Opiates - Heroin, Substance Abuse

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Woman in pain from hydrocodone withdrawal.

Prescription medications like Hydrocodone are designed to help people manage pain. Unfortunately, they do so by changing how our bodies respond—instead of pain, people feel euphoria. This is one of the leading causes for why people develop a dependency on prescription drugs. Other reasons include altered brain function, inability to make decisions, extreme withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one are addicted to Hydrocodone and need help, please continue reading or call us today for assistance.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone, an opioid, is prescribed to relieve severe pain. It is used to treat people who need supplementary medicine for around-the-clock pain and those who can’t take other medications.

This potent painkiller is part of the narcotic analgesics or pain medicine classification. It works by targeting a person’s central nervous system and alters how they feel and respond to the pain.

Long-acting or extended-release Hydrocodone can be in the form of capsules, tablets, solutions, and elixirs.

Despite being a prescription drug, Hydrocodone can cause side effects. Yes, it will help with your pain, but you may also experience some symptoms aside from that reprieve.

Woman with stomach pain due to hydrocodone withdrawal.

Here are some of the likely side effects of using Hydrocodone as a pain reliever:

  • Back pain
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Painful, difficult, and frequent urination
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling in the ankle, foot, or leg
  • Tightening of the muscles
  • Vomiting

Remember that your doctor will only prescribe this pain killer if they are confident that the benefits outweigh the side effects. So if you encounter drastic side effects like apnea, difficulty in breathing, hallucinations, weight loss, and allergies, advise your physician in real-time so another medication can be prescribed.

Woman in distress from hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.

Can Hydrocodone Make You High?

Yes, Hydrocodone affects the body like other opioids—by causing the body to release feel-good sensations. The need to feel that exhilaration repeatedly leads to the drug’s misuse.

Occasionally, users double Hydrocodone’s effects by taking it intravenously or intranasally. This is done to achieve an instant ‘high.’ Over time, the user’s decision-making abilities are affected, and they can no longer stop taking Hydrocodone.

What Are Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms?

Prolonged use of Hydrocodone can become a habit. Therefore the drug is prescribed only for short durations or in the smallest possible quantity. However, repeat use or consuming the drug beyond the prescribed timeline results in the person becoming mentally and physically dependent on the drug.

Mental dependence on Hydrocodone or addiction is not likely to happen if solely used for medical purposes. However, the risk involved goes far beyond simple side effects. When a person takes Hydrocodone regularly for an extended period, they start becoming tolerant of its pain-reducing ability. To ease their discomfort, people start doubling their dosage, thus leading to dependence and addiction.

Since people are at risk of growing physically dependent on the drug, stopping immediately is not recommended. Are you now wondering, “Can you have withdrawal symptoms from Hydrocodone?” The answer is yes.

Woman with headache due to hydrocodone withdrawal.

The recommended methodology for minor narcotics withdrawal symptoms is to reduce the dosage over a specific timeline.

When patients stop taking the drug abruptly, they face moderate to severe Hydrocodone withdrawal side effects. And this is classified into two phases: the acute withdrawal phase and the prolonged withdrawal phase.

Here are some of the possible acute side effects of coming off opiates:

  • Agitations
  • Fever
  • Excessive yawning
  • Increased tear production
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Unexplained anxiety

While the prolonged opium withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea and Vomiting

How Long Do Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

The Hydrocodone withdrawal timeline is different for every coping individual. A person’s weight, lifestyle, medical history, and mental state are factors that contribute to the duration and intensity of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

But if you are wondering how quickly do withdrawal symptoms from Hydrocodone start, then the answer is not long.

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 6 to 12 hours after a patient has stopped taking the drug. These symptoms can gradually lessen or become worse over the next two weeks.

Like the severity of the symptoms, the intensity of the painkiller withdrawal symptoms depends on how long the drug’s been consumed, dosage, frequency, and whether alcohol or other drugs were consumed alongside Hydrocodone.

In general, Hydrocodone withdrawal after short term use has a relatively shorter timeline than years of addiction.

Acute narcotic withdrawal in an ideal scenario will last only 14 days. However, after these, mild symptoms can continue for the next 18 months to two years. These symptoms are called post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS.

