Hydrocodone is a medication that has become commonly prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone has also become a frequently abused drug sold on the street used for recreational purposes rather than to treat a medical condition.
Hydrocodone has an elevated risk for addiction, because when you stop taking it, significant withdrawal symptoms occur, that can often lead to drug cravings and repeated use. The following will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about hydrocodone, why the side effects and withdrawals are often harsh, vital information about recovery after addiction to hydrocodone, and many other topics.
Hydrocodone is a member of the opiate drug class and, as is the case with all opioid drugs, obstructs the way neurotransmitters perceive and respond to pain.
There are two primary neurotransmitters that control pain:
Endorphins and enkephalins are created by the body and these hormones or peptides have a powerful ability to kill pain. For example, in the unfortunate happenstance of a severe injury, the victim could feel no pain due to the increase in the levels of endorphins and enkephalins present. This is how these natural chemicals are so effective at blocking pain. However, these same hormones also produce the sensation of being “high,” a potential precursor to addiction. For instance, a person may become chemically addicted to the rush of strenuous exercise, or the rush of endorphins that can accompany compulsive self-harm, such as “cutting.” 2
Opiate drugs mimic these chemicals. Hydrocodone was manufactured to take the place of these naturally produced chemicals.
When the body is exposed to these kinds of synthetics, such as hydrocodone or other synthetic drugs, the production of the natural chemicals stops which is the body’s natural response. The result is a deficit in our ability to control pain. This deficit is a primary component in the extremely painful withdrawal symptoms that occur when a person begins the process of Hydrocodone tapering or cessation.