Hydrocodone Withdrawal And Detoxification 

Hydrocodone is a commonly prescribed narcotic pain reliever. Like other opioids, this medication can be abused. Taking large or frequent doses of hydrocodone can lead a person to become physically dependent on the drug. If they discontinue use, their body may enter acute withdrawal. 

The body clears itself from hydrocodone through a detoxification process. This may manifest in symptoms such as diarrhea, sweating, or vomiting. There is also a psychological component to hydrocodone withdrawal, and some people may suffer from severe anxiety, depression, or restlessness

While hydrocodone detox is not typically life-threatening, it can be difficult to manage on one’s own. To prevent relapse (a return to the drug), it’s safest to withdraw from hydrocodone in a medically supervised detoxification program. At Vertava Health Ohio, we provide on-site detoxification, as well as a range of treatment therapies. 

Symptoms Of Hydrocodone Withdrawal And Detox  

 There are several phases of hydrocodone withdrawal. The early phase of withdrawal includes yawning, tearing eyes, and runny nose. Some people may begin to feel agitated or anxious. The second phase of withdrawal may include abdominal cramping, heavy sweating, and vomiting. 

Additional symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal include:

  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • sneezing
  • fast breathing 
  • fast heartbeat
  • panic attacks
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • hair standing on end
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • hallucinations

People can become dependent on hydrocodone even if they take the medication as directed. Once the body is used to having the substance, it may require higher doses of the drug. This is called having a tolerance. Without regular doses of hydrocodone, people will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. 

How Long Does Hydrocodone Withdrawal And Detox Last? 

If a person stops taking hydrocodone, the body could begin to experience withdrawal symptoms within several hours of last use. For most people, opioid withdrawal lasts about 7 days. 

The length and severity of withdrawal symptoms will depend on a number of factors, including how long a person has been taking hydrocodone. People who have been taking large or frequent doses of hydrocodone may suffer from more severe withdrawal symptoms. If a person uses hydrocodone with other mood-altering substances, their detox symptoms may be more difficult to manage.

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Is Hydrocodone Withdrawal And Detoxification Dangerous? 

Opioid withdrawal is not as dangerous as detoxing from alcohol or benzodiazepines. However, people withdrawing from hydrocodone may be at risk for certain health hazards. 

The flu-like symptoms of withdrawal, including diarrhea and vomiting, could lead to dehydration. When a person becomes dehydrated, it increases their discomfort as well as their risk of infection. 

Detoxing from hydrocodone can also raise a person’s risk of overdose. As a person detoxes from opioids, their body loses its tolerance to the drug. If they use the drug again (called a “relapse”), and attempt to take their previous dose, they could experience an overdose. It’s estimated that opioid overdose kills 130 Americans every day. 

If you or someone you love wants to stop taking hydrocodone, make a plan with your prescribing doctor. They may introduce a tapering schedule, which can slowly wean a person off the drug. Tapering schedules help to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and detox. For people who take hydrocodone without a prescription, it may be best to enter a medically assisted detox program. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) For Hydrocodone Withdrawal  

In a medical detox program, compassionate staff provide support and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help people get off opioids. MAT may consist of methadone or, more commonly, buprenorphine-based medications like Suboxone. 

A common misconception is that MAT simply replaces one drug with another. However, these life-saving medications work to relieve the withdrawal symptoms that keep people stuck in the cycle of addiction. When prescribed and taken at the proper dose, MAT has no adverse effect in a person’s life. Following a regimen of MAT allows many patients the opportunity to overcome opioid use disorder. 

Additionally, people with severe hydrocodone dependence may battle more extended withdrawal symptoms. These may include depression, low mood, and continued cravings. MAT works to stabilize mood and reduce cravings, which can enhance a person’s chance of long-term recovery.   

Getting Treatment For Hydrocodone Withdrawal And Detoxification 

Opioid addiction, dependence, and overdose is a growing problem in the U.S. In 2017, more than 70,000 people died as a result of drug overdoses. More than 67 percent of those deaths involved a prescription or illicit opioid. 

People who are addicted to hydrocodone may want to stop using, but are unsure of how to successfully detox from the substances. It’s important to know that with the help of detox services and addiction treatment programs, it is possible to stop taking opioids for good. 

At Vertava Health Ohio, we provide these treatment services in a compassionate, judgment-free rehab program. Medically assisted detox at Vertava Health Ohio offers a sense of comfort and support to patients undergoing opioid detox. Once a person’s body has cleared itself of hydrocodone, our staff provide a daily structure comprised of both traditional and alternative treatment therapies. These include individual and group counseling, MAT, and nature-based therapies. 

 Hydrocodone addiction doesn’t have to get the last word for you or your loved one. To learn more about hydrocodone withdrawal and detox, or for more information on Vertava Health Ohio, contact a treatment specialist today. 


Centers for Disease Control — America’s Drug Overdose Epidemic: Data to Action

National Institutes of Health, MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Medication and Counseling Treatment