Hydrocodone is a prescription semi-synthetic opioid pain reliever that is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is often combined with the non-opioid pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol), and this combination is sold under the brand names Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab.
Hydrocodone as a pain reliever
Opioids such as hydrocodone act by binding to their specific mu opioid receptors in the nervous system. Once bound to these receptors, they release chemicals that create euphoria and pain relief. The body has it’s own natural pain relief system; however, when exogenous opioids are taken, they hijack this pain system creating a higher tolerance and preventing the natural chemicals known as endorphins from working appropriately.
After surgery or a severe injury, physicians may prescribe hydrocodone as a painkiller for a short time. However, this drug of abuse is overprescribed and can often be purchased illegally on the streets. On the streets, hydrocodone is commonly called vic, vikes, vicos, hydros, lorries, watsons, narco and tabs. One single pill of hydrocodone sells for $5-$20 on the street, depending on the dosage and location of purchase.
Hydrocodone addiction is characterized by the behavior that encompasses genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors that cause the individual to continue to use hydrocodone. This addiction is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving. Signs and symptoms of hydrocodone intoxication, withdrawal, and addiction are all different. It is essential to recognize the difference, so the correct treatment regimen can be administered as treatments vary for withdrawal and intoxication.
Since hydrocodone is an opioid, treatment for hydrocodone addiction is similar to treating any other opioid addiction.
The initial goal of treatment is to alleviate hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid agonist medications are administered in a tapered dosage until the individual is no longer at risk for withdrawal. Medication-assisted treatment is the first-line treatment regimen for hydrocodone and other opioid addictions. Medicines that contain opioids are administered long-term to reduce opioid cravings.
Medication-assisted treatment provides a way for the individual to be gradually weaned off their pre-existing addiction while minimizing the opioid withdrawal symptoms that would come from the process.
Psychotherapy modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and dialectal behavioral therapy are also used in combination with medication-assisted treatment.
The goal of psychotherapy is to teach the individual healthy life skills, coping skills, and relationship skills as addiction are often coupled with poor lifestyle habits.
Depending on the seriousness of the addiction, treatment professionals usually recommend residential treatment of intensive outpatient treatment, where the client can be in a safe environment and undergo individual, group, and family therapy for an average of four to six weeks.
The goals of treatment include the following:
AKUA Mind and Body is a full-service treatment program that offers a wide range of “east meets west” treatment modalities for many different populations struggling with anxiety and other mental health and substance use disorders. We offer both intensive inpatient programs as well as outpatient treatment. AKUA Mind & Body works diligently with each client and their family to ensure that their depressive disorder treatment plan is specifically tailored to their needs, and not just their disorder.