How to Reduce the Risk of Hydrocodone Addiction

How to Reduce the Risk of Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone is a schedule II narcotic medicine in the class of drugs called opiates. It is commonly prescribed to treat pain after surgery or injury and for chronic pain conditions. Hydrocodone can also be used in combination with acetaminophen or ibuprofen to increase its effectiveness. Since hydrocodone is derived from opium, it can quickly lead to a physical and psychological dependence that may cause addiction. Understanding how hydrocodone works and recognizing the signs of dependence can help protect the user from developing an addiction.

How Hydrocodone Works

Understanding the medications you are prescribed can help you avoid dangerous drug interactions, drug dependence and addiction. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration, over 139 million hydrocodone prescriptions were written in 2010 and an additional 36 million were written in the first quarter of 2011, making it the most frequently prescribed opiate-based pain medication in the United States. Some of the popular brand name hydrocodone-based medications include Vicodin and Lortab.

Hydrocodone works by altering the way the brain perceives pain and inducing a feeling of euphoria. The hydrocodone component of the prescription can cause a physical dependence and addiction. Even when patients take hydrocodone within the prescribed guidelines, continual use can lead to dependence in as little as 6 months.

Symptoms of Hydrocodone Dependence

Recognizing the signs of hydrocodone dependence can help you identify if you or someone you love is at risk. If you think you may be developing a dependence on hydrocodone, it may be beneficial to talk with your doctor about changing your prescription. An abrupt halt in hydrocodone use may lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings

These symptoms can appear in those who have developed a dependence or addiction in as little as 12-24 hours after the drug use is stopped.

Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone addiction can also produce significant behavioral changes, including the following:

  • Obsessing with obtaining and using the drug
  • Feeling anxious between doses
  • Increasing the dosage without a doctor’s consent
  • Visiting multiple doctors to find one who will provide a new prescription for the drug

Dependence on hydrocodone can develop in users, whether they take the drug legally or illegally. Understanding the signs of hydrocodone dependence can often be the best way to keep from developing an addiction.

Finding Help for Hydrocodone Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with a dependency or addiction to hydrocodone, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to help answer your questions about addiction and treatment. Please call now.