What is Hydrocodone Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

The post-acute withdrawal syndrome is still included in the Hydrocodone withdrawal timeline, even though this is when a patient no longer suffers from the physical symptoms.

During this time and in the incoming weeks and months, patients experience psychological symptoms and are thus recommended supplementary treatment to prevent relapse.

Here are the common post-acute withdrawal symptoms that patients can experience. It might just be one consistent symptom or several indicators at a given time.

  • Anxiety
  • Augmented sensitivity to stress
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Panic
  • Sleep problems

Since withdrawal timelines vary from case to case, please call us and consult our medical staff. Once they’ve understood the details of your case, they’ll be able to answer questions such as how long does opioid withdrawal last.

Doctor writing report from hydrocodone withdrawal client.

Possible Complications of Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, overwhelming, and painful. But it is not supposed to be fatal.

Possible health complications will not be from the actual oxycodone withdrawal symptoms but from what it triggers inside a patient’s body if they have existing medical conditions.

An example would be high blood pressure as a Hydrocodone withdrawal symptom. Without any health issues, your doctor might just prescribe medication to lower a patient’s blood pressure. In such situations, there’s nothing to worry about.

But that same withdrawal symptom can become life-threatening if a patient has heart disease or is at risk for heart disease.

If you’re worried about the potential for health complications, please call us and consult our medical staff. Once they’ve understood the details of your case, they’ll be able to guide you.

Hydrocodone Detoxification

Most people suffering from a minor or mild addiction to Hydrocodone enter a detox program as medical staff can help manage Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms, making the detox significantly less unpleasant.

Such a detox program will usually last a week. And during this time, staff at the Hydrocodone detox center will use a combination of holistic methods and medicines to help the patient and ensure their welfare.

Medical detox can be done either at an inpatient or outpatient facility but never do a Hydrocodone detox at home alone. Medical professionals must always supervise patients, especially if they have existing comorbidities that the withdrawal symptoms can trigger.

If you or a loved one are addicted to Hydrocodone and need to discuss details specific to your case, please call us for assistance.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Treatment

After the detox process, health professionals often recommend a continuity program for patients.

The goal here is to avoid relapse. After the detox, patients are not yet done with being weaned from the drug. They are, in fact, at one of their most vulnerable stages because they haven’t, as yet, learned to deal with triggers and temptations.

This is another manifestation of how uncertain you can be in determining how long do opioid withdrawal symptoms last.

With this in mind and with the goal to become free from Hydrocodone, here are some of the treatment options that patients can look into:

Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility

At this point, checking into an inpatient rehabilitation facility is one of the most practical and reliable approaches to help patients deal with the Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms they are experiencing.

When patients decide to enter an inpatient facility, they automatically become full-time residents of a program designed for them. They will receive support 24/7 and be given targeted care based on their situation.

Patients can either have a room to themselves or bunk with a roommate at a medical detox center. All activities moving forward, like one-on-one consultations, are done inside the care facility. Patients are also encouraged to participate in the different offered programs, like therapy sessions and holistic dialogs.

The most significant advantage of inpatient rehab is that patients have enough distance from the outside world. In most cases of addiction, users have reported society’s pressures and expectations as influencers to their Hydrocodone dependency. By removing all these stressors and distractions, patients can focus on themselves and their recovery.

Although staying in an inpatient center is just a temporary bubble, it can help patients learn new ways of managing triggers, thus preparing them to stay clean and drug-free when they return to their lives. In addition, the assistance and guidance patients receive from their dedicated medical team are also crucial to their healing.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

Instead of staying inside the rehabilitation facility, outpatient rehabilitation treatment allows a patient to go home. This, however, does not imply that patients deal with withdrawal symptoms on their own.

As part of the outpatient rehabilitation process, patients must visit their partner clinic, hospital, or treatment center frequently for their treatment. These are short visits where medical staff check the patient’s vitals and talk about symptoms, severity, and coping mechanisms. Patients will also receive therapy and counseling.

Most recovering people settle for this option because of the low costs involved in outpatient treatment.

This treatment would involve a patient’s family extensively. They would need to step up during this time and be supportive of the patient during their recovery. Everyone needs to make a conscious effort to make their home a conducive environment for healing.

For more details about inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, along with cost, please call us for assistance.

Therapy session with doctor and client for hydrocodone withdrawal.

