Hydrocodone Dependence after Surgery

Hydrocodone Dependence after Surgery

Hydrocodone is a narcotic painkiller that contains an opiate and acetaminophen, a less potent painkiller that increases the efficacy of the opiate. Medical doctors prescribe hydrocodone to treat pain after surgery, an accident and chronic pain conditions. When used in larger amounts or for longer than prescribed, this drug can lead to dependence and addiction.

Hydrocodone Dependence after Surgery

Hydrocodone works by changing how the brain perceives pain. Patients who endure surgery need strong pain relief in the early stages of recovery to promote healing. Narcotic drugs allow patients to get up and move without pain overwhelming them. This keeps the body moving and can prevent secondary problems such as pneumonia.

Hydrocodone also produces euphoria, which may easily become addictive. Once someone becomes tolerant to the drug, she needs more of the substance to produce the same results. Because surgery patients depend on the drug to feel good, they may be tempted to use more of the drug once the euphoria fades. This is especially true when someone suffers from depression, which is common during recovery from surgery. Using hydrocodone exactly as prescribed is important to prevent dependency. If you or a loved one craves more pain medicine before it is time for the next dose, call your doctor to discuss alternative pain management methods.

Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone addiction can develop once the body becomes dependent on the drug. Because the drug produces euphoria, the brain stops releasing normal amounts of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure center. When this happens, people have an increased risk of addiction, especially if they have a family or personal history of addiction or mental illness. If you or a loved one uses hydrocodone to control pain, look for the following signs to identify addiction:

  • Needing more of the substance to produce the same results, including pain control and feelings of euphoria
  • Becoming preoccupied with getting and using the drug, and needing a supply of it at all times
  • Doctor shopping to get new prescriptions
  • Engaging in dangerous or illegal behaviors, such as stealing, to get and use the drug
  • Spending money you do not have on the drug
  • Changes in friends, eating and sleeping habits and personal appearance

If you see any of these signs of addiction, it is time to get professional help.

Hydrocodone Addiction Help

Hydrocodone can effectively treat pain after surgery. Using the drug exactly as prescribed can decrease the risk of addiction. If you or a loved one struggles with hydrocodone abuse, we are here to help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to a recovery counselor. They can answer your questions about addiction and help you find an appropriate treatment program.