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Do I Have a Dependence on Hydrocodone?

If you or a loved one use Hydrocodone you might be concerned about a Hydrocodone dependence. Get the facts!

Prescription MedicationHydrocodone, otherwise known as Vicodin, is a prescription painkiller drug that according to the Centers for Disease Control more than 125 million individuals used in 2011. If you are taking Hydrocodone and have asked, "Do I have a dependence on Hydrocodone?", you may be concerned with long term use of Hydrocodone having an adverse effect on your health. Heavy and/or frequent use could lead to physical dependency, which simply means that withdrawal symptoms can be present if the drug use is abruptly stopped.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid narcotic from the same drug family as Demerol, Percocet, and Fentanyl. Hydrocodone affects the central nervous system and brain by activating opioid receptor sites. Hydrocodone prevents the body from feeling pain and instead gives a euphoric feeling.

Signs and Symptoms of Hydrocodone Use

If misused or overused, Hydrocodone has the potential for dependency. A sign that you are at risk for becoming dependent is taking the drug for reasons other than what is was originally prescribed for. If the original reason is no longer valid and you are still taking Hydrocodone, you may have a use issue. Recreational use of Hydrocodone is not safe as a tolerance can develop. As your body becomes accustomed to having the drug, it will require more of the drug with each use to achieve the same level of euphoria as before. Taking too much Hydrocodone can result in a fatal overdose.

Individuals who take Hydrocodone may experience behavior changes and mood swings exhibiting agitation, irritability, hostility, and, sometimes, volatile behavior. Some people become exceedingly secretive and may engage in deceitful practices to get more of the drug such as doctor shopping, habitually losing their prescription in order to get another one, and even stealing other people's medication or the doctor's prescription pad. Isolating yourself from loved ones and friends is another indicator that Hydrocodone dependence is a possibility. It is not uncommon to develop other physical signs with Hydrocodone overuse such as constipation, dry mouth, itching, insomnia, and fatigue.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal

If you think you may be dependent on Hydrocodone, there are a number of options available to you to stop using the drug permanently. Depending on how long you have been taking Hydrocodone, the amounts you have been taking, and how often you have been taking it, it may be necessary for you to seek detoxification.

Detox is the removal of the toxic chemicals that have collected in your system from your Hydrocodone use. While there are many different methods of detox, it is important that you choose a method that will keep you comfortable throughout the process. Withdrawal symptoms from Hydrocodone may be:

  • unpleasant and uncomfortable
  • may include diarrhea, cravings, flu-like symptoms, anxiety, tremors, insomnia, nausea, and sweating

Intravenous (IV) therapy medical detox is seen as the safest and most effective method for detox from Hydrocodone. IV therapy medical detox is administered by a physician with medical supervision. Intravenous therapy is viewed as the more successful, effective and safe method for detox because it allows the doctor to make any necessary changes to the medication protocol as your personal body chemistry and withdrawal symptoms change during the release of the toxins. This process keeps you comfortable, safely monitored and able to complete the detox fully.

Next Steps

Once you have successfully completed detox, you may want to enroll in a program that can help you rebuild your life and help you to stay clean long term. Saint Jude Retreats offers a Cognitive Behavioral Education (CBE) program that teaches guests to use self-evaluation and self-change to make productive choices and to develop positive habits and behaviors. Our guests discover that they can have a life that is permanently free from Hydrocodone use and any other drug use and move forward with goals that they decide promote their happiness.

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