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5 Reasons You Need to Detox from Hydrocodone

Doctors often prescribe hydrocodone medications for relief of moderate to severe pain or as an antitussive for coughs. Medications such as Vicodin, Lorcet, or Vicoprofen contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen to increase their pain relief properties, but, hydrocodone is an opiate and using it long term or in abusive ways can cause tolerance, dependency, and addiction.

The first step in hydrocodone dependence recovery is getting the hydrocodone out of the body and sometimes, this is easier said than done. Withdrawals can be overwhelming, unpleasant, and painful enough that the person continues using hydrocodone in order to avoid them. This is the nature of opioid drugs and continuing to use them only increases the risks.

Tolerance and Dependency

If you have been using hydrocodone for a while you may have noticed that you need higher doses to find relief. This is known as tolerance. Opiates cause physiological changes in the brain by increasing the amounts of dopamine whenever we use these drugs.

Dopamine is not only the neurotransmitter that responds to rewards and produces the sense of pleasure, it also tells us what is most noticeable and important to do in order to survive.

Eventually, the brain becomes dependent on the hydrocodone use and the only way to change it is to quit using the drug.


Even those individuals who are legitimately prescribed hydrocodone will suffer some sort of withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using the drugs. Withdrawals are accompanied by cravings and may include symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, chills, sweating, insomnia, agitation, anxiety, and muscle aches.

While these symptoms may not appear life threatening, they can lead to other dangers and a safe and monitored detox is advised.

Physical Health

hydrocodone abuse

If you feel unwell when you don’t have hydrocodone you may need to detox to avoid dependence.

Long term or abusive use of hydrocodone medications increases the risk of acetaminophen toxicity, liver damage, kidney damage, respiratory failures, heart attacks, and strokes. Opiates and other drug or alcohol combinations, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “increase the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression.”

Underlying medical conditions can complicate the detox process and it is wise to have the expertise of medical professionals available when there is a possibility that these problems may exist.

Psychological Health

Co-existing mental health disorders are common among people dependent on opiates and detox further aggravates the mind to cause mood swings, agitation, anxiety, depression, and other psychological symptoms that are more safely controlled in a formal detox setting.

Previous Attempts to Quit

Our brains are programmed to work through intricate systems that tell us how to think, feel, and act, but, opiates change these processes, sometimes causing impulsive or maladaptive behaviors that can lead to many distressing consequences. If you have attempted to quit using hydrocodone on your own and have been unsuccessful, a detox program can help.

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