Hydrocodone Withdrawal – Symptoms, Timeline & Treatment

What is Hydrocodone Detox?

Hydrocodone WithdrawalDetox is the process of eliminating toxins from the body. In terms of hydrocodone withdrawal, the detoxification process involves a period of time where the physically addictive toxins of the drug are slowly weaned from the person’s body. Hydrocodone detox is similar to the process of withdrawing from most other opiate drugs. If an addicted person stops the intake of the drug suddenly, it’s likely they will experience withdrawal symptoms as the body struggles to adapt to the lack of the drug’s presence in the system.

By comparison, choosing to seek help from a specialist hydrocodone detox program offers patients the opportunity to detox in a safe and comfortable environment. Through a medical detox program, recovering addicts are able to undergo hydrocodone withdrawal in a safe and comfortable environment. Medical professionals are able to prescribe treatment medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine, if needed. The dosage of the prescription treatment medication is tapered down over a period of time so the person is free from both drugs without experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.

The detox process breaks the body’s physical dependency on the drug. However, detoxification on its own won’t treat the underlying triggers behind addictive substance use, which requires specific behavioral therapy and counseling to address.


Who Should Consider a Hydrocodone Detox Program?

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opiate drug synthesized from the opium poppy. The prescription medication is often prescribed under the brand name Vicodin and is used to treat pain in patients. As with most opiate drugs, hydrocodone has a high potential for abuse, which can lead to tolerance, physical dependency and addiction.

Taking hydrocodone regularly over a period of time can lead the user to develop tolerance to the drug. Tolerance means that the person needs to take higher doses in order to achieve the same effects that used to be reached with smaller amounts.

Anyone struggling with dependency on opiate drugs should consider seeking treatment in a hydrocodone detox program.


How Long Does Hydrocodone Withdrawal Last?

The length of time it takes to complete hydrocodone detox treatments will vary, based on a number of factors. These include:

  • The length of time the person has been taking the drug
  • The dosage taken and frequency of use
  • The severity of physical dependence or psychological addiction
  • The presence of any polysubstance use
  • The patient’s state of health at the time of treatment
  • Previous detox attempts

Opiate detoxification programs can be completed in as little as a month or as long as six months. Each individual patient is assessed by drug treatment specialists to determine the best course of treatment for their needs.


Dangers of Detoxing without Professional Help

Dangers of DetoxingIt’s common for many people to believe they can detox from hydrocodone addiction at home. Many of those people prepare themselves for the onslaught of physical withdrawal symptoms and seem to believe that once the symptoms stop they should be somehow cured.

What those people tend to underestimate is the severity of some of the physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal. While most of the physical symptoms can be very uncomfortable, some of the more extreme reactions to the detox process could require emergency medical assistance, as they may be considered potentially life-threatening.

It’s also common for many people to underestimate the severity of the psychological symptoms associated with withdrawing from opiate drugs. While the majority of physical symptoms should subside within eight days, the psychological symptoms can extend for several months.

By comparison, choosing to begin the detox process with professional help offers the recovering person the opportunity to avoid the worst of any withdrawal symptoms under medical supervision.

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Symptoms of Hydrocodone Withdrawal

The symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal can range from mild to severe and will depend heavily on the dose being taken before the detox process, the length of time the person has been taking the drug, and the severity of the addiction. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Runny nose
  • Mood swings
  • Cold sweats and goosebumps
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Medications Used During DetoxMedication for hydrocodone detox

Drug treatment centers may prescribe various prescription medications during the detox process. Some are designed to alleviate the worst of any withdrawal symptoms, while others may be administered to help treat any symptoms that require management.

Some medications that may be used during detox include:

  • Methadone: replacement medications such as methadone are tapered down over time until the detox process is complete.
  • Buprenorphine: buprenorphine (Subutex) may be used instead of methadone in some patients to ease the symptoms of withdrawal
  • Pain Relief: in some cases, patients may be given pain relief, such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help deal with some symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Imodium: to help with symptoms of diarrhea, Imodium may be prescribed to some patients.

Why Should I Seek Professional Help for Hydrocodone Withdrawal?

Reaching out and seeking professional help for hydrocodone detox and addiction treatment is the first step to recovery. Professional drug rehab treatment centers can administer prescription medications designed to make the detox safer and smoother and to ease the symptoms of withdrawal.

Aside from medically-supervised detox treatments, accredited inpatient rehabilitation centers can also provide specialized cognitive behavioral therapies and individual counseling sessions. Treatments begin to address the dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors behind addictive drug use and correct self-destructive behaviors so the recovering person is able to live a productive life free from drugs.

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