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The discomfort of Hydrocodone withdrawal makes professional treatment especially important for anyone looking to kick the habit. Without professional medical help from a Hydrocodone detox center, the risk of relapse is increased.

What Makes Hydrocodone Withdrawal So Difficult?


Hydrocodone and other opiate-based drugs affect individuals by connecting with the opioid receptors in the brain and changing how they work. This can happen even if someone takes the drug as directed. Withdrawal is nearly unbearable with heavy or long-term use, which is a factor in the continuing opioid epidemic. An opiate addiction treatment program begins with detox, so each individual can get clean and focus on recovery.

Without help from a Hydrocodone detox center, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms causes many people to seek out more Hydrocodone or another dangerous drug like heroin or fentanyl. For anyone suffering through withdrawal, using opiates seems like the only option to stop the pain and flu-like symptoms. These symptoms and side-effects can also be fatal in extreme circumstances.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms

More than 68 percent of overdose deaths in 2017 involved a prescription opiate, and 20 percent of those with a legal prescription abuse their medication. According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 80 percent of people seeking treatment for heroin addiction started out with a legal prescription for pain medication.

The main reason legal prescription drug abusers switch to dangerous street drugs is the severity of opiate withdrawal.

Withdrawal can vary from person to person. Many factors affect the severity or length of the withdrawal period. If someone becomes hooked after a short period and treatment is begun immediately, it’s possible to manage the problem with gradual reduction and some support therapy. However, serious or prolonged use and addiction or physical dependence are almost impossible to overcome without medical detox and evidence-based addiction therapies.

Withdrawal symptoms usually last from five to seven days, peaking by about the third day. Often, the removal of the drug from the bloodstream can reverse problems like drowsiness, lethargy, and constipation. Signs include:

  • Shivering and profuse sweating
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Insomnia and night sweats
  • Chills, fever, goosebumps
  • Excessive yawning
  • Vomiting and severe stomach cramps
  • Body aches
  • Severe anxiety and depression
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Drug cravings
  • Runny nose

Medical detox during the initial rehabilitation process can manage withdrawal symptoms from hydrocodone until the drug is completely out of the system. Then, other components of recovery like therapy and treatment of co-occurring disorders can proceed.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Treatment Timeline

Although individuals may have a different experience during the withdrawal period, there’s a general timeline that most individuals experience. At a Jacksonville, FL heroin detox center, therapists and clinical staff adjust your withdrawal treatment plan for your individual needs.

First 6 – 12 Hours

This is the beginning of detox, and the symptoms may be a little mild at first, picking up in intensity after about eight hours.

First 72 Hours

The first three days are the most dangerous time, with symptoms peaking after 72 hours. Although drug cravings can last for weeks or months after quitting the drug, it’s during the first three days that people abandon hope and begin using again, That’s why a heroin detox center with medical supervision is most important at this stage.

3 -5 Days After Quitting

Physical symptoms begin to taper off and the drugs are completely out of the system by now. Your treatment team can address and attendant health problems or mental health issues, and create a plan of action for treatment moving forward. A dual diagnosis treatment program for addiction and mental health disorders can be implemented as well.

After the First Week and Beyond

Therapy begins, usually lasting from about 30 – 90 days. This depends on the length and severity of the drug use, additional issues that need to be addressed, and the mindset of the participant; research shows that recovery is more likely to last when treatment is voluntary and the participant is ready. once the program is complete, your treatment team can create a rehab aftercare program, an essential tool for lasting recovery. The first six months after leaving a treatment center represents a period of vulnerability for relapse or overdose.

Treatment for Hydrocodone Withdrawal and Addiction

Almost all treatment programs for opioid substance use disorder begin with an intake assessment and medically assisted treatment (MAT) for the duration of detoxification. This is necessary to manage withdrawal symptoms, which can be mildly uncomfortable at best, and life-threatening at its worst.

Medical detox from hydrocodone usually lasts for as long as the most severe symptoms are present, which is about three to seven days. By this time, the drug should be out of the system, but withdrawal can continue in some form for up to a week or more after the last dose is taken. Once the brain is able to function somewhat organically on its own, the therapeutic phase of treatment can begin. This includes individual sessions with a trained addiction specialist, group counseling, and alternative treatments like art or music therapy, massage, and/or physical activity. Regular meals and snacks in conjunction with medical care will help overcome malnourishment and medical problems that often accompany addiction.

These first 30 days represent a real danger for relapse and overdose for the individual in recovery. Therefore, many clinicians recommend residential inpatient treatment as a resource to rely on during early recovery.

Medications for Hydrocodone Dependency

Although methadone is the traditional medication used for both detox and long-term medical maintenance, some newer drugs are proving effective for managing withdrawal. Opiates are opioid agonist drugs, which means that they bind to and stimulate opioid receptors in the brain. Methadone is an agonist drug, but it has a milder effect than other opiates and a longer half-life, which allowed it to manage withdrawal effectively with little risk for dependence.

Medications for hydrocodone dependency fall into the categories of antagonist drugs and partial agonists like Buprenorphine. Partial agonist drugs still bind to the same receptors, but they don’t activate them to the same degree as using hard drugs. The most common partial agonist drugs used in Hydrocodone addiction treatment are Buprenorphine, Suboxone, and Subutex. Antagonist drugs bind to the receptors and block them. This means that they aren’t activated, so the user would experience none of the effects of an opiate. This category includes drugs like Naloxone and naltrexone.

How Effective is Addiction Treatment?

Substance use disorder is often a life-long struggle. With treatment at a licensed facility with professionals who are experienced with opiate addictions and dependence, chances of making a long-term recovery are improved. Substance abuse treatment for at least 60 days at a residential program is highly recommended.

This allows recovering addicts to leave behind the environment that fostered the original addiction. Most programs offer individual and group therapy and ongoing medical support. In order to maintain sobriety, an aftercare program or medical maintenance program may be necessary. These resources can help prevent a relapse if the use was long-term, heavy, or the participant has relapsed after previous treatment.

When an individual suffers a relapse or begins to struggle heavily with cravings or stress, a relapse recovery treatment program can be essential. These care plans involve a heavier focus on the issues each individual faces in recovery. Thus, they can focus on the most effective coping skills and strategies that they can rely on for lasting recovery.

Find a Hydrocodone Detox Center in Jacksonville, FL

Take the first step and begin a Hydrocodone detox program at Stepping Stone Center for Recovery in Jacksonville, FL. Our trained and credentialed staff are standing by to assist with comprehensive and effective addiction treatment. Call 866.957.4960 to speak with an intake specialist today.

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