How Do I Know If Someone Is On Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a name used to describe a drug included in prescriptions to treat pain ranging from moderate to severe. There are both generic, and brand-name versions of hydrocodone available, and generic hydrocodone/acetaminophen is often prescribed because it’s covered by many insurance plans and Medicare.

Hydrocodone is a medicine that’s classified as a narcotic analgesic, which means it stops pain by impacting the central nervous system. This medicine also usually includes acetaminophen as well, which relieves pain and reduces fevers. Acetaminophen itself isn’t habit-forming, but it does carry dangerous side effects when large amounts are used, including liver damage.

Many people wonder how to know if someone is on hydrocodone because it’s frequently prescribed and also abused. When someone is on hydrocodone for an extended period of time it can lead to both mental and physical dependence, however, if someone follows the therapeutic applications of the drug that are part of their prescription, they reduce the likelihood of abuse.

Some  of the common brand names of hydrocodone include:

  • Vicodin
  • Vicodin ES
  • Vicodin HP
  • Lortab
  • Orcet
  • Norco
  • Zydone
  • Hycet
  • Maxidone
  • Verdrocet
  • Xodol
  • Zolvit

Some of the side effects of being on hydrocodone/acetaminophen, whether the drug is being used as prescribed or abused, can include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
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According to statistics compiled by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 20% of people in the U.S. have taken prescription drugs such as Vicodin without a prescription, or recreationally. There is also a belief that using prescription medicines outside of therapeutic reasons is on the rise. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that there were more than 24 million people age 12 and above in 2013 that used hydrocodone for what they described as non-medical reasons.

There are some contributing factors thought to be leading to the increased use of hydrocodone without a prescription or for non-medical reasons. This includes the increase in people with health insurance, which boosts access to prescription drugs, as well as the general tendency of doctors to prescribe drugs like these more frequently.

While there is a risk of hydrocodone/acetaminophen being habit-forming regardless of how long you take it, the risk of becoming mentally or physically dependent on it increases after you use it for a long time. Mental dependence which is also referred to as addiction is less likely to occur when you use the medicine exactly as you’re instructed by your care provider, but physical dependence can occur even if you follow therapeutic indications.

When someone is on hydrocodone, there are some signs that can be visible to the people around them. Some of the common signs someone is using hydrocodone may include:

  • When someone takes hydrocodone, they may seem euphoric or particularly happy because the drug increases their sense of well-being
  • People who take hydrocodone may seem sleepy, lazy or lethargic
  • There is a reduce sense of stress
  • Numbness

The reason for many of the positive effects hydrocodone has to the user include the fact that it impacts the brain’s reward system. That’s why it’s so easy to become addicted to drugs like hydrocodone. Hydrocodone will increase the amount of dopamine available in the user’s brain, which is what leads to the positive feelings they experience. That’s why even when it begins as someone being on hydrocodone for legitimate medical reasons, it may become a habit.

Some of the more negative signs someone is on hydrocodone can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nightmares
  • Muscle weakness
  • Itchiness

Severe side effects of being on hydrocodone, particularly when large amounts are taken, may include:

  • Obstruction of the bowels
  • Breathing trouble
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Allergic reaction
  • Problems urinating
  • Vomiting
You may be wondering not only if someone is on hydrocodone, but if they’re abusing it or addicted to it. Addiction is one of the most dangerous side effects of using hydrocodone over the long-term. Hydrocodone is a narcotic drug, and also an opioid, so that means it acts on the body’s systems in many of the same ways as drugs like morphine and heroin.

When you take hydrocodone over the long-term, or sometimes even for a short period, the body builds up a tolerance to it. That means greater amounts will be needed to achieve the same effects, and in some cases, tolerance can develop within just a few doses.

When someone is addicted to hydrocodone or dependent on it, it can lead to a wide range of physical, behavioral and lifestyle problems.

For example, signs someone is addicted to hydrocodone may include problems at school or work, difficulty meeting commitments and obligations, and relationship problems with friends, family, and other loved ones.

Other signs someone is on hydrocodone and also potential addicted to or dependent on the drug may include:

  • Taking too much at a time
  • Not following instructions if prescribed hydrocodone
  • Mixing hydrocodone with other substances including alcohol
  • Taking hydrocodone when it’s no longer needed for medical reasons
  • Faking symptoms or an injury to get prescriptions
  • Obtaining it illegally and using it without a prescription
  • Doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions for painkillers

Withdrawal symptoms may also be a sign someone is dependent on hydrocodone. Symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal include cold chills and shivering, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea, hallucinations, aches, sweating, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and depression.

It’s extremely important that when someone is on hydrocodone because they’re prescribed to it that they follow their doctor’s instructions exactly. They shouldn’t ever take larger doses or take it more often because of the risks of it not only being habit-forming, but also the risk of an overdose, and the liver damage risks that come with the use of large amounts of acetaminophen.

Treatment for addiction to opioids including hydrocodone can be difficult, particularly during withdrawal but if someone is on hydrocodone and is abusing the drug, it’s important they seek help. Long-term side effects of opioid abuse, including the use of hydrocodone, can not only increase the likelihood of using other drugs like heroin, but can lead to overdose, serious health problems, and death.

Drug treatment centers are designed to help people who are on hydrocodone, particularly since much of the U.S. is facing an opioid addiction. If you recognize symptoms of being on hydrocodone or abusing this prescription drug, it’s important to seek help either for yourself or your loved one.

How Do I Know If Someone Is On Hydrocodone?
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