidone addiction is marked with cycles of relapse and remission. Maxidone addiction is progressive, worsening with time. Without treatment, the behavioral aspects of Maxidone addiction separate the addict from family members who might otherwise interrupt the progression of this disease.
Addiction versus Dependence
While drug abuse holds addiction and drug dependence in common, Maxidone addiction and opioid-dependence are separate and independent conditions. Anyone taking Maxidone for a long time may become addicted to this drug, dependent upon it, or both.
Body adapts to presence of certain substances, including Maxidone, by making adjustments. With continued use, some of these adjustments become more permanent so that the body relies on a certain amount of hydrocodone to feel “normal.” When hydrocodone levels fall, the body struggles to maintain balance. Doctors refer to this as detoxification.
The detoxification process causes uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms in an opioid-dependent person. In fact, doctors will diagnose an individual as being opioid-dependent if the patient feels flu-like symptoms a few hours after his last dose of Maxidone.
While a physician would diagnose someone as being opioid-dependent if the patient has flu-like symptoms when he stops taking Maxidone, a doctor would say a person is addicted to hydrocodone if the patient craves Maxidone or engages in drug-seeking behaviors when his supply runs low.
Drug Seeking and Diversion
Drug-seeking behavior is a hallmark characteristic of Maxidone addiction. Because Maxidone is available only with a prescription, addicts must come up with alternate ways of getting Maxidone. Drug-seeking behavior can include “doctor shopping,” where the addict goes to multiple doctors to gain prescriptions. Other drug-seeking methods are presenting phony or altered prescriptions at pharmacies and buying drugs on the street or online. Many people get drugs free from family or friends, either voluntarily or by stealing Maxidone from medicine cabinets. The DEA refers to these methods as “diversion” because of the way they divert drugs from their intended therapeutic use to non-medical use.
Addiction: What Family Members Should Know
Maxidone addiction is a chronic neurological condition requiring long-term treatment and a network of caring individuals to support the addicted person through his attempts at recovery. Family plays a critical role in recovery; family members are often the first to intervene in Maxidone addiction, suggesting treatment. Family members then network to provide support like transporting the addict to appointments or taking over childcare duties while the addicted person is in detoxification.
Family members should know that Maxidone addiction is a disease and not an indication of bad moral character. While a person may become addicted to Maxidone after making a series of poor choices, nobody chooses to be an addict. Maxidone addiction occurs and develops as the result of a combination of genetics and environmental factors, many of which are shared by members of the same household. Counseling gives families the tools they need to be supportive without placing blame, and teaches family members how to identify the biological, environmental and developmental factors that influence Maxidone addiction.
Everyone related to the addicted individual shares an inherited risk for developing addiction at some point. While there is no single “addiction gene,” scientists think a particular interaction between specific groups of genes makes someone susceptible to the development of addiction. Current research shows that genetics account for about half of a person’s vulnerability to addiction.
Genetics alone do not cause addiction - environmental factors including a person’s family, friends, socioeconomic status and quality of life have a great deal of influence on the development and manifestation of addiction. Outside influences, such as financial distress or workplace anxiety, are powerful forces that may cause individuals to use drugs like Maxidone as a form self-medication against stress. Young people are often under a tremendous amount of peer pressure to do drugs.
Inside the home, environmental factors such as physical or sexual abuse, frequent arguments or violence increase the risk for the development of addiction. The family’s overall attitude for substance abuse has a great deal to do with the development of Maxidone addiction - a child whose parents do drugs is more likely to try drugs when he gets older, whereas a child from a family who abstains will not try drugs. Family members should know that 10 percent of people who try drugs become addicted; therefore, a household tolerant of drug abuse is more prone to produce addiction.
Maxidone addiction can develop at any age but the earlier the abuse begins, the more likely it will progress to something serious because of the way hydrocodone affects the developing brain. The areas of the brain that govern an adolescent’s decision-making, judgment and self-control brains of adolescents are still developing; opioids and other addictive substances interrupt this development and interfere with the individual’s ability to make sound decisions about taking drugs.
Family members should know Maxidone addiction inflicts collateral damage upon the entire household, making everyone in the home vulnerable to financial hardship, criminal activity and infectious diseases.
Keeping Maxidone in the home without a prescription is Illegal and unsafe. Homes with small children are at special risk - between 2004 and 2005, about 71,000 children went to the emergency department because of medication poisonings. About 80 percent of these cases were unsupervised children discovering and consuming medications like Maxidone.
