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Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms and Signs, and Detoxification

Hydrocodone is an active ingredient in many prescription medications intended for pain management or cough suppression. Because this antitussive is an opiate analgesic, it carries a risk of dependency. Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms can occur if a person drastically lowers the dosage or stops taking it, and the chance of these symptoms occurring is much higher for people who have taken hydrocodone for several weeks or longer.

Help is available for people who are withdrawing from hydrocodone or suffering from a dependency on the drug. Complete the short form or call 1-888-935-1318Who Answers? for confidential support and assistance.

Hydrocodone Use and Abuse

Hydrocodone is frequently abused because of its narcotic effects and widespread availability. Medications containing hydrocodone are prescribed more often than any other opioid. Hydrocodone is not prescribed by itself, however. These medications contain other active ingredients, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or antihistamines. Popular drugs containing hydrocodone include Vicodin and Lortab.

As an antitussive, hydrocodone is similar to codeine. As a pain reliever, it is similar to morphine. Patients are encouraged to measure exact doses when taking a liquid form of the medication, and with any form they are prompted to notify their doctors immediately if they have urges to take large doses or more than prescribed. People with histories of substance abuse or addiction are at a greater risk of developing dependencies on hydrocodone-containing products.

This medication has a sedative effect, and it can also cause a sense of euphoria. Unwanted effects are possible with hydrocodone as well. Some users may experience constipation, dizziness and breathing difficulties, among other side effects. There is also a potential for overdose.

Withdrawing from Hydrocodone: Treatment Methods and Options for Help

Withdrawal from hydrocodone can take place over an extended period of time with a physician's help or within a short period with detoxification. The former reduces the chance of a patient experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, as the dosage is lowered gradually for weeks or months. Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, weakness, sweating, vomiting, agitation, restlessness, bodily aches and sleep disturbances. People who are addicted to hydrocodone or opioids may also experience cravings for the drug.

The gradual reduction of medication is often used for people who have developed a physical tolerance, whereas detox is preferred for those who are addicted to it. Detoxing does not necessarily mean the person will experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Treatment professionals and rehab facilities offer a variety of services to ease the withdrawal process and help people recover from addictions.

Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment can include medications to reduce cravings and other undesirable symptoms. Depending on the level of dependency and types of opioid abuse, a physician may prescribe methadone or buprenorphine for symptom management. Additional medications may be prescribed to prevent the effects of hydrocodone or opiate use and to treat coexisting conditions, such as mood disorders.

Most rehab facilities provide more than pharmaceutical therapy for hydrocodone withdrawal; however, a primary care physician may be unable to provide all the services recommended for addiction. If you were prescribed hydrocodone and have concerns about dependency, contact your physician to discuss treatment options.

Detoxing, Addiction Treatment Rehab and Recovery

While medication helps patients manage hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms, counseling and rehabilitation help them remain clean after detox. Treatment typically includes an in-depth look at factors that cause a person to use opioids. These factors may be underlying mental health conditions, poor coping skills, difficulties with family members or a spouse, pressure from other users or a low self-image. Often, there are several contributory factors. Cognitive therapy addresses these issues and assists people with reducing their stress levels.

Patients are also encouraged to spend time in a supportive, positive environment with people who are not using or drinking. A rehab plan may include a goal to volunteer in the community or attend support groups weekly. Behavioral therapy may also be provided to help a person avoid or effectively manage negative environments. For example, role-playing sessions may be conducted so that patients can practice turning down offers for hydrocodone and other drugs.

These services are offered in inpatient rehab centers and outpatient mental health clinics. Treatment is generally provided by several types of professionals, including counselors, psychiatrists and physicians. Each professional specializes in a certain aspect of the rehabilitation plan.

