The habitual and uncontrollable use and abuse of any substance is defined as addiction and is responsible for causing serious harm to the person, most often leading to depression and distress. Addiction is an incurable condition although in most cases it can be efficiently controlled with proper therapy and medications. It is normally characterized by psychological requirements such as compulsive use, craving, unnecessary use of drugs and sustained use in spite of visible harm. There is an epidemic of prescription drugs abuse.
Hydrocodone, an opioid, is one such pharmaceutical drug commonly used to enhance the sensation of excitement and exhilaration.
Even though you may be aware that using alcohol or hard drinks together with drugs is not good, your addiction might drive you to indulge in such practices putting aside your own safety concerns where you are no longer bothered about your own wellbeing. All you are concerned about is the momentary pleasure it offers.
Addiction can also be costly and drugs such as Hydrocodone could cost you substantially, especially when buying online. An online stockist may charge you much higher than a local pharmacy. You can, of course, opt for inexpensive substitutes from abroad, but you may find yourself in possession of expired or contaminated drugs.
What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a low-priced and popular drug used to treat pain in moderate to severe levels. It is available in branded as well as local or common variety. Hydrocodone is an artificial drug, but when taken along with known drugs like heroin, opium, cocaine sets off the same brain receptors as the mentioned drugs. It is such a strong drug that even after a few weeks of refraining from it, you will experience hydrocodone withdrawal syndrome while your body starts getting back to normal.
People take Hydrocodone as it activates the pleasure circuits of the brain and has an intense consequence on the mood. Constant abuse of this drug can cause the activity of the nerve cells to change with time. A Hydrocodone abuser will come to a stage where they will not be able to function without hydrocodone. And here begins the onset of addiction.
In reality, hydrocodone doesn’t alleviate the pain completely, but it changes the sensation of pain and helps the person to tolerate their pain. In effect, it is easy to see why hydrocodone is referred to as a kind of ‘morphine’ drug because it is very easy to get addicted to it.
It makes the user numb and sleepy and become oblivious to their surroundings. It can be very hazardous when taken along with alcohol or other drugs as it affects breathing to a considerable extent, making it slower than normal. In some cases, the person may eventually cease to breathe.
However, once the feeling of euphoria fades away, a person begins to feel very relaxed and drowsy and that’s why you will often find people addicted to hydrocodone dozing off at unusual hours due to the effects of this drug. Almost everyone addicted to prescription painkillers get the drugs from doctors. One becomes an expert in lying to the doctor in order to get the drugs they crave.
Some of the ruses used are:
- Faking pain in order to get hold of refills
- Manipulate the doctor’s prescriptions to facilitate prompt access to more pills
- Hurt and harm oneself so as to get easy access to painkillers
- Exploit various doctors to avail several prescriptions at a time
It is absolutely a huge risk to take this medicine during pregnancy as the newborn may experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. It is likely the baby can become reliant on the drug and may require treatment for a number of weeks. It is best to inform your doctor if you are planning to conceive or are already pregnant. Breastfeeding should be totally ruled out while taking hydrocodone as it can pass into the breast milk and cause respiratory issues, drowsiness, or even death to a nursing baby.
In case you are allergic to hydrocodone or if you suffer from breathing problems including acute asthma or an obstruction in your intestines or stomach, you should immediately stop using it. There are certain medicines that when interacting with hydrocodone can cause serotonin syndrome, a very serious condition.
Keep your doctor informed about the medications you are on, such as any medicine for depression, migraine headaches, stimulant medicine, serious infections, mental illness or depression, herbal products, prevention of vomiting and Parkinson’s disease to name a few. Your doctor will advise you on the changes you may need to accommodate your existing medications.
Your doctor should also know if you have ever had the below-mentioned diseases to ensure hydrocodone is safe for you.
a) Alcohol or drug addiction
b) Urination problems
c) Lung disease or any type of respiratory disorder
d) Liver or kidney problems
e) Seizures, head injury, brain tumor
f) QT syndrome (heart rhythm disorder)
g) Mental illness/depression
h) If you are on any kind of sedative
i) Pancreatic problem
k) Issues with your gallbladder
Different Uses of Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone is appropriately a prescription medicine widely used as a pain reliever when other treatments for pain such as non-opioid medicines are not effective and/or difficult to tolerate. For adults who may need 24×7 continued treatment, extended-release forms of hydrocodone are used to alleviate severe pain.
Hydrocodone gets activated by connecting to special structures in the brain that respond to stimuli causing these structures or receptors to release chemicals. These chemicals then help to diminish the sense of pain. This process also releases pleasant chemicals that make you feel relaxed and happy. However, this drug is also useful in other ways including one of the ingredients for cough syrup and used as a cough suppressant.
Recommended Dosage of Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone is generally not taken all by itself, but is generally available along with other components in the form of capsules, syrups, and tablets.
