Hydrocodone Withdrawal and Detox

After developing a dependence on hydrocodone, many users experience withdrawal symptoms when quitting use of the drug.

What is Hydrocodone Withdrawal?

Flu-like symptoms are common during the first days of withdrawal.Heavy hydrocodone use over an extended period of time causes users to develop a tolerance to the drug. As tolerance builds, users need higher doses to feel the effects of hydrocodone.

Symptoms of withdrawal appear when they quit taking the drug. People addicted to hydrocodone depend on it to keep these uncomfortable feelings at bay.

There are medications and treatments for hydrocodone addiction.

Hydrocodone, the main ingredient of many painkillers, is often combined with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In 2014, the first pure hydrocodone prescription hit shelves as Zohydro. It was formulated as a time-release drug, much like OxyContin.

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Symptoms of Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms start within a few hours of the last dose. As an opioid, hydrocodone has similar withdrawal symptoms to heroin and oxycodone.

Common symptoms include:

  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cold flashes
  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Sweating

Duration of Withdrawal

People may have different experiences with the duration of withdrawal. Like the severity of symptoms, the length of withdrawal depends on how long, how often and how much someone took the drug.

On average, withdrawal symptoms show up within 6-48 hours of the last dose and continue for a week or longer.

The onset of withdrawal symptoms is different with each type of hydrocodone. Extended-release hydrocodone painkillers stay in the body longer, so withdrawal symptoms take longer to begin.

The pain and discomfort from withdrawal usually peaks around the second or third day. These symptoms start retreating toward the end of the first week. Some chronic symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, may persist for weeks or months.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline

First 48 hoursSymptoms start to arise within the first day without hydrocodone. One of the first symptoms is usually aching in the muscles, joints or bones. During this period, some people experience nausea, abdominal cramping and sweating.
Days 3-5As the body adjusts to life without hydrocodone, withdrawal symptoms will peak. During this time, the body expels toxins through vomiting, diarrhea and excessive sweating. Some people experience shaking and lingering muscle aches.
Days 6-7Most physical symptoms have subsided, leaving the psychological ones at the forefront. Anxiety, depression and a desire to return to the drug can all show up at the end of withdrawal. Former addicts whose minds have begun to clear often feel shame and remorse for things they did and said while high.
Days 8+Depending on the person, psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, can linger for a month or more after stopping use.
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    Hydrocodone Detox

    Detox creates a safe environment to manage uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. A supervised detox can prevent potential complications.

    Those addicted to hydrocodone shouldn’t quit cold turkey because of potential complications during detox.

    During detox, people can lose large amounts of bodily fluids (and with them important nutrients and electrolytes). There is also a possibility of breathing in stomach contents after vomiting. These potential complications make a supervised detox important.

    Other issues can arise if a person in detox has existing mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Both relapse and self-harm are possible during withdrawal and detox.

    Withdrawal Medications Used in Detox

    Medications can ease the discomfort of withdrawal. These medications work by tricking the body into thinking it is still getting hydrocodone.

    • Clonidine and buprenorphine are the most common drugs prescribed during hydrocodone detox. These drugs ease symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, muscle pain and vomiting.
    • Naltrexone is another medication sometimes used in hydrocodone detox. It blocks the effects of opioids and can help speed detox. In some cases, it can reduce detox to as little as four days.
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    Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction

    The first step to overcoming a hydrocodone addiction is getting through the withdrawal period. There are inpatient rehabs across the country that offer medical detox. Those with a mild addiction to hydrocodone may choose outpatient detox. This detox option allows people to get medications and checkups outside of a rehab center.

    After detox, ongoing treatments can help former addicts build new life skills and learn to cope in a healthy way. Get in touch with someone who can help you find detox for a hydrocodone addiction now.

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