The treatment of hydrocodone addiction involves gradual reduction of the drug intake, detoxification of the body, and successful management of the withdrawal symptoms, with the help of medicines and support groups. This article discusses the same.
Hydrocodone is mixed with some other analgesics to make effective painkillers and cough suppressants. It is obtained from either codeine or thebaine, the natural narcotic drug which contains opium. Codeine or thebaine, offers the distinctive properties to hydrocodone, which make people take the drug again and again. People enjoy the state of euphoria, which they experience after taking this drug. With prolonged use, tolerance to this drug increases, and the person becomes chemically dependent on it. This results in addiction of the drug.
The government has announced ‘hydrocodone’ as the ‘controlled substance’. Although, the supply and consumption of the drug is governed by the law, its easy availability is the main reason of increased drug abuse. People find it easy to get a prescription for the drug by pretending to be in pain. They are less embarrassed to get the officially prescribed drug.
The symptoms can be detected by the friends, family members, or health care provider of the addict. They include:
- Repeated requests for medications that contain this drug. For example, Vicodin or Lortab.
- Taking hydrocodone tablets too quickly and requesting for refills before the due date.
- Choosing different doctors to get several prescriptions.
- Switching from one doctor to another without any reason.
- Always running short of money.
- Avoiding old and close friends, and seen in the company of new friends.
- Unexplained changes in mood or overall behavior.
- Noticeable behavioral changes like avoiding the company of others, spending most of the time alone, stealing, telling lies, or other incidences of dishonest behavior.
- The doctor may come across different types of excuses like “lost the prescription”, “the prescription was stolen”, or “need a prescription before the due date since going on vacation”, etc.
- The addict may experience a state of euphoria, calmness, feeling of content, and complete absence of anxiety. He or she may enjoy the drowsiness, mental slowing, sedation, and increased somnolence.
- Increased use of the drug may lead to side effects such as increased lethargy, blood disorders, irregular respiration, lightheadedness, skin rashes, and stomach disorders like constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, difficulty urinating, etc.
- If the addict stops taking the drug, then withdrawal symptoms like headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, watery eyes, runny nose, fever, sweating, chills, shivering, intense craving for the drug, increased irritability, etc., can be observed.
The treatment involves the effective use of a drug rehab program for slow hydrocodone withdrawal. It is not easy to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. The patient may crave for the drug, and might try to get the drug in every possible way to overcome the withdrawal symptoms.
Fortunately, these symptoms are not life-threatening. Detoxification of body provides relief. It needs to be carried out gradually. This helps lower the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. The body slowly becomes accustomed to lower doses of the drug, and finally becomes ready to get off the drug completely. Drug rehabilitation centers also use medicines like methadone to ease the withdrawal symptoms.
The withdrawal treatment includes the use of painkillers to alleviate muscle pain. Medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen help lower fever and chills. Hot bath is recommended for relaxation. The patient is advised to increase fluid intake which helps minimize the effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
The success of hydrocodone addiction treatment depends upon the psychological support provided by the near and dear ones. Friends and family members, with proper care and understanding, can help strengthen the patient mentally. The patient’s response to the treatment also is very crucial. The close ones can help the patient to get rid of the depression and other withdrawal symptoms. The duration of the treatment depends upon the type of symptoms, severity of the symptoms, and the patient’s will power.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.