Hydrocodone is an opioid drug which is prescribed by physicians in pill form for moderate to severe pain relief as well as in a liquid form as a cough suppressant. This central nervous system prescription medication is sold under brand names such as Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, and Lorcet among others. These trade names drugs are a combination of Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen mixed together. Under Controlled Substances, Hydrocodone is a Schedule II narcotic analgesics drug which means that it has a high potential for abuse and subsequent addiction and dependence. According to the DEA, Hydrocodone is habit forming, dangerous and the most prescribed opioid in the United States. This Hydrocodone combination product is also the most frequently abused licit or illicit drug.
Short-Term Side Effects of Hydrocodone
Doctors prescribe Hydrocodone for acute to chronic pain relief. A dose of Hydrocodone does not get rid of the source of the pain; it changes the way the brain perceives the pain. Other short-term effects of the drug are a feeling of well-being, euphoria, sleepiness and lethargy. Some individuals feel as if they have less stress and worry. With the pain relief and the pleasurable high and feelings of euphoria that it gives some people, there is no wonder that so many people develop a physical dependence on it and eventually a full-blown addiction to it. The National Library of Medicine states that “this medicine may cause constipation, especially with long term use.” Talk to your doctor about using a laxative in combination to help prevent constipation. Liver damage may also occur from long term use or abuse because of the amount of Acetaminophen in the drug.
Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse
Some people ask how would they know if they were abusing their Hydrocodone. Abuse of any drug is when you take it in a way that it is not prescribed by your doctor. A person may take a higher dose than the doctor prescribes or they may take it more often than the physician prescribes. They may take this drug when they are not in pain, but just like the way it makes them feel. All of these uses are abusing the medication.
If someone who is abusing Hydrocodone continues to do so, their body will adapt to the larger amounts of the drug in their system. Once they need the larger amounts to feel the same effects, they have a tolerance to the drug. By trying to make up for this tolerance, they may take even larger amounts putting themselves at the risk of a potential overdose. Doing this can be very dangerous for the user. To have their supply of the larger quantities of the drug, they may go to different doctors trying to obtain the drug under false pretenses. If this doesn’t work, they may get the Hydrocodone from friends or acquaintances when possible. And when that doesn’t work they will turn to buying it illegally on the streets for a much higher price or stealing the drug.
A person who is abusing Hydrocodone will eventually become addicted to it if they do not receive treatment to help them stop the abuse. Once they develop an addiction, they will suffer physical withdrawal symptoms if they stop the drug abruptly. These will be very uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea and vomiting along with muscle aches and pains, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping, just to name a few.
A person who is addicted to Hydrocodone believes that they have to keep the drug in their system just to feel normal and perform their day-to-day tasks. When this becomes the case, they consistently take more of the drug in an effort to reach that high feeling they had before, putting themselves more in danger of an overdose. Signs of an overdose include extreme drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, slowed heartbeat, slowed breathing, loss of consciousness, coma, and death.
Seek Help for Addiction
Before addiction to Hydrocodone or prescription drugs can take your life, seek help from a professional addiction treatment center. Opiate and opioid addiction is very dangerous and claims more lives every year. Don’t become a statistic like so many others. Get the help that you need and deserve to return to a life free from addiction. Call today before it is too late.