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Hydrocodone is an opiate drug that appears most popularly in the prescription medication Vicodin. Hydrocodone is used mainly as pain reliever for moderate to severe pain stemming from illness, injury, or surgical procedure. Hydrocodone is also an antitussive, making it common for colds, allergies, and hay fever.

Prescriptions for hydrocodone and other opioid drugs increased fr­om 76 million in 1991 to 207 million in 2013. Data from the DEA shows that hydrocodone is implicated in more instances of drug abuse than any other opioid, even heroine.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Hydrocodone Use

Hydrocodone interrupts pain signals to relieve pain while also inducing a high that is characterized by feelings of euphoria, drowsiness, and a general, physical calm. Other side effects that accompany hydrocodone use include:

  • Headaches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Tightness in the chest

Complications of Hydrocodone Abuse

Hydrocodone is a schedule II narcotic, meaning it has a high potential for addiction. Addiction has a huge effect on your physical health, but it can be even more detrimental to your emotional health and wellbeing. Addiction causes reckless behavior, ruining your personal life and forcing you to often hurt your loved ones. Worse yet, addiction takes control of your life. Some common dangers associated with hydrocodone use include:

  • Liver damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Organ damage

Dangers of Hydrocodone Use

Long-term hydrocodone abuse can lead to numerous potential dangers to your health, including:

  • Severe constipation
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Severe breathing problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Seizures

Symptoms of Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone manipulates the chemicals that your body natural produces, especially dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for motor control, motivation, and reward. A user may constantly take hydrocodone to feel that sense of reward. Furthermore, that consistent rush of dopamine forces your body to either reduce the amount of dopamine you normally produce or its effectiveness. You essentially have to take hydrocodone just to feel normal.

Common Symptoms of addiction include:

  • Taking larger doses of hydrocodone than is prescribed
  • Using hydrocodone for a longer time period than your doctor prescribes
  • Using the drug as a stress reliever
  • Withdrawals when you stop using hydrocodone


  • Irritability
  • Aches and pains in muscles
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Watery eyes and runny nose

Medical Intervention for Hydrocodone Abuse

Medication plays an important role in the recovery process. It can help rebalance your natural hormones, curb cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and gradually work the drug out of your system. Some medications that you might be prescribed to treat hydrocodone include:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Methadone
  • Suboxone

Hydrocodone Detox Process

Detox is the first step to recovery. The main goal of detox treatment is flushing out the toxins that have developed in your system from prolonged hydrocodone use. This is accomplished by tapering off drug use and administering medications.

Through inpatient care, you don’t have to go through detox alone or unguided. Through inpatient care, you can admit yourself to a detox facility where you can undergo treatment in a controlled, supportive environment. The best part of inpatient care is easy access to a professional medical staff, who can provide medicine, offer counseling for emotional support, and ensure that you are always safe.

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