Tussionex Addiction

Doctors prescribe Tussionex to treat runny nose, itching, watering eyes and cough associated with the common cold.

Tussionex contains hydrocodone, an opioid pain reliever. Pharmacologists extract hydrocodone and other opioids from the poppy plant. Hydrocodone provides pain relief similar to morphine.

Americans use more opioid pain relievers than any other nation. While Americans represent only about 5 percent of the earth's population, they use 80 percent of the global opioid supply, according to the Institute of Addiction Medicine.

Physicians prescribe more hydrocodone than any other medication; in 2010, pharmacists filled more than 139 million prescriptions for products containing hydrocodone. There are more than 200 products containing hydrocodone, including Tussionex. Hydrocodone is available only by prescription, and only in combination with other products. Tussionex contains chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine, which is not associated with abuse or addiction.

Because of the euphoria it produces and its wide availability, hydrocodone is associated with more abuse than any other drug. The DEA classifies substances according to their potential for abuse, and categorizes hydrocodone as a Schedule II narcotic. This means hydrocodone poses a relatively high risk for abuse.

One dose of Tussionex contains less than 15 mg of hydrocodone so the DEA classifies it as a Schedule III narcotic, lowering the risk for abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, says that about one in 20 Americans over the age of 12 years used a prescription opioid in 2010 non-medically, meaning the person used the drug to get high or to treat a condition for which it was not prescribed. Using opioids non-medically increases the risk for drug abuse, physical dependence and addiction.

The Definition of Addiction

Addiction is a neurological disease that changes the brain's reward, motivation and memory circuitry in a way that affects an individual's behavior in specific ways, such as drug-seeking behaviors. Addiction is a primary disease, meaning it is arises on its own and not the result of another condition. Tussionex addiction is a chronic condition, requiring long-term therapy to restore both physical and psychological function. As with other chronic conditions, Tussionex addiction typically involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without proper treatment, Tussionex addiction is progressive and may result in disability or premature death.

Dependence versus Addiction

While many use the terms addiction and dependence interchangeably, these two conditions are separate and quite different from one another. Doctors diagnose a patient as suffering from a Tussionex addiction if the individual exhibits certain behaviors, such as an inability to abstain and cravings. Your doctor would diagnose you as being dependent on Tussionex if you suffer flu-like withdrawal symptoms shortly after you stop using this drug.


Your body adapts to the presence of certain foreign substances, such as drugs or alcohol, by adjusting its own chemistry. Chronic use of some products, such as opioids, causes your body to make long-term changes so that you maintain a safe chemical balance. Your body learns to depend on a certain level of opioids for you to feel "normal." If you should let opioid levels drop suddenly, your body would struggle to regain its chemical balance. You feel this battle through unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Doctors call this process detoxification. The detoxification process causes withdrawal symptoms, which may include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Chills Alternating with Hot Flashes
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Goose Bumps
  • Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle Aches
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Runny Nose
  • Salivation
  • Severe Sneezing
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting
  • Watery Eyes
  • Weakness
  • Yawning


The neurological disease of addiction affects the way your brain functions. This neurological dysfunction changes the way a person thinks, behaves and feels.

Doctors look for specific behavioral characteristics when considering whether a patient has an addiction, including:

  • Inability to Consistently Abstain from Tussionex Use
  • Other Behavioral Control Problems
  • Cravings for Tussionex
  • An Inability to Recognize Significant Problems with One's Own Behaviors and Interpersonal Relationships
  • Inappropriate Emotional Response

Using high doses of Tussionex for a long time may result in Tussionex addiction or opioid dependence. It is possible to be addicted to a substance but not physically dependent upon it and vice versa. For example, if you depend on an antihypertensive and forget to take it, your blood pressure will rise but you will not feel cravings or engage in drug-seeking behavior. In contrast, a cocaine addiction will cause you to crave the drug if supplies run low, but you will not feel the typical flu-like symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

Drug seeking activity

The hallmark characteristic of Tussionex addiction is drug-seeking behavior, in which a person tries to get a steady supply of Tussionex to feed her addiction. She might present phony prescriptions at pharmacies or alter her prescription so she gets more Tussionex in each bottle. She may pretend to lose her prescription and ask him to write a new one.

She might place an emergency telephone call to a physician and tell him she is too ill to come in person. She could also arrive at the doctor's office as he is closing up, putting pressure on him to write her a prescription without an exam so his staff can go home. Many people engage in "doctor shopping" by visiting various physicians.

Some people get Tussionex free from medicine cabinets while others purchase opioids on the black market. The DEA refer to these types of activities as "diversion" because of the way abusers divert drugs from their intended use.

