What Is Hydrocodone Detox?
Hydrocodone detox is necessary for the treatment of most cases of hydrocodone addiction. Hydrocodone is a powerful opioid that affects levels of dopamine within the brain. The drug is the primary active component in several prescription pain medications, including Vicodin and Lorcet. When an individual takes Hydrocodone for an extended period of time, the brain can become tolerant to the amounts taken, and that person will need to take increasing amounts of the drug each time in order to feel the same effects. Taking large amounts of hydrocodone can lead to the development of a physical dependence, and eventually, an addiction.
When an individual becomes addicted to Hydrocodone, detox is the first step of recovery in which the drug is safely removed from the body. Hydrocodone detox can be performed as part of either an inpatient or outpatient program, but a medical professional should always be near to closely monitor an opiate detox. Medically-supervised detox can ensure a safer and more successful treatment plan, as doctors are able to observe vital signs around the clock and prescribe medications to keep patients comfortable and stable during stages of withdrawal. The goal of Hydrocodone detox is to minimize impacts of withdrawal and reduce the chance of relapse so that a user may proceed to the next stage of addiction treatment.
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The Process of Hydrocodone Detox
The majority of Hydrocodone detox regimens operate under the tapering-off method, by which a medical practitioner will taper down dosages of Hydrocodone over the course of a few days until use stops completely. Hydrocodone is slowly weaned out of the body in a controlled way, which reduces an individual’s physical dependence on the drug and lessens the severity of withdrawal. Detox should always be performed under the supervision of a medical professional, and a person suffering from an opioid addiction should never attempt to quit “cold turkey,” or abruptly stop taking the drug after prolonged and consistent use, as this will worsen symptoms of withdrawal. A Hydrocodone detox program generally lasts about a week and works first to stabilize an individual physically.
Withdrawal and the Detox Process
When a person is dependent on an opioid drug such as Hydrocodone, the sudden removal of it can have distressing mental and physical consequences as the body works to recover. This phase is known as withdrawal. The amount of time an individual took Hydrocodone, as well as the dose and exact formulation of the drug, effects the severity and timeline of withdrawal that a person will experience.
Common Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint aches
- Runny nose
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Drug cravings
- Suicidal thoughts
Hydrocodone withdrawal usually starts anywhere between 6-12 hours after the last dose and withdrawal symptoms generally last around 5-7 days. Opiate withdrawal peaks within 72 hours and can last anywhere from a week to a month. However, drug cravings and emotional side effects may last longer without the help of a mental health specialist.
|Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline|
|First 48 Hours||This is typically when the first symptoms of withdrawal begin to appear. During the first 24-48 hours, former users begin to experience aching of the muscles, joints, or bones, as well as nausea, abdominal cramping, and sweating.|
|Days 3-5||Withdrawal symptoms typically peak during this time. As the body attempts to adjust without Hydrocodone, recovering users will experience severe vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive sweating. Some people will also experience shaking and lingering muscle aches.|
|Days 6-7||Symptoms of withdrawal typically last about seven days. Towards the end of the first week, most physical symptoms begin to subside, but intense drug cravings can begin to appear. Additionally, extreme fatigue and depression are common during this period.|
|Days 8+||The worst of withdrawal symptoms are typically over at this point. Any remaining symptoms will continue to fade over time. However, for some, the psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety may continue for up to several weeks or months before they subside.|
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Hydrocodone Dependency Treatment Medications
There are several medications that doctors will prescribe during hydrocodone detox to help reduce symptoms of withdrawal and prevent relapse in recovering users. These pharmaceutical drugs ease the discomfort of withdrawal as they work by tricking the body into thinking that it is still receiving doses of Hydrocodone.
Clonidine and Buprenorphine are the most common drugs prescribed during Hydrocodone detox. These drugs relieve withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, muscle pain, and vomiting. Naltrexone is another medication sometimes used during Hydrocodone detox. It blocks the effects of opioids and can help speed the timeline of detox. In some cases, it can even reduce detox to as little as four days. A comprehensive Hydrocodone detox center will likely include medications such as these as well as holistic methods to help mitigate both the debilitating physical and psychological effects of withdrawal.
Seeking Treatment for Hydrocodone Detox
Detox is crucial for a full recovery from addiction. The discomfort associated with the Hydrocodone detox process can be successfully moderated with proper medical care. Medically-supervised detox not only increases the likelihood of a successful transition to rehab, but also facilitates a safe and supportive environment for those recovering from a Hydrocodone addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to Hydrocodone, there are multiple detox treatment plans available. Contact a dedicated treatment specialist to learn about your options and get the help that you need today.
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