What is the difference between hydrocodone dependence and addiction? Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a hydrocodone addiction here.
Hydrocodone can make you feel “high” which is the main reason why people tend to abuse it. With repetitive use, users experience alteration of their brain chemistry. What happens exactly? More here.
Hydrocodone is an opiate agonist which binds to opiate receptors in the brain. But are there any long term or negative side effects of hydrocodone on the brain? Explore here.
Hydrocodone can affect you negatively. How? More here.
Hydrocodone has a chemical structure that is related to that of codeine and morphine, and has similar effects on the brain. But how does hydrocodone affect the structure and function of the brain? A list of negative side effects here.
Nausea and vomiting are common for first time hydrocodone users, as well as dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. But what about the long term effects of hydrocodone on the body? More here.
Hydrocodone addiction can occur in anyone using prescription medications that contain hydrocodone. Here, we explore the main signs and symptoms of hydrocodone addiction and what you can do to identify and address hydrocodone addiction.
Practical suggestions for how to withdraw from hydrocodone safely. Plus. a section on How to ease withdrawal symptoms from hydrocodone. More here.
You abuse hydrocodone anytime you take hydrocodone other than prescribed, or use hydrocodone for euphoric effect. More on the definition of hydrocodone abuse here.
What’s the best way to withdraw from hydrocodone? Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment should ideally be individualized by case. But you can treat flu-like symptoms that occur during hydrocodone withdrawal using over-the-counter and prescription medications. More on how to treat hydrocodone withdrawal here.
What is hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a a semi-synthetic opioid derived from codeine. Hydrocodone is in a group of drugs called narcotic pain relievers. It is a Schedule II or Schedule III drug (this varies as a result of different formulations) available only in combination with other ingredients, specifically intended for oral use. In fact, hydrocodone is contained in hundreds of prescription medications as an active ingredient.
Hydrocodone comes as a tablet, a capsule, syrup, a solution, an extended-release (long-acting) capsule, and an extended-release (long-acting) suspension (liquid) to take by mouth.
Why do people use hydrocodone?
Doctors prescribe hydrocodone as a narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and a cough medicine, usually combined with paracetamol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen. Basically, hydrocodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain and as a medicine to treat cold and cough.
However, many hydrocodone users take higher doses to achieve a sense of extreme well-being and euphoria. But taking hydrocodone OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED is considered drug abuse and is illegal.
When used as prescribed and with caution, hydrocodone relieves pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It also relieves cough by decreasing activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing.
In higher doses, one of the most common effects of this narcotic is a warm and pleasant numbing sensation that stretches throughout the body. At the same time, many report a warming of the abdominal area, and sometimes a pleasant cooling in the lungs.
Hydrocodone may also cause side effects, upon which a patient should consult with a doctor and probably stop using the medication. Some possible negative side effects of hydrocodone include:
- impaired brain activity
- impaired lung function
There is also a deadly side to hydrocodone abuse. If users take too many pills or if they mix hydrocodone with other drugs or alcohol (especially central nervous system depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines), the outcome can be fatal. Also, in long-term users, the body builds up tolerance to the prescription medication. Increased tolerance to hydrocodone after daily dosing for a period of a few weeks or more can increase risk of overdose. When abused for a longer period, hydrocodone causes liver damage and liver failure, which can also lead to death.
Is hydrocodone addictive?
Yes, hydrocodone is addictive. Because of the euphoric effects it causes, people may develop patterns of abuse which lead to addiction. Even after only several weeks of use, people can develop physical and psychological dependence to hydrocodone. Symptoms common among hydrocodone addicts include:
- compulsive use of hydrocodone
- continued hydrocodone use despite the awareness of negative consequences to health, home, work or social life
- craving hydrocodone
- loss of control over dosing amounts and frequency
- taking hydrocodone to cope with psycho-emotional issues
After your body and brain have become accustomed to the presence of the medication, you can experience hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit suddenly and abruptly. Consult your doctor before lowering doses or stopping altogether. Stopping hydrocodone is much safer when you taper doses down gradually and slowly, and treat symptoms as they occur. Your doctor can help you create a tapering schedule fit to your needs, or refer you to a hydrocodone detox center if you require extra medical help during this period.