Addiction: What Family Members Should Know

Family members should know that Tussionex addiction is not a sign of poor upbringing. Tussionex is a neurological disease and not a personal choice or character flaw. Tussionex addiction is not necessarily an indication that someone is engaging in criminal activity - it is possible to become addicted after using Tussionex for a long time.

Every member of the family is at risk for developing an addiction. Nobody is born an addict, but studies suggest that heredity plays a large role in determining whether someone will become addicted at some point in life. While there is not a single "addiction gene," an individual's biology makes him more susceptible to developing an addiction. This vulnerability may be the result of interaction between multiple genes. A genetic predisposition means that members of the same family share an increased risk for addiction.

While genetics are an important factor in the development of Tussionex addiction, environmental stresses play a role as well. Environmental stress within the home or office, such as frequent arguments, violence, financial stress or substance abuse, increases the likelihood that a person will abuse drugs and become addicted to them.

Many addicted individuals are hypersensitive to stress. Others have poor coping mechanisms, and use drugs or alcohol to deal with stress. Researchers feel children inherit hypersensitivity from their parents, as well as learn how to cope in stressful situations. Family members should know that hypersensitive children eventually use the same coping mechanisms as their hypersensitive parents when reacting to environmental stress.

Collateral Damage

Family members should know that Tussionex addiction affects and endangers the entire family. Spouses, parents, children and anyone living within the household suffer from the collateral damage inflicted by this disease. Collateral damage includes loss of income, job loss, separation or divorce, removal of children from the home or prison time.

Tussionex addiction introduces unsafe elements into your home. In the early stages of Tussionex addiction, you may keep your family at a safe distance from drug dealers. As the disease progresses, clouding your judgment, you may invite criminals into your home to buy drugs or to get high.

Family members should know that it is dangerous and illegal to keep Tussionex in the home without a prescription. A child may accidently discover a stash of Tussionex and ingest a lethal amount. Keeping drugs in the house may increase risk for burglary. Illegal possession of a controlled substance may result in a police raid, a dangerous and traumatic event for innocent bystanders living within the home.

Addiction: What Parents Should Know

Parents should know that prescription drug abuse is on the rise among teenagers and young adults. Prescription drugs seem less dangerous than illicit ones, so young people have little fear about abusing medications such as Tussionex.

Parents should know that Tussionex addiction does not mean they have done a poor job of raising their child or that their child has low moral character. It is possible your child became addicted to medications like Tussionex after using it as prescribed for a long time.

Parents concerned about Tussionex addiction in a child should watch for unusual behaviors not explained by normal adolescent phases. Every child changes as he grows, gaining then losing interest in a hundred things along the way. Tussionex addiction causes profound and abrupt changes that lead the child in a downward spiral. Addiction causes your child to be involved in matters too advanced for his age, like funding his drug habit or consorting with adult criminals to buy drugs.

Parents should look for warning signs including:

  • Unusual loss of interest in things that once were important
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Loss of motivation or energy
  • Finds ways to sneak off
  • Money issues
  • Items missing from the home

Caring for a Family Member with an Addiction

As with any chronic disease, your family plays a critical role in treatment for Tussionex addiction. Caring for a family member with a Tussionex addiction requires patience, commitment and compassion. Every member of the family can encourage the addicted individual to seek out and complete treatment, and then participate in recovery by sharing responsibilities and burdens.

It is important to establish open lines of communication within the family. Family members can establish a care plan and gather to discuss progress during group meetings. The addicted individual does not have to participate in these discussions, and may even be upset when he first learns that his family is talking openly about his addiction. This anger and reluctance to talk about his disease will fade with time.

Family member should know that it is possible to arrest the progression of this disease at any time - do not let your loved one hit rock bottom before you intervene. Rock bottom may include physical disability, prison, homelessness or even death. Lessen addiction's collateral damage by encouraging early detection and treatment.

Family members should know that the addicted individual must recognize the problem his Tussionex addiction causes before he can begin meaningful recovery. While it is difficult to watch your loved one suffer, it is important that you do not enable him.

Signs of Addiction

Friends, co-workers or family members may notice certain telltale signs that someone is addicted to Tussionex or another substance. These signs may be obvious or subtle, and these signs may come about quickly or slowly as the disease progresses.

Signs of addiction include:

  • Abnormal, Illegal or Anti-Social Actions
  • Arguments or Violent Outbursts
  • Child Neglect
  • Excessive Opioid Prescriptions for Self and/or Family
  • Frequent Emotional Crisis
  • Legal Trouble
  • Neglect of Social Commitments
  • Prioritizing Activities Involving Hydrocodone or Tussionex
  • Separation or Divorce
  • Unexplained Absences from Home
  • Unpredictable Behavior such as Inappropriate Spending
  • Withdrawal from Relationships, Family or Friends

Behavioral, Cognitive and Emotional Changes

The neurological changes associated with Tussionex addiction changes the way a person behaves, thinks and feels.


