Hydrocodone Overview: Addiction Signs, Withdrawal and Treatment

Hydrocodone is a powerful prescription painkiller that is increasingly being abused in the United States. In 2006 alone, almost 130 million prescriptions were written for medications containing Hydrocodone. It’s this abundance of prescriptions for Hydrocodone that makes it very easy to obtain and abuse.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid painkiller that causes similar effects as morphine and heroin. These euphoric and numbing effects can cause a physical and mental addiction if Hydrocodone is misused or abused.

The Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

Not everyone who takes Hydrocodone will become addicted, but physical dependence after chronic use or abuse can lead to a serious addiction. The following are some warning signs of Hydrocodone addiction:

* Continued use of the drug, even after the pain it was prescribed for has ceased.
* Mood and behavior changes, such as becoming hostile, volatile, agitated or anxious.
* Secretive or deceitful behavior in order to obtain the drug. Having multiple prescriptions from more than one doctor or buying it off the street is a good indication that an addiction has started.
* Physical withdrawal symptoms when doses are missed. Flu-like symptoms such as joint and muscle aches, night sweats and insomnia are very common.
* Developing a high tolerance so that more pills are needed for the same desired effect.
* Withdrawal from friends, family and society, especially if people close to say you have a problem.
* Financial problems associated with having to purchase more and more pills.

Physical signs of Hydrocodone addiction are:

* Constipation
* Difficulty urinating
* Anxiety
* Mental clouding
* Dry throat
* Itching
* Restlessness
* Sluggishness

Hydrocodone Overdose Facts

Hydrocodone overdose can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Symptoms of a Hydrocodone overdose are:

* Extreme drowsiness
* Dizziness
* Limp muscles
* Bluish tinge to the skin, fingernails and lips
* Cold, clammy skin
* Heavy perspiration
* Nausea and/or vomiting
* Slowed heartbeat
* Difficulty breathing
* Pinpoint pupils
* Stomach spasms
* Low blood pressure
* Seizures
* Coma

Hydrocodone Detox

Physical dependence on Hydrocodone can create severe withdrawal symptoms, especially if sudden discontinuation occurs. Signs of Hydrocodone withdrawal will usually set in within a few hours to a full day after the last dose, and can include the following symptoms: excessive sweating and yawning, runny nose and eyes, diarrhea and vomiting, shivering, muscle aches and cramps, and insomnia.

Managing Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms should be done safely and professionally through detox at a Hydrocodone rehab.

Hydrocodone Rehab

Treating an addiction to Hydrocodone and other prescription painkillers is best done at a Hydrocodone rehab facility. Here you will receive safe, professional detox that is monitored by an expert professional. Once the body has been detoxified of all residue toxins, treatment of the mental addiction can begin with group and individual therapy.

If you feel like you’ve developed an addiction to Hydrocodone or another prescription painkiller, seek medical treatment right away. The sooner you receive help, the easier it will be to stop abusing the pills. If your addiction began as a legitimate way to treat severe or chronic pain, then a medical doctor can help you find an alternative way to treat and manage your pain.

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20 Responses to “Hydrocodone Overview: Addiction Signs, Withdrawal and Treatment”

  1. diane

    Please help me. I have been addicted to hydrocodone for years.

  2. Heather

    I have been taken loritabs for 12 years and finally stopped taken them cold turkey 3 days ago. Is this the safest way to stop? And I have has the worst headaches, is that one of the withdrawal signs?

  3. renda

    Heather, no it is not safe to stop cold turkey. Could cause serious health problems, especially for 12 years. Be careful and seek doctors help. Best of luck to you.

  4. Larry

    Yes headaches are a common side effect for withdrawals. I myself have tried to go cold turkey and headaches became a daily side effect. Try using over the counter medicine to help with the headaches. You will feel like you are needing something and can’t remember what it is you are needing simuliar to nicotine withdrawal. I take them for cronic pain and I am feeling the violent temper that comes with taking them for two long. I only take 10.325 mg but I feel the addiction and having a family with two small children it’s time to re-think my pain reliever. My brother was addicted to oxicodone 30mg and up he made it thru the DT’s but he said it was the hardest 3 weeks of his life. We all have our addictions but it takes more then just wanting to quit it takes team effort and support from our love ones and even strangers good luck we all need could use it.

  5. Rebekah

    My sister in law is addicted to hydrocodone 10/325 she gets 90 a month and they are gone in about 10 days we are so afraid that she is going to overdose she sits around and falls to sleep sitting up she will sit at the table to eat and her face almost falls into her plate she drops drinks or plates of food in the floor

  6. Brandon

    I take anywhere from 70 to 120 mg of hydrocodone a day and have been for the past three months. I used to take maeby 30 mg a week. I desperately want to quit. I cant go 24hours without them before i start throwing up and feining bad. I cant make it to work without them. How do i quit? How long do these severe withdrawls last. Pray for me too.

