Hydrocodone is an opioid, a class of drugs used to relieve pain. While it has legitimate medical uses it is also highly addictive. Today, hydrocodone addiction has become a serious problem that affects many people throughout our society.

Hydrocodone is marketed under a number of different trade names including:

  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet-HD
  • Hycodan
  • Vicoprofen

Like other opioids, hydrocodone is used to treat intense pain that cannot be relieved through any other means. It is also an effective cough suppressant. Hydrocodone is often used in combination with acetaminophen.

About Hydrocodone Abuse

Hydrocodone works by binding to opioid receptors located in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body. Once bound to these receptors, they block pain signals from reaching the brain. Hydrocodone also interacts with other chemicals in the brain such as endorphins in such a way as to create feelings of euphoria and sedation. However, this drug can produce a number of negative side effects which include:

  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Physical dependence
  • Tolerance
  • Respiratory depression

Although hydrocodone is occasionally produced clandestinely the DEA reports that it is most likely to be obtained by diverting it from legitimate sources. Of particular concern is a practice known as “doctor shopping.” Patients go to different doctors in order to get numerous prescriptions for the medication. Illicit hydrocodone sales via the internet is also a serious problem. Opioid abuse may also lead users to begin taking heroin, a cheaper alternative that produces many of the same effects.

The illicit use of hydrocodone and other prescription opioids has reached alarming proportions in recent years.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. The majority of those involved an opioid. Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have quadrupled since 1999.

Of particular concern is the rise in hydrocodone abuse by young people. The National Institute on Drug Abuse at The National Institutes of Health gathered statistics on drug abuse in a report entitled “Monitoring the Future.”  It found that in 2013 annual prevalence rates for the use of Vicodin were 1.4%, 4.6%, and 5.3% in grades 8, 10, and 12.

Hydrocodone Addiction Signs

Hydrocodone can be extremely addictive resulting in the current epidemic of hydrocodone addiction. A person exhibiting the following behaviors may also be struggling with hydrocodone addiction:

  • Obsession with use
  • Continued use despite negative consequences
  • Denial of a problem
  • The presence of withdrawal symptoms when trying to halt abuse

Over time, the body builds up a tolerance to the drug so that users require greater quantities to achieve the desired effects. Additionally, users will continue to use the drug in order to avoid painful hydrocodone addiction withdrawal symptoms. If someone is struggling with addiction and trying to combat withdrawal symptoms, they should seek out treatment as soon as possible.

At Sovereign Health of Texas, hydrocodone addiction treatment generally begins by helping the individual through the detox process. Detoxifying the body of hydrocodone or other opioids should be done with careful medical supervision which is why our medical staff monitors the patient throughout this initial stage of recovery. They will treat any uncomfortable or potentially dangerous side effects using medications such as buprenorphine or naloxone when needed to help control withdrawal symptoms.

Patients will then continue the recovery process in residential treatment, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Treatment generally lasts between 30 and 90 days depending on the patient’s needs. Our treatment programs involve several different treatment modalities including:

  • Individual and process group therapy
  • Stress and anger management groups
  • Schema treatment
  • Narrative treatment
  • Mindfulness training
  • Biopsychosocial assessment
  • Life skills education
  • Experiential outings
  • Couples therapy
  • Continuing care program

At Sovereign Health of Texas we recognize that every person is a unique individual requiring a specific treatment approach to treat their addiction to hydrocodone. Each of our patients receives a comprehensive evaluation allowing our doctors and clinicians to identify anything that may be causing or contributing to their addiction. Once they have gathered this information, they will design a treatment program tailored to meet the patient’s needs.

It is vitally important to know that hydrocodone addiction is not a moral failing or a lack of willpower. As the Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy said “Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and it’s one that we have to treat the way we would any other chronic illness: with skill, with compassion, and with urgency.”

If you think or a loved one is in need of hydrocodone addiction treatment please contact our 24/7 helpline to learn more about how we can help.

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“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie