Hydrocodone is a widely prescribed pain reliever. It’s sold under the more familiar brand name Vicodin. This drug combines hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone can be very effective, but it can also become habit-forming.
Causes of hydrocodone addiction
Hydrocodone is an opioid in a class of drugs known as narcotic analgesics. These drugs connect to proteins in the brain and spinal cord called opioid receptors. Opioids interfere with pain signals heading to the brain to change your perception of pain as well as your emotional reaction to it. When used correctly and for only a short period, hydrocodone is usually safe and effective.
Some people who start out taking hydrocodone as a treatment for pain take it to get a euphoric feeling instead. As a result, they use it for longer than recommended or use more than their doctor prescribed.
Symptoms of hydrocodone addiction may vary from person to person. Common symptoms can include:
- slower heartbeat
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- nausea and vomiting
- fear and depression
- ringing in the ears
- blurred vision
- slowed breathing
- cold, clammy skin
- muscle weak
Preventing hydrocodone addiction
- The best way to prevent hydrocodone addiction is to take the drug exactly as your doctor prescribes. It’s also important to record your pain in a diary while you take it. Review your pain diary from time to time to see how you’re progressing.
- If you realize your pain is decreasing, let your doctor know, even if your prescription hasn’t run out. Your doctor may want to reduce your dosage gradually and have you stop taking it sooner than expected.
- If you feel you’re starting to crave the drug even at times when you feel little or no pain, talk with your doctor immediately. They can work with you to avoid developing a hydrocodone addiction.