When a patient experiences excruciating pain and goes to the doctor for a prescription that will mitigate this pain, then he is in the medically necessary stage of using a drug. But when does pain killer use become drug abuse? And who can help you treat it? We review here, and invite your questions about getting help with Lortab addiction at the end.
Lortab as a pain killer
Lortab is a combination of acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) and hydrocodone. This drug is widely prescribed as a pain killer, for its analgesic and pain relieving properties. Unfortunately it is these attributes that make it a common drug to get addicted to. Short term effects of the drug can include:
- nausea and vomiting
What is the difference between use of Lortab and Lortab addiction?
The main difference is intent of use: A normal prescription user will take Lortab as prescribed for pain relief. Someone abusing Lortab takes it for euphoric effect, an intense sensation of overall satisfaction with life. It is taken correctly orally or chewed. Some abusers crush the substance into powder and snort it or dissolve it with water and inject it, thereby strengthening “the high” It is nearly as strong as morphine when it comes to pain relief.
Lortab users state they enjoy a feeling of happiness when they use it. While euphoric effect is a common side effect to opioids like Lortab, this drug can activate the brain’s reward system leading to an individual to crave more of the drug. Lortab addiction can sneak up on the user, due to a modification of the normal functioning of the body and brain.
Long Term Effects of Lortab Dependence
- Liver damage
- Tolerance: Larger doses must be taken to get same high
- Addiction: A user is unable to stop or control use
How do you treat Lortab addiction?
First, you need to get the drug out of your body. If you have become physically dependent on Lortab, the only effective way to rid the body of it is a partial hospitalization or inpatient program. Detox centers and clinics offer services which help you withdraw from Lortab safely, under 24-7 medical supervision.
The positive part of withdrawal is that it does not last forever. Once the drug is out of your system, you must concentrate on dealing with the pain you feel (emotional and physical) without pain killers, this is when a treatment program and a strong support system become paramount to long-term recovery.
Note here that “Getting Clean” is not a do it yourself activity. You must be medically managed while you go through the detoxification, lest further harm could come to your health. Relapse is best prevented via medical supervision. And a detox center can recommend you to longer term treatment. In fact, it is best to follow detox with a step down component to Intensive Inpatient or Outpatient Program to address psychological issues related to use.
Symptoms of Lortab abuse that not all users experience
When someone is a drug abuser, it is not always evident to those around him or her that he/she is using. Drug addicts are great liars, but physical effects are the hardest to mask. It is easier to hide psychological symptoms than anything else, because to an untrained eye, they could be attributed to another issue, like mental problems or depression. Some signs of problems
- constricted pupils
- difficulty paying attention
- doctor shopping to get more prescriptions
- memory difficulties
- mood swings
- slow heartbeat
One of the surest ways to determine a case of addiction is to observe a person when the Lortab has been removed from their system. The physical effects manifest themselves as nausea, chills, aches and pains, decreased appetite, but the effects of Lortab addiction are mental/emotional in nature. These can include craving, depression, agitation and aggressive personality traits.