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Important Facts About Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a type of narcotic analgesic or pain reliever, as well as a cough suppressant. The drug is available in tablet, syrup and capsule form, and it may be taken with other less potent non-opioid medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Among the common names of the Hydrocodone are Lorcet, Lortab, Vicoprofen and Vicodin.

Addiction to Hydrocodone

Since there is a variety of medication that contains hydrocodone, the percentage of individuals that become addicted to the drug increases by 20 percent each year. Vicodin, cough syrups, oxycodone, and decongestants contain hydrocodone. The drug is also of the first substances that most teens experiment with because it is easy to obtain prescriptions for the medication. In fact, hydrocodone addiction accounts for over 60 percent of drug addictions in all parts of the world.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, hydrocodone abuse has been on the rise in the United States. The substance is also the second most common type of drug submitted as evidence during police raids. Moreover, the DEA reported that 65 percent of individuals addicted to hydrocodone includes adolescents. The drug is also the most prescribed opiates and narcotic analgesic in the United States. According to 2009 statistics, over 111 million prescriptions for this drug were dispensed.

Basic Facts about Hydrocodone

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, over 200 types of prescription drug contain hydrocodone. Some doctors recommend this drug to patients who need fast relief from chronic cough and moderate or severe pain. The drug is less powerful than morphine, as a 15-mg dose of hydrocodone is equivalent to 10 mg of morphine. Nevertheless, the medication has an analgesic effect that can last up to about six hours.

Hydrocodone is administered orally, while others may be injected with this medication for immediate effects. However, addiction and dependence to the drug can form quickly among individuals, so it is important to consult a medical specialist about the right dosage of the medication.

While hydrocodone addiction is evident in all age groups, majority of cases occur among women between 20 and 40 years old. Teens also become addicted to the drug because of the cheap price and availability. This common street drug may cost about $2 to $10 per tablet.

Side Effects of Hydrocodone

The drug produces varying degrees of elation or euphoria when taken by an individual. Furthermore, it causes side effects that may be mild or severe, depending on the dosage taken. The typical side effects of the drug include dizziness, lightheadedness, vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, and constipation.

As with other opiates, hydrocodone binds with certain brain receptors and the substance enters these locations in the brain while latching on tightly. Then, chemicals are released when an individual experiences a pleasurable sensation. Instead of releasing a small amount of brain chemicals, a drug user receives an enormous amount of chemicals from taking the medication. This causes the body to suffer from difficulty in coping with the overproduction of neurotransmitters or brain chemicals.

If a person continues to take the drug, the body tends to adjust and become tolerant to the substance. Then, the brain will respond by releasing smaller amounts of chemicals that cause a person to feel pleasure. Because of this, the user will end up taking higher dosages while the body responds by altering the internal chemistry. This stops the production of natural chemicals, as the drug becomes a substitute to the neurotransmitters that the body produces.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Hydrocodone

As with other opioids, the prolonged use of hydrocodone may lead to physical and psychological dependency. In addition, abrupt withdrawal from the drug can cause severe symptoms including intense pains, piercing sensations in the body, anxiety, sneezing, fever, depression, sweating, and restlessness.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also noted other alarming symptoms linked with withdrawal from hydrocodone. For instance, a drug addict who has stopped taking the drug for a matter of days may experience deep pains in the bones, insomnia, hallucinations, and diarrhea.

There are instances when the person may be forced to continue taking hydrocodone just to avoid these symptoms. However, with the right intervention, drug addicts can completely end their dependence on the substance. Professional counseling, behavioral modification, support groups, and cognitive therapy can help individuals overcome their addiction to the drug. With the help of medical experts, addiction treatment specialists, and loved ones, drug addicts can recover well and start living a meaningful life.


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