Addiction to prescription painkillers has been a major problem in the United States. In fact, two million people were reported to have been victims of opioid addiction in the country last 2014. The substance was also reclassified from Substance III to Substance II controlled drug due to the increasing number of deaths associated with the drug.
If you were caught up by the highly addictive potential of the drug, it is never too late to aspire to live a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. Read on to find out how to cope with hydrocodone addiction.
Addiction to Hydrocodone
In as early as five days, anyone prescribed to use the drug is likely to develop physical dependence towards it. Physical dependence means the inability of the body to function normally without the presence of the substance. On top of that, it makes users easily build tolerance towards it which results in prescribing them a higher dose.
This mechanism of the substance makes it highly addictive. It blocks the brain’s pain receptors and releases a great amount of feel-good sensation such as euphoria, happiness, and peace, an experience which one could hardly get away with. The following are strong indicators that a person is addicted to the substance:
Strong cravings for the substance
The person extremely struggles in cutting off excessive substance intake despite a great desire to do so. The cravings are so strong that the person increases dosage from time to time and usually, the person’s focus centers on always getting hold of the drug. Oftentimes, the substance itself is used to treat its side effects.
Lost of sense of responsibility
There is a sudden shift in the way a person handles responsibilities and relationships. The strong cravings for the substance result in losing drive towards other aspects of life. There is a strong tendency for isolation as well as engaging in highly dangerous activities such as violence and driving while drugged.
Experiences of withdrawal symptoms
As tolerance of the substance builds up, it results in cravings for a higher dose. The inability to provide the body with the desired amount it needed to function normally makes a person struggling with withdrawal symptoms. This makes the cycle of drug abuse endless. This is also the reason why professional help is necessary for addiction treatment.
Another problem that must be closely watched out for aside from substance addiction is overdose. Do not underestimate the signs of overdose since this is a fatal condition. The number of deaths reported related to substance addiction is caused by overdose. To determine if the person overdoses, you may consider the following indicators:
Stomach pain and nausea
Watch out for moderate to extreme stomach pain as this could be caused by intestinal bleeding which is life-threatening. Some people might also suffer from constipation, nausea, and vomiting – symptoms that could also come along with prescribed substance intake. To ensure that overdose is not experienced, it is best to always keep in touch with a physician.
Changes in breathing, pulse rate, and blood pressure
These are dangerous symptoms that would need immediate medical help. If a person struggles in breathing, has low blood pressure, weak pulse, rapid heart rate, and seizure, take a trip to the emergency room right away. Another manifestation of danger would be the lips and fingernails turning blue.
There is a medication known to reverse the symptoms of overdose. Naloxone and Narcan are safe medicines that block the effect of opioid substances in the body. These can be conducted by non-medical individuals. But these do not treat overdose so it is still necessary to admit the patient to the hospital.
If you are overdosing on the substance, you need to undergo detoxification to eliminate toxins, and then enroll in a rehab treatment program to become sober.
Preventing Hydrocodone Addiction
Despite the highly addictive potential of the substance, it is possible to prevent substance addiction as long as one closely monitors the patient’s response to the medication as well as strictly follows the prescription. The person must keep the physician informed of the following so that the dosage could be likely reduced:
- The pain is starting to decrease in the middle of the medication.
- A craving for the substance is beginning to develop despite the absence of pain.
Other side effects upon treatment must also be raised immediately to the physician. Most importantly, never attempt to shift one’s dosage alone. Suddenly ceasing substance intake could awaken withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction
It is necessary to undergo addiction treatment from a professional treatment provider to prevent a relapse in the long run. The length of one’s treatment depends on how much and how long the person has been engaged with excessive substance use. The following are the treatments that could greatly help one recover from addiction:
This is the first step upon treatment. During an inpatient detox procedure, you will be given medicines that ease pain from withdrawal symptoms. This is proven to reduce a patient’s craving for the drug and keep one’s focus on the treatment.
This works best during in-patient treatment since clinicians can closely monitor the medications around the clock. Whether your cravings for the drug happens before or after detox, you have medical personnel available 24/7 to help you.
This includes counseling, group therapies, as well as programs that will train the mind and the body to focus on a healthier and drug-free lifestyle. A few activities that will make this possible would be yoga and meditation exercises, animal therapy, as well as arts and sports classes.
An assessment of one’s mental health is also included during counseling sessions. The assessment could reveal underlying mental conditions that must have possibly caused a person’s substance addiction. By identifying this, the condition can be attended to with medical treatment right away.
These are activities that are independently done by the patient to keep one’s focus on full recovery and eventually prevent relapse. This could include continuous medications and appointments with the clinicians, as well as attending group therapy and recovery meetings. The length of this process could depend upon the patient’s discretion.
An at least six-month rehabilitation treatment is believed to be the most effective plan for a person engaged in opioid addiction. If you have long been suffering from substance addiction, call for professional treatment now!