Hydrocodone is a substance used to treat moderate to severe pain. It belongs to a group of narcotics, which directly affects the brain, changing the way one perceives pain. It functions by binding the pain receptors, thus weakening pain signals in the brain. In greater doses, hydrocodone may produce a state of euphoria.
Hydrocodone originated in Germany, where it was first synthesized in 1920. Since then, it has become a popular tool to alleviate pain. However, since it is an opioid, hydrocodone has a very high addiction potential. Additionally, it was soon discovered that the effects of hydrocodone could be amplified if combined with another non-opioid substance, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. There are several versions of hydrocodone marketed as Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, or Zohydro.
How to Tell That Someone is Using Hydrocodone
Prescription opioids are the most commonly abused substances. About 20% of those abusing opioids like hydrocodone obtain the drug with a prescription as a part of their regular therapy.
There are a few vital signs that may indicate hydrocodone abuse. These are:
- Taking more hydrocodone than prescribed
- White powder and strange dust on hard objects – abusers often crush capsules into powder and snort it
- Taking solution with a household spoon without measuring it
- Doctor shop for multiple prescriptions
- Withdrawal from social activities and events
- Constricted pupils
- Breathing is shallow and slow
- Ongoing and strong desire to stop using hydrocodone, but without any success
- Inability of a person to fulfill daily responsibilities considering work, school, family
- Stealing or borrowing money and pain medications
- The person continues to use hydrocodone even if it is causing physical and psychical problems
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Most Common Signs of Hydrocodone Use
The most common physical, psychological and behavioral signs and symptoms of hydrocodone use are:
- Slowed heart rate
- Dry throat
- Emotional liability
- Weight loss or gain
- Mood swings – abnormally cheerful or despondent
- Ringing in ears
- Blurred vision
Long Term Signs of Hydrocodone Use
Hydrocodone affects the brain’s chemistry by interfering with its reward system. This can leave numerous irreversible consequences. Frequent hydrocodone abuse can reprogram the brain for addiction and cause physical dependence.
Some of the side effects of hydrocodone use may imply:
- Liver damage – hydrocodone products usually contain acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause severe liver damage, the primary health risk of long-term abuse.
- Kidney problems
- Respiratory failure
- Loss of consciousness
- Feelings of anger, rage
- Altered perception of reality
The worst thing you can do if you know or suspect someone is abusing Hydrocodone is not say anything. The longer you wait, the harder is to achieve recovery.
Staging an intervention is the best way to start the treatment, and if you are not sure you can do it alone, there are experienced intervention specialists who can help you. Family and friends should stay positive, supportive and non-judgmental.
After recovery, support groups can help every person to form life skills that can assist in dealing with future problems, and resist temptations.