Wondering how long does it take to get addicted to hydrocodone, which includes the drugs Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, and Lorcet? It is shocking how quickly someone can get hooked on these drugs, happening sometime as fast as a couple weeks. The path to hydrocodone addiction is very common. The doctor prescribes Vicodin or some hydrocodone drug following a root canal, a surgical procedure, or an injury. The pain relief is swift, and is accompanied by a feeling of euphoria. The brain registers this euphoric response in its reward center as a desirable effect to be re-experienced.
Once the physical pain has subsided the patient may have already developed an addictive response to the drug. They may believe they cannot manage with the hydrocodone and reflexively continue to take it. When they ask for a refill or two, many doctors are willing to approve them, only entrenching the drug-seeking behaviors. As the patient’s tolerance to the drug’s effects escalates, so does their dosing. Before long, the powerful grip of hydrocodone addiction has taken root. So, how long does it take to get addicted to hydrocodone? Not long at all, unfortunately.
Facts About Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone is a synthetic opioid, a narcotic analgesic designed to manage pain in patients following surgery or injury. It works by attaching to the opioid receptors in the spinal cord and brain, blocking the pain signals the body is sending. When taken as prescribed for a short duration, these drugs are effective and safe. The problem occurs when an individual becomes addicted to the euphoric effects of the drug and continues to seek that feeling.
Hydrocodone is most commonly prescribed in drugs that are combined with acetaminophen. Only Zohydro ER is pure hydrocodone medication. These drugs are widely available, and, with over 136 million prescriptions written in the U.S. in 2013, is the most prescribed drug in the country, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In fact, the DEA reports that more than 24 million Americans over the age of twelve have misused hydrocodone.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
When someone abuses or develops an addiction to hydrocodone they may exhibit particular behaviors and symptoms. These might include:
- Constricted pupils
- Slowed respiratiory rate
- Skin rash
- Withdrawing from social activities, isolating behaviors
- Ringing in the ears
- Mental confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chronic constipation
- Blurry vision
- Obsessed with obtaining the drug
- Doctor shopping
- Stealing the drugs from friends and family
- Increased dosing
- Increased tolerance
- Experience withdrawal symptoms if drug not available
Knowing how long does it take to get addicted to hydrocodone can provide awareness to the drug’s potential for addiction, and to be watchful for these signs.
Detoxing from Hydrocodone
Detoxification is the first step of breaking free from a Vicodin or Norco addiction. It is recommended that the individual seek out a medical detox program where withdrawal symptoms can be monitored throughout. During a medical detox, a team of detox professionals will provide the necessary medical interventions to help manage the pain and discomfort of the withdrawal symptoms, while also offering emotional support.
The detox process can take up to a week, with the symptoms peaking on day three. Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:
- Bone, joint, or muscle pain
- Profuse sweating
- Irregular heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Elevated blood pressure
- Low mood
- Concentration problems
- Drug cravings
- Suicidal thoughts
Without a supervised and supportive detox program the individual is likely to fail to complete the process. This is because the discomfort may be so difficult to endure without medical intervention that they will simply return to using the drugs and not make it into rehab.
Treatment For Hydrocodone Addiction
Being treated for a hydrocodone addiction will require either an inpatient rehab program for more entrenched drug dependency, or an intensive outpatient program for a more recent or less severe problem. Detox alone will not result in a sustained recovery. Without tackling and changing the core addictive behaviors, long-term recovery is not possible.
Once the detox process is completed the individual will begin a program that will involve several types of therapy. In an inpatient program, the client will receive 24-hour support and a daily schedule of multiple therapeutic activities for an extended period of time. The structured environment gives clients a sense of security and keeps them engaged in working toward a healthy recovery.
- Psychotherapy, both individual and group sessions
- Addiction education
- Relapse prevention strategizing
- 12-step programming and meetings
- Inspiring guest speakers
- Holistic therapies, such as yoga, massage, mindfulness, deep-breathing, art therapy
- Medication management
Aftercare for Hydrocodone Addiction Recovery
Once the rehab program has been successfully completed, the client will embark on the continuing care aspect of recovery. These are intrinsic to the long-term success of the client’s recovery outlook. Continuing care helps the client face future triggers, stressors, or life challenges by providing the peer support and counseling needed. Aftercare services might include:
- Sober living housing
- Ongoing individual and/or group therapy
- Participation in recovery community
- Core family support
- Developing sober friends and engaging in sober lifestyle activities
- Regular exercise and healthy nutrition
By accessing these resources, the client will have multiple sources of support to help them manage the unforeseen challenges that could threaten sobriety. Tending to newfound sobriety is akin to tending a garden. Water it, fertilize it, prune it and watch it blossom.
Solutions 4 Recovery Provides Evidence-Based Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction
Solutions 4 Recovery is an addiction and dual diagnosis recovery program based in Orange County, California. Solutions 4 Recovery utilizes an integrated approach to treating addiction to Vicodin, Lorcet, Norco and other hydrocodone drugs. This entails a carefully planned individualized treatment strategy that combines evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), with holistic therapies to further augment the impact of the traditional interventions. If wondering how long does it take to get addicted to hydrocodone, or any other questions about addiction and treatment, please contact Solutions 4 Recovery today at (888) 417-1874.