Addiction: What Parents Should Know
Parents should know that non-medical drug abuse increases the risk for developing addiction and that many adolescents are using drugs like Maxidone without a prescription. In a recent national survey, about 3 percent of teenage respondents said they were currently using a drug like Maxidone for non-medical reasons. Non-medical use among older respondents was even higher with 5.9 percent of 18 to 25 year olds admitting to this type of drug abuse.
Parents should be more alert for drug abuse and addiction during times of transition such as moving to a new home, divorce or attending a new school. Peer pressure and a desire to fit in during these times of transition leads many adolescents to drug abuse.
Nature endowed teenagers with an urge to explore the world so it is not unusual for an adolescent to want to try new things. Sometimes a teenager’s exploratory nature tempts him to do drugs. A teenager’s brain is still developing, especially those areas responsible for judgment and decision-making, limiting his ability to make a sound decision about taking drugs.
Chronic use of drugs like Maxidone disrupts brain function in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, behavior control and judgment. Consequently, adolescents who abuse drugs frequently have trouble at home or school, poor academic performance and trouble with juvenile justice system. Many young drug abusers experience health-related problems including mood or mental disorders.
Signs of Addiction in an Adolescent
A teenager changes a great deal as she grows from a child into an adult. Since doctors look for changes in a person’s behavior when considering a diagnosis of addiction, recognizing addiction in young people is sometimes difficult. Parents should be aware of special signs of addiction in an adolescent.
One such sign is an unusual loss of interest in something that used to be very special to the child, such as playing with a family pet or spending time with childhood friends. The addicted child will show a decline in academic or athletic performance. She may quit a job she once loved or stop participating in a lifelong hobby. She may lack energy and seem unmotivated, even for a teenager. She disappears at unusual times to get high then has trouble explaining her absence.
Drugs are expensive, especially for a teenager or young adult earning entry-level wages. The addicted adolescent will have money issues that seem advanced for her age. Parents should remain alert for items or money missing from the home.
Caring for a Family Member with an Addiction
Family plays a critical role in intervening with the progression of Maxidone addiction and providing support through the recovery process. An intervention can be an intimate conversation between two people or it can be a formal procedure pre-planned by a group of concerned individuals and directed by a professional interventionist.
Maxidone addiction grips the individual tightly so that the disease can continue its progression; addiction causes neurological changes that make the individual very protective about his disease. Consequently, intervening in Maxidone addiction is an emotionally charged situation that can end in anger and resentment, especially if handled poorly. Professional interventionists help families plan interventions, especially when the loved one has a history of violence, serious mental illness or is likely to react violently or in a self-destructive way.
Family members can arrange to pre-register the addicted individual in a treatment plan before intervening in Maxidone addiction. It is quite common for family members to choose the treatment facility the addicted individual eventually attends. During the intervention, participants will require the addicted individual to commit to treatment immediately, on the spot.
Each participant in the intervention should decide what action he will take if the addicted individual refuses treatment. Consequences could include requiring the addicted individual to move out of the house or cease contact with children. Participants should always express hope for recovery.
The family must act as a united front with every member encouraging treatment. Once the individual accepts treatment, the family can work as a supportive network that facilitates recovery efforts by taking over everyday tasks, transporting the individual to appointments or just encouraging a healthy lifestyle. Ideally, the entire family should participate in the recovery effort but it is not required; addiction causes extreme behavioral changes that frequently affect personal relationships in adverse ways.
As with any chronic disease, caretakers should expect periods of relapse and remission during the struggle to overcome Maxidone addiction. Relapse does not mean recovery efforts have failed. During relapses, each family member should encourage the individual to return to treatment.
Family members should know intervention can halt the progression of addiction at any time - it is not necessary to let someone hit rock bottom before meaningful recovery can take place. On his way to the very bottom, an addicted person may encounter social isolation, homelessness, prison, infectious diseases and death. Allowing a loved one to hit rock bottom puts him on an even longer road back to recovery from Maxidone addiction.
Signs of Addiction
Maxidone addiction is a neurological disease in that it physically alters the brain, resulting in specific behavioral, cognitive and emotional changes that doctors look for when diagnosing addiction.
