If taken for a prolonged period of time, it’s common for a user to become dependent on hydrocodone. Although not the same as addiction, there are some risks to developing an opioid dependency.
6 Things Your Doctor Never Told You about Becoming Dependent on Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone is one of the most popular opioid medications available today. However, anyone who takes it regularly for several months or longer should also be aware of narcotic dependence, so here are 6 things your doctor probably never told you about hydrocodone dependency. If you or someone you love has been suffering from substance abuse, call (800) 407-7195 now to find safe, reliable treatment.
1. Dependence is a Common Side Effect of Normal Opioid Use.
Many individuals become dependent on opioid drugs every year without abusing them. This occurs simply because a person takes these drugs consistently and often for a long period of time, usually more than a few weeks to a few months.
As such, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that it is “possible to be dependent on morphine,” or another opioid drug, without being addicted to it.
2. You Will Need to Be Weaned Off the Drug.
As a result of dependence, if you are ready to stop taking your hydrocodone medication, you will need to be weaned off it slowly rather than stopping it all at once. This is because opioids can cause withdrawal effects in those who become dependent on them, and it is dangerous to experience these effects without the proper medical treatment.
According to the National Library of Medicine, these effects aren’t usually life threatening, but they resemble a bad case of the flu and can be incredibly painful.
3. Tolerance and Dependency Go Hand-in-Hand.
Most individuals do not realize that, over time, the same dosage of hydrocodone will not allow them to experience the same effects. This is called tolerance, and while it is another natural occurrence when a person takes hydrocodone––or any narcotic––for a prolonged period, it can cause potential issues for the user.
4. Dependency Can, Potentially, Lead to Abuse.
In some cases, people who become dependent on hydrocodone without ever having abused their medication may start doing so because they feel like they need the drug in order to feel good, get out of bed in the morning, etc. Some individuals may try to get more of the drug from another doctor if their doctor tries to cut back on their regimen, while others may try to take more to counteract tolerance. This is how many people move from taking their medication as prescribed to abusing it.
5. Hydrocodone Is a Particularly Dangerous Opioid.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States and is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other licit or illicit opioid.”
The drug is extremely available and can be found in a number of places because so many people are prescribed it every day. As a result, being dependent on hydrocodone especially can be dangerous because the drug is highly available for both licit and illicit use.
If you are considering abusing hydrocodone, it is important to seek help right away.
6. You May Still Require Professional Treatment for Dependence––Even if You’re Not Abusing Hydrocodone.
Even if you become dependent on the drug purely because of your medication regimen, getting weaned off it can be difficult and may require more than just a tapered dosage amount. You may have to attend detox treatment for your dependency, and this could require intensive care, depending on the severity of your condition.
You may need to be treated with methadone, buprenorphine, or clonidine instead of having your hydrocodone dosage tapered off. This is sometimes necessary, especially when the symptoms caused by hydrocodone withdrawal are incredibly severe. And if you go to detox treatment, you will also need to be screened for substance abuse issues along with any co-occurring disorders.
It is very hard to stop a hydrocodone regimen when it has become a long-term staple of your treatment. So remember this if you believe your treatment with this drug will likely lead to dependency.
Have You Been Abusing Hydrocodone or Another Drug?