Hydrocode, also known under the brand names Vicodin, Hydrodan, Vicoprofen, and Lortab, is a prescription drug that is only legally available in the UK through a prescription.
In the UK, hydrocodone is currently a Class A controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. You can find extended-release hydrocodone to target specific areas of your body.
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Hydrocodone is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain – for example, injury-related pain.
It may also be given to you after dental surgery to relieve the chronic pain and discomfort. Typically, hydrocodone is usually only prescribed for short-term use, as it can be a habit-forming drug.
Hydrocodone and oxycodone have similar-sounding names, but are they the same thing? Hydrocodone and oxycodone are both powerful painkillers (narcotic painkillers) – and both are only available in the UK with a doctor’s prescription.
The two drugs both treat moderate to severe pain by interfering with your brain’s central nervous system – more specifically, the pain signals within your central nervous system.
This means that they stop the nerves in your body from sending certain signals to your brain. They are similar drugs in many ways – however, the key differences lie in the side effects that each drug causes. You can also find different doses for the two drugs.
Unlike morphine, codeine, and other opiates, hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. Opioids can be habit-forming – especially if you take the drug for long periods of time or if you abuse the drugs.
That being said, prescription hydrocodone can still be addictive even if the doctor’s instructions are followed.
You may become dependent on the drug both physically and psychologically, meaning that you’ll need to take more of the drug to feel the same effect, or you’ll simply need to take the drug to feel normal.
You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking the drug without weaning yourself off the drug – or if you drastically lower your typical dose.
Prescription painkillers and other opioid symptoms of withdrawal can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, which is why many people with a hydrocodone addiction will decide to go to a residential rehab clinic to combat the addiction and receive effective medical care throughout the detox process (in the form of medical supervision).
Although it is entirely possible to quit the drug on your own ‘cold turkey’, you will likely have more success in the hydrocodone detox and preventing relapse by attending a rehab centre to beat the addiction once and for all.
Hydrocodone abuse and hydrocodone addiction are two different things – although they both fall under ‘substance use disorder’ or ‘hydrocodone use disorder’.
Hydrocodone abuse or prescription drug abuse is when you take the drug in any way other than prescribed by your doctor. This can include taking hydrocodone with other drugs/ substances such as alcohol, heroin, or cocaine. This can be dangerous and sometimes even deadly.
Another example of hydrocodone abuse is taking more than the recommended dose, or taking somebody else’s prescription opioids. You are also abusing your hydrocodone prescription if you take the drug when you’re not in pain.
Hydrocodone abuse can often lead to hydrocodone addiction. Hydrocodone addiction and drug addiction is recognised as chronic and relapsing brain disorder.
It is considered a disease as it can affect your bodily organs. The good news is that in many cases, the damage caused by hydrocodone abuse is both treatable and preventable.
However, in some cases of drug addiction and substance abuse, not getting help can cause long-lasting damage and in some instances, death.
The hydrocodone withdrawal process is similar to the withdrawal process of other opioid drugs – meaning that you may experience a combination of both physical and mental withdrawal symptoms with tapering off or stopping hydrocodone use.
This is because all opiate-based drugs can be habit-forming, leading to a physical dependence on the drug.
The withdrawal symptoms you experience can vary depending on a variety of factors – for example, your usual dose, the amount of time you’ve been taking hydrocodone, and your personal tolerance.
If you are used to a particularly high dose, then you may experience severe symptoms – however, if you don’t have a strong hydrocodone dependence, then you may only experience mild symptoms.
Likewise, if you take the drug as prescribed and don’t abuse hydrocodone, you may still experience withdrawal symptoms but they will only be mild.
Some patients report experiencing minor flu-like symptoms when taking the medication therapeutically and as prescribed. [v]
Some common physical symptoms and psychological of hydrocodone withdrawal include:
At Help4Addiction, we can find the right local rehab centre for you and your addiction. As well to finding the right treatment for hydrocodone addiction, we can find quality rehab clinics to treat addiction to street drugs, alcohol, as well as other prescription drugs.
Treatment for hydrocodone addiction follows a similar process to other opioid drug treatments. Although different rehab centres may offer different treatments, the basis remains the same – detox, therapy, and then aftercare.
The first stage of hydrocodone rehab involves detoxing from the drug – clearing your body of the chemicals and withdrawing from the drug. The withdrawal process can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous, which is why many people prefer to undergo opioid addiction rehab in an inpatient setting with medical assistance.
Typically, the uncomfortable symptoms begin within around six to 30 hours after you last took the drug. They usually last for a few days before easing. If you find that the symptoms last longer than seven days, you should contact your health provider and seek medical attention.
Hydrocodone detox only focuses on physical dependence – including both withdrawal and intoxication – rather than the social, psychological and behavioural aspects of hydrocodone addiction.
This is what the therapy stage of hydrocodone rehab focuses on. The aim of therapy during rehab is to build your confidence and give you a better understanding of yourself and your addiction.
You may be offered one to one counselling with a medical professional, as well as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), or group therapy. This can help you understand the root of your addiction as well as your current triggers.
You may wish to continue receiving outpatient treatment once you undergo the bulk of rehab, whether it be in the form of support groups, extra counselling sessions or group therapy to help with any mental health issues related to your addiction.
Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.
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