Hydrocodone Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms
Hydrocodone (sold most commonly under the brand name Vicodin) is one of the most widely prescribed painkillers in the world, and also one of the most deceptively potent.
When consumed in modest amounts, the initial effects of hydrocodone are soothing, relaxing and mildly euphoric. After taking Vicodin, Lorcet, Norco, Zydone, Lortab or any other hydrocodone-based medication, your pain will gradually fade away, and you won’t normally experience excessive drowsiness or other obvious feelings of intoxication.
But like other medications in the opioid family, hydrocodone can be addictive if abused, which it can easily be since it is so effective against moderate-to-severe pain. Some people abuse hydrocodone recreationally, usually mixed with alcohol or other drugs, and that behavior can quickly lead to dependency as well.
Opioid painkillers are responsible for tens of thousands of overdose deaths in the United States each year, and if you or a loved one has been abusing hydrocodone it is vital that you seek help immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Hydrocodone Addiction
Hydrocodone is safe if taken as prescribed and for a short duration. But when Vicodin or another hydrocodone product is consumed habitually, irresponsibly and beyond the terms of the original prescription (if there is one), addiction is a likely result.
If you continuously consume hydrocodone, your tolerance for the drug will grow, forcing you to increase your dosages repeatedly to achieve the same relaxing, euphoric or painkilling effects. This is how hydrocodone use can spiral out of control and leave you trapped by a ferocious drug dependency.
Hydrocodone addiction will reveal itself by the onset of its symptoms. The physical signs of hydrocodone abuse and addiction may include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Lightheadedness, dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Suppressed heart rate
- Respiratory distress
Mood swings are the primary psychological symptom of hydrocodone addiction. When opioid medications are being abused, you may experience anxiety, depression and/or fits of irritability, all of which are caused by the ongoing changes in neurological activity that accompany a blooming drug dependency.
As your hydrocodone addiction deepens, your behavior will inevitably come to reflect your physical and psychological reliance on this potent medication. Some of the telltale behavioral symptoms of hydrocodone addiction include:
Visiting multiple physicians in search of more prescriptions.
In your desperation, you may steal Vicodin or other opioid medications from friends, neighbors or family.
Buying illegal drugs
If your access to prescription hydrocodone is restricted, you may feel compelled to purchase it illegally.
People addicted to drug often take larger doses than they originally intended, indicating that their drug use has become compulsive.
Lying to family and friends
To hide the truth about your drug habit, you may deceive your loved ones about the true cause of your behavior.
Disruption of daily routines and other important activities
When your hydrocodone dependency has reached a severe stage you’ll inevitably begin to neglect your personal, family and work-related responsibilities, as well as any hobbies or other activities you previously enjoyed.
If left unchecked your hydrocodone abuse may cause enormous damage to your life. At its most extreme, it can even lead to a dangerous drug overdose: more than 42,000 people died of opioid overdose in 2016, and if you experience and overdose and are fortunate enough to survive you should seek professional assistance for your drug dependency immediately[i].
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