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Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in the US. One of the most commonly abused drugs is the opioid hydrocodone. A report by the Centers for Disease Control states that 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Deaths from prescription opioid medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone have quadrupled since 1999. Approximately 50 percent of all opioid overdose deaths involve prescription opioids.

What is Hydrocodone?

It is an opioid drug prescribed for severe pain or coughing. It’s a semi-synthetic opioid made from codeine, which is found in the opium poppy plant. It can be habit-forming even when taken at recommended doses. Some of its brand names are Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

Signs and Symptoms of Hydrocodone Abuse or Addiction

When someone is abusing the opioid, it’s being taken in a manner other than recommended by a doctor, including:

  • Taking larger doses of hydrocodone than prescribed
  • Taking it for a longer periods of time than recommended
  • Taking it more often throughout the day than directed

The most common side effects of hydrocodone abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion

When someone has a hydrocodone dependence or addiction, the signs and behaviors displayed include:

  • Exaggeration of pain symptoms or deception about injury to obtain prescriptions
  • Asking for frequent refills
  • “Doctor shopping” – visiting multiple doctors for additional prescriptions
  • Social isolation
  • Focusing more on obtaining and using the opioid than participating in activities that used to be enjoyed
  • Significant mood changes

Hydrocodone addiction is characterized by (3):

  • Increased Tolerance – More of the drug is needed, over time, to gain the same effects. This creates a potentially dangerous situation because taking too much can result in an overdose.
  • Withdrawal – Appears when someone stops taking the drug and uncomfortable and sometimes very painful symptoms appear.

Treatment Options


A medical detox is a crucial first step in recovering from hydrocodone abuse and addiction. If an individual tries to stop taking the drug without help, they may experience painful and sometimes fatal withdrawal symptoms. A medically supervised detox helps reduce and eliminate these risks.

A team of trained healthcare specialists monitors the person around the clock. The staff administers medications to wean the body from addictive substances, cleanse the body to return it to its “natural” state, and use substitute medications to trick the mind into not activating withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment After Detox

Medical detox only rids the body of addictive substances. Once a medical drug detox is completed, treatment needs to be continued to prevent relapse.

Inpatient Treatment

Medical detoxification isn’t a stand-alone treatment, and appropriate follow-up therapy is needed to continue sobriety. Once the body and brain are cleared of illicit substances, then counseling, therapy, nutrition and aftercare services in a residential setting help keep a person sober for the long-term.

Give us a call or come visit our Residential Treatment Center In Los Angles California

Opioids and Opiates: Hydrocodone
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