The number of people struggling with addiction in the country has continued to greatly skyrocket. Numerous substances are large problems when it comes to people developing addictions, but the most problematic category of substances in this avenue has been opioids for many years. There are several substances included under this heading, such as various medications and illegal drugs like heroin. Of course, heroin has been a massive issue for many years, but the legal medications have also largely contributed to the addiction epidemic that our nation is currently facing. Some of these medications have been greater issues than others and one of these is Hydrocodone, which is actually a generic opioid ingredient contained within numerous medications, including Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco. It is typically prescribed to address moderate to severe pain, but it is also indicated for coughs, being that it is effective is a cough suppressant.
Hydrocodone, like most other opioids, is sourced from the opiate poppy plant. Being part of this family of substances, it produces a common series of effects for those that take it. These include:
- Pain Mitigation
The above is considered to be the desirable effects of hydrocodone. Of course, just like any other form of medication, hydrocodone can also come along with a series of negative side effects, such as:
- Dry Mouth
- Stomach Pain
- Mood Changes
- Appetite Loss
The above could be considered to be the lesser side effects, but there are much more severe ones as well, including:
- Swelling of the throat, tongue, face, lips, eyes, lower legs, ankles, hands, or feet
- Difficulty Breathing
- Extreme Drowsiness
- Chest Pain
- Itching, Hives, or Rashes
- Irregularities in Heart Rate or Rhythm
- Postural Hypotension
- Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing
These side effects can be quite hellacious. If an individual has a prescription for hydrocodone and is experiencing any of the above lesser or severe side effects, they should consult with their doctor. As an important note, many of these side effects can be more likely to occur or exacerbated when an individual consumes hydrocodone in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol. A medical professional should always be consulted for any medication combinations.
While hydrocodone can be very effective in its purpose of relieving pain, it is also abused by many people for the above-desired effects. There are several ways that a person could abuse hydrocodone, such as taking too large of a dose or using it too often. Abuse can also include using the drug in unconventional ways like crushing the pill and snorting it or dissolving the crushed pill in liquid to then inject it. Abusing hydrocodone can be quite dangerous and it can increase the various risks associated with it.
Dependence and Addiction
Just like other opioids, one of the largest risks that hydrocodone carries is the potential for physical dependence. When an individual has been using hydrocodone for some time, it can reach a point where their body actually becomes reliant on the drug. If the individual then attempts to stop taking the drug or goes too long between doses, they can begin to experience terrible cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Runny Nose
- Irregular Heart Rate
- Suicidal Thoughts
Realistically, it can be incredibly difficult to struggle with hydrocodone dependence or withdrawal and an individual should seek out a proper detox center to get off the drug. Detox is extremely important, as it is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of substances and acclimate to functioning without them once again. There are some people who may think that they can just detox at home and battle through the difficulty of withdrawal, but this is never advised. Some substances can actually be dangerous to detox from in severe cases or when it is improperly done, which is why a formal detox program should be attended. At a detox center, an individual can be delivered a correctly formatted detox program and they will be under constant supervision by professionals who can rapidly react to any complications. In addition, many detox centers can give the individual wean down medications to help ease hellacious withdrawal symptoms.
As with other types of opioids, an individual using hydrocodone can also eventually develop an addiction to it. There is a large difference between dependence and addiction that most are unaware of. Dependence refers to the way that an individual’s body can become physically reliant upon drugs, whereas addiction is when a person continues to use substances despite adverse consequences and repercussions in their life. Addiction can impact many different parts of an individual’s life, such as family, relationships, friends, careers, and their mental state.
An individual can develop an addiction for numerous reasons, but the real cause generally underlies the addiction itself. They are often attempting to mask or suppress life issues, emotional pain, problems, or mental difficulties. It can begin with them using substances one time to find reprieve from these factors, and they may then continue to use substances for that purpose. As they proceed with this line of behavior, it can become their standard operating procedure, even to the point where they feel that they cannot really confront life without using drugs. Addiction can develop into an incredibly hellacious struggle and those in this position should be admitted into formal treatment. Treatment can help an individual to work through and address the various difficulties that lead to and contribute to their addiction so that they can overcome it.
Another large risk of hydrocodone is the potential of overdose, which is when an individual consumes more of the drug than their body can actually process and it becomes a toxic shock to the system. Overdose tends to be more likely to occur for those who are abusing hydrocodone. This is because they are generally taking much larger amounts than those using it as prescribed. In addition, individuals without a prescription who are buying off the street may not know the correct dose to take or they might buy hydrocodone that has been cut with some other type of substance. Overdose is especially more likely for those who are snorting or injecting, as this produces more potent effects and may hit the individual a lot faster than normal methods of consumption. Hydrocodone overdose can come along with a series of symptoms like:
- Tiny Pupils
- Bluing of the Lips or Skin (Cyanosis)
- Cold and Clammy Skin
- Slowed or Stopped Breathing
- Decreased Heart Rate
- Skin Paling
- Decreased Blood Pressure
Overdose is an incredibly dangerous condition and the health impacts of it can worsen the longer that it continues. Emergency medical attention should be rapidly sought for anyone going through an overdose.
Like mentioned above, addiction can be an extremely burdensome condition, but it is not impossible to break free of it. In fact, Best Drug Rehabilitation is here to assist with just that. We help thousands of people to overcome addiction every year and can do the same for you or your loved one. Give us a call today and we can answer any questions that you may have regarding our programs.