Hydrocodone is the main ingredient in several very common prescription pain killers. Vicodin being the most well knows. Like most prescription medications, abruptly stopping the use of hydrocodone can cause hydrocodone detox or withdrawal symptoms. These may include:
- Mood swings
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Drug cravings
In most cases, symptoms can last up to 7 days. Medical detox, combined with medications and therapy, can reduce recovery time and the risk of relapse.
According to Consumer Reports, hydrocodone type products are the most commonly prescribed medication in America. Because they have the risk of addiction and a high incidence of abuse, hydrocodone has been moved to the Schedule II Drug Enforcement Administration classification. This means the medication is more tightly controlled. The FDA requested this change in 2013 after a scientific review.
A report by the National Institute on Drug Use (NIDA) reported that prescriptions for opioid painkillers had gone up to 207 million in the U.S. in 2013. It is also reported that Americans consume almost 100% of the world’s hydrocodone. According to the ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) almost 2 million Americans are thought to be addicted to or dependent on prescription drugs, or are abusing opioid medications.
These medications are prescribed to those in chronic or extreme pain. However, they can also alter mood and make a patient feel happy or euphoric. This is caused by the increase in dopamine in the brain. The brain can become tolerant to the amount of hydrocodone taken over a period of time. When this happens, more of the drug is needed to feel the effects. This may increase the brain’s dependency and this is when an addiction can form. Once a person stops taking the medication and if they have become dependent on it, the onset of withdrawal symptoms will occur.