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hydrocodone pillsHydrocodone addictions are very common, accounting for more than 60 percent of all drug addictions.

Since there is such a wide variety of drugs that contain hydrocodone, the number of people becoming addicted increases each year, by an average of 20 percent. Hydrocodone is also one of the first drugs that teens will experiment with because the prescriptions are easy to obtain. Teens lead the statistics of hyrdocodone addictions, accounting for 65 percent of addicted individuals. Hydrocodone products are the most frequently prescribed opiates in the United States. In 2009, there were more than 111 million prescriptions for hydrocodone products dispensed.

  • There are more than 200 prescription drug products available that contain hydrocodone.
  • The drug is used to relieve moderate to severe pain and also used in cough suppressants.
  • One 15 mg dose of hydrocodone is equal to 10 mg of morphine.
  • Hydrocodone acts as an opiate and produces opiate-like effects when it is taken.
  • The effects of hydrocodone can last for up to six hours.
  • Hydrocodone is generally taken orally, though some injection methods are also used.
  • Dependence and addiction to hydrocodone can form quickly.

Hydrocodone addiction is seen in every age group, with the majority of cases occurring in women between the ages of 20 and 40. Young teens are quickly becoming addicted to the substance because of its ease of availability. It is also an affordable street drug, costing between $2 and $10 per pill.

Identifying Addiction

When a person becomes addicted to hydrocodone, they will begin to use the substance on a regular basis, trying to achieve the euphoric high. There are many different prescription drug addiction types and normally not a matter of choice. In fact, more than 50 percent of all addicts accidentally became addicted to the drug by misusing their prescriptions. There are some signs that can indicate that a person has become addicted to hydrocodone. Each person will react differently to the drug, so not all signs will be evident in each person.

  • The person may show signs of abuse by taking more of the drug than prescribed.
  • Addicts will hide pain pills and keep their use a secret.
  • Many addicts will turn to stealing in order to get more pills.
  • Addicts will manipulate doctors into writing a prescription.
  • Addicts will begin to purchase drugs off the street in illicit areas.
  • Some addicts will inflict harm in order to gain the medication as a painkiller.
  • Many addicts will behave in a violent and vague manner when they are asked to stop taking the prescription or when the supply of the drug has ceased.
  • When the drug is stopped, addicts will display withdrawal symptoms.
  • Addicts will be obsessed with their pills and often have a large supply.
  • Loss of appetite and insomnia could indicate a hydrocodone addiction.

Withdrawal Symptoms

hydrocodone withdrawal symptomsWhen an addict stops taking the drug, they will almost immediately begin to display prescription drug addiction withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the amount of the drug that the addict is taking, these symptoms can be severe.

Every addict will experience at least one withdrawal symptom. The symptoms will begin to present within six to 10 hours after the last administration of the drug. The effects of withdrawal can heighten in 48 to 72 hours and have been known to last for up to two weeks. The symptoms can be lessened if the addict tapered off the drug instead of stopping it completely. When a person has become addicted to hydrocodone, it is best to begin to reduce the amount being taken by 25 percent each day to minimize the effects of withdrawal. Addicts will experience physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal when they cease using hydrocodone on a regular basis.

The withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Intense and increasing cravings for the drug
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Excessive yawning
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Stomach cramping and loss of appetite
  • Muscle pains and aches
  • Diarrhea

The physical symptoms of withdrawal will disappear after about a week. More than 90 percent of hydrocodone addicts who stop using the drug will successfully overcome their physical addiction within a week. The psychological aspect may take months, even years to completely overcome. Recovering addicts report having intense cravings even after they have been off the drug for many months. The psychological addiction is what causes 75 percent of addicts to relapse and begin using the drug again.

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