Hydrocodone and other prescription opioids are misused by an estimated 11.5 million people in the U.S. Hydrocodone is commonly used to treat severe pain such as that caused by injury and surgery, but carries a high risk for dependence and addiction — especially when misused or used for longer than needed. Knowing signs and symptoms of hydrocodone addiction can help you determine whether you or a loved one needs help in the form of professional addiction treatment.
Here are common signs and symptoms of hydrocodone abuse and addiction, along with steps you can take to get help today.
Symptoms of Hydrocodone Abuse
People abuse hydrocodone for a number of reasons, such as to experience euphoria, or to mask symptoms of underlying physical or psychological health problems like anxiety and depression. Hydrocodone abuse happens when people use the drug without a prescription, use the drug in ways other than directed, or use the drug for recreation instead of for treating pain.
Hydrocodone symptoms of use and abuse:
- Constricted pupils
- Blurred vision
- Changes in weight
- Slowed heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Nasal congestion
- Tightness in chest
- Muscles aches
- Drug cravings
- Withdrawal symptoms
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Long-Term Side Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse
Hydrocodone abuse is dangerous, and can lead to tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction. Using hydrocodone regularly for longer than a few weeks can cause tolerance, which is when people need higher doses of the drug to achieve its effects. A person who starts using higher amounts of hydrocodone after becoming tolerant can then become physically dependent, which is characterized by drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped abruptly.
Hydrocodone is generally only prescribed short-term due to the way this drug can trigger physical dependence and increase the risk for other health problems.
Long-term side effects linked to hydrocodone abuse:
- Mood swings
- Abdominal bloating
- Lowered immunity
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Fertility problems
- Hormonal imbalance
- Liver damage
- Brain damage caused by respiratory depression
How to Spot Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction
An estimated two million people in the U.S. are addicted to opioids like hydrocodone. Hydrocodone abuse can change a person’s brain chemistry in ways that influence them to continue using drugs despite knowing there may be negative consequences. People who suffer from hydrocodone addiction will often change their behavior and neglect important responsibilities, so they can devote more time to obtaining and using hydrocodone and recovering from the drug’s effects.
Common signs of hydrocodone addiction:
- Withdrawing from close friends and family members
- Spending more time with people who use drugs or enable drug use
- Inability to stop using hydrocodone despite attempts to quit
- Sudden changes in mood and behavior
- Lying about pain symptoms to obtain more hydrocodone
- Visiting multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for hydrocodone
- Using higher doses of hydrocodone than initially planned
- Financial hardship
- Decline in performance at work or school
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities
- Relationship problems
- The onset of mental health disorders like depression or bipolar disorder
Hydrocodone addiction can take over your life and cause problems with work, school, family, finances, and your overall livelihood. Continuing to suffer from hydrocodone addiction increases your risk for long-term health problems, including the risk for an overdose and death.
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Treating Symptoms of Hydrocodone Addiction
Opioids like hydrocodone were linked to over 53,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2016, and are projected to cause an even higher number of overdose deaths in future years. Detoxing from opioids at home on your own can be extremely dangerous and difficult due to the way these drugs change brain chemistry. Those who suddenly stop using opioids face the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms like drug cravings that can lead to relapse, overdose, and death.
Hydrocodone addiction can be safely treated at an addiction treatment center that offers drug detox and therapy. Drug detox helps patients overcome physical dependence on hydrocodone, and can be conducted as a medically supervised detox or with medication-assisted treatment. Medications including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone may be used to help patients withdraw from hydrocodone by reducing withdrawal symptoms including insomnia, muscle aches, and drug cravings.
Therapy programs such as dialectical behavioral therapy and 12-step support groups can help patients identify and overcome triggers, negative thoughts, and behaviors that may be driving their hydrocodone addiction. Drug detox and therapy for hydrocodone addiction are available in an inpatient or outpatient setting so patients can choose a treatment program that fits best with their recovery needs and lifestyle.
If you or a loved one needs help recovering from hydrocodone addiction, call our 24/7 hotline to speak with an addiction representative. Find Addiction Rehabs will perform an insurance verification check and discuss all your available treatment options so you or your loved one can experience a safe, successful, and full recovery from hydrocodone addiction.
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