What Makes Hydrocodone So Addictive?

What Makes Hydrocodone So Addictive?

Hydrocodone is the main ingredient in a variety of strong narcotic painkillers. It can be extremely effective at blocking pain signals in the brain, but it is highly addictive. Users may become dependent on hydrocodone after doing nothing more than filling a legitimate prescription and following their doctor’s orders.

How Hydrocodone Blocks Pain

The key to hydrocodone’s pain blocking power is in its ability to bind to special opiate sensors in the brain. When hydrocodone is bound to these sensors, the pain signals cannot travel through the body and the sensation of pain is reduced or eliminated for a time. The body creates its own natural supply of pain managing chemicals, but they are not strong enough to entirely block pain following major injury or surgery.

How Hydrocodone Addiction Works

The body develops a tolerance to hydrocodone very quickly. This means that the pain blocking power of hydrocodone fades with repeated use. Users may increase their dose so that they can continue feeling the original effects of the drug. While hydrocodone is in the body, it blocks the production of the naturally occurring pain managing chemicals. This means that when the user stops taking the drug, his or her body will be left without any such chemicals. The user will feel a wide range of potentially intense withdrawal symptoms including the following:

  • Extreme bone and muscle pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Emotional distress
  • Paranoia
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and nausea

These symptoms will persist until the body reestablishes its natural chemical balance. This can take a few days to longer than a week depending on how long the addiction has existed and how heavy the drug use is.

Psychological Addiction to Hydrocodone

The same part of the brain that is affected by hydrocodone use also manages a variety of psychological functions such as the following:

  • Emotions
  • Memory
  • Anxiety
  • Impulse control
  • The creation of habits

The brain will desperately crave the emotional relief it experiences under the influence of hydrocodone. Because these psychological functions operate on a deeper and more powerful level than rational thought, the addict will be unable to resist using the drug, even if he or she desperately wants to.

Overcoming Hydrocodone Addiction

Long-term recovery from hydrocodone addiction requires detox and the thorough rehabilitation of the mind from the emotional effects of addiction. The most effective way to accomplish this level of healing is through rehab that integrates physical and emotional addiction treatment. The best treatment options will also diagnose and treat any co-occurring psychological conditions that may be contributing to the addiction. The best programs create customized treatment plans comprised of several of the following therapeutic tools:

  • Support group meetings
  • Personal counseling
  • Medically supervised detox
  • Education about addiction
  • Preparation for life after treatment

Break Free from Hydrocodone Abuse or Addiction

If you are struggling with hydrocodone addiction, call our helpline immediately. The call is free, and our specially trained counselors are standing by 24 hours a day. Hydrocodone addiction is serious. Get help and get clean before it costs you your relationships, your job, your finances and even your life.