Symptoms & Side Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse

The narcotic hydrocodone is a highly addictive opioid medication, even for those who have a legitimate medical prescription and reason for taking it. While abusers often try to hide their dependence, there are certain telltale signs and symptoms loved ones and medical professionals can look for to detect abuse, which can easily lead to addiction.
There are many reasons why a person would hide their hydrocodone abuse, including embarrassment, shame, or desire to keep the abuse going. While they may not be honest and tell you if they are abusing the drug, many who abuse hydrocodone exhibit common signs of drug abuse. If you suspect your loved one is abusing this opioid, look for the common behavioral and psychological signs.

When a person is addicted to hydrocodone, they may exhibit certain behaviors like:

  • Carrying pills around with them
  • Hiding pills in their car or home
  • Lying or hiding taking pills
  • Seeing more than one doctor at a time
  • Frequent doctor visits
  • Exaggerating pain or injury
  • Mood changes, including angry outbursts
  • Burning through money quickly

Addiction to hydrocodone can also cause psychological effects you may notice in a hydrocodone abuser:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Mood changes
  • Disinterest in hobbies or activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
hydocodone abuse signs
Hydrocodone is a dangerous drug that can ruin a person’s life if used nonmedically. There are many health and social consequences of abusing the opioid.

Side effects of hydrocodone abuse include:

  • Difficulty or slowed breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble hearing
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Impaired cognition
  • Depression
  • Liver damage
  • Jaundice
  • Anxiety
  • Coma
  • Addiction
  • Death

Hydrocodone also has social effects. Especially as abuse turns into hydrocodone addiction, the person may face demotion or loss of employment, lower grades and other academic consequences, loss of relationships with friends, family, children, or partners, and a disinterest in hobbies.

If you have noticed any of these signs and symptoms of hydrocodone abuse in a loved one, they may have an addiction to hydrocodone. It’s normal for you to feel sad, disappointed, or embarrassed about their addiction, but it’s important to remember addiction is a medical disease and one that needs medical attention.
Loved ones play an important role in helping hydrocodone addicts get help. If you notice your friend or family member exhibiting the signs of hydrocodone addiction, it’s important to tell them how concerned you are for their safety. Staging an intervention may be the most constructive way to have this conversation.

An intervention is nothing more than a scheduled, civil confrontation between a person addicted to hydrocodone and their loved ones who are worried for their health. An interventionist, who is trained in counseling and addiction, will make sure the conversation is constructive and helpful, and can offer additional help in connecting your family with a hydrocodone addiction treatment facility.

MacLaren, Erik. “Hydrocodone Abuse Signs, Symptoms, and Addiction Treatment.”, Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

Smith, Kayla. “Hydrocodone Symptoms and Warning Signs of Addiction.” Addiction Center, 25 Nov. 2015, Accessed 20 Jan. 2017.

Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse
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