Holistic Activities and Programs

Activities are part of the rehabilitation program during inpatient treatment. If you’re keen on outpatient rehabilitation, check with your shortlisted organizations about access to therapies, counseling, and activities. These could vary from equine-assisted therapy to adventure-based treatment to aromatherapy and so on.

Experiential therapy encourages patients to use healthier coping mechanisms through art and music. Similarly, meditation and yoga are recommended as they help patients remain calm and centered.

Activities like these help patients build on their confidence and sense of usefulness and purpose. They also help patients deal and cope with challenges and cravings. Most importantly, they help patients build life skills.

Medication-Assisted Therapy or MAT

Another way to ease narcotic withdrawal symptoms is through pharmaceutical interventions.

Pharmaceutical alternatives can also be recommended by your doctor when deemed necessary. There are medications that you can take that can help with your Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms while ensuring that relapse is prevented.

You can be prescribed the drug buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. These medications help curb a patient’s Hydrocodone cravings. However, treatment is not limited to more drugs. Patients will also work with their medical staff, receive counseling and therapy and other assistance that makes MAT a holistic treatment option.

Before you worry, medication assistance does not replace one addiction with another—the doses are meant to treat physical symptoms of the Lortab withdrawal without the accompanying “high” that often leads to dependency. Medication assistance also helps a patient’s brain to heal and recover by restoring a pre-addiction balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Treat Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms at Home?

Dealing with Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms at home can be dangerous, and without medical assistance, the risk of relapsing is high. Outpatient treatment is a better alternative as technically, you can go back to your life and home after the detox process. Even then, temptations and triggers are plenty, and patients can relapse without coping mechanisms in place. The upside is that patients learn to become creative when managing their withdrawal symptoms.

Here are examples of what you can do at home to manage and treat your withdrawal symptoms:

  • When you are experiencing chills, layer your clothes.
  • Sweating and fever would mean wearing loose clothing made with absorbent material.
  • When you feel flushed and hot, you can take a cooling and soothing temperature bath.
  • If you experience tremors or shaking, you can reduce your caffeine drink intake or switch to decaffeinated options.
  • Use different distraction techniques to try to block your withdrawal symptoms. For example, watching the TV, reading a book, and having a light workout are better activities than simply being fixated on what your body is feeling and fighting against the symptoms.
  • Keep a schedule and follow a healthy routine by making a list or having a day-by-day timeline.

Will Taking Less Hydrocodone Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?

Yes, reducing the dosage of Hydrocodone can also cause withdrawal symptoms.

However, since you are still taking the drug, albeit with a reduced dosage, the withdrawal symptoms are minimal and mild. This is a good way to safely taper off the medication.

Allowing your body to adjust gradually when you reduce your drug dose is a more considerate approach to de-addiction. Oftentimes, the withdrawal symptoms in such a situation are more manageable.

What Are the Other Names Of Hydrocodone?

When prescribed, Hydrocodone can be specified as Lortab, Lorcet, or Vicodin.

And when you are purchasing it from the streets or the black market, it is often called hydros, fluff, VIC, v-itamin, vikes, and Watson-387.

How Can I Get Help with My Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms?

First please commend yourself for acknowledging that you need help with your symptoms. Openly acknowledging the need for help often forms the hardest step. Please reach out to your trusted family and friends for support, but don’t stop there.

At some point, you will likely need professional support, and this is where tapping the right resources can make all the difference.

You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s (SAMHSA’s) helpline. You can reach them at 1-800-662-HELP or visit https://findtreatment.gov/ for more options and information.

Should you or a loved one need a private service, please call us for assistance.

After Thoughts: When Opioids Become an Issue

Hydrocodone can be used effectively and relatively safely, and using it to alleviate pain and manage discomfort means it is being used as intended.

Unfortunately, users can misuse it outside of pain management. If this happens, they may become too dependent on the drug to stop naturally. Since the drug interferes with brain functioning and causes dependency, please avoid blaming an addict. Instead, understand more about the drug, its effects, and why it’s challenging to stop consuming it. Most importantly, though, support your loved one through this difficult time.

Rest assured that users can successfully manage withdrawal symptoms with the proper professional treatment and social support and use that detox as a foundation to break free of a substance dependency.

If you or a loved one are addicted to Hydrocodone and need guidance, please call us today.