Tussionex addiction may cause you to use this drug excessively, at higher doses and more frequently than you intend. You continue to take Tussionex, even though you might express a desire to quit or cut down. People who know you say that you seem unable or unwilling to control your drug use.

As you disease progresses, you may lose excessive time looking for Tussionex, getting high or recovering from your drug abuse. This lost time has a significant adverse impact on your personal relationships and ability to work. As a result, you lose money, your grades slip or you have trouble getting along with friends and family members.

Addiction narrows your scope of interest so you lose passion for those things you used to love. Eventually, you will engage only in behaviors that get you high,

A doctor will say you are addicted to Tussionex if you continue to use this product despite being aware of all the physical, psychological and social harm it causes.


Tussionex addiction changes the way you think. As the disease progresses, you become preoccupied with substance abuse so that, eventually, Tussionex is all you can think about. Addiction alters your perception of the relative benefits and risks associated with hydrocodone abuse; ultimately, you can only see the positive aspects of drug abuse and none of the negative implications.

Tussionex addiction makes you blame other people or events for your problems instead of recognizing the true cause - substance abuse.


Many people start using opioids to relieve real or imagined pain; Tussionex addiction has the reverse effect and can actually increase anxiety, sadness and emotional pain. Opioid addiction can make you more anxious by recruiting the brain's stress system so that things seem more stressful. Tussionex addiction may cause you to have difficulty identifying your feelings or distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations. Some addicts have trouble describing their feelings to others, a condition known as alexithymia.

Symptoms of Addiction

Tussionex addiction makes changes in the brain and body that result in certain physical and psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of drug addiction include:

  • Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss
  • A Change in Sleep Patterns
  • Deteriorating Physical Appearance - Looks Sickly
  • Nagging Cough
  • Diminished Hygiene Care
  • Body or Clothing May Have an Unusual Odor
  • Bloodshot Eyes with Large or Small Pupils
  • Tremors
  • Slurred Speech

Psychological Symptoms

The neurological changes associated with Tussionex addiction may result in certain psychological symptoms, such as:

  • Inability to Abstain Consistently
  • Impairment in Behavioral Control
  • Cravings for Drugs or Intense Reward Experiences
  • Diminished Capacity to Recognize Significant Personal or Relationship Problems
  • Dysfunctional Emotional Response

Gender Differences

There appears to be gender differences when it comes to drug abuse and addiction. The 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health says that men are twice as likely to abuse or be dependent on illicit substances such as heroin, cocaine or marijuana, while more women report prescription drug abuse. Females are also more likely to abuse prescription drugs in combination with alcohol, marijuana or other opioids.

Men and women abuse drugs in different social settings: men tend to do drugs in groups while women get high alone. Addicted women also have smaller social circles than men do. There seems to be a strong social stigma against women with substance abuse problems while it is more socially acceptable for men to do drugs.

Men and women may arrive at Tussionex addiction in different ways. In general, men begin using drugs to get high, while women are hooked on drugs prescribed by their doctors.

Women face special challenges in overcoming addiction. Addicted females tend to have partners that are also addicted, and many of these women feel they are "abandoning" their spouse by seeking treatment. Some women battling addictions are in a relationship with an abusive or controlling partner who will not allow treatment.

A woman may face additional barriers when it comes to recovery, such as being able to afford quality treatment or finding childcare while she is in rehabilitation. Women with substance abuse problems generally have fewer resources, such as education, employment and income, than addicted men do.

Some studies suggest that women are less likely to seek treatment than are addicted men, and that these women are less likely to complete treatment.

Treatment Options

Left untreated or undertreated, Tussionex addiction can cause disability or premature death. Nearly 15,000 people die in the United States each year from prescription painkiller overdose. Many more suffer physical, emotional, social, economic and criminal affects from addiction. Treatment reduces the collateral damage associated with addiction and reverses the neurological damage caused by opioid abuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 23 million people in the United States over the age of 12-years needed treatment for alcohol or substance abuse in 2010; of these, only about 11 percent received treatment at a specialty facility where staff members are trained to treat substance abuse problems.

Treatment for Tussionex addiction has two parts: detoxification and rehabilitation.

Detoxification is the medical process of decreasing the level of Tussionex in your body. When you go through Tussionex detoxification, you can expect five or more days of intense withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to the lack of hydrocodone. Detoxification can take place at home, in a hospital or at a specialized clinic.

Rehabilitation addresses the cognitive and behavioral aspects of opioid addiction. This phase of treatment usually includes behavior modification and counseling to help the individual learn how to live without opioids. You can participate in rehabilitation as an outpatient, in a short-term facility or as part of a long-term residential program.


