Hydrocodone Detox & Withdrawal
Hydrocodone is a narcotic analgesic and the most frequently prescribed opioid for pain relief in the US. When Hydrocodone is ingested it binds to opioid receptors in the Central Nervous System. It also induces feelings of euphoria, sedates the body and causes respiratory depression.
There are three chemical structures of interest: the amine group, which binds to opioid receptors, the hydroxy group, which binds to the anionic binding site, and the phenyl group, which binds to to the phenolic binding site, resulting in a release of dopamine. When hydrocodone is taken excessively, more often than prescribed, or misused, it over-stimulates dopamine production so your brain can’t produce its own and experience pleasure without it.
Hydrocodone is a difficult and uncomfortable substance to detox from, and professional intervention is the most effective way to detox it safely from your body. Our rehab centers provide a safe and comfortable haven for you to break through your physical dependence on hydrocodone.
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Hydrocodone withdrawal results in an array of symptoms that vary in intensity and duration according to the person taking the substance. The most severe symptoms usually last between five and seven days and are considered to be ‘flu-like’. They may include
- A runny nose
- Chills, sweating and goosebumps
- Joint and muscle aches
- Vomiting, nausea and abdominal cramps
- Sleep disturbances
- An irregular heart rate
- Mood swings
- High blood pressure
- Suicidal thoughts
Hydrocodone products like Norco and Vicodin are immediate-release drugs, and their effects last for between four and six hours. If you do not take your usual dose within this window, you may start to experience withdrawal symptoms.
There are some extended-release products that can last for up to 12 hours, and these can delay the onset of withdrawal symptoms.
When Hydrocodone is prescribed, the route of administration is oral, however when it is abused by snorting or injecting it, it has an immediate effect on the body. This is called “dose dumping”. The effects are much stronger but do not last for as long. It is easier to overdose on Hydrocodone when it is snorted or injected, and withdrawal symptoms may be more severe and felt earlier if the route of administration is changed.
Timeline of Withdrawal Symptoms
Generally withdrawal symptoms can begin six to 12 hours after the last dose, and peak around 72 hours later. The symptoms may last for a week to a month, however cravings and psycho-emotional side effects can last for longer.
Your withdrawal experience is dependent on
- How long you took Hydrocodone for
- Your dose
- The formulation of the drug
- Your genetics: how quickly you metabolize the drug
- Whether you have underlying health or mental illness
- If you have been using other substances or alcohol
24-48 hours later
Mild stomach and muscle pain, nausea, anxiety, depression and cravings can be expected.
3 to 5 days later
This is the peak of withdrawal, and symptoms usually improve by day five. Emotional symptoms may persist but should improve as your physical symptoms ease.
6 to 14 days later
Most of the physical symptoms have subsided, however psycho-emotional symptoms may linger. Many people start to experience feelings of shame, remorse or regret towards the end of their detox.
14 + days
Some people experience symptoms for longer than two weeks. This condition is known as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) and may persist for 18 to 24 months.
How to Detox from Hydrocodone Safely
If you have been taking Hydrocodone on prescription, your GP may taper your dose to reduce the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. A medically-supervised detox is the safest and most comfortable way to manage withdrawal from Hydrocodone.
Under a medically-supervised detox, your vital signs will be monitored on a 24-hour basis. Medication Assisted Therapy may be used for the first five to seven days, to stabilize you and make your withdrawal more comfortable. Pharmaceutical medication can help to reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.
Trusting Your Doctors
While you may have strong emotions about using Hydrocodone and may not want to discuss them with anyone, remember that GPs and doctors supervising hydrocodone rehab programs are there to help you. It may not be easy or pleasant to explain what you are feeling or going through physically but it is really important to convey an accurate and honest perspective in order for medical professionals to help you.
Lots of patients are not truthful about their doses or frequency of use (and, understandably so) however this can influence your withdrawal and make it more uncomfortable. There are strategies that can be used to taper your dose, supplement with pharmaceutical medication or even substitute medication to make your withdrawal safer. Even though you may not want to, trusting your care team is an integral part of managing withdrawal.
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Risks
In addition to being uncomfortable and intense, withdrawal from hydrocodone can become dangerous because of:
- Diarrhea and vomiting, which may lead to dehydration, choking or electrolyte imbalance.
- Pre-existing heart conditions, which may be exacerbated by higher blood pressure and increased heart rate.
- Pre-existing mental health conditions that can be exacerbated and cause aggression, panic attacks and suicidal ideation.
Because of the intensity of withdrawal, relapse is a real and ever-present risk that should be managed in a medical facility, for your own safety.
In a Residential Setting
Detoxing in a residential setting is the safest way to rid your body of Hydrocodone. You will stay at the detox center and receive 24-hour support and monitoring as you withdraw. Your withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity depending on whether you used capsules, tablets or liquid. The onset and peak of withdrawal symptoms also depends on how you were administering Hydrocodone, so having medical supervision is the safest way to withdraw.
In a residential environment, your vital signs, hydration levels and nutrition will be monitored and symptomatic medications will be prescribed to make the process more manageable. Detox is smoother and faster when your physiological symptoms are taken care of.
Why Choose United Recovery CA for Hydrocodone Detox?
Our detox center adopts a holistic approach to detox, stabilizing your physical symptoms so you can progress into a rehab program to address your psychological dependency. We assess each client on admission, to create a tailored detox plan that is based on your medical history and personal goals, and then support you throughout the process so you can achieve those goals.
Our detox center is a stable and distraction-free environment that takes you away from the stressors and triggers that might be present in your home, so you can focus on a sober future.
Why Choose United Recovery CA for Hydrocodone Detox and Withdrawal?
Our medical detox and rehabilitation center has been designed for comfort and safety. We enable our patients to retreat into a luxurious and non-judgmental space where you receive 24-hour medical supervision and clinical interventions to help you forge your long term recovery path. Once your drug detox is complete you can enroll for in-patient or out-patient rehab in a familiar setting as you learn the tools and coping skills required to address the underlying triggers that resulted in your hydrocodone dependency. Aftercare, support groups and sober living homes provide you with extended care programs that facilitate long term sobriety in an understanding community.
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Is a Detox Enough to Tackle Addiction?
A detox program is the first rehabilitation stage to address a dependency, as it breaks your physical addiction. However, there are often multiple contributing factors behind an addiction that need to be addressed through long term rehab.
These factors should be addressed through a holistic care plan, which may include an exercise program, nutritional advice, a stable sleep schedule, meditation and yoga.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and group therapy is part of a process that will help you to uncover the latent causes of your addiction and support your long term sobriety. After your physiological symptoms are managed through a detox program, it is easier and more manageable to address the psycho-emotional factors behind your Hydrocodone dependency.