Generally, when we think about narcotics, we tend to think of illicit drugs like heroin. But narcotics are common in prescription painkillers. Now known more commonly as opioids, these drugs can be extremely helpful for someone struggling to manage pain. Unfortunately, they can also be extremely harmful if a person develops a substance use disorder centered on them.

Take, for example, hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone (or other pharmaceuticals containing the drug) is frequently prescribed after surgery to help a patient keep their pain under control while they are healing from the procedure. Often very effective, hydrocodone can be a real blessing to a person who might otherwise be in substantial pain.

But there is a downside to hydrocodone use. The drug—like many opioids—can be highly addictive if misused.

That, of course, begs a couple of questions: Why would anyone misuse hydrocodone? And what are the consequences of doing so?

The Short Trip from Helpful to Harmful

There is no denying that relief from pain is a powerful motivator. Severe pain disrupts a person’s life in a whole range of ways, so any drug that can provide even temporary improvement is welcome.

But that welcome feeling of relief can sometimes be enough to encourage a person to take more hydrocodone than they should, take it for a longer period of time than they should, or both. As that process continues (perhaps enabled by so-called “doctor shopping” or an illicit source for the drug), the user is also developing a tolerance for the drug, which means they need to take more hydrocodone to get the same effects the drug used to have at lower doses.

Soon, the person taking too much hydrocodone for too long may no longer need it for pain relief. Now, they are addicted to the drug itself–and likely experiencing some troubling symptoms.

The Symptoms of Hydrocodone Abuse

A person misusing hydrocodone may experience any or all of the following:

  • Headaches, dizziness, and/or lightheadedness
  • Fever
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurry vision
  • Nasal congestion
  • Difficulty breathing and/or chest tightness
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or constipation
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Depression, anxiety, fear, and/or confusion
  • Seizures

A person experiencing these sorts of symptoms will surely want to stop taking hydrocodone, right?

Probably so. But unfortunately, quitting the drug isn’t so simple.

The Realities of Withdrawal

We mentioned earlier that a person who is taking too much hydrocodone for too long starts to build up a tolerance for the drug—meaning they need to take more and more. As they do that, the body and brain become used to having the drug in the system. If a person tries to stop taking hydrocodone, their body and brain are quick to let them know that they do not approve of that choice.

That disapproval comes in the form of serious withdrawal symptoms. Chief among those symptoms may be intense cravings for the drug that feel nearly impossible to withstand.

So now the hydrocodone user is caught between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea.

They need to stop taking hydrocodone.

They can’t stop taking hydrocodone.

Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this dilemma.

Residential Treatment Offers a New Path—and New Hope

The best option for someone struggling with a substance use disorder centered around hydrocodone—or any opioid—is often to enter a residential treatment center. Treatment will include medically supervised detoxification, which is the best way to overcome physical dependence. Detox is then followed by rehabilitation, which generally includes both group and individual therapy. In therapy, clients learn how to maintain their newly reclaimed sobriety over time. Any co-occurring mental health disorders can also be addressed in therapy, which helps provide a firmer foundation for ongoing sobriety.

And while relapse is an ongoing danger for those in recovery from substance use disorders, a high quality residential treatment center will also offer ongoing support to help lessen the likelihood of a relapse—or to provide additional treatment should a relapse occur.

Get the Treatment You Need at Wooded Glen Recovery Center

When it comes to getting treatment for a substance use disorder, you want a team devoted to evidence-based practices, personalized treatment plans, and a spirit of compassion and service that is free from judgment. You will find all of those things at Wooded Glen Recovery Center. If you are struggling with hydrocodone—or any other drug—we can help you find your way back to sobriety, and we can provide you with the tools and support you need to maintain that sobriety as your recovery journey gets underway.

Are you or someone you love looking for an Indiana prescription pill rehab? For more information about Wooded Glen Recovery Center, contact us at (888) 351-0650. We are ready to help.