Classified as a Schedule II drug in the Controlled Substance Act, hydrocodone works on the central nervous system by changing the way we perceive pain. Moreover, this highly addictive narcotic can become habit forming, manifesting symptoms of both dependence and tolerance after regular dosing. So what can you expect when you want to cut down or stop using hydrocodone? We review here.
When does hydrocodone withdrawal start?
After only a few weeks of regular hydrocodone use, the human system manifests hydrocodone dependence in order to adapt to the presence of the opioid. As the body becomes used to the chemistry of hydrocodone and adjusts accordingly it achieves a new baseline homeostasis; basically, to respond to the nervous system depressant effects of the drug, it speeds up specific systems and action to account for the depression. Over time and after developing dependence, however, the human system cannot function normally with out. This is why when you stop taking hydrocodone or significantly lower the dosage, withdrawal symptoms start. The body needs time to return to original baseline and adapt to the lack of hydrocodone.
Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms occur a few hours after the last missed dose or dose reduction. Acute withdrawal symptoms reach their peak 24-72 hours after the last intake. Moreover, each individual reacts differently to hydrocodone, so withdrawal varies in duration, intensity, and severity by person. Generally, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks.
Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms
Hydrocodone withdrawal may be uncomfortable. But, this doesn’t mean that every hydrocodone user will manifest all withdrawal symptoms; different bodies respond differently to the drug. Some of the more common hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:
- Heightened sensitivity to pain
- Hydrocodone cravings
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in the muscles and bones
- Runny nose and watery eyes
- Sleep disorders
Hydrocodone withdrawal timing
Hydrocodone withdrawal can last from couple of days to several weeks after the last dosage. The total duration of any withdrawal period depends upon several factors including period of use, dosage, level of drug dependency, an individual’s health, and so on. The type of detox you choose can also affect hydrocodone withdrawal timing: cold turkey withdrawal generally manifests more severe symptoms resolved in a shorter period of time that a tapered withdrawal.
Still, experts advise that you seek help from a detox clinic with medical supervision. Moreover, it is often recommended you go with a tapered detox protocol in order to ease hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms. In these cases, tapering occurs over a period of 3-6 weeks, with acute withdrawal resolving in under a week’s time after last dose.
Hydrocodone withdrawal tips
We know that every experience of withdrawal can hard. The safest way to get off hydrocodone is to ask help from a medical or addiction professional. Doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses trained in withdrawal protocols are trained to deal with drug dependence and addictions, so they can provide advice and support based on experience. Secondly, prescribed medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can be used during hydrocodone withdrawal. Moreover, drinking lots of fluids is important in the process of detox.
There are numerous ways to overcome hydrocodone withdrawal; you only need to find the right therapy for you. Here are some tips to help you get through hydrocodone withdrawal:
Support – Talk openly about your experience during hydrocodone withdrawal with friends and family, and/or peers going through the same process. A religious, spiritual, or community leader can also support you emotionally and provide guidance during withdrawal.
Herbal teas or nutritional supplements – There are vitamins, minerals, and herbs which can help address symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal. Nutritional supplements can also help you keep body weight and health. Before taking any nutritional aid, always seek advice from your physician.
Mind and body therapies – Mind therapies such as meditation, breathing, or gentle exercises can help you focus on your goals, and help you relax while body therapies such as massages, hot baths or steam rooms, and/or can be helpful for pain management.
Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms questions
Hydrocodone withdrawal can be extremely difficult, but is usually not life threatening, so consulting and learning about this drug during withdrawal is a great start to the process. We’ve given you a general overview about hydrocodone withdrawal, but if you have any concerns and questions regarding hydrocodone addiction treatment, please share them in the comments section bellow. All your comments are welcomed and appreciated. We will try to address you comments with a personal and prompt response.