Hydrocodone Addiction, Effects, Withdrawal, and Treatment

Hydrocodone—known by various brand names—is one of the most widely prescribed painkillers in the United States. This page will explore hydrocodone misuse, adverse effects, and how to get treatment for hydrocodone addiction.

Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone is an opioid medication, and its principal use is to treat moderate to severe pain. All opioids, prescription or illegal, have a high potential for misuse and dependence and are DEA-controlled substances.1

You can only legally use hydrocodone with a prescription, though this drug is sometimes produced and sold illegally.2,3

Misusing hydrocodone may quickly lead not only to physiological dependence (which causes withdrawal when one tries to cut back or stop using) but also opioid addiction (opioid use disorder).4

Signs of Hydrocodone Misuse

Opioids like hydrocodone may be misused. Hydrocodone misuse is when a person:4

  • Takes another person’s prescription medicine.
  • Takes the medicine in a dose or way that is not prescribed.
  • Takes the medicine in an effort to get high or feel the effects it causes.

In some cases, a person may misuse hydrocodone by swallowing it in its normal form. In other instances, a person may open capsules or crush pills to either snort the powder or dissolve it in water and inject the liquid into a vein.4

Hydrocodone Misuse Adverse Effects

Hydrocodone misuse is associated with several adverse effects. Chronic misuse can increase a person’s risk of developing:4,5

  • Tolerance: When a person needs to take more of a substance or take it more often to achieve the same effects.
  • Physiological dependence: When a person becomes accustomed to the presence of the substance, and if they stop or drastically reduce the amount they use, it results in a characteristic set of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Addiction: A chronic disease characterized by the continued, compulsive use of a substance despite harmful consequences.
  • Overdose: When a person uses enough hydrocodone that it produces life-threatening symptoms or death.

Hydrocodone Overdose

Chronic hydrocodone misuse is associated with the risk of opioid overdose. This occurs when you take more of an opioid drug than your body can tolerate. Someone who misuses or is addicted to hydrocodone may risk overdose by:6

  • Taking higher and higher doses to get the effects they want.
  • Take hydrocodone with other substances like alcohol.
  • Taking hydrocodone that was produced and sold illegally (as it may contain other substances such as fentanyl).

The 3 most common signs of a hydrocodone overdose (known as the opioid overdose triad) are:6

  • Extremely small pupil size.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Slowed and/or difficult breathing.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal can be very physically uncomfortable and may also create some psychological distress. While not typically dangerous, the opioid withdrawal syndrome can be challenging without medical support.7

Hydrocodone withdrawal typically begins 8-12 hours after a person last used hydrocodone and subsides in approximately 3-5 days.7

As with other opioids, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms may include:5

  • Muscle aches.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Yawning.
  • Insomnia.
  • Runny nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Intense feelings of discontent or depression.

Hydrocodone Detox

Medical detox for hydrocodone withdrawal can take place in an inpatient facility or outpatient program. With medications and the support of professionals, withdrawal from hydrocodone can be made much more manageable.

At Desert Hope, we provide inpatient medical detox that employs medications and the 24/7 supervision and support of highly experienced doctors and nurses.

Finding Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment in Las Vegas, NV

Each person’s hydrocodone addiction is different, therefore each person’s treatment should be individualized.

Desert Hope Treatment Center—a drug and alcohol rehab in Las Vegas—provides many levels of addiction treatment so that, whatever your needs, you can find help here. We offer not only medical detox for opioid addiction but also inpatient/residential rehab and various levels of outpatient programming.

For our patients who complete treatment and would like the support of a recovery community, we also have sober living residences nearby. Many people move through multiple levels of care as they work their recovery.

To learn more about how to start the admissions process or handling the cost of rehab, call a caring admissions navigator at . We can help you determine an appropriate path of treatment for you.

Using insurance to pay for rehab? Desert Hope is in-network with several major insurance companies. You can confidentially now.

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Desert Hope is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is easily accessible from most locations in the Southwest. We offer a full continuum of care that spans from inpatient medical detox and rehab to outpatient services and sober living. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs near Vegas or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.