Over one hundred million prescriptions for hydrocodone medications are filled annually in the U.S. In addition, there are over one hundred thousand emergency room visits annually from abusing the drug. Hydrocodone is a classified Schedule II narcotic and trafficking in the drug can result in twenty years in prison and a $1 million fine. The drug is dangerous when abused and devastating for anyone who becomes addicted if they don?t receive the proper help.
Hydrocodone is a synthetic opioid narcotic made from the codeine alkaloid of thepoppy plant. It is used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain and also as an antitussive cough suppressant. The drug binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord blocking pain reception and causing feelings of euphoria and a warm, pleasant sensation throughout the body. Some popular names of hydrocodone drugs are Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Hydro, Vikes, etc.
Anyone who increases their dosage or doses of hydrocodone will eventually become addicted. As a person keeps using the drug their body will change the way it processes it. The person will build up a tolerance to the drug and require more of it to achieve the desired effects. The person’s brain will start to get used to the effects of the drug and consider the effects the normal state of the brain. With continued use, the person will become physically and psychologically addicted to the drug. Some behavioral signs of addiction to hydrocodone are craving more of the drug, becoming socially isolated from family and friends, avoiding responsibilities, spending a lot of money for the drug and going to different doctors to get prescriptions for the drug.
The adverse physical effects of hydrocodone include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, convulsions, liver damage and slow or irregular breathing. Hydrocodone also produces psychological effects, which may include mood swings, anxiety, depression, altered perception of reality, anger, rage, depression and paranoia. Toxicity and overdose symptoms that require immediate medical help are slow, shallow or stopped breathing, slow heart beat, blue skin, loss of consciousness, seizures and death. The contraindications of taking hydrocodone with alcohol, other opioid medications, anti-psychotics or central nervous system depressants may result in dangerous physical complications and death.
Treatment and Recovery
An addict has the option of outpatient or inpatient treatment to choose from when considering which treatment is right for them. The center should be approved by the State and have qualified, experienced medical personnel. Outpatient treatment centers offer medications and counseling services and are effective with people who can cope with the freedom it offers while still remaining focused on their recovery. They will have to avoid anything that might put them into relapse. Inpatient rehabilitation centers are a 24/7 program where the patient usually stays in the center for about 28 days, then continues in aftercare programs.
The detox and withdrawal process can be an overwhelming and frightening experience for some people. Being in a safe environment with caring people who will assist the addict through the process is of prime importance. Some of the symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal a person may have during the recovery process include nausea, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, muscle pain, flu-like symptoms, seizures and tremors.
The patient will be watched while going through detox to rid the body of any addictive chemicals. Medications are available to treat symptoms of withdrawal.
Counseling and psychotherapy sessions will help the patient identify the reasons for their addiction. Behavior modification techniques will assist the patient in changing negative, destructive behavior patterns and replacing them with healthy ones. Because relapse is a common occurrence in drug rehabilitation, the patient is taught new coping skills to handle triggers and emotions that might be a temptation toward relapse.
The aftercare programs of counseling, support and accountability groups also help the recovering addict stay the course and avoid relapse. Family counseling restores family relationships and teaches the family how to be a positive support system. The physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the recovering addict are all addressed and long-term counseling helps the addict stay strong and healthy.
Recovery is a long-term process of behavior and lifestyle changes. With the proper treatments and counseling, successful recovery is possible for anyone addicted to hydrocodone drugs.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.