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Prescription medications can often be overlooked by users as addictive substances – however, many prescription drugs can be addictive as ‘street drugs’ such as cocaine or heroin. Hydrocodone is no exception, and frequent hydrocodone use can lead to addiction.

But to what extent is hydrocodone addictive? And how do you treat hydrocodone addiction? That is what we are going to explore on this page. Read on to learn all about hydrocodone addiction and hydrocodone rehab – including detoxification, addiction therapy, and secondary treatment.

On this page, we’ll also be discussing hydrocodone abuse and what withdrawal symptoms to expect, as well as informing you about how to find the right addiction treatment for you.

Hydrocodone: What is It?

Hydrocodone is an opioid drug that is sold under the brand name Vicodin – and is under the same class of drugs as heroin, codeine, oxycodone, morphine and the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Some other brand names of Hydrocodone include Hydrodan, Lortab and Vicoprofen.

As hydrocodone is an opiate drug, like other prescription painkillers, it works by affecting your central nervous system, and binding to your body’s opioid receptors.

It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain/ chronic pain such as injury-related pain. You may also be given hydrocodone after dental surgery to ease the discomfort.

In the UK, hydrocodone is recognised as a Class A controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs act 1971.

This means that it is only legally available through a prescription. In most cases, hydrocodone is prescribed on a short-term basis as it is known as a habit-forming substance.

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Hydrocodone Addiction Explained

Hydrocodone addiction is a form of substance use disorder. It is possible to develop both physical dependence and psychological dependence on hydrocodone, both of which can be debilitating.

Opioid dependence is the more severe form of a substance use disorder, as it can have many negative consequences in the long term in all areas of your life.

Drug addiction, including addiction to opioid drugs, is recognised as a chronic disorder and a relapsing brain disorder.

It is characterised by the lack of control over taking a substance, which typically includes the continual use of the drug despite any negative effects that may present.

Drug addiction is linked to functional changes in the brain – in areas that are associated with reward, self-control, and stress.

It’s no secret that opioids are habit-forming – especially when you take the drug for a long period, or partake in substance abuse.

When you take hydrocodone for a long time, you may develop a tolerance to the drug, meaning you’ll need to take a higher dose to feel the same pain-relieving effects. However, over time, tolerance can lead to dependence.

If you are physically dependent on hydrocodone, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it suddenly, or when you drastically lower your typical dose. You may feel as though you need the drug just to feel ‘normal’.

Hydrocodone addiction is serious and can affect not only your physical health and mental health but all areas of your life – from your relationship to your finances.

However, in many cases, the damage that hydrocodone abuse can cause is both treatable and preventable. Not getting the right treatment, however, can cause long-lasting damage, and can even be fatal.

Hydrocodone Abuse

Substance abuse can be dangerous, and can ultimately increase the risk of having a drug overdose and developing an addiction. Although substance abuse is often linked to street drugs, it’s possible to abuse prescription medication too, including hydrocodone.

Prescription drug abuse refers to taking your prescription in any way other than prescribed by a medical professional.

In terms of hydrocodone abuse, this can include taking more hydrocodone than needed, taking hydrocodone to feel ‘high’, taking somebody else’s prescription or sourcing the drug through illicit means (e.g drug dealers), or mixing hydrocodone with other drugs or alcohol.

Excessive drug use can lead to an overdose – if you think you are having an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

It’s possible to develop an addiction to hydrocodone despite following your doctor’s guidance – however, abusing hydrocodone increases the risk of developing substance use disorder. Read on to learn about hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms

When you suddenly stop taking hydrocodone after developing long-term physical dependence, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms.

The withdrawal process and timeline can vary from person to person in both length and severity, depending on factors such as your addiction history and your medical history.

The general rule of thumb, however, is that the longer you’ve been dependent on the drug, or the more severe the addiction, the longer the process will take and the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be.

Many people with prescription drug addiction – especially opioid addiction – will undergo detoxification in a residential rehab facility for effective treatment.

The withdrawal process for hydrocodone is not dissimilar to the process for other opioids – you may experience a range of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.

You may only experience mild withdrawal symptoms – some people report experiencing flu-like symptoms when taking the medication as prescribed.

Some hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms to expect include:

Hydrocodone Rehab Treatment Explained

The rehab process can vary from clinic to clinic – and what works for you in regard to treating hydrocodone addiction may not work for others.

For example, you may benefit from inpatient treatment in the form of inpatient rehab – where you temporarily reside in a rehab facility throughout your course of rehab.

However, if you have other commitments (e.g work or children), then you may prefer outpatient treatment- although outpatient rehab isn’t usually recommended for those with a severe addiction. See this helpful page to learn more about the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Although treatment can vary, the three core rehab stages remain the same; detox, therapy, and aftercare. Read on for an in-depth look at these three stages of hydrocodone rehab treatment.

Hydrocodone Detoxification

When you begin hydrocodone rehab, you will complete a hydrocodone detox – with the aim of stopping hydrocodone use. This stage of rehab addresses the physical addiction to the substance.

Detoxification can be difficult, especially if you have a severe dependence on the substance. In some cases, a medical detox with medical supervision/ medical assistance is the best approach.

Withdrawal symptoms often begin around six to 30 hours after your last dose, lasting a few days (on average). However, in some cases, symptoms can persist for over seven days.

Although it’s possible to quit the drug on your own without support (cold turkey), we never recommend it. With an effective hydrocodone detox plan at a rehab facility, whether you’re an inpatient or an outpatient, the process is sure to be more streamlined.

Hydrocodone Addiction Therapy

Therapy in rehab aims to build your confidence and help you learn more about yourself and your addiction – for example, the root cause of your addiction and any of your current triggers.

There are many different types of therapy available in rehab, many of which focus on relapse prevention techniques. You may complete a course of both individual and group therapy. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is common in addiction treatment and can teach you effective coping techniques that can help to prevent relapse.

Some private rehab centres and luxury rehab clinics have more therapy options available – for example, holistic therapies such as sports therapy or mindfulness.

Secondary Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction

Your treatment doesn’t have to end once you leave rehab – secondary treatment, also known as aftercare, refers to the continued support you receive after rehab. It can streamline the transition from rehab to your everyday life, and offer you support along your recovery journey.

Aftercare can take several forms – for example, further counselling, telephone or online support, group therapy, and even support groups.

Finding The Right Hydrocodone Rehab

At Help4Addiction, we understand that finding a quality treatment centre can be overwhelming. This is why we aim to take away some of this stress by sourcing the best rehab facility for you and your circumstances.

We have an in-depth knowledge of the different addiction treatment services available and can source the best hydrocodone addiction treatment to help you overcome your addiction once and for all.

Contact our team today to get the ball rolling and begin your recovery. Remember, you don’t have to deal with addiction alone – we are here to help.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

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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