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Hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance known under the brand names Norco, Lorcet, Lortab, and Vicodin, is a codeine-based synthetic opioid analgesic. Street names of the drug include vikes, vicos, tabs, hydros, perks, 357s, and Watsons. Hydrocodone is available in either pill form, in doses of 10 mg-120 mg per tablet, or in liquid form. The half-life of the drug varies from 3-9 hours or about four hours for the body to eliminate half the dose of the drug.
Hydrocodone connects to the opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. By attaching to the receptors, hydrocodone is able to produce a sense of comfort while also masking pain. The short-term effects of hydrocodone include feelings of euphoria, reduced stress, numbness, drowsiness, and a sense of wellbeing.
Hydrocodone is among the class of opioid and synthetic opioid drugs that have been increasingly abused in recent years. The U.S. accounts for almost 100% of the world’s use of hydrocodone, with the number of prescriptions skyrocketing since the 90s. As the availability of hydrocodone increased, a parallel increase in the negative effects—such as emergency room visits or overdose deaths—as also occurred as the drug became abused recreationally.
Symptoms of hydrocodone overdose may include:
- Weak pulse
- Respiratory distress
- Low blood pressure
- Blue lips or fingernails
- Loss of consciousness
Even individuals who use hydrocodone legitimately for its pain-relieving properties following an injury or surgery can find themselves addicted. Individuals can become hooked on the calming, euphoric effects of the drug, regardless of whether the drug was legitimately prescribed for pain, or if it was misused recreationally.
Getting help for a hydrocodone addiction begins with the detoxification process where the body expels the drug. During the detox process, highly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms will come into play, which can be difficult to endure without support. The individual may experience so much pain and discomfort that they return to using the drug just to avoid the withdrawal symptoms, never making it through the detox process.
During a residential detox, trained detox professionals will assist the individual during detox and withdrawal, providing them with medications and psychological support. These detox specialists know what helps hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms and can intervene as needed to ensure that the detox process will be safely completed.
What is Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms?
Within 6-12 hours following the last dose of hydrocodone, withdrawal symptoms will commence. These initial symptoms include agitation, muscle aches, and sweating. The length of the detox period as well as the severity of the withdrawal symptoms will be dependent on the acuity of the addiction. In most cases, symptoms peak on days 2-3 and begin to subside on day 5. The total withdrawal timeline can last from 7-28 days or longer. Those who had become dependent on the long-acting extended-release variety will take longer to taper off the hydrocodone.
Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Muscle aches
- Irregular heart rate
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbance
- Drug cravings
Because the individual can experience serious complications due to an increase in blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate, and body temperature, it is always advised that they receive support during the detox process. In a residential detox, a gradual tapering process of the drug is recommended to ease the severity of withdrawal symptoms. The length of time the person was dependent on hydrocodone, an the usual daily dosing, will determine the tapering schedule. This means that the detox phase of treatment may last anywhere from a week to months. Additionally, post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) may linger for months. These might include depression, insomnia, and anxiety symptoms.
What Helps Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms?
A ly monitored detox and withdrawal can not only supervise the individual throughout the detox process but can offer interventions to help relieve the intensity of the withdrawals and the drug cravings. These detox and addiction experts know what helps hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms and can ease much of the discomfort.
During detox, the symptoms will be mitigated by the use of both non-prescription and prescription medications. The OTC medications can reduce the discomforts of flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, and headaches. Vitamin B and C supplementation can help replenish electrolytes lost due to dehydration during detox. Benzodiazepines or the antihistamine, Vistaril, can be used to curb feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. Drugs such as buprenorphine and Suboxone are used to reduce drug cravings and reduce relapse risk.
Getting Treatment Following Hydrocodone Detox
After detox has been completed the client will be ready to begin treatment for the addictive behaviors that must be changed if recovery is going to be successful. Detox alone will not work. The client needs to engage in a range of therapies that will help them identify underlying factors as well as disordered thought and behavior patterns that fed the addictive behaviors.
While there is a wide range of addiction treatment available, the essential elements in a quality program will include evidence-based treatment elements, such as:
- Individual psychotherapy: The one-on-one talk therapy sessions are beneficial in addiction recovery because they help guide the person toward establishing new thought and behavior patterns that help break the addiction cycle.
- Group counseling: When small groups gather for discussion around clinician-facilitated topics. These forums provide opportunities to share one’s own personal experiences and to learn from others. The group therapy sessions are an excellent source of peer support during treatment.
- Addiction education and relapse prevention planning: Many people do not understand how a hydrocodone addiction developed in the first place. The classes educate individuals about how opioid impacts brain chemistry and leads to chemical dependency. Relapse prevention strategizing provides preparation for the challenges and cravings, and how to avoid relapsing.
- Participation in a support group like AA/NA or Smart Recovery. Rehab introduces individuals to the concept of recovery support and benchmarks to aim for in recovery. After rehab is completed, the individual can continue participating in a recovery community for continued social support.
- Medication management. support may be accessed in the event there is a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, which must also be addressed during treatment. Some individuals may benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT), where a drug such as buprenorphine may be helpful in sustaining recovery.
- Holistic therapy. Other complementary therapies, such as yoga, massage, and mindfulness exercises, can help reduce stress in rehab. These are activities that can be continued in aftercare, as added coping tools to help regulate stress.
- Aftercare planning. This is an important post-rehab element, where individuals are offered supportive services to help maintain sobriety. The aftercare piece may include sober living housing, outpatient psychotherapy, and recovery group meetings.
Hydrocodone addiction or dependence is treatable. Overcoming the addiction takes time and patience, but obtaining professional clinical support, is entirely possible.
Capo By the Sea Provides Hydrocodone Detox and Treatment Programs
Capo By the Sea is a leading luxury rehab located in a beautiful seaside town in Southern California. The expert detox professionals at Capo By the Sea are well-trained in what helps hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms and will successfully guide clients through the process. Capo By the Sea offers both outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment, providing premium accommodations and amenities and a top-notch therapeutic clinical staff. For more information about our programs, please contact Capo By the Sea today at (888) 529-2114