The Effects of Hydrocodone Addiction: Causes, Signs, and Symptoms


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The Effects of Hydrocodone Addiction: Causes, Signs, and Symptoms

Hydrocodone is a powerful prescription pain reliever that is typically used for moderate to severe pain. It affects the central nervous system and can cause side effects like drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, anxiety, and difficulty breathing. Hydrocodone use has been linked to an increased risk of overdose and death due to respiratory depression among some people abusing it.


Hydrocodone addiction is a serious problem in the United States. The abuse of this drug, which contains acetaminophen and hydrocodone as its primary ingredients, can lead to many physical and emotional problems.

The abuse of hydrocodone can lead to many negative effects on the body. These include liver damage, kidney failure, constipation, seizures, coma, or death. In addition, withdrawal from the drug is very painful and can cause many symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and sweating.

Hydrocodone addiction has a negative impact not only on the person abusing it but also on their family and friends. The addict may become irritable, withdrawn, and depressed. They may have trouble keeping a job and may steal from loved ones. In addition, the addict may neglect his or her own health and hygiene altogether!

When someone you love is abusing hydrocodone, it can be very difficult to cope with. You may feel helpless and frustrated, and you may have trouble communicating with your loved one. The first step in coping is to understand the nature of addiction so that you can help your loved one.

Many people believed, in the past,  that addiction was a moral failing. Today, however, most experts agree that it is more likely to be a disease of the brain. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that addiction is a “chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around them. 

Those functional changes to brain circuits are involved in reward, stress, and self-control. may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs. If this addictive situation is left untreated, it can last a lifetime and in some cases, may lead to death.

What Is Hydrocodone?

The drug was originally synthesized in Germany and released onto the market there under the name “Dolantin” in 1916. It was released in the United States under the trade name “Lortab” by Eli Lilly and Company in 1939. In addition to Lortab, other brand-name versions of Hydrocodone include Norco, Vicodin, and Zohydro. 

Hydrocodone is also available in many combined medications such as:

  • Phenylephrine (e.g., Hycomine Compound, Histinex HC)
  • Ibuprofen (eg: Reprexain)
  • Homatropine (eg: Hycomed)
  • Guaifenesin (eg: Codiclear DH, Entuss)
  • Chlorpheniramine (eg: Vanex HD, Tussionex)
  • Aspirin (eg: Alor, Damason-P)
  • Acetaminophen (eg: Anexsia, Vicodin)

Hydrocodone is an opiate pain reliever drug that comes from the same family as heroin. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain, such as post-surgical pain and cancer pain. Although Hydrocodone can be very effective in relieving pain, it can also become habit-forming. It is a controlled substance, which means that it has to be prescribed by a doctor.

Understanding why and how hydrocodone has the potential of becoming addictive as well as the signs and symptoms of hydrocodone addiction can help prevent this prescription from being abused.

How Does Hydrocodone Work?

Hydrocodone is a narcotic analgesic, which means that it works by mimicking the body’s natural painkillers, called endorphins. Endorphins are released in response to pain and attach to opioid receptors in the brain. 

These endorphins are what block the transmission of pain signals from reaching the brain. When hydrocodone is introduced into a person’s system, it attaches to the same receptors as endorphins do, causing a person’s brain to think that it has plenty of natural painkillers available. The brain will then release its own endorphins into the body, which will block pain signals from reaching the brain. Hydrocodone is most commonly used for moderate to severe pain and can also be used as a cough suppressant.

In addition to blocking pain signals, hydrocodone causes a person to feel calm and relaxed. This is because the drug activates the brain’s pleasure center by increasing dopamine levels in the body. The effects of hydrocodone are similar to those of heroin and morphine, which also attach to the brain’s pleasure center. This is why people who take hydrocodone can become addicted so quickly.

Can Hydrocodone Be Addictive?

Hydrocodone is highly addictive, even in small doses. Many people who take the drug for pain relief can become addicted after only a few days of use.

The Effects of Hydrocodone Addiction

The effects of hydrocodone addiction are dramatic. The drug causes the brain to release a flood of dopamine, which creates feelings of intense pleasure and relaxation. However, the brain quickly gets used to the drug and stops producing dopamine on its own. This is why people who are addicted to hydrocodone need more of the drug to feel good.

The Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

The signs of hydrocodone addiction are easy to spot. People who use the drug regularly often start showing up late for work, school, or other important activities. They may also have unexplained absences from social events or arguments with friends and family members. 

Since hydrocodone makes people feel good, they may start spending more money than usual on things like clothes, jewelry, and other luxuries. People who abuse hydrocodone may also experience physical changes. The drug can cause the pupils in their eyes to become small, and it may lead to a loss of appetite. 

When the drug is no longer available, people addicted to hydrocodone may start exhibiting signs of withdrawal. When people stop taking hydrocodone, they may also experience withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some people become so depressed that they cannot get out of bed, while others go through mental and emotional turmoil.

A person who is addicted to hydrocodone may experience some of these symptoms:

  • Aggressive behavior or violent tendencies  
  • Anxiety, 
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Concentration problems and memory loss
  • Depression, including 
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt  
  • Irritability 
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed  
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia  
  • Restlessness

The person may also experience withdrawal symptoms when he or she stops taking the drug, which may begin within a few hours after the last dose of hydrocodone is taken. These may include:

  • Backaches
  • Bone pain  
  • Cold flashes
  • Depression  
  • Goosebumps 
  • Intense drug craving  
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety  
  • Trembling
  • Vomiting 

The Effects of Hydrocodone Addiction

Some of the many effects of hydrocodone abuse include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Euphoria
  • Itchy skin
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Nodding in and out of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Reduced breathing rate
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting
  • Warm, flushed skin

Long-term misuse of Hydrocodone changes brain functions and also drastically alters the mood and thought patterns. Prolonged Hydrocodone addiction causes kidney and liver damage as well which is difficult to reverse or treat.

Hydrocodone can result in an overdose if taken in large quantities. When the body is unable to break down the opioids in its system, breathing and heart rates can plummet causing hypoxia which is depriving the brain of oxygen.  


Recovery from Hydrocodone Addiction Is Possible with the Right Help

Hydrocodone is a narcotic analgesic medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works by changing the way your brain and nervous system respond to pain signals, although it also has a high potential for abuse. 

This drug is extremely addictive and users can develop a tolerance to it over time, requiring larger doses to achieve the same effect. When addiction develops, users will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug.

Treatment for hydrocodone addiction typically begins with a detoxification period. This helps to eliminate the drug from the body and minimize withdrawal symptoms. To reduce discomfort during this time, patients are usually given other medications to help ease pain, reduce anxiety, and prevent seizures.

Treatment for hydrocodone addiction may include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine or methadone to help reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms
  • Counseling helps patients learn how to avoid situations that trigger drug use, manage stress, and develop healthy coping skills
  • Support groups or 12-step programs to help patients maintain their sobriety and prevent relapse
  • Behavioral therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or contingency management (CM), which reward abstinence from drug use with positive reinforcement
  • Hospitalization to help patients detoxify safely and manage severe symptoms of withdrawal

Don’t let this drug affect you or your loved one. Hydrocodone addiction can be treated effectively and leading a healthy and enjoyable life is possible by taking that first step of looking for and getting help. 

West Valley Detox is a top-class hydrocodone addiction treatment facility where each person needing help is provided with a customized treatment plan. To find out more about our Hydrocodone addiction treatment in Los Angeles, call us today. We are always at hand to look after you and start your life without Hydrocodone.

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