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Understanding Hydrocodone Addiction – Brands, Effects & Signs

Written by Thomas Christiansen

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Wendy Weber, PharmD, MBA

Medically Reviewed

Up to Date

This article was reviewed by a medical professional to guarantee the delivery of accurate and up-to- date information. View our research policy.

Last Updated - 6/17/2022

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Hydrocodone is the most prescribed opioid painkiller in the United States, and it is a huge contributor to the opioid epidemic currently plaguing the country. The opioid is prescribed to manage pain, but it can easily lead to addiction. Even if you begin taking hydrocodone because of an injury or surgery, it doesn’t take long to develop a dependence on the medication. Dependence can quickly turn into addiction.

There is a risk for abuse and addiction with any opioid pain medication. Because hydrocodone is so commonly prescribed, there is a misconception that the drug is “safe”. This is not the case, however. Hydrocodone addiction can lead to a deadly overdose.

Brand Names of Hydrocodone

Pharmaceutical companies in America sell brand-name versions of hydrocodone, and they are frequently prescribed for severe pain or to suppress coughs. Patients also receive hydrocodone for chronic pain. Some of the brand names of hydrocodone are:

  • Anexsia
  • Vicodin
  • Xodol
  • Zolvit
  • Lorcet
  • Panacet
  • Vicoprofen
  • Lortab
  • Norco

Illicit Hydrocodone

The drug is also sold illegally on the street. You may hear it being referred to as hydros, watsons, vics, vikes, vicos, tabs, nirco, 357s, perks or Loris. While a hydrocodone addiction may begin with a legitimate prescription for chronic pain or an injury, it can quickly devolve into illegal activity to support a person’s habit.

The Effects of Hydrocodone on the Body

When a patient takes hydrocodone, the pain receptors in the brain are blocked, and dopamine – the feel-good chemical – floods the brain. Some other common side effects of hydrocodone are:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Itching
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting

Hydrocodone Addiction Signs and Symptoms

If you are worried that you may have a hydrocodone addiction or you suspect that a family member, spouse, friend or co-worker may have an addiction to hydrocodone, there are certain signs and symptoms – both behavioral and physical – that you need to be aware of.

Behavioral Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Social isolation
  • Visiting multiple doctors or pharmacies to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Uncharacteristic lying or stealing
  • Financial problems
  • Failure at work or school
  • Damaged relationships

Physical Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

  • Dizziness
  • Noticeable sedation or drowsiness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Nodding out or losing consciousness
  • Evident euphoria or elation
  • Slowed respiration
  • Constipation

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms

As with any opioid medication, there may be uncomfortable and difficult withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication. Medically-supervised detox is recommended so that you can be kept comfortable throughout this process, and you won’t be tempted to relapse.

Early hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are as follows:

  • Watery eyes
  • Body aches
  • Runny nose
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety

Late hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are as follows:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Large pupils
  • Goosebumps on skin

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment

If hydrocodone addiction is controlling your life, it’s important that you seek treatment for your addiction. It may be necessary that you receive medical assistance during detox for your hydrocodone treatment. It may also be necessary for you to enroll into an inpatient treatment program. After you have finished your program, recovery groups like SMART Recovery and Narcotics Anonymous can help you stay on your recovery journey.

Located near Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon, The Recovery Village Ridgefield has medical detox programs, inpatient treatment programs, outpatient treatment programs and aftercare programs for hydrocodone addiction treatment. With our team of skilled healthcare professionals and addiction specialists, we are committed to your recovery. Contact us today, and get the help you deserve.