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Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms and Addiction Recovery


Hydrocodone is an opioid that has the highest rate of prescription in the United States. Like other opioids, it also carries a high potential of being abused. With this combination, it is important to know the withdrawal symptoms of hydrocodone and how to go about getting treatment if you happen to slip from regular use to dependence, or even addiction.

How Does Hydrocodone Work?

Hydrocodone works by binding to opioid receptors and blocking or decreasing the ability to release neurotransmitters, which then reduces the perception of pain. This also leads to euphoria, decreased stress, numbness, and drowsiness.

What Happens If You Use Hydrocodone for a Long Time?

As hydrocodone is used more and more, your brain chemistry changes to require its presence to function normally. When this happens, you will experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug.

Experiencing hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms indicates that your body has developed a dependence on the drug—that is, your body cannot function properly without the drug. Dependence and addiction tend to go hand-in-hand, which is why it is important to seek help sooner rather than later if you believe you or a loved one may already be dependent on the drug.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your System?

Generally, a single dose of hydrocodone—when taken as prescribed—should be dissipated within 24 hours. You should stop experiencing the effects of the hydrocodone before it is fully removed from your body. However, the precise length of time hydrocodone will remain in your body depends on a number of factors, such as metabolism, body composition, genetics, kidney and liver function, and use history. In short, the more of the drug you use, and the more often you use it, the longer it will take to rid your body of it.

Hydrocodone can be detected by a blood test for up to 24 hours, by a urine test for up to four days, and by a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

Even once the hydrocodone has fully left your system, however, other symptoms may crop up as a result of abusing the drug—especially if you attempt to quit cold-turkey. Withdrawal symptoms typically start anywhere from 6-12 hours after the last dose was taken. Frequency of use, dosage, and bodily health all play a part in the timeline and intensity of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Hydrocodone Withdrawal?

Low-level withdrawal symptoms resemble the symptoms of having the flu, and include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea, cramps
  • Chills and sweats
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

These symptoms may be extremely stressful or uncomfortable, and can become serious if not properly monitored and treated—especially as some symptoms can last for up to a full week. More severe symptoms such as seizures or blood pressure spikes, though rarer, may also manifest, making it extremely important that you do not attempt to detox at home on your own.

Instead, if you or your loved one needs to detox from hydrocodone, it is strongly recommended that you do so under expert medical supervision. Trained addiction specialists can help you taper off of the drug safely and manage your withdrawal symptoms effectively.

Long-Term Recovery from Hydrocodone Abuse

Detox is an important and necessary first step in overcoming hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms and beginning the healing process. However, in most cases, it is just that—the first step in a longer journey.

Following detox up with a personalized addiction treatment program offers countless short- and long-term benefits. Together with a team of experts dedicated to supporting your recovery, you will be able to identify and address the main influences behind your addiction to prevent them from driving you right back to using. You will be given the tools you need to not only cope with triggers and cravings, but replace enabling habits with positive, healthy alternatives. And you will connect with others walking similar paths, who understand where you are coming from and where you are hoping to go, and can help you stay motivated on those days when the path forward seems particularly fraught with challenges.

If you or a loved one are struggling with hydrocodone addiction, you are not alone. It may not be easy to accept that you need help recovering, but the sooner you begin treatment, the sooner you will be able to break free of the cycle and begin living a better, healthier life.

New Choices Treatment Centers offers compassionate, comprehensive addiction treatment in San Antonio, TX. Our specialized detox center can help you or your loved one minimize the effects of hydrocodone withdrawal, while our long-term treatment programming will meet you where you’re at in order to determine your ideal path to lasting recovery. Call us at (726) 888-7003 or contact us today to learn more.