You may be tempted to try self-detoxification at home, without medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms or trained medical personnel to monitor for complications. Self-detoxification is sometimes called "going cold turkey," a reference to the pale, bumpy, cold and clammy appearance your skin takes on during self-detoxification, much like a plucked turkey.

Self-detoxification involves five or more days of intense withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, anxiety and insomnia. You may also suffer complications, such as diarrhea and vomiting that result in dehydration. Another complication is aspiration, which involves vomiting then inhaling stomach contents into the lungs. Aspiration may cause fluid in the lungs and lung infections.

Relapse is the primary complication associated with detoxification. Most individuals struggling with Tussionex relapse multiple times. Relapse to Tussionex abuse increases your risk for toxic overdose. The detoxification process lowers your tolerance to hydrocodone, which means it takes less Tussionex to affect your body. You could actually overdose on a smaller dose of Tussionex than you used to take before you experienced withdrawal symptoms.

Some concoct homemade treatment plans including medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms. One such remedy is The Thomas Recipe, which uses Xanax or some other medication to calm anxiety and help with sleep along with Imodium to slow diarrhea. Vitamins and supplements ease muscle aches and body pain. While The Thomas Recipe eases withdrawal symptoms somewhat, you are still at risk for complications such as aspiration, dehydration, relapse or overdose.


Overdose is a serious medical emergency that could result in death. If you think you or someone you know has taken too much Tussionex, go to the nearest emergency department or call for an ambulance, whichever is faster.

Overdose symptoms include:

  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Pinpoint Pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Ringing in the Ears
  • Cold, Clammy Skin
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Weak Pulse
  • Slow Heart Rate
  • Coma
  • Blue Lips
  • Shallow Breathing or No Breathing

Emergency department doctors will administer naloxone and other medications to lower hydrocodone levels in your body. Nurses will establish an airway to help you breathe and monitor for complications. Doctors and nurses will perform CPR and other life-saving measures as necessary.

Drug Replacement Therapy

If you are not suffering from toxic overdose, you may choose to participate in Drug Replacement Therapy, or DRT. During DRT, physicians prescribe methadone, Subutex or other medications that mimic the effects of Tussionex without causing the euphoria. DRT allows you to put off the detoxification process while you participate in behavioral modification.

After you acquire some tools that help you live without Tussionex, you will wean yourself from the replacement drug. If you are like other addicts, you may have trouble quitting the DRT medication. Harvard Medical School says 25 percent of methadone patients eventually quit the DRT medication while another 25 percent continues to take the drug forever. The other 50 percent go on and off methadone for the rest of their lives.

DRT is just one kind of Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. Other types of MAT include standard detoxification and rapid detox. Rehabilitation specialists recognize the importance of MAT in the treatment of Tussionex addiction because MAT:

  • Improves Survival
  • Increase Retention in Treatment
  • Decreases Illicit Opioid Use
  • Decreases The Risk for Hepatitis and HIV
  • Decreases Criminal Activities
  • Increases Employment
  • Improves Birth Outcomes for Pregnant Women Battling Addiction

Standard inpatient detoxification programs use medicines that induce detoxification and reduce the ensuing withdrawal symptoms. Medical personnel monitor the patient for complications. While standard detoxification procedures reduce the duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms somewhat, the patient must still endure the psychological symptoms that make him feel incapable or unworthy of recovery.

Rapid detox is the most humane and efficient form of detoxification available. During rapid detox, board certified anesthesiologists administer anesthesia and sedatives alongside the standard detoxification medications. You doze in a comfortable "twilight sleep" during the detoxification process. When you awaken, you will have no memory of uncomfortable and demoralizing withdrawal symptoms. You are ready for meaningful rehabilitation in a few hours rather than in a few days.


The detoxification process is only one aspect of treatment for Tussionex addiction and, by itself, does little to change chronic drug abuse. Recovery from Tussionex requires extensive rehabilitation including behavior modification designed to restore neurological function destroyed by addiction. Rehabilitation may also include individual, family and group counseling to help you work through social issues that slow your recovery efforts.

Tussionex addiction is a complex disease that affects each person differently. Many people suffer from additional social problems or mental disorders that can prevent recovery. As a result, no single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Treatment must attend to all aspects of your addiction and not just your dependence on opioids.

Treatment must be readily available so that you can participate in rehabilitation long enough to restore neurological function. You will work closely with a counselor, who will monitor your progress and modify your treatment plan accordingly. Your counselor may require regular drug testing, as relapses do occur. Your counselor may also request testing for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases associated with drug use and provide special education to help you lower your risk for contracting or spreading an infectious disease.

Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. According to NIDA, individuals under legal coercion tend to remain in treatment longer than and do better than those not under pressure.