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How to treat hydrocodone addiction

Do you think you may be addicted to hydrocodone?

You are not alone. While hydrocodone is prescribed for short periods of time to treat moderate to severe pain, some continue to use hydrocodone long after a prescription expires because of the level of relaxation and mild euphoria this opiate creates (one reason hydrocodone over the counter is not available).  In fact, developing a tolerance to hydrocodone and/or dependence on it can take as little as three weeks of continuous dosing.  Here, we explore symptoms and signs of hydrocodone addiction as well as review the medicinal and behavioral treatments which treat hydrocodone addiction. Then, we invite your questions about hydrocodone addiction and treatment at the end.

Am I addicted to hydrocodone?

There are several factors that play into any drug addiction. This is because addiction is both a physical and a psychological condition. But what distinguishes hydrocodone is an psycho-emotional need for hydrocodone to help with the stressors in life. This kind of psychological dependence on hydrocodone can make recovery from hydrocodone difficult. Here are a few signs to look out for if you think you or someone you know is addicted to hydrocodone:

  1. Feeling like you NEED hydrocodone to function.
  2. Hydrocodone use affects your working and intimate relationships.
  3. Preoccupation with getting hydrocodone and making sure you have a steady supply.
  4. Taking hydrocodone regardless of any negative consequences to use.
  5. Withdrawal symptoms which occur when you stop taking hydrocodone or lower hydrocodone dosage.

Keep in mind that usually people are not addicted to hydrocodone alone. Many times people have to deal with more than one addiction. Other substances such as alcohol, stimulants or other nervous system depressants may be involved as well.

Am I ready for hydrocodone addiction treatment?

Still, knowing the signs of hydrocodone addiction are not enough. Many people who are addicted to hydrocodone know in their subconscious mind that they are addicted, but they rationalize their behavior. Sometimes intervention is needed before someone considers treatment for hydrocodone addiction. Other times you need to hit rock bottom before you are ready for help. The bottom line is that the moment you realize you need treatment is one of willingness to change. Admitting you have a problem is the first step you take before treating addiction to hydrocodone. Noticing the negative effects hydrocodone has on your life will help you get there.

Treating hydrocodone addiction

Effective treatment for drug addiction involves hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms treatment and long term care.  In order to treat any type of addiction, you must know the person addicted intimately. This is why there is not “one way” to treat addiction but many agree the integration of pharmacological and behavioral treatments are key to treating opiate addiction. As we have already mentioned, there are several pathways to treating addiction. The main two modalities for treating hydrocodone addiction are: medications and behavioral therapies. However, a combination of the two can help you optimize the best possible plan for recovery and long lasting health.

1. Medications for hydrocodone addiction treatment

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Primarily, medications for hydrocodone addiction treatment target the brain. Medicines such as clonidine or benzodiazepines are used during acute withdrawal from hydrocodone. Withdrawal from hydrocodone lasts and peaks about 72 hours after last use, but can be prolonged for weeks after you stop taking hydrocodone.  Other medicines are prescibed which target the opiate receptors in the brain in longer-term maintenance treatment for opiate addiction. Still other medications can be prescribed for symptoms of depression which can manifest throughout addiction treatment.

It is always important to be careful with the medications you take for hydrocodone addiction treatment. You do not want to exchange one addiction for another. Medications that target opiate receptors and show results in treating hydrocodone addiction include methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. These medications are monitored while you are taking them and should only be taken as prescribed.

2. Behavioral treatments for hydrocodone addiction

Behavioral therapies treat the emotional and psychological underpinnings of addiction. This can include one-on-one and group therapy. The use of clinical psychology for addiction includes cognitive behavioral therapy, contigency management, motivational enhancement therapy, and 12 step facilitation therapy. The main principle of psychological treatment for hydrocodone addiction is to understand, monitor and control the compulsion to use hydrocodone to cope with life…while replacing addictive actions with more healthy choices.

