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Know the Potential Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse in a Loved One

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Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse

Hydrocodone is a drug that people take by prescription for pain relief. Sold under the name Vicodin, this drug combines two things: acetaminophen and hydrocodone. The drug is effective for what it is prescribed for, but it is also habit-forming. When a doctor prescribes this drug, they are trying to help a person avoid the pain from an injury, or something else, but it helps to understand how and why addiction to this drug is on the rise and ways to prevent it from happening.

What Causes Hydrocodone Addiction

Opioid addiction is a big problem right now in many parts of America. Hydrocodone is an opioid in a class of drugs known as narcotic analgesics. These drugs connect to proteins in the brain and spinal cord called opioid receptors. Opioids interfere with pain signals heading to the brain. This changes how pain is perceived and a person’s emotional reaction. The reason addiction occurs is that people take the drug to feel euphoric effects or they take it longer than recommended. In this way, they begin to feel the effects of the drug and build tolerance by using it consistently for this purpose. Taking a drug to feel good is more likely than anything to eventually cause addictive attributes.


When a loved one is struggling with addictive behavior due to hydrocodone, they might talk about or seem to be experiencing the following:

  • Slower heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Sleepiness
  • Clammy skin
  • Muscle weakness

The best way to prevent hydrocodone addiction is to take the drug as prescribed and be monitored by a physician. The other way is to take a different class of drug with less addictive potential. This is the reason people in recovery select other types of drugs for pain relief because they can experience crossover addiction to drugs when they use them after recovering from addiction to other opioids or drugs. 

Long-Term Side Effects

One of the big issues people don’t discuss often enough are the long-term side effects of hydrocodone use. The central nervous system is impacted and a person with an addiction is unable to discontinue use without help. Most of the time it takes an intervention to get them the help they need. The drug suppresses the central nervous system so, over time, they develop low blood pressure, nausea, and tolerance. Acetaminophen is found in the drug, which leads to dangerous health implications later. Medications containing hydrocodone are highly addictive and can be treated with the right support and program.

Hydrocodone Treatment Options

Some of the best treatment options for hydrocodone addiction are to taper down use of the drug slowly over time. If people take the drug longer than prescribed or in higher doses, they may develop an addiction. A doctor may reduce it slowly but suddenly stopping it can cause withdrawal symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

If a person cannot quit on their own, there are programs available to help. Some programs use medication to help withdrawal symptoms. It depends on the approach they use. The best approach depends on the place for treatment, the nature of addiction, and many other factors. A long-term addiction involving high doses of the drug over a long period of time may involve a longer recovery period. There may be elements of mental health involved that are part of the recovery journey. People with substance use disorders should be screened for depression and make sure they receive dual diagnosis treatment

Dual Diagnosis

Seeking help for mental health issues is important because many people struggle with isolation and depression when they use drugs long-term. Even in the short term, there are feelings of shame, guilt, and hiding from loved ones the true nature of addiction. There may be other addictions crossing over and multiple addictions happening at the same time. Some people drink alcohol and take drugs, which causes lots of additional problems because one is a stimulant and one is a depressant, depending on the drugs. Although many drugs can be safe and effective for people with various ailments that cause pain, they need to have other drugs to treat the pain when they go to rehab. Hydrocodone is not safe over long periods of time and may cause severe health issues when taken too long or not as prescribed. The key is to know when there is trouble brewing for a loved one and to seek attention immediately so they can heal from addiction. 

Hydrocodone use can be detrimental to a loved one’s health and overall well-being. It also does harm to their prospects at work, personal relationships and otherwise. Burning Tree Ranch provides accountability and hope through the 12-Step process so each client will develop the tools to create a sober lifestyle and find lasting recovery. We specialize in the treatment of chronic relapsers and believe with the right support you can experience true and permanent healing. For more information, call us now at 877-389-0500


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