Hydrocodone Information at a Glance
Medication Name, Costs Class of Medicine
  • Generic Name: Hydrocodone
  • Chemical Name: Hydrocodone, dihydrocodeinone
  • Brand Name: Vicodin, Hydrococet, Symtan, Anexsia, Blocodone, Damason-P, Dicodid, Hycodan, Hydromet, Hycomine, Hycet, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Novahistex, Hydrovo, Duodin, Kolikodol, Orthoxycol, Panacet, Zydone, Mercodinone, Synkonin, Norgan, Xodol, Hydrokon
  • Used to Treat Addiction? No
  • Function or Use at Low Dose: treats mild to moderate pain, cough
  • Function or Use at High Dose: moderate to severe pain or cough
  • Chemical Makeup: C18H21NO3
  • System: Central Nervous System
  • Duration of Action: Varies
Form, Intake and Dosage Interactions and Complications
  • Drug Forms: tablet, capsule, liquid
  • Administration Routes: swallowed, snorted, injected
  • Dosage: Varies, no more than 60 mg/day
  • Overdose: Varies based on age, weight, and tolerance
  • Alcohol Interaction: heart failure, heart attack, respiratory distress, pulmonary failure, liver failure, kidney failure, jaundice, amnesia, seizures, blackouts, coma
  • Illicit Drugs: heart failure, heart attack, respiratory distress, pulmonary failure, liver failure, kidney failure, jaundice, amnesia, seizures, blackouts, coma
  • Counterindications: asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, liver or kidney disease, low blood pressure, hypothyroidism, tomach disorder, Addison’s disease, curvature of the spine, mental illness, history of drug or alcohol addiction
Effects and Adverse Reactions Substance Abuse
  • Short-Term: dizziness, itching, lightheadedness, nausea, sweating, drowsiness, constipation, vomiting, euphoria
  • Long-Term: hearing loss
  • Risk of Substance Abuse: Moderate
  • Signs of Abuse: anxiety, difficulty breathing, difficulty urinating, constipation, drowsiness, dry throat, depression, sedation, fear, itching, mood changes, nausea, vomiting, decreased mental and physical performance, mental clouding, rash, chest tightness
Physiological Problem Signs and Symptoms Dependence and Addiction Issues
  • Withdrawal Syndrome Onset:
  • Withdrawal Symptoms:
  • Tolerance: No
  • Cross Dependence: Moderate
  • Physical Dependence: Moderate
  • Psychological Dependence: Moderate
Legal Schedules and Ratings
  • Controlled Substances Act Rating: Schedule II or Schedule III, depending on concentration


Questions and Answers (FAQ)

How Long Do hydrocodone Withdrawals Last?

The timeline for hydrocodone withdrawals can vary depending on the individual. Duration, frequency, and dosage of hydrocodone can affect the length of time it takes to detox. Typically, physical symptoms of withdrawal will last 5-7 days. Psychological symptoms, including cravings, can last months or years.

Do You Have a List Popular Slang or Street Names for hydrocodone?

Vikes, Viko, Hydro, Norco

What are Common Misspellings?

Hidrocodone withdrawl, Hydracodone withdrawls, vikodin withdrawel, vikadin withdrawels

Are There any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

Some people attempting to detox choose to “sleep it off” as a home remedy. While this might be a helpful tactic, it is not often successful when attempted alone. Physical pain and psychological cravings tend to overpower the urge to sleep. While it may sound appealing since it is a natural method, few individuals find relief in this approach when unassisted. Treatment centers often supply drug therapy to help relieve withdrawal symptoms, but if you wish for an alternative therapy, this might also be available. For best results, call 1-888-935-1318Who Answers? to get in contact with a treatment center near you.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from hydrocodone?

Detox varies depending on how long an individual has been using hydrocodone, how often, and how much. Other factors include the type of therapy used. Treatment programs tend to offer varied options for treatment and recovery. One fairly new method includes putting the individual under anesthesia and cleansing his/her system. This is an ultra-quick method, but it might offer better results than another therapy. Call 1-888-935-1318Who Answers? to see what is available in your area.

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