Why Does Hydrocodone Addiction Escalate?

Why Does Hydrocodone Addiction Escalate?

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from either of two naturally occurring opiates, codeine and thebaine. Hydrocodone is often combined with other analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to provide increased analgesic effects. There are over 200 products containing hydrocodone in the U.S. Hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen in Vicodin and Lortab, aspirin in Lortab ASA, ibuprofen in Vicoprofen and antihistamines in Hycomine.

Early Hydrocodone Use

When used as prescribed, hydrocodone-based products are effective in treating pain and suppressing coughs. Opioid pain relievers such as hydrocodone bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system to change how pain is perceived. Unfortunately hydrocodone has a significant potential for both psychological and physical dependence and abuse. It is readily available and relatively inexpensive, making it a popular drug of abuse. Because it can be a desirable drug for abuse, people often try to buy hydrocodone through illegal means such as from other countries, street dealers or online sources that do not require a prescription. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is reviewing a petition to increase the regulatory controls on hydrocodone combination products from schedule III to schedule II as defined by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Moving from Hydrocodone Use to Abuse

Hydrocodone is frequently prescribed, readily available and relatively inexpensive, as these three characteristics give it a high potential for abuse. Many people find it easier to abuse prescription medications than illegal substances for the following reasons:

  • They can rationalize hydrocodone and other prescription drug use as safe, since doctors prescribe these drugs and they do have medical benefits for some
  • They can more easily deny that they are moving from use to abuse
  • Getting drugs through doctors is less risky than buying illegal drugs

Signs of hydrocodone abuse include the following:

  • Secluded behavior
  • Stealing or lying
  • An unexplained lack of money
  • Changes in social circles
  • Unexplained changes in mood or behaviors

Friends and family need to keep an eye out for these signs, as they are real indicators that a person is moving from use to abuse. Continued abuse leads to one of two outcomes: overdose or addiction. A person whose hydrocodone use has escalated past prescribed use for legitimate reasons needs to seek addiction treatment.

Goals of Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment

Ending escalating hydrocodone use requires professional help. Detox and therapy from quality rehab centers will set you up for a successful recovery and a hydrocodone-free life. Relapse is always a possibility, but professional help makes you aware of the risks, prepares you for cravings and triggers and provides a strong support system that will encourage you to live a healthy and happy life.

Get Help for Hydrocodone Addiction

Drug use always escalates, so, the sooner you can break the cycle of abuse and addiction, the greater your chances for success. Call our toll-free helpline to talk with a confidential, caring and experienced recovery counselor. We can provide assessments, discuss your options or simply listen to your concerns. We are here 24 hours a day, so please call now.