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Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal is physical and psychological symptoms that individuals experience after abrupt cessation of hydrocodone use. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid that is a narcotic pain reliever and cough suppressant. It is commonly available in tablet, capsule, and syrup form.The effects of hydrocodone are similar to that of morphine in relieving moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is approved for medical use, but has a very high risk of abuse and other related serious problems. The drug produces some euphoric effects, lessens anxiety and gives the user a pleasant experience, typical of opioid narcotics. Hydrocodone is one of the most widely prescribed pain relievers and has become one of the most frequently abused.

Due to its euphoric and other narcotic-like effects, it is an unfortunate fact that individuals can become addicted to hydrocodone. Even individuals who are legitimately treated for pain management with the drug can very easily become addicted to it, and develop a physical and/or emotional dependence over time. This is because the longer an individual takes hydrocodone, the more their body will become use to it. The individual will find that they need to take higher and higher dosages of the drug to achieve the desired effect. Thus, when an individual stops using the drug altogether they will begin to undergo hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to those experienced in heroin withdrawal.

The symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal are the same as other opiate narcotics including morphine and heroin. The severity of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms depends on the dosage and length of time the individual has been using the drug. Withdrawal begins within six to twelve hours of the last dose and symptoms may grow stronger over the next several days. These will then gradually subside over a period of several weeks. The duration of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal are extremely unpleasant, and can exacerbate other conditions. This is why it is always best to undergo hydrocodone withdrawal under the supervision of trained professionals at a long-term inpatient drug treatment and rehab facility.

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Intense pain in the body
  • Tremors
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle cramps with spasms
  • Body chills
  • Goose bumps
  • Paranoia
  • Agitated and aggressive behavior
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hyperactivity
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose and eye
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite

Aside from the addictive qualities of the drug and the risk of hydrocodone withdrawal, the drug is a dangerous drug when abused and can cause many serious and life-threatening side effects. The most serious adverse effects can occur when mixing hydrocodone with alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, benzodiazapines, barbiturates, and a number of other medications. Severe adverse reactions can include but are not limited to heart failure, heart attack, respiratory distress, pulmonary failure, liver or kidney failure, jaundice, amnesia, seizures, blackouts, and coma. Hydrocodone is sometimes compounded with other drugs like acetaminophen, and there are serious health risks associated with consuming alcohol with hydrocodone compounds. Acetaminophen is metabolized solely by the liver, so there is a risk of fatal overdose due to hepatotoxicity when mixed with alcohol. The mixture can also cause serious damage to the liver, kidneys, and stomach wall.

Individuals addicted to hydrocodone and abuse the drug are at risk of overdose, especially if trying to beat hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms and wind up taking too large of a dose. Signs of hydrocodone overdose include:

  • Respiratory Depression
  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Coma
  • Cold or Clammy Skin
  • Bradycardia (slowing of heart beat), and hypotension
  • Circulatory Collapse, Cardiac Arrest or Death

Hydrocodone is being abused in the U.S at alarming rates, and visits to emergency rooms involving both hydrocodone and its combinations have been trending upward since 1994. A study of 42,808 drug-abuse related visits to emergency rooms revealed that of either oxycodone or hydrocodone, 3,000 involved use of both drugs simultaneously. Alcohol was present in 31 percent of emergency room visits involving hydrocodone.

With proper medical and professional guidance and care at a long-term inpatient drug treatment facility or rehab, you will be able to overcome hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms. It is not sensible or even workable to try and kick the hydrocodone habit on your own, but drug treatment counselors and medicals professionals are prepared to do whatever it takes to help you get through the withdrawal process and treated for hydrocodone addiction. Get the help you need today, before it is too late.


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