Lortab Addiction

You have probably heard of Lortab at some point and may have even taken it for severe pain. It is an opioid pain reliever that combines the opioid hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen. This is the same thing found in OTC Tylenol. Its use is for moderate to severe pain and it has been prescribed often in the past. With this drug being an opioid, the potential for abuse is high and it can be quite addictive. Here is a guide to Lortab addiction and what you need to know about this prescription drug.

If you or someone you love has a dependence on Lortab, it is treatable with a controlled treatment plan. Here at Transformations Treatment Center, we help you get your life back on the path of sobriety.

What Is Lortab and How Does It Work?

Lortab is classified therapeutically as an opioid and acetaminophen combination. Some of its common names include:

  • Vicodin
  • Lorcet
  • Anexsia
  • Norco
  • Zydone
  • Ceta Plus
  • Hycet
  • Maxidone
  • Forte
  • Stagesic

It is typically taken in pill form or in some cases, as a liquid form. The acetaminophen part of Lortab is not habit-forming and helps relieve fever and pain. Yet, the hydrocodone part of this combination is part of a group of medications known as narcotic analgesics, which stands for pain relievers and these are what can become addictive.

According to the government site Medline Plus:

Hydrocodone comes as an extended-release (long-acting) capsule and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The extended-release capsule is usually taken once every 12 hours.

This is a drug that should always be taken exactly how it is prescribed. Lortab is a powerful painkiller and is often abused. The problem is that those who are in pain often find that they develop a tolerance to the drug, even after taking it as prescribed. This often leads to a dependence and possible addiction to Lortab and other opioids. Of course, there are those who take it in recreational settings and find that they also may develop a dependence.

The reason this happens is because both your body and brain become tolerant to the effects of Lortab over time. Your brain releases what is known as dopamine, which is a chemical associated with pleasure, rewards, and other processes.Since opioids act similar to natural dopamine, we want more of that pleasure or sense of reward. This leads to sometimes taking more than the prescription calls for.

As mentioned at How Stuff Works:

Because dopamine played a role in transmitting the signals, scientists initially suspected that it had something to do with pleasure. People with clinical depression tend to have low levels of dopamine in their brains, which led researchers to hypothesize that low levels of dopamine caused a person to experience less pleasure.

This is all-important when it comes to what is known as co-occurring disorders, and goes along with dual diagnosis. This is when a person with a mental health disorder also has an addiction. As related to the discussion on Lortab, a good example is a person who has depression. This may mean they feel less pleasure yet the Lortab helps them feel more euphoric. This is how addiction to opioids can happen in many cases. Of course, this is just an example. Even those who are perfectly happy can become dependent upon opioids but mental health is a factor.

Symptoms and Signs of Lortab Addiction

Becoming addicted to Lortab depends on a few factors. There are certain types of people who may be more susceptible to addiction and these include certain genetic backgrounds, biological, and environmental reasons.

Genetics

While no one type of gene causes addiction, studies have shown that those who have a close relative with an addiction problem are more likely to have their own addiction. So genetics can play a part in Lortab addiction, as well as other drug and alcohol addiction issues.

Biological

Opioids like Lortab affect our brain’s pleasure center. This is not always the case but for some who become addicted, they are people who find it difficult to experience pleasure like others. This may lead to taking more of the drug to experience that same pleasure.

Environmental

There are various reasons a person may become addicted to Lortab due to environmental issues. This includes having a close family member having a substance abuse issue. It can also be that the person works in a stressful job or has a lot of stressful issues in their life and need a way to get away from it all. And there is always peer pressure or the need to belong for some who try this drug in recreational settings.

The signs and symptoms of Lortab addiction include a combination of physical, mental, and behavioral areas. Mood enhancements are included as well. The signs and symptoms encompass, but are not limited to, the following:

Mood enhancement behaviors include:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Worry over finding more of the drug

Physical signs include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feet and hands edema
  • Hearing loss
  • Hyperventilation
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Itching
  • Weakness
  • Convulsions
  • Slow heartbeat

Behavioral signs of addiction include:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Visiting multiple doctors to obtain more of the drug
  • Claims of stolen or lost prescriptions
  • Being dishonest, stealing, or lying to obtain more Lortab
  • Social withdrawal
  • Speech production decrease
  • Being argumentative

Psychological signs are as follows:

  • Paranoid behavior
  • Confusion
  • Finding it hard to focus or concentrate
  • Continuing to use the drug even with adverse reactions and behavior
  • Memory difficulties
  • Delusions or hallucinations

Lortab use comes with a host of side effects, as well as signs and symptoms of dependency. These are just a few of what happens when a person has a dependence or addiction to Lortab.

Lortab Addiction Statistics

Opioids are a real problem in the United States. According to the CDC:

The number of drug overdose deaths decreased by 4 percent from 2017 to 2018, but the number of drug overdose deaths was still four times higher in 2018 than in 1999.1 Nearly 70 percent of the 67,367 deaths in 2018 involved an opioid. From 1999–2018, almost 450,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids.

And the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states the following:

Over 130 people die daily from drug overdoses related to opioids and the total number as of the date available was over 47K.

In 2018 alone, over 10 million people misused prescription opioids.

In that same year, there were over 2 million people with a drug abuse disorder to opioids. That same number, over 2 million, misused opioids for the first time.

Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, more than any previous year on record. An estimated 40% of opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid.

Treatment Options for Lortab Addiction

Many times, the first treatment option for opioid addiction is with detox. This process helps encourage you to taper off the drug and/or use medication to manage withdrawal symptoms. You also receive medical monitoring to ensure that your surroundings are safe and comfortable as you go through the withdrawal process.

A rehab program is the next step after detox. Therapy addresses more than just the physical dependence on drugs. While you may have completely detoxed and are no longer physically addicted, there are still triggers. These triggers and stressors that can cause a person to relapse. For instance, stressful situations are one of the main reasons for relapse. There are other triggers too, such as being around others who are using or even being in a familiar place where you used in the past. All of these stressors are addressed in therapy to help you deal with them and make healthy choices.

It is easy to think of addiction as just physical dependence but there are psychological and social factors that contribute. And these must belong in your individual plan of recovery. Remember that even after detox is complete, that doesn’t mean that recovery is. Instead. In order for the patient to stay sober, everything must be taken into consideration to ensure sobriety.

A New Life With Recovery From Lortab Addiction

The good thing is that recovery from opioid addiction is possible. Even during your darkest moments, there is help and you do not have to live tethered to Lortab or any other opioid. Our staff-certified professionals help you or your loved one get back to living the life you deserve, one that is sober and healthy. For more information on our cocaine addiction program offerings, contact us today.

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