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What Is Hydrocodone Addiction?

Categorized as a prescription opioid, Hydrocodone is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States. AKA dihydrocodeinone, this orally available narcotic medication is used to treat moderate and severe pain, and also to relieve a dry cough and similar upper respiratory symptoms. 

However, when misused or used for a longer duration, Hydrocodone can lead to addiction, and its overdose can cause respiratory depression, brain damage, and even death. Sadly, in many cases, it is found that this potent opioid is produced, sold, and consumed illegally in the US, therefore leading to a fatal and relapsing addiction. It also causes withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop using it. 

Thus, it is vital to understand Hydrocodone abuse and its duration in the body, especially for people who continue to use it and want to seek assistance. Understanding this can empower individuals to make better decisions regarding Hydrocodone use and plan an addiction recovery journey if needed.

In this blog, we take you through everything you need to know about Hydrocodone addiction, its risks, and the path to a drug addiction rehab center. So, let’s get started!

Metabolism and Elimination

When you take Hydrocodone, the body will develop a chemical process that helps transform the drug into different substances that can be easily eliminated. Usually, the body starts metabolizing Hydrocodone immediately after taking it so that it’s manageable and then later removes it.

Hydrocodone metabolism usually takes place in the liver. The liver is a vital organ helpful for detoxifying substances such as Hydrocodone. Upon ingesting this drug, the liver tries to break it into smaller molecules through various chemical reactions. This makes it easy for it to be eliminated from the body.

Hydrocodone is an opioid, so it must first undergo an extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver before entering the systemic system. This helps reduce the bioavailability of the drug. It typically reduces the amount of active Hydrocodone that reaches the bloodstream.

During metabolism, Hydrocodone is transformed into several metabolites: hydromorphone, an active opioid, Hydrocodone, oxycodone, and hydromorphone-3-glucuronide.

Hydrocodone Elimination

After the metabolism process of Hydrocodone, it needs to be eliminated from the body. It is mainly eliminated from the body through the kidneys via urine. Other metabolites might undergo more metabolism in the liver before they are excreted.hydrocodone prescription medicine effects

Some factors influencing the metabolism and elimination of Hydrocodone include liver function, genetic variations in drug-metabolizing enzymes, age, kidney function, and concurrent use of other medications.

For instance, people with impaired liver or kidney function will metabolize Hydrocodone slowly, leading to prolonged effects and increased risk of toxicity.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your System?

When someone takes the short-acting Hydrocodone, they will feel the initial effects within 60 minutes. The total impact of the drug occurs around 2 hours after intake.

The Hydrocodone effect usually affects a person for about 4 to 6 hours. The short-acting Hydrocodone will stay in your body for about 4 hours before it’s eliminated. However, only half of the drug will be eliminated from your system.

To get rid of all the Hydrocodone consumed, you might need about five half-lives after your last done. On the other hand, the short-acting Hydrocodone will stay in your system for about 20 hours. Long-acting Hydrocodone will take anywhere between 5 and 30 hours to reach its peak in the body. Typically, this kind of Hydrocodone has a slower onset than the one in short-acting form. 

Therefore, the half-life of the long-acting Hydrocodone will always be much longer. It can take about 7 to 9 hours. So, a single dose of the long-acting Hydrocodone can take more than 45 hours to leave your body. 

Besides the stipulated half-life, there is also how long Hydrocodone will stay in your urine, hair, blood, and saliva. It can remain detected in your urine for one to three days. Hydrocodone can stay in the hair for up to 90 days and in the blood and saliva for one and two days, respectively.

Some factors that will determine how long the Hydrocodone stays in your system include a person’s age, genetics, kidney and liver function, and the frequency of use. 

Hydrocodone Detection Window

Like any other drug, Hydrocodone also has a specific detection time within which it will be detected in the body even after you stop experiencing the effects. This is usually done using a drug test as follows:

  • Urine Test

Hydrocodone detection in the body is mainly done using a urine test. This test, however, only determines if the person has used the drug in the past few days or not—Hydrocodone breakdown products such as Hydrocodone, which can be detected within three days of use.

