By taking the following steps, you can help your loved one seek the treatment they need to overcome hydrocodone addiction.
How to Help a Hydrocodone Addict
Each day hydrocodone addiction takes its toll on thousands of people. It destroys jobs, families, and lives. There is a good chance that you know someone who is an addict. If you care for them, you need to encourage them to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Understand Hydrocodone Addiction
In order to help someone with a hydrocodone addiction, you need to understand addiction in general and hydrocodone addiction specifically.
What is hydrocodone addiction?
Hydrocodone is a popular yet highly addictive painkiller prescribed to thousands of people every day. Painkillers like hydrocodone are in the opiate / opioid family of drugs. Its chemical makeup similar to heroin and morphine although it is not as strong.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is continuing to use a substance despite the negative consequences caused by the substance. This means that a person is a hydrocodone addict when they use hydrocodone despite what it is doing to their health, life, friends, and family.
Why do People Get Addicted to Hydrocodone?
People become addicted to hydrocodone for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are:
- They take hydrocodone due to a chronic pain disorder and they build a tolerance to it. Instead of going to the doctor, they continue to increase their own dose. Before too long they are addicted and turn to other means of acquiring it.
- They use hydrocodone because they feel socially isolated and it makes them feel better.
- They use hydrocodone to treat as a form of self medication for an undiagnosed mental illness.
- They decide to use hydrocodone recreationally and find themselves addicted.
Most people find that their addiction increases as time goes on. This means that they cannot quit on their own even if they wanted to.
Recognizing the Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction
There are some very obvious signs of hydrocodone addiction that you need to recognize. These signs will allow you to determine whether they are an addict or simply dependent on the painkiller. The signs of hydrocodone addiction are:
- they are taking more than the amount that was originally prescribed
- they are withdrawing from both friends and family
- You notice withdrawal symptoms
- They steal money, prescriptions, medication, or valuables to obtain hydrocodone
- They lie about how much they are using, where they are, or what they are doing in order to hide their hydrocodone use
- They suffer from mood swings, anxious, paranoid or violent behavior
- They stop taking care of themselves or have poor hygiene
- They are in legal or financial trouble
- They lose their job or have difficulty obtaining one
It is important to remember that hydrocodone is a prescribed medication and some people cannot live pain free without it. If the person is not exhibiting the signs of addiction, they could just be dependent on it as a pain reliever.
Research the Treatment Options
Knowing the treatment options before you try to help an addict is very important. Presenting these options might be the best way to show them treatment is obtainable. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one of the most popular forms of treatment is medication assisted treatment. This treatment includes:
- Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, Suboxone, and Subutex
- Counseling such as cognitive behavioral therapy
- 12 Step Programs
- Drug addiction education
- Other forms education such as parenting or job skills training
- Alternative therapies
- Medical assistance
Once the addict is stabilized the doctor and patient make the decision to either keep on the medication or taper off it.
In the case of chronic pain, many doctors and patients make the decision to continue the methadone or other medication as a form of pain control as well as addiction control.
Stop Enabling the Addict
Do not make it easier for the addict to obtain drugs by enabling them. Enabling behaviors include:
- Making excuses for the addict and the addiction
- Loaning the addict money or paying their bills
- Allowing them to continue to use around you
- Guarding them from the legal consequences of addiction
Enabling is a very difficult thing to stop because you might see it as helping them. Unfortunately, letting them continue to use is not helping, it is making the addiction worse. Although each situation is different, there are many similarities as well.
When you speak to the addict about their addiction, you can bring up the fact that you are going to stop paying their bills or loaning them money if they do not go to treatment.
Have a Talk with the Hydrocodone Addict
When you are actually talking with the addict about their hydrocodone addiction, it is important to do it when they are not actively taking it. Find an appropriate place and time to speak with them. A few tips on having a talk with them are:
- Make sure they understand that you are saying this because you care about them
- Mention the health effects of short and long term hydrocodone addiction
- Do not judge them for their addiction, being nonjudgmental is extremely important
- Make sure that they understand how their addiction is affecting you
- If they are angry or resistant, back off and try again later
Talking is the first step to helping with addiction treatment. The way to approach each person is different depending on your relationship or how well you know the person. It is always wise to approach the subject of addiction cautiously when they are not using or in deep withdrawal.