Hydrocodone is widely prescribed as it can provide outstanding relief to people who are in pain or suffering from some sort of illness, but if overdosed, it can definitely be addictive. When the doctor prescribes these medicines, he is surely going to recommend the dosage and if his advice is followed diligently and carefully, there is no risk involved in the medication. However, refusing to comply with your doctor’s instructions or adhering to the directions on the prescription label can lead to an addiction of the very same prescription that was recommended to help you, thereby causing harm to your body and overall well-being.
Hydrocodone in extended-release capsule form is taken twice daily while hydrocodone in extended-release tablet form is taken once or twice daily depending on your doctor’s prescription. It is advised not to dissolve, chew, break, or divide an extended-release hydrocodone capsule or tablet. They should be swallowed whole.
The dosage recommended by your doctor depends entirely on a few factors mentioned below and can be increased or reduced as the situation demands:
- Your response to this medication
- Existing medications you are on
- Other medical conditions you may be suffering from such as liver or kidney problems.
If the dose you are taking does not help cope with your pain, you need to immediately get in touch with your doctor.
Can Hydrocodone Cause a High?
When hydrocodone is taken for pain relief, its result is visible immediately after 30 minutes to an hour of the dosage and its duration lasts around four to eight hours approximately.
Hydrocodone is mainly used to manage the pain, but it has an effect on that part of the central nervous systems that produces a sensation of comfort and happiness. Therefore, when hydrocodone is taken in larger doses, the opioid receptors are highly activated, initiating a rush of dopamine, which is a happy-feel neurotransmitter, to reach the brain. Now, instead of the dopamine being recycled as is generally the norm, large quantities remain in the user’s brain, generating a high.
Patients should be very cautious not to consume alcohol or take any product containing alcohol while taking hydrocodone. The combination of hydrocodone and alcohol may trigger plasma levels to an increased rate which could be fatal. It could also prolong the harmful effects of the drug, leading to lethal respiratory depression.
Common Symptoms of Hydrocodone High
Drugs such as Vicodin, Lortab and Norco use Hydrocodone as the standard opioid ingredient. Therefore, the abuse or misuse of this powerful sedative will cause an individual to experience symptoms that are identifiable by the people around and immediately one knows the person is on such drugs.
The most common psychological, physical and action related symptoms of hydrocodone addiction are:
- Coma when taken in very high amounts
- Sluggish heartbeat
- Schizophrenic behavior
- Seizure due to overdose
- Insomnia during periods of withdrawal
- Breathing difficulty
- Referring to Hydrocodone by its street name ‘Hydros’
- Aching muscles during withdrawal
- Feeling of nausea
- Feeling of delusion
It is imperative to understand and be aware of the symptoms and signs of hydrocodone abuse in order to save a life. Hydrocodone being an opioid can be fatal on its own when taken in overdose even in the absence of other stuff.
As the individual’s chief objective is to abuse hydrocodone, they become oblivious to their symptoms, losing the ability to recognize and respond to such a state.
Risks of Getting High on Hydrocodone
If you are using hydrocodone just for the sake of getting high, then you are not far from getting addicted to the drug. We must remember there is a difference between dependency and addiction. It is possible for one to acknowledge it as a medicine and consume it for the benefit of relief from pain and ailment without being addicted to it. It is dependent on the dose of hydrocodone a person takes that ascertains whether they will get high or not. Hydrocodone is meant to be taken orally, but its use can be exploited in many ways such as:
- Non-therapeutic intake of hydrocodone for the sole purpose of getting high.
- Sniffing crushed pills to speed up the action of the drugs.
- Taking overdoses of hydrocodone than the actual prescription
- Frequent consumption of hydrocodone than prescribed
- Over the counter procurement of hydrocodone without a proper prescription
- Making the tablets into powder form to feel the impact of the drugs in a flash.
Most often there is a positive reaction to hydrocodone as it is supposed to be a pain reliever, but if you take it exclusively to get high, then obviously you are in danger of getting addicted. Your work, school, and general social life can be highly affected due to the use of Hydrocodone. Your liver can be severely affected, leading to complete damage as you begin to consume more and more tablets each day.
As your body gets more and more access to hydrocodone, you may find yourself wanting to take higher doses of the drug to experience the exhilaration you experienced with the very first dosage. As you become habituated to using hydrocodone, your life may begin to change in many ways. You may acquire a string of habits that keep you addicted like –
- Keeping money away to purchase your drugs
- Using the drug 24 x 7
- Searching for drugs everywhere you go
- Always carrying pills around
What to Do in Case of a Hydrocodone High?
Those who are addicted to hydrocodone may possibly use incredibly high doses of the drug on a daily basis. They may even consume more than a dozen pills a day, clearly exceeding the doctor’s prescription.
When a person finds himself taking more than the prescribed dose of hydrocodone, it would be wise to inform the doctor immediately. The doctor may reduce your intake gradually than abruptly discontinuing it, as a sudden halt could pose withdrawal issues such as irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and throbbing muscles.