  7. marty

    I have been on hydrocodone 10/500 for 5months, its gotten to where I need them to make it thru the day, Im perscibed 90 a month I have turned to snorting them I usally snort 4-6 a day I took my last one yesterday and said it enough Im done. What can I expect for withdrawl? Help please.

  8. mary

    I have been taking hydrochodone 10/325 for years since my back surgery. I hate it but have tried EVERYTHING to relieve the pain …. I can’t function without them due to pain but know its horrible to take . I take 3-5 a day…and wish I didn’t have to. Has anyone found anything that will actually relieve pain that isn’t so dangerous ?

  9. Tammy

    I have taken Lortab for 13 years. I can’t tell you one day in those 13 years that I have went without them. I would wake up every morning and that would be the first thing I went for. I use to brag at how I only took 3 a day, that amount has surely increased. My prescription of 60 will last me about 8 days. Anyway, last Saturday I took my last Lortab. Today is number 5. I haven’t felt too bad, restless leg has been awful, can’t manage to keep them still. Diarrhea started yesterday, not sure if it’s because of the Lortab or that I’ve managed to catch a bug. Anyone else have the diarrhea come on at this stage??? How long does it last??? Craziest thing of all, I love Lortab, I love the euphoric feeling that comes with them but I don’t love them ruining my life anymore. It has felt so great the last 5 days to not have to go looking for them, to not go to bed thinking about where I will find them, tearing my room apart looking for one that I might have dropped or left in a purse somewhere. Insane when I say it outloud. I keep reading about the withdrawals and how long they last: Truthfully if this is all I have to go through to get off these things then this is the easier route. Going through hell everyday to get them is INSANE! I can have a Lortab right now if I wanted it but I’m not going to do it. I’m going to ride this out and get clean. Good luck to all of you!

  10. Patricia P.

    I suffer from bipolar type II with hypomania and psychlothymia. I have suffered a 4 to 5 week cyclicity since the age of 4. But I was not correctly diagnosed until 1997. Since then I have been on almost every psychotropic drug and mood stablizer. In 1996 I suffered a severe dislocation of my sacrum but did not seek treatment for 2 years. Now my hips, vertabrae, and knees are permanently off-center (basically crooked with one hip higher than the other). Finally, I was prescribed hydrocodone for the discomfort, and it worked, but amazingly it also stablized my bipolar disorder. It works as an antidepressant, mood elevator, mood stablizer, energy pill, as well as a pain reliever. I have not had a major depressive episode in 3 years since my hydrocodone treatment began. And also in these 3 years there has been no tolerance build up. The same dosage of 2 10/325 a day has worked for 3 years. My life is changed and I am functioning 100% better emotionally, mentally, and physically. But because hydrocodone is so highly addictive it must be monitored very closely by both doctor and patient. I feel this experience i’ve had is extremely important for psychiatric medicine today.

  11. paka

    Please help. My mom is like addicted to these horrid pain killers and I know because I found them in her purse several times for the past few years. My dad and I are very worried and everytime we try to tell her that she needs help she gets super defensive and makes the atmosphere in our house very tense and I just really need her to stop this. I miss my mom. Do you guys have any suggestions on this?

  12. Jess

    I have been on and off hydrocodone 7.5 for 3 years now. I started taking the drug back when I got my last c-section and by the end of taking the script of only 30 I was hooked.. I recently went to the doctor to try and get them and they no longer prescribe narcotic drugs to the people that come in for moderate to sever pain. So they prescribed me tramadol because it is considered non narcotic I took 30 50mg tablets in a matter of 4 days because it gave me the high I was looking for, and now being without them for 1 whole day now I’m having withdrawals like I have been on them for years, hydrocodone never gave me withdrawal symptoms like I’m feeling now. But considering I only have moderate to sever lower back pain I’m going to have to take over the counter drugs to relieve the pain because my body and mind get very addicted to pain killers. So I’m choosing to live my life without them.
    Because unfortunately you can find people that have prescriptions everywhere but I’m no longer going to look for them. Take care and god bless

  13. Denise

    I also have taken hydrocodone for probably close to 3 years now due to side effects from cancer treatment. I can’t work without them! I take 10/325s, 2 every 4 hours and feel fuzzy headed all the time. I hate that feeling but I don’t know what else I can do. I have severe neuropathy and lymphoedema in one leg from cancer surgery and chemo and also have a tarlov cyst on my back. It is also one of the cheaper ways to treat the pain even though it overrides the pills sometimes. I am pretty much financially ruined from everything. Any suggestions?

