How Can You Tell If Someone Is Using Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid variant used to treat severe pain. If you are suspecting someone or yourself of hydrocodone abuse, below are some traits you should look for. Additionally, you can also find information on how to treat hydrocodone drug abuse and how to get started with rehab.

Last Edited:

03/24/2022

Clinically Reviewed:

03/24/2022

Medical Reviewer:

Dr. Tasnova Malek

Hydrocodone is a type of opioid that is prescribed for people undergoing severe and prolonged pain. It can be given post-surgery, during cancer chemotherapy, after pregnancy, and other chronic pain conditions. Hydrocodone is considered a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that a prescription is needed to access the drug. People who misuse the drug can possibly suffer from dependency and eventual addiction.

If you have a loved one whom you are suspecting of drug abuse, it is important to know about hydrocodone addiction signs and side effects. Below, you will see crucial markers that indicate that someone is having hydrocodone addiction symptoms.

Hydrocodone Abuse Symptoms

Hydrocodone abuse signs can be divided into three main kinds–these include physical, mental, and behavioral. There are different changes that a person undergoes when they are dependent on hydrocodone:

Physical symptoms

  • Pale or bluish-colored skin: Generally, people who have an opioid addiction have breathing challenges, resulting in a lower concentration of oxygen in the blood. As a result, they tend to have pale or bluish skin.
  • Breathing abnormalities or difficulties: Hydrocodone suppresses the functions of many vital organs such as the lungs, brain, and heart. You may notice the person having very slow or strained breathing.
  • Constricted pupils: The pupils may also appear smaller than the typical person, a usual sign of opioid abuse.
  • Discomforts such as nausea, vomiting, and dizziness: The body chemistry is changed once the person is dependent on hydrocodone. Thus a person may experience these physical discomforts when they do not access the drug right away as needed.
  • Weight changes: Weight loss and malnutrition are also typical of people who have an opioid use disorder.
  • Tremors: Other less common physical symptoms include body tremors when in need of more doses of the drug. It may be difficult to move or speak when the individual is experiencing tremors.

Mental symptoms

  • Difficulties in focus and concentration: You may find that the person can have difficulties following through a conversation or may appear incomprehensible when they talk. They may also have poorer performance in work or study due to drug use.
  • Expressing atypical euphoria: They may also show unusual signs of euphoria or extreme happiness especially when they have recently taken the drug.

Behavioral symptoms

  • Extreme mood changes: Opioid dependency is also characterized by extreme mood swings, from being happy to being very upset which is reliant on their drug intake.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities: They may lose interest in their jobs, previous hobbies, work, and also in maintaining relationships.
  • Suspicious behaviors of accumulating the drug: The individual may also show different behaviors such as frequently changing doctors or hospitals to get more prescriptions, looking for hydrocodone in black markets, or hiding large stashes of the drugs.
  • Financial and relationship problems: The desire to get hydrocodone can lead to irrational behaviors such as losing savings, getting money from others, and engaging in problematic relationship issues.

If you notice many of these physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seeking professional help may be the best first step to address hydrocodone addiction.

Hydrocodone Abuse Effects

Aside from symptoms, those who are dependent on the drug may experience hydrocodone abuse side effects. Drug abuse always progresses over time and tolerance increases which forces the individual to take in more doses of hydrocodone just to achieve the same effects. Thus, the prolonged abuse of the drug can lead to the following side effects:

  • Slower digestive processes: People who abuse the drug can have difficulty passing stools as it suppresses many organ functions. One may be constipated or have few stools during bowel movement times.
  • Dry mouth and itchiness: The drug can also impede the distribution of fluids in the body, leading to a dry mouth and skin dryness, which leads to itching.
  • Fatigue: Vital organ suppression may also make the individual feel weak and fatigued most of the time.
  • Respiratory distress: One of the physical symptoms of hydrocodone abuse is breathing difficulties. When this condition becomes prolonged or doses become higher, the lungs may completely stop functioning which can be dangerous.
  • Overdose: Drug tolerance can make a person take a fatal dose of hydrocodone. An overdose will lead to loss of consciousness, stopping organ functions, and even death.

Take note that the side effects of hydrocodone abuse increases in intensity as the person takes in higher doses of the drugs. Furthermore, it is possible to experience emergency situations such as respiratory distress and overdose when hydrocodone abuse is not addressed.

How Much Hydrocodone Is Too Much?

As dangerous side effects are discussed, it is also important to know that there is such a thing as a fatal dose of hydrocodone. If you are wondering how much is too much hydrocodone, these all depend on the person’s weight, age, height, gender, and physical ability to tolerate the drug. There are also other external factors such as other drugs or alcohol taken as well as physical and mental health conditions.

However, if all factors are considered typical, a fatal amount or an amount that could lead to overdose would be more than 50 milligrams daily for an average American adult.

How To Treat Hydrocodone Addiction

Addressing hydrocodone addiction should be done as soon as possible when you notice the signs. Opioid overdose is a national crisis that leads to many drug-related deaths. Thankfully, there are many resources one can go to when starting their hydrocodone addiction journey:

Reach out to a trusted rehab center

A treatment center that specializes in opioid addiction can be helpful in giving you structured first steps in recovery. They have a medical detox program, a treatment protocol, and aftercare plans in place to help in long-term sobriety.

Talk to helpful family and friends

Share your decision in addiction recovery with people whom you can trust. They can provide you with moral support, finances, and other types of assistance when you are going to a rehab center.

Educate yourself

It is great to stay informed about the effects and dangers of hydrocodone abuse. You can use trusted resources, local resources, and groups that can help you start with recovery right away.

Hydrocodone Abuse Symptoms: Taking Control and Gaining Recovery

Hopefully, the information and steps above can lead you or your loved one towards hydrocodone addiction recovery. Educating yourself, your loved ones, and reaching out to a trusted addiction treatment center as soon as possible can help in recovery success.

Sources

  1. Medlineplus.gov – “Hydrocodone: MedlinePlus Drug Information”.
  2. Sciencedaily.com – “How opioids cause dangerous breathing problems”.
  3. Pubmed.ncbi.nlm.gov – “What is the lethal concentration of hydrocodone?”.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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