Many programs are available to help somebody who wants to quit, but can’t do it on their own. Some of these programs prescribe medications to ease the withdrawal. It generally depends on the severity of the addiction like a long-standing addiction involving high doses of hydrocodone may require a longer period of recovery than a short-term abuse.
The initial stage of a hydrocodone detox program aims to physically stabilize an individual and could last about a week. The detox course will most probably include holistic as well as pharmaceutical methods to achieve the desired result. The detox center may chalk out a plan such as regular exercise, proper sleep schedule, a healthy diet chart, spa treatments, meditation, yoga, and massage therapy to enable the body to be restored to health faster. If all physical essentials are taken care of in a properly organized manner, the detox program will be smooth and work faster to be able to tackle the psychological part of withdrawal while also managing the addiction as well.
Evaluation of mental health is also part of the recovery procedure. Addicts are monitored for mental health issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety. Support groups are truly a great encouragement during and post recovery. Establishments like ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ and ‘Narcotics Anonymous’ can help you avoid a relapse with hydrocodone.
Seek immediate medical advice if you experience symptoms like a fast heart rate, hallucinations, agitation, shivering, fever, diarrhea, sweating, twitching, nausea, muscle stiffness, vomiting, or loss of coordination. Older adults and individuals who are seriously malnourished, ill or suffering some debilitating condition will more likely experience respiratory problems due to long-term use of opioid prescriptions. It may even affect fertility in females or males, though it is not confirmed whether this effect is lasting.
How to Prevent Getting High on Hydrocodone?
The physical symptoms of withdrawal are visible in people who have been using hydrocodone to suppress coughing or as a pain reliever and then go in for terminating the use. Therefore, these people need to be taken off the drug gradually to avoid the serious side effects like:
- Pupil dilation
Addiction and abuse of hydrocodone can lead to many unwanted consequences apart from physical and mental deterioration. It can affect one’s personal relationships and affects one’s daily life.
There are ways to prevent a hydrocodone addiction. For instance:
Get back in touch with family, friends and loved ones:
A general characteristic of substance abuse is shattered relationships with people of importance and meaning in one’s life. Therefore, quitting hydrocodone is a stepping stone to rebuilding and reclaiming the broken relationships.
Avoid health problems:
Persistent abuse of painkillers like hydrocodone leads to a number of health problems including cardiovascular issues, liver problems, cognitive difficulties, and respiratory problems. Quitting can help overturn these hazards and reclaim the lost years of your life as an upshot of drug abuse.
Reclaiming the control over your own life:
Addiction is a physical dependence on any substance or thing, but quitting symbolizes regaining control over one’s life.
Complete your education and improve your career possibilities:
Abuse of drugs such as hydrocodone affects your academic and professional life. Therefore, quitting hydrocodone will improve your accomplishment in these areas and allow you to seek out and decide the right career for yourself. One can even go on to study further, thereby improving job opportunities.
No more withdrawal symptoms or side effects:
That is to say no more rushing to and fro, trying to obtain hydrocodone to steer clear of a sickly or nauseating sensation.
Enhance emotional and psychological behavior:
Narcotic medications like hydrocodone may diminish the ability to think and dull an individual’s emotional capabilities. Quitting will bring back life to the fullest once again.
One may wonder why hydrocodone is ever prescribed given the rate of addiction it causes and people being harmed by the use of this drug. However, we must realize the drug, in itself, is not harmful when taken according to the doctor’s advice. There are many people who take this drug exclusively for its medicinal value and they refrain from developing an addiction to its use. If this drug is banned it could be a big disappointment for people who use it specifically for their pain and it could also be difficult to treat coughs as a certain amount of hydrocodone is used in cough syrups.
An addict of hydrocodone will go to dangerous heights to get the drugs they need. They may even resort to stealing hydrocodone from their family, friends, or acquaintances. At the onset of a craving, the search for this drug could be quite frenzied and frantic. If they cannot find the drug at hand, they might be compelled to procure the same from street vendors. These drugs could also prove hazardous as they may be laced with some other substances to increase their sales. They might even sell you pills that contain no hydrocodone at all.
A hydrocodone High may find themselves becoming obsessed with just the thought of the drug, hoping when they can get their hands on it again. They may gradually stop attending office or any work environment just so that they can stay home and indulge in this drug to get that feeling of being ‘high’. And eventually, as time goes by they may start feeling like a social misfit leading to depression unless they are on a high.
A handful of Hydrocodone addicts may promise to quit and they may never want to take the drug again, but unfortunately, the body gets so used to the presence of hydrocodone that it may react by bringing on withdrawal symptoms in their attempt to stop using the drug. They may experience a feeling of queasiness, headache, and fever and only another dose of the drug can help these symptoms vanish. It is a vicious cycle and it is important that the addict and his/her friends, family, and acquaintances take immediate steps to nip off the problem in the bud.
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