The alterations in a person’s actions, thoughts and emotions frequently change the individual’s personality enough to cause relationship problems between the addict and his friends, family and co-workers. Social isolation separates addicts from those friends and family members who could best recognize the changes that indicate Maxidone addiction.
Behavioral, Cognitive and Emotional Changes
Maxidone addiction “re-wires” the brain, affecting how the addict acts, thinks and feels. These behavioral, cognitive and emotional changes further the progression of addiction, interfering with intervention efforts. Left untreated, addicted is self-perpetuating and never resolves.
Someone struggling with Maxidone addiction uses this drug excessively, more frequently and in greater quantity than he intends. Often, this behavior is accompanied by a persistent desire to quit using Maxidone. The addict may try to quit using Maxidone several times but ultimately seem unable to unwilling to stop.
He spends an increasing amount of time looking for Maxidone, getting high or recovering from drug use. Soon, he only participates in activities that result in getting high. This has a severely negative impact on his ability to work or take care of personal responsibilities and on his relationships with others. He continues to use Maxidone despite the problems his addiction causes.
The neurological changes associated with Maxidone addiction changes the way a person thinks. He becomes preoccupied with substance abuse, ignoring everything but Maxidone. Maxidone addiction alters his views of the relative benefits and damages associated with drug abuse. In time, he blames his problems on other people or events, rather than seeing that his troubles are the predictable consequence of Maxidone addiction.
Maxidone addiction changes the way a person feels. While may people take Maxidone to relieve stress and soothe anxiety, Maxidone addiction has the opposite effect, increasing anxiety and emotional pain. Maxidone addiction recruits the stress system of the brain to keep the Maxidone addict in a constant state of stress. Maxidone addiction also causes the emotional opposite of euphoria, dysphoria.
Maxidone addiction “muddies the emotional waters,” making it difficult for the individual to identify his feelings or describe his emotions to others. Maxidone addiction may make it hard to distinguish emotions from bodily sensations of emotional arousal, like the bodily sensations of fear or exhilaration from riding a rollercoaster.
Maxidone addiction strikes both genders but men are twice as likely to abuse illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine or marijuana. Men are also more likely to become addicted to drugs. Statistics show that many more men than women die each year from overdose of prescription painkillers including Maxidone.
Scientists have reached mixed conclusions about gender differences in treatment outcomes for substance abuse problems including Maxidone addiction. Research statistics seem to depend on the criteria of the study and type of treatment facility. Some studies suggest women are less likely to complete treatment at outpatient non-methadone or nonhospital residential facilities but had better results in facilities that provided a combination of treatment approaches.
Left untreated or poorly treated, Maxidone addiction causes disability or premature death. The goal of any treatment plan is to help the individual stop using Maxidone, avoid relapse and recover as much of her normal life as possible.
The rise in opioid use in the United States has led to widespread need for qualified substance abuse treatment programs that employ individuals who received special training in detoxification and rehabilitation methods. In 2010, more than 23 million Americans needed treatment for drug or alcohol abuse problems like Maxidone addiction. Of those that needed it, only about 11 percent received treatment in a specialty facility.
Treatment consists of two parts: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification is the medical process of lowering opioid levels and easing withdrawal symptoms. Rehabilitation addresses the behaviors that keep the patient trapped in Maxidone addiction.
Skipping a dose of Maxidone, taking an inadequate dose or using a drug that counteracts the effects of Maxidone initiates the detoxification process. Withdrawal symptoms begin a few hours after the last dose and continue for five or more days. Symptoms become severe around the fourth day.
Without intervention, symptoms fade and do not return unless the individual starts taking Maxidone again. A variety of medications ease withdrawal symptoms without disrupting or shortening the detoxification process, including Imodium for diarrhea and vitamins for muscle cramps. Taking more Maxidone eases withdrawal symptoms but stops the detoxification process.
Some people try to endure withdrawal symptoms alone, without the help of medicine or the guidance of trained professionals. Doctors call this “self-detoxification” but it is commonly known as “going cold turkey,” a reference to the skin’s pale, cold, clammy and bumpy appearance during detoxification.
The Thomas Recipe
Many create homemade detoxification plans that include medications to ease withdrawal symptom. One plan is The Thomas Recipe, which calls for Valium or Xanax to calm anxiety and induce sleep, Imodium, vitamins and L-Tyrosine for a burst of energy. These treatment plans ease symptoms somewhat but do not shorten detoxification or reduce complications.