  • Hair Test

A hair test for Hydrocodone use is conducted chiefly if you want to see if the person has used the drug for the long term. With a half-inch hair sample, it can detect the presence of Hydrocodone up to 90 days after the last dose.

Risks and Consequences of Hydrocodone Abuse

While Hydrocodone is a helpful and effective pain reliever, there is a risk of substance abuse, adverse health effects, and addiction if not properly taken. The dopamine rewards contained in opioids such as Hydrocodone can make people use this product over and over again, but at what cost?

Here are some potential health risks and consequences that come with the abuse of Hydrocodone:

  • Respiratory depression means that you will experience slow and shallow breathing, which may lead to oxygen deprivation and, consequently, death.
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, nausea and vomiting
  • An overdose of Hydrocodone can lead to coma or death due to respiratory failure
  • Damage of liver and kidney due to prolonged use of Hydrocodone, which causes long-term health complications.
  • Impairment of cognitive function and judgment leads to more accidents and injuries.
  • Decreases in hormone levels in the body, such as estrogen and testosterone, lead to fertility damage, hence making it hard to conceive.
  • The use of Hydrocodone can cause low hormone levels, therefore leading to chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety, risk of bone fractures, and muscle loss. 
  • Risk of damage to the Opioid receptors in the brain, which affects how the brain manages responses to pain.
  • It Alters how chemicals are released and absorbed in the brain and makes the feel-good neurotransmitters flood the brain, which can change the structures related to rational thinking, learning, memory, and emotional control.

Impact of Hydrocodone Abuse on Mental Health, Physical Well-Being, and Potential for Addiction

Prolonged and frequent use of Hydrocodone can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings. This is because the drug causes chemical imbalances in the brain.

Hydrocodone substance abuse can quickly lead to addiction because it’s addictive. It can cause compulsive drug-seeking behavior and tolerance development. You will need higher dose levels to achieve the same effect in such a case. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, physical dependence on Hydrocodone will build tolerance and withdrawal. In case a person stops taking the drug, they will be hit by withdrawal symptoms such as the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Change in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Sweating 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Depression
  • Depersonalization

When you notice your loved one is having such symptoms, seek immediate help so that they can start their journey to recovery.

The Role of Treatment Centers in Hydrocodone Addiction Rehab

Treatment centers play a critical role in addressing Hydrocodone addiction recovery. If someone has a Hydrocodone addiction, taking them to a treatment center ensures that they get medical detox supervision. This helps them to manage the withdrawal symptoms safely, therefore minimizing discomfort and complications associated with Hydrocodone withdrawal.

In a treatment center, individuals can get treatment plans to meet the specific needs of each individual. Whether the person is suffering from physical, psychological, or social aspects of Hydrocodone abuse and addiction, all these will be addressed in a treatment center.

Individuals addicted to Hydrocodone can get therapy sessions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and group therapy. This helps them explore the underlying issues that contribute to Hydrocodone abuse and deduce coping strategies to prevent relapsing.

If you or your loved ones are experiencing Hydrocodone addiction and want to embark on their recovery journey, then it would help if they visited Still Water Wellness Treatment Center. We are a rehab facility located in Lake Forest, California, and are committed to providing full-service and personalized addiction plans for individuals with Hydrocodone addiction. 

We provide targeted care throughout your recovery process from start to end. Our drug rehabilitation programs offer various customizable treatment programs that you can select from. Our programs include therapy, dual-diagnosis treatment, medical detox, psychotherapy, holistic healing opportunities, and dialectical behavior therapy. Combining these treatments will help you achieve long-term healing and recovery from Hydrocodone addiction.

In conclusion, Hydrocodone, while effective in pain relief, carries risks of abuse and addiction. The Still Waters Wellness Group offers vital support for those struggling with Hydrocodone addiction. Our personalized programs include therapy, addiction medicine, and holistic healing, guiding individuals toward long-term recovery and a healthier future. Let’s start your journey to healing today – for admissions, contact us here. (800) 563-8983