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Hydrocodone Withdrawal and Detoxification

Once the addiction has been developed, quitting the use of drug will result into the appearance of withdrawal symptoms which can be highly uncomfortable. These symptoms are the reasons why most of the addicts relapse during the process. They prefer to go back to using the drug than to endure the painful symptoms. This is the reason why it is recommended to opt for a specialized detox program. At SLO Recover Centers, a team of experts supervises the patient and provides him treatment suitable for his physical and psychological needs.

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms:

Withdrawal symptoms is a term used to refer to a set of symptoms appearing after quitting the drug as the body and brain of the user learn to function without the drug. Usually, they last as long as the detox lasts but some protracted symptoms may linger for up to years. Withdrawal can be a highly uncomfortable process both physically and mentally.

Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with hydrocodone withdrawal:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Involuntary tremors
  • Body aches
  • Anxiety
  • Flu like symptoms such as watery eyes and runny nose
  • Upset stomach/diarrhea
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate

A user may experience a few or all of these symptoms upon quitting the drug. The intensity of these symptoms may also vary from user to user depending upon the duration and frequency of abuse.

Medications and therapies used to ease withdrawal:

As stated earlier, hydrocodone withdrawal can be highly painful. The process is aided with medications and therapies to make it as less painful as possible. Some medications commonly used during hydrocodone withdrawal include:

  • Antiemetic for vomiting.
  • Propofol is used for sedation during Lortab detoxification.
  • Buprenorphine, Methadone, and Naloxone occupy the opioid receptors and reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Clonidine can be used for treating high blood pressure.
  • Imodium for diarrhea.

Withdrawal symptoms like sleep problems and mood swings can be treated by using following medicines and therapies:

  • Sleep aids.
  • Short-acting Benzodiazepines.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Group therapies
  • Counseling sessions.

Some protracted symptoms like sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression can persist for weeks and months. Following are the some of the therapies that are used for such symptoms.

  • Methadone replacement therapy.
  • Buprenorphine replacement therapy.
  • Lifestyle changes
  • The nutritious diet and adequate intake of water.
  • Physical exercises
  • Mental exercises like yoga and meditation.
  • Engaging in healthy activities.

Hydrocodone withdrawal timeline:

The duration of withdrawal may vary from one user to the other depending upon the duration of abuse. However, in most cases, physical withdrawal symptoms tend to last for a week while psychological symptoms may last for up to a month.

  • First 48 hours:Symptoms start to appear within a day of quitting the drug. Physical withdrawal symptoms like muscle, bone or joint aches are experienced by the user. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, excessive sweating and upset stomach is also frequently experienced by the users.
  • Days 3 to 5:Withdrawal symptoms begin to increase in intensity and reach to their peak values by the 5th The body uses all the possible means such as vomiting, diarrhea and excessive sweating to remove the toxins from the body. As a result, there is a great risk of dehydration during this period. It is important to keep the patient hydrated. Some users may also experience symptoms like involuntary tremors and persisting muscle aches.
  • Day 6 and 7:By this time, most of the physical withdrawal symptoms subside after reaching to their peak values. However, psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression start to appear. The user feels irritable and agitated. Some users may also experience guilt and shame.
  • Day 8 and on:By this time, all the physical symptoms disappear. Anxiety and depression, however, may last for as long as a month. In some cases, proper psychological treatment is needed to get rid of the psychological symptoms.

Hydrocodone detox process:

Hydrocodone can be quit in two ways:

  • By gradually tapering off the amounts
  • By going cold turkey or quitting the drug all at once

Although, going cold turkey is a quicker method to give up the drug but it is generally not safe. Tapering off the drug over a period of weeks may be time taking but it is much less painful. Withdrawal symptoms in case of going cold turkey are very severe that in some cases, can even cause death. Even though the process of detoxification can be carried out at home, it is not recommended by the professionals. The patient should be monitored throughout the process to ensure a speedy and less painful recovery. Medically assisted detox programs show a much higher recovery rate.

During detox, the patients may lose large amounts of water and electrolytes due to vomiting and diarrhea. Excess water intake and use of supplements to replenish these depleted resources should be maintained throughout the process.

Hydrocodone addiction is a serious condition but it is highly treatable. If a loved one is fighting with hydrocodone addiction, it is important to get them the treatment they need. The treatment does not only comprise of withdrawal and detoxification but it is followed by highly professional treatment programs such as inpatient and outpatient treatment depending upon the patient’s needs.