Help for hydrocodone addiction

Where can you get help for hydrocodone addiction? There are a few key places where you can get help for hydrocodone addiction. We list some of the main centers for addiction treatment here, but invite you to share more about getting help for addiction in the comments section at the end.

1. Your physician

Many times, your doctor can be a good first line of contact if you want to treat hydrocodone addiction. They more than likely know of your past clinical history. Plus, if it’s an option, your family doctor or general physician can help you taper hydrocodone doses by providing a dosing regimen so that you hydrocodone withdrawal occurs with less severity. Family doctors can also help you locate hydrocodone-specific treatments in your local area to help you manage recovery. They can also prescribe medication to help during hydrocodone withdrawal.

2. Clinical psychologist or psychiatrists specializing in hydrocodone addiction treatment

There are several psychologists and psychiatrists out there that specialize in treating opiate addition or addiction in general. They have an intimate understanding of addiction and how it affects not only the body but your psyche and interpersonal relationships. Clinical psychologists can also help you explore the roots of addictive behavior, and help you to help yourself. Clinical psychiatrists are also doctors and can help you figure out if you need any medications during hydrocodone addiction recovery. They can also diagnose any underling mental conditions that exacerbate your addiction. Because addiction changes your brain chemistry, you may need the support of SSRI’s. A psychiatrist can prescribe these.

3. Detox clinics during hydrocodone withdrawal

Hydrocodone addiction is one of the most commonly abuse substances in the U.S. Detox clinics have been put in place to treat the physical withdrawal of addiction. Withdrawal from any substance in its first hours can be painful and dangerous. A detox clinic provides a safe in-patient supervision for your initial detox from hydrocodone. This helps decrease your likelihood of relapse in the first few days of recovery before you seek other treatment.

4. Hydrocodone addiction treatment centers

Hydrocodone addiction treatment centers are facilities designed to treat drug addiction. Not all treatment facilities treat all substance abuse and you may need to find one tailored to your particular needs. Usually, you are separated from your normal chaotic life when you attend an addiction treatment centers. Away from family, friends, and work. In these facilities is a safe place for you to recover without the stress which can cause you to relapse. A good hydrocodone addiction treatment center is holistically designed and not only there to help treat the physical aspects of withdrawal, but the emotional aspects by getting to the root of how the addiction formed. Programs at addiction treatment centers can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.

5. Hydrocodone addiction support groups

There are hundreds of groups out there for pharmaceutical addictions. Sometimes seeking any group with addiction in mind can be helpful to your recovery. Support groups offer a sense of community and a safe place you can talk with people who are experiencing issues of addiction, too. When looking for a support group ask your doctor, your treatment facility or a trusted spiritual/religious leader. Possible support groups include 12 step groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), self-help groups like SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery, as well as local outpatient support groups for drug addiction at a local hospital or mental health center.

6. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs)

These types of social workers are designed to work with mental health and substance abuse. They are trained counselors. They can reach out into the community, help get you on your feet, and refer you to social services which can help you find a job, go to school, get counseling, etc. A LCSW can also be in charge of support groups and offer classes. Social workers can also help be a guide in your addiction recovery and help you to navigate treatment and living hydrocodone-free. If you have been in trouble with the law they might be the point of contact to help in you rehabilitation.

7. A trusted religious or spiritual leader

There are many ways in which different spiritual communities support and help treat addiction. Qualitative research has shown these spiritual communities, in general, increase positive recovery and influence long lasting recovery. If there is someone out there in you religious or spiritual community that you trust, seek them out. They are there for your guidance and many times host their own support groups and therapists who are donating their time to the community.

How to treat hydrocodone addiction questions

Do you still have questions about treating hydrocodone addiction? Please share your questions and experiences with treating hydrocodone addiction. We’ll try to respond to your questions personally.

References Sources: NCBI: Religious intervention and recovery from Addiction
NIDA: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
Daily Med: hydrocodone
SAMHSA treatment directory
Medline Plus: Opiate withdrawal

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