Though hydrocodone is available only on prescription, it is one of the most abused drugs in the market. It is available in the form of pills, capsules, tablets and syrup. Either codeine or thebaine, the naturally occurring narcotic drug which contains opium, is used to make hydrocodone. This drug is actually recommended as a painkiller and cough suppressant. The opium derivative (codeine or thebaine) is responsible for the characteristic properties of hydrocodone that lead to addiction.
Why People Get Addicted to Hydrocodone
The government has declared hydrocodone as a controlled substance and it regulates the distribution and consumption of this drug. Hydrocodone addicts tend to take it with alcohol as it increases drowsiness. People take it, because they enjoy sedation and somnolence. The euphoria they experience after taking hydrocodone, triggers the urge to take it again and again. Mental slowing, lessening of anxiety, the mood change, warm and content feeling are the characteristic features associated with hydrocodone drug addiction. People pretend to have severe pain and force doctors to prescribe hydrocodone. Or they get the drug easily through Internet options. Easy availability of the drug is one of the main reasons of drug abuse.
The time period and dose of hydrocodone which leads to dependence may vary from person to person. Generally, continued use of this drug for 6-12 months may result in drug addiction. With continued use, the person's tolerance to the drug increases and he/she needs progressively higher doses of hydrocodone to enjoy the desired effects.
The hydrocodone addiction signs may vary from person to person, depending upon the overall health of the person, how much drug is consumed and how often it is consumed.
- Often requesting for hydrocodone products like Vicodin or Lortab
- Finishing hydrocodone tablets too quickly
- Requiring refills before the due date
- Visiting different healthcare providers to get a number of hydrocodone prescriptions
- Switching from one doctor to another
- Change in the behavior, often spending large amounts of time alone
- Remarkable behavioral changes like stealing, lying, or other examples of dishonest behavior
- No explanation of expenditures, always in need of money
- Avoiding close friends. The person can be found in the company of new friends
- Unexplained changes in mood or behavior
- Various types of excuses like "lost the prescription", "the prescription was stolen" or "want a prescription early as planning to go on vacation" etc.
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
- Blood disorders
- Irregular respiration
- Skin rashes
If an addict stops taking hydrocodone suddenly, withdrawal symptoms are likely to be seen. The duration and the severity of the withdrawal symptoms may vary from person to person. Usually, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening. They include
- Intense craving for the drug
- Stomach upset
- Nausea, diarrhea
- Increased irritability
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Dilated pupils
- Profuse sweating
- Fever, chills
- Shivering, shakiness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle aches
Hydrocodone drug addiction has to be treated with slow withdrawal of the drug. Detoxification offers hydrocodone withdrawal relief. Psychological therapies play an important role in hydrocodone withdrawal treatment. Use of methadone or supportive therapies used in a drug rehab program are found to be quite effective. You can refer to another PsycholoGenie article hydrocodone withdrawal treatment for more information.
In most of the drugs, hydrocodone is mixed with other analgesics to reduce the effect of hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is actually meant for those who suffer from chronic and long-lasting pain. But as this narcotic drug can evoke a euphoric, calm state; addiction develops. The effects of this drug are similar to the effects of morphine or heroin. The drug is easily available in the market and people often believe that it is safer.
People also find it less shameful to abuse a prescribed medicine. Asking for a prescribed medicine is less embarrassing than asking for the notorious street drugs. Hydrocodone addiction if detected in its earlier stage by friends, family members and the health care provider, is easy to treat. I hope you found the signs and symptoms of hydrocodone drug addiction provided in this article helpful.