  14. carol

    Denise, i am still on hydrocodone 10/325 , 3 times a day and have been so for 18 years after my first auto accident when a guy ran the light and hit me while he was speeding in a 30mph and going 80mph. that was the start of the beginning of a series of accidents of seven people hitting my car at high speeds while using their cell phones and not paying attinition to the traffic. I have had four surgeries and several back procedures through the past 18 years that has caused all of the soft disk tissue between the disks all the way down my spine to dissolve completely which has caused my disks to compress against the pain nerves in my back which causes me horrible pain 24/7. i have been through every kind of physical therapy you can think of over and over but none of it helped my pain. I have seen three surgeon’s with in a year and all say nothing can be done for me. Oh one wanted to implant a pain pump inside me to pump more pain medications into me. I spoke to some people who have had that done and they all said not to do it because those pumps are prone to malfunction and send an over dose of medication that sends you onto a coma, lovely ah! so needless to say that was not for me. So i have continued with the hydrocodone . Then after my last accident my pain became worse and so my pain management doctor added a fentanyl patch to my hydrocodone and I have been on the two of them since 2006. this past Friday I went to the clinic for a sinus infection and the doctor who put me on an antibiotic and told me to not take my hydrocodone while on this medication. So I stopped taking it and today I woke up feeling really angry and my hands were shaking. I had not had a hydrocodone in sixteen hours. I have never abused my medication in all the years I have taken it. My pain management doctor sees me once a month to refill my medication and counts my pills every time. Most of the time I have pills left over at the end of the month so I am not abusing them , I am not even taking as many each day as I can just because I have been scared of addition. But I seriously do not think you have to abuse them in order to get an addition to them. I have never been like I was today, If I would have had a gun I think I would have shot my tv when they were showing 9-11 again because I became so angry. That just is not like me to be that way . And my husband had stayed at church to eat lunch and didn’t call me to let me know he was staying for our monthly lunch. I blew up at him which I would never have done because it is ok for him to do that . But for some reason I didn’t like it that he did. Then for no reason I just started crying and yelling at the tv. In other words I went nuts for no reason. My head felt as if it would explode and my back was in spasms . so even though I never abuse my medication I stopped taking it for sixteen hours and then all craziness kicked in so I do believe that after being on hydrocodone for eighteen years and not abusing it ever it is possible i have the very addition I have been in fear of getting. I plan on calling my pain doctor on of all people feel for all of you out there who suffer from onday and making an appt. to talk about this very scary problem. of all people fel for all of you out there who suffer from crippling pain as do I. And when medications seem to be the only thing that makes it possible to get through the day it doesn’t give us many if none other options but these additive medications. But I am not giving up on finding other solutions for pain relief so don’t you give up either and if you have been taking these medications for more than a year please stop for a day or two just to see if it is a possibility you have an addition and seek help right away.That is what I am going to do. And by the way I went on and took a hydrocodone two hours ago and am feeling better now. Yesterday I was calm and feeling fine, today it was a completely different thing. Good luck and God bless all of you and Denise, hang in there and don’t wait untill it kills you before you get help sweetie. lox Ms Carol

  15. Frank

    I’ve been taking Hydrocodone 5/325 2 to 6 per day for 10 years for pain from a failed back surgery. If I have a busy day, I “might” take all six. On quieter days I take less. For example, I may take 2 to get thru my morning chores and leave it at that. Being retired helps with this system. Every 3 months I take a complete break for at least 3 days to reset my tolerance. It requires me to cut back on my activity, but I think it is well worth it. So far this is working for me as I have no bad side effects when I’m not taking any.

  16. jenifer

    My husband stopped using vicodin over 10 years ago. For about the past 9 years he lives with daily cluster headaches. Are these headaches caused by vicodin?

  17. blessedwife

    I too was taking them for years….10 years. I chose to cold turkey quit as i do not have the urge and thinking of them disgust me. I have also prepared myself for this about a year ago setting in my mind this is what i want making a time frame for a year i think helps the mind over matter. It has been six days since my last dose and the only withdrawal i have had is insomnia. I slept maybe 8 hours the first 4 days. The morning i took my last two knowing i was ready and done i prayed holy blessed oil over me and my family. I know through GOD all things are possible. 5 years ago i cold turkey quit and was sicker than a dog with all withdrawal symptoms. All im trying to say is GOD is good and THROUGH HIM EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. YOU HAVE TO WANT IT. ADMIT IT. ASK GOD FOR HELP AND LET IT GO.

  18. mandy

    I’ve off and on been addicted to hydros and I feel as if after a yr or so of taking them it causes severe anger issues. But in another note I am bipolar and as long as I take one 2 times a day I feel as if it’s the best mood stabilizer. I was once told by a dr that back n the days they used to treat bipolar with hydrocodones.

  19. John

    I have serious RLS (restless leg syn) for so many years, I can’t count. I was taking 10/750 mg at two a day, recently I have tried to cut back to 5-325, but that requires me to take more per day, so I didn’t really gain anything. This is the only durg that I have found that stops the RLS long enough so I can get some sleep, and that only lasts for 3-4 hours, then the RLS wakes me up in the middle of the night and I have to take another one just to finish the cycle of sleep. This is a horrible way to live and I am searching for any help that I can find to releive the pain so I can get some sleep. There just has to be another medication that will calm RLS or at least move from hydrocodone to another safer drug for this problem. I am open for any kind of advice or maybe there is someone that has been where I am and knows a solution……please help…thanks

  20. Casa Palmera Staff

    It is not possible to give medical advice through our website. It would be best to contact your Primary Care Provider to a specialist who deals with RLS.