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How to Detox from Hydrocodone (Vicodin) Addiction at Home

Updated on February 23, 2015
With the right support, it is possible to completely recover from Vicodin addiction
With the right support, it is possible to completely recover from Vicodin addiction | Source

Introduction

Hydrocodone, commonly known as Vicodin or Lortab, is a prescription drug often administered as a strong painkiller. Because hydrocodone is a powerful opioid, derived from codeine, some people can develop a dependency or addiction to the drug.

Fortunately, with care, attention, discipline and willpower, addicts can completely recover from hydrocodone addiction. This article explores the steps that patients can take. We'll explore:

  • Understanding the signs and symptoms of hydrocodone abuse
  • Speaking with a doctor
  • Detoxifying from hydrocodone at home

Understanding the signs and symptoms of hydrocodone abuse

Common symptoms of whether a person is becoming addicted to hydrocodone are:

  • Getting additional prescriptions for the drug from physicians other than their primary doctor.
  • Requesting frequent repeat prescriptions and refills for the drug.
  • Taking hydrocodone without a prescription or after it us no longer needed to treat a condition.
  • Going through money more quickly than normal.
  • Becoming withdrawn and spending time away from others.
  • Obsessing or talking about hydrocodone or Vicodin.
  • Unusual social activities or mood swings.
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose at one time or over a period of time.
  • Taking the drug alongside alcohol or other drugs.

If a patient recognises any of these symptoms, they need to consider whether they have a dependency on or addiction to hydrocodone.

Additional and repeat prescriptions, together with stockpiling hydrocodone are a sign that addiction may be present
Additional and repeat prescriptions, together with stockpiling hydrocodone are a sign that addiction may be present | Source

Speaking with a doctor

If a patient believes that they may have an issue with hydrocodone abuse, their first step should be to speak with their doctor about recovery and treatment. Their doctor will be able to help them, either by referring them to another specialist, letting them know about recovery centres or assisting them in recovering at home.

Regardless of which course a patient decides to follow, it is important that any treatment or recovery is attempted with the knowledge of a doctor. Although other specialists and recovery centers can provide excellent, dedicated help and treatment to help addicts recover, the remainder of this article will focus on recovering from hydrocodone abuse at home.

If you are trying to detox at home, it is important that you do so with the knowledge of your doctor or primary care physician
If you are trying to detox at home, it is important that you do so with the knowledge of your doctor or primary care physician | Source

Detoxifying from hydrocodone at home

The steps to detox from hydrocodone addiction at home are as follows:

  1. Let immediate family and loved ones know what is happening.
  2. Stop taking hydrocodone immediately.
  3. Find alternative pain medication if needed.
  4. Understand the physical withdrawal symptoms that will be experienced.
  5. Be careful not to become dehydrated.
  6. Understand that mental and emotional states will change.
  7. Request assistance from family and loved ones when needed.
  8. Complete the detoxification.

Let immediate family and loved ones know what is happening

A person intending to recover from hydrocodone dependency should let their immediate family know what they are doing. This will help to preempt issues that the recovering addict might have such as withdrawal symptoms, mood swings and other difficult situations. The family members should be ready to provide care and support if needed.

Keep your family informed of what you are trying to do and they can help you
Keep your family informed of what you are trying to do and they can help you | Source

Stop taking hydrocodone immediately

Patients do not need to come off of hydrocodone gradually, or taper off their dosage. They can stop taking the drug immediately, although they will start to experience physical, mental and emotional side-effects when they do so.

What is Vicodin?

Find alternative pain medication if needed

If the hydrocodone was being used to treat pain that is still present, the patient will need to find an alternative painkiller to help them manage their pain. They should talk to their doctor or pharmacist about a non-addictive medication that can reduce their discomfort.

You don't need to suffer alone; find alternative medication
You don't need to suffer alone; find alternative medication | Source

Understand the physical withdrawal symptoms that will be experienced

Withdrawal from hydrocodone normally causes several physical symptoms to occur; patients may experience one or more of the following:

  • Shivering and sweating.
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Irregular or rapid pulse.
  • Pain.

This can be a difficult time for the patient. These withdrawal symptoms typically only last for four to five days, after which they will lessen and subside.

Be careful not to become dehydrated

Throughout the detoxification period, it is vital that the patient keeps well hydrated and drinks plenty of water. This is especially the case if they are losing excessive water through sweating, diarrhea or vomiting. Drinking lots of water will aid the body in recovering its equilibrium more quickly and help to settle the stomach.

'Sports' drinks, such as Gatorade, can also be very helpful due to the electrolytes that they contain.

Understand that mental and emotional states may change
In addition to the physical symptoms of withdrawal, a patient will also need to deal with changes to their emotional and mental states. This might include:

  • Anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Mood swings.
  • A craving for the drug or other substances.
  • Irritability and feelings of anger or frustration.

It is important to remember that all of these symptoms are a normal part of the process of recovery and are to be expected.

Request assistance from family and loved ones when needed

Patients that are feeling vulnerable or that need help should speak to their family members and get their assistance. Additionally, family members should observe the recovering addict and provide love and care when needed to help the patient cope with their withdrawal.

With willpower, perseverance and the right attitude, you can beat the addiction and remove your dependency on Vicodin
With willpower, perseverance and the right attitude, you can beat the addiction and remove your dependency on Vicodin | Source

Complete the detoxification

Hydrocodone will normally be out of a person's system in four to five days. After a week or so, a patient should be free of physical, mental and emotional dependency on the drug. They should continue to pay attention to the following:

  • Resist any urges or temptation to take hydrocodone again.
  • Don't replace an addiction to hydrocodone with another addiction to alcohol of some other substance or condition.
  • If they need to manage pain in future, consult with their doctor on viable alternatives to hydrocodone for pain medication.
  • If they have persistent urges to use hydrocodone, speak to a medical professional or counselor to help deal with any remaining mental or emotional dependency.

Withdrawal from hydrocodone at home should always be completed with the full knowledge and support of a doctor. If a patient that is undergoing withdrawal at home starts to develop serious symptoms or feels profoundly unwell, they should contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

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In closing

Recovering from any kind of substance abuse can be difficult, but with the right motivation, discipline and willpower, it is possible for a patient to remove their dependency and live a normal life.

Let us know your experiences in the comments

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