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Hydrocodone High: How Long Does It Take to Kick In?

dangers of hydrocodone high

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Although this medication is designed for pain relief and is prescribed for those who need consistent medication around the clock, there are concerns about long-term use.
This is not surprising, as far as hydrocodone belongs to the opioid class of medication – called narcotic analgesics and provides sustained-relief action. The high gained through taking this medication is considerable and, this alone can lead towards an addiction. The impact is powerful, and a hydrocodone dose increases the desire to re-create feelings of euphoria consistently.

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Table of Contents

What Causes Hydrocodone High

In the US, opioid addiction and abuse is a very real issue, and in 2016 alone, there were 42,000 deaths. From this, it is easy to see that opioids should be prescribed in the short term only. There are many options for pain relief, and alternative benefits can be gained through different drugs – Hydrocodone vs Percocet as a prime example, but both have the potential for addiction. Although Hydrocodone is effective pain management which impacts the proteins in the brain and spinal cord, it interferes with the usual signals to the brain and therefore, provides an altered perception of pain impacting on an emotional level too.
Once the medication is taken, it binds to opioid receptors. It turns to dopamine, and this alters the brain. Dopamine would normally be recycled, but substantial amounts remain within the brain. The euphoria of dopamine gradually lessens, and next time, an increase in medication is often taken to achieve the same high.
prescription pills bottles arranged from small to bigIt is of course, never quite as intense and so, an addictive cycle begins. Because the drug is very similar to morphine in its molecular structure, when taken quickly, the body converts the drug leading to deep relaxation and a powerful rush of pleasure. It has a tremendous influence on the individual’s brain, and a hydrocodone recreational dose makes users want to take it repeatedly.

What Does Hydrocodone High Feel Like?

It triggers a powerful reward cycle which creates a wonderful heightened state of euphoria, but there are additional feelings associated with this drug:

  • Reflexes slow down
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Difficulty thinking straight
  • Feeling contented
  • Feeling relaxed and happy

When prescribed specific medication, understand that there can be side-effects. As an example, a  hydrocodone-homatropine syrup high creates a less distinct euphoria, and this is because the addition of homatropine reduces the effect of the high.
A Hydrocodone acetaminophen 5-325 high once again creates a reduced euphoric state. However, it is worth noting that experiencing a high on this combination drug is likely to be more dangerous than if taking hydrocodone alone. It is the same with a hydrocodone chlorpheniramine high. Although a combined medication works well to suppress coughs and to reduce allergic symptoms, there is a greater risk to health when euphoria occurs.
Caution should always be prevalent and for the individual to note any symptoms.

Hydrocodone abuse causes significant harm and leads to addiction development. The long treatment and recovery process will be required in such a case.

How Long Does a Hydrocodone High Last For?

When taken orally, it takes approximately one hour for the effects to be experienced and this is because it passes through the digestive system first. If taken incorrectly or, when the dosage is abused, the effects can occur more quickly. Hydrocodone high feeling is incredibly strong, and it becomes tempting to misuse the drug.
The hydrocodone high effects usually stop working within 3-4 hours, but this would depend on the individual’s metabolism. Note that for it to be eliminated from the blood, it usually takes one day but, hydrocodone detection time in urine tends to be longer.

Signs and Symptoms of a Hydrocodone High

Euphoria is the most noted sign of a high and dopamine as a  neurotransmitter affected by this medication, and it acts as a messenger for the body. Once released, this neurotransmitter wants more of the pleasurable sensation. Many people describe the sensation as a state of bliss which shows how powerful it is.
Additional signs include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Apathy
  • Lack of focus
  • Inability to concentrate

When higher levels are taken, it can affect the part of the brain responsible for breathing and also impact:

  • Pupils constrict female eye with constricted pupil
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Mood changes
When taking this drug, it’s important to consider the potential for addiction and the various types of detoxification methods available. Long-term use and the emphasis of the high gained when taking makes it difficult to stop but using kratom and hydrocodone as a means to combat withdrawal symptoms has been proven effective.

Dangers of Hydrocodone High

A hydrocodone high is extremely difficult to combat, and in the long term, there is a greater risk for the individual to self-medicate. Many try new ways including crushing medication to a powder and then, inhaling it.
What happens when one snort hydrocodone?

  • Inflamed nasal cells
  • A hole in the mouth or walls of the nostrils may occur
  • The lungs become irritated
  • Asthma symptoms to increase
  • Sore throats

How long after taking hydrocodone can one drink alcohol?
Mixing other painkillers, drugs or alcohol with this medication is not advisable. The answer is simple, avoid taking alcohol as it can increase the risks dramatically. Consuming alcohol with or after this medication is ill-advised. The long-term side effects of hydrocodone usage are considerable, more so if not taken correctly and can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Coma
  • Death

What Can One Do if High on Hydrocodone?

The high experienced with this drug can be extremely powerful and unexpected when used initially for pain medication. Try the following coping strategies:

  • Keep hydrated with water. young man meditating trying to calm down
  • Eat a light snack – little and often.
  • Remain calm, do not panic. The feeling will pass.
  • Rest where possible.
  • Use distraction techniques.

A high does not last for long, and so, by using any of these coping strategies, this should enable the individual to benefit from the medication in the short term.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Olivier George

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


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