Detoxification is not life-threatening but extreme withdrawal symptoms may cause dangerous complications. Someone could vomit and inhale stomach contents, known as aspiration, which could lead to lung infections and fluid in the lungs. Prolonged and severe sweating, vomiting and diarrhea leads to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
The primary complication to detoxification is returning to Maxidone abuse, which ends the detoxification process and places the person in greater danger of overdose. The detoxification process lowers his body’s tolerance to Maxidone, making him more sensitive to the effects of hydrocodone. Consequently, it is possible for him to overdose on a smaller dose of Maxidone than he used to take before experiencing even moderate withdrawal symptoms.
It is possible to overdose on either the hydrocodone or the acetaminophen in Maxidone. Opioid overdose is a growing problem in the United States: in 2008, 15,000 people died from prescription painkiller overdose.
Opioid overdose causes respiratory depression, a condition where the lungs do not adequately exchange oxygen with carbon dioxide and other gases. Symptoms of respiratory depression include slow or shallow breathing, irregular breathing patterns and a bluish cast around the victim’s eyes, mouth and fingertips.
Symptoms of hydrocodone overdose include respiratory depression, extreme sleepiness that progresses to stupor or coma, limp muscles and cold, clammy skin. Sometimes victims have very slow heartbeats and low blood pressure. Symptoms of severe overdose include stopped breathing, collapse of the circulatory system and cardiac arrest. Death may occur.
Acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings on earth. Acetaminophen overdose is also the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
Symptoms of acetaminophen overdose may not appear for 48 to 72 hours after ingestion; blood tests may not indicate high acetaminophen levels during these early hours. The most serious adverse effect of acetaminophen overdose is the serious liver failure condition, hepatic necrosis. Kidney failure, coma and bleeding disorders may occur.
Early symptoms of acetaminophen overdose affecting the liver may include nausea, vomiting, extreme sweating and general malaise. Transport all victims of suspected overdose to the nearest medical facility, even if the victim does not feel sick.
Emergency department physicians administer naloxone and N-acetylcysteine to counteract the effects of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Nurses establish an airway to help the victim breathe and pump the stomach or introduce charcoal into the stomach to absorb excess Maxidone.
Drug Replacement Therapy
Someone who is not in immediate danger of overdose may choose DRT, or drug replacement therapy, using methadone, Suboxone or buprenorphine to mimic the effects of Maxidone without causing euphoria. DRT allows the participant to delay the detoxification process until he learns how to identify situations that might lead to drug use and how to turn down Maxidone when offered. Once the individual learns how to live without drugs, he weans himself from the DRT drug by taking successively smaller doses less often.
DRT does allow a participant to continue working and taking care of responsibilities as he engages in therapy, but DRT does have its drawbacks. Many people find it difficult to quit methadone and remain on this drug forever. Methadone is also dangerous - methadone use accounts for a third of opioid pain reliever deaths, up six fold in ten years, even though methadone sales account for only 2 percent of the prescription painkiller market.
Many hospitals now offer detoxification procedures on an inpatient basis. During detoxification, physicians administer drugs to initiate detoxification along with medicines to ease withdrawal symptoms. While standard detoxification reduces withdrawal symptoms, patients must still endure the physical and psychological effects of withdrawal that can lead the patient to believe he is incapable or unworthy of recovery.
Rapid detox is the most efficient and human form of detoxification available. Board-certified anesthesiologists sedate the patient and administer anesthesia, so the patient rests in a comfortable “twilight sleep” during detoxification. Rapid detox patients do not suffer the debilitating physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal.
The detoxification process is only the first step towards recovery. Detoxification, by itself, does little to change the behaviors associated with drugs addiction. Behavioral treatment helps the individual identify and change the behaviors associated with Maxidone addiction. Rehabilitation increases participation in healthy lifestyle activities. Rehabilitation curbs criminal activity and improves occupational, social and cognitive functioning.
Someone may engage in treatment as an outpatient or check himself into an inpatient residential facility. Outpatient treatment is appropriate for those able to work and take care of families, which inpatient treatment helps those who need highly structured therapy. Outpatient therapy typically requires regular appointments at clinics and features individual, group and family counseling along with behavioral modification. Residential programs are highly structured with intensive therapy lasting 6 to 12 months.