What are the Dangers of Hydrocodone Abuse

Hydrocodone is a potent pain medication that elicits feelings of euphoria and relaxation when used inappropriately, which makes it a drug that is frequently abused. Unfortunately, hydrocodone abuse can result in serious physical and mental health consequences and prolonged use of the painkiller can interfere with the brain’s reward system. This makes it difficult for users to find pleasure in healthy activities they once enjoyed. If you or someone you know is abusing hydrocodone, it’s important that you call for help as soon as possible. The substance abuse counselors at Freedom Drug Rehab are trained to help people who are abusing prescription painkillers learn the tools and skills they need to overcome their addiction.

What is Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a powerful opioid painkiller known for its benefits in treating short-term pain caused by injury, accident or surgery, as well as managing long-term pain associated with cancer, arthritis and other chronic conditions. Commonly known by the brand names Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab, hydrocodone is a Schedule II narcotic, which means the drug has a high potential for abuse and addiction. It is only available as a prescription, though many people use hydrocodone illegally for its euphoric effects.

Why Hydrocodone is Abused

Hydrocodone works by binding pain receptors in the central nervous system and blocking the transmission of pain messages to the brain. The drug can cause initial feelings of pleasure by acting on the brain’s reward system, eliciting euphoric effects similar to those of morphine and heroin and reinforcing continued hydrocodone use. Those abusing hydrocodone may crush up the pills and snort or inject the contents to experience pleasurable effects like relaxation, calmness, and decreased anxiety. Unfortunately, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Diversion Control Division, abusing Schedule II drugs like hydrocodone can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence and, eventually, a hydrocodone addiction. Some of the telltale signs of hydrocodone addiction include spending a significant amount of time trying to obtain the drug, prioritizing hydrocodone use over other once-enjoyed activities, and needing more and more of the drug to elicit the same euphoric effects as before.

Hydrocodone Side Effects

The feeling of euphoria that comes with excessive or prolonged hydrocodone use is the reason many people abuse the painkiller, in an attempt to numb their physical or psychological pain. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the serious short and long-term damage hydrocodone abuse can have on their physical and mental health. The most serious hydrocodone side effects occur when people take the painkiller in combination with alcohol or other depressants, which can lead to irreversible consequences. Some common side effects of hydrocodone abuse include:


Changes in mood


Difficulty urinating

Depressed respiration



Slowed, irregular breathing



Difficulty concentrating



Although some hydrocodone side effects are minor, there are some, like slowed or irregular breathing, that can be extremely dangerous and may even fatal. Because many common hydrocodone products contain the popular pain reliever acetaminophen, better known as Tylenol, prolonged use can also increase the risk of liver damage and liver failure.

Contact Freedom Drug Rehab for Help

Hydrocodone is a highly addictive medication, and the painkiller is often abused by people who take the drug more frequently than prescribed, take higher doses of the drug, or take it without a prescription, which can have devastating or possibly even fatal consequences. Addictions to hydrocodone can spiral out of control quickly, and like most opioid drugs, hydrocodone is extremely difficult to detox from. If you frequently abuse hydrocodone, or if you think you are addicted to the painkiller, don’t hesitate to get professional help. Call the substance abuse experts at Freedom Drug Rehab today to find out how you can benefit from hydrocodone addiction treatment.


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