Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline

Learn about the Hydrocodone withdrawal timeline and dealing with symptoms when detoxing

Hydrocodone is an opioid drug derived from codeine and has the same potency and effectiveness as oxycodone. Hydrocodone abuse can lead to addiction, but there are situations where patients have become addicted to the drug while they were taking the recommended dosage. It is very important for the prescribing physician to monitor the patient to assure that he does not become addicted to the drug. If you are addicted to Hydrocodone, you may need professional help at a drug treatment center to come off of the drug. You may wish to review the withdrawal symptoms and the Hydrocodone withdrawal timeline to understand to process and know what to expect.

Brand names for the drug include Norco, Lortab and Vicodin. Hydrocodone remains active in the body for four to six hours after being taken, and is used as a cough suppressant, and to treat moderate to severe pain. Tolerance to the drug can occur and the effects of Hydrocodone will diminish if this happens. To compensate for this problem, many patients will increase their dosage or take the medication more often to achieve the desired effects. When a patient increases their intake of the drug it often leads to addiction to the drug. Once a patient is addicted to the drug they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when they reduce or stop taking the drug. This is the body’s effort to find balance without the drug, because the body became acclimated to the drug’s presence.

When you enter an inpatient drug treatment center, you will begin the detox process to gradually wean your body off of the Hydrocodone. This begins the Hydrocodone withdrawal timeline, and symptoms should begin to appear about six to twelve hours after taking the drug. Symptoms usually peak within seventy-two hours. Because Hydrocodone is a short acting drug, the withdrawal symptoms may become more intense but their duration should be shorter. Withdrawal from Hydrocodone can be uncomfortable for the patient with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, but medications may be given to help alleviate drug cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. The Hydrocodone withdrawal timeline usually ends within days to a week or more depending on the severity of the addiction and the physical health of the patient. Emotional symptoms and drug cravings may last for a month or more, and if this occurs the patient to speak to a mental health professional.

The patient may experience a variety of Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms, which include:

  • Fever, headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Shaking and cold flashes
  • Sweating
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Anxiety, mood swings, depression
  • Fatigue

Hydrocodone affects the natural regulation of dopamine in the brain, and it may take time for the brain to begin to produce dopamine normally again. If the addiction to Hydrocodone was severe, and the brain has not begun to naturally produce dopamine, the emotional health of the patient can be affected. If this occurs, a mental health professional may prescribe medication to help the patient. The drug buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that is often used to treat Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.

Once the detox process has been successfully completed, the patient should begin a series of other psychological and behavioral treatments. Some of the inpatient treatment programs include cognitive behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, family counseling, and relapse prevention. After the patient has completed the program and leaves the treatment center he should continue with aftercare counseling and support group meetings to help him stay focused on recovery and remain sober. Hydrocodone addiction can be treated effectively at a drug treatment center, and the patient can begin a new phase of his life that is healthy and drug-free.

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.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.