Women and Hydrocodone Addiction

Women and Hydrocodone Addiction

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 20 percent of Americans have used prescription drugs illicitly. Both men and women are affected by addiction to drugs, including the narcotic painkiller hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is prescribed for pain reduction, but is frequently abused for its euphoric effects. While all who abuse hydrocodone risk addiction, women have certain risks that men might not.

Women and Drug Abuse

A study sponsored by NIH revealed that though women initially abuse drugs at lower doses and rates than men, their drug abuse more quickly escalates to addiction. Women are also more likely to experience relapse of drug use following recovery.

Some factors that potentially lead to drug abuse and addiction in women include sexual assault, unwanted pregnancy, and illness. As many as 70 percent of women in treatment for drug abuse have reported childhood physical or sexual assault, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The same study showed that men in treatment reported this assault much less frequently.

A significant concern for women drug addicts, including those addicted to hydrocodone, is that they are much less likely than men to enter treatment for their addiction. Treatment is an essential part of the recovery from drug addiction. Professional guidance and assessment is a large factor in the success of treatment centers, which improve the outcomes of drug and alcohol addiction. Those women who never seek treatment for their addiction face greater risk of failed recovery and relapse.

Hydrocodone and Pregnancy

In 1994, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a study on women and drug abuse, which revealed that as many as four million women ages 15 to 44 had used prescription medications for non-medical purposes at least once in their lifetime. It is likely that in the years since, the numbers have increased. Such statistics create a concern, particularly for this age group. Women in this age group are considered to be in their child-bearing years, a time when drug addiction is particularly hazardous.

While hydrocodone alone has not been placed under a pregnancy category, Vicodin has. Vicodin is a drug composed of both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is more commonly prescribed than hydrocodone by itself, due to the added effects of acetaminophen. Hydrocodone and acetaminophen together are placed under Pregnancy Category C by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Medications in this category do not have the evidence of human based studies to show the risks in pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C drugs get evidence from animal studies, which reveal adverse effects on the fetus.

Neonates born to mothers who have used narcotic analgesics, such as hydrocodone, have been reported to experience withdrawal symptoms and respiratory depression following birth. For those suffering from hydrocodone addiction during pregnancy, treatment is essential to the health of not only the mother, but also to the baby.

Get Help for Hydrocodone Addiction

If you or someone you know has become addicted to hydrocodone, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for hydrocodone addiction.