Hydrocodone is called an opiate and a narcotic analgesic. It is used to treat severe pain for 24 hours for people who cannot tolerate other pain drugs or treatments. It is also one of the most used drugs by people who seek to get “high.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that “Approximately, 10.3 million people aged 12 years and older misused opioids in 2018.”
Hydrocodone is a federally controlled substance listed as a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and chemical dependency. “Since 2009, hydrocodone has been the second most frequently encountered opioid pharmaceutical in drug evidence submitted to federal, state, and local forensic laboratories,” as reported by the DEA.
What Are The Signs Of Hydrocodone Addiction?
Most painkillers, like hydrocodone-combined drugs, affect the brain’s reward circuit by producing a surge of dopamine, a natural chemical messenger in the brain. When these surges hit the brain’s reward network, it can reinforce pleasurable but unhealthy activities. This often leads people to repeat the behavior again and again.
As time goes on, the brain becomes adjusted to the extra dopamine, which decreases the “high” that people feel as opposed to the “high” they felt when they first took the drug. When that happens, it is called tolerance, and the person using the drug may take more of it to feel that initial “high” again.
The more someone continues to use the drug, the more they will become chemically dependent on it, and soon develop an addiction to hydrocodone.
If These Signs Or Symptoms Are Observed, It Might Indicate A Hydrocodone Addiction:
- Slowed heartbeat
- Slowed breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Cold, clammy skin
- Headaches, ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision
- Depression and fear
- Muscle weakness
What Is Involved In Hydrocodone Treatment?
Addiction is a chronic and treatable disease. Effective treatment entails an approach that is individual to the person. Someone with concurring medical needs or with a high-level of addiction may start with medical detoxification that runs 24 hours a day, seven days per week, and is a medically managed part of addiction treatment. Detox helps people go through withdrawal safely and with medical support.
After detox, other levels of care include partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient treatment, and aftercare. The person in addiction treatment will go through different therapy options that follow an individualized treatment plan. Some of the more common options are individual, group, and family therapy.
How Dangerous Is Hydrocodone Addiction?
Hydrocodone addiction is dangerous and can possibly be deadly if someone should overdose. It is widely known to cause addiction. People with a substance use disorder may seek to use hydrocodone for recreational purposes.
Hydrocodone is metabolized by the liver, and continued use of it could cause liver damage. Narcotic bowel syndrome may also occur, and it can cause bloating, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal distension. Medication prescribed by a doctor may alleviate some discomfort. Overdosing on hydrocodone is also possible if one takes too much of it.\
Symptoms Of Hydrocodone Overdose
- A slower heartbeat
- Slower breathing
- Cold and clammy skin
- Narrowing or widening pupils
If someone you know exhibits any of these signs, it is imperative to call emergency services. They are usually equipped with a rescue medication called naloxone. Naloxone reverses the life-threatening effects of an overdose by blocking the actions of opiates to relieve the life-threatening symptoms produced by high amounts of opioids in the blood.