After using hydrocodone consistently for a period of time, you can develop a tolerance to the drug. Hydrocodone withdrawal is the consequence of the immediate cessation of hydrocodone once a tolerance has been established. I’ve seen people go through hydrocodone withdrawal after using hydrocodone for only a few weeks. Furthermore, they were using it responsibly, and it was prescribed by their physicians.
The Nature of Hydrocodone Withdrawal
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from codeine. It’s a narcotic analgesic that is commonly mixed with acetaminophen to treat moderate to severe pain. It can be a very effective medication for treating pain. Unfortunately, hydrocodone has two major pitfalls: tolerance and hydrocodone withdrawal.
The body has a unique ability to adapt to the presence of hydrocodone. After repeated use of hydrocodone, your body experiences a loss of sensitivity to the drug. Hydrocdone tolerance is a state of progressively decreased responsiveness to hydrocodone as a result of needing more of the drug to achieve the effect originally obtained by a smaller dose.
I used to abuse hydrocodone. The first time I ever took hydrocodone I got high as a kite. My body was extremely sensitive to the drug due to never being exposed to it before. After I used it daily for a week, I was no longer experiencing the same effects from a single 5mg dose.
I was now taking 10mg to achieve the same effect that 5mg produced a week ago. Within a few months I was using hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and oxycontin. I had developed such an incredible tolerance to hydrocodone that I now required stronger medications to achieve the same desired effect hydrocodone once produced.
I experienced my first nightmare after running out of hydrocodone one night. The next morning I started to get extremely sick. I had started my first hydrocodone withdrawal.
This is the biggest downside to using hydrocodone for pain relief. Hydrocodone withdrawal results from abruptly stopping the use of hydrocodone after you have a tolerance. My first experience with hydrocodone withdrawal was horrible.
Within a few hours of waking, I had severe anxiety. I drank my morning coffee and vomited it back up! The worst part was, I didn’t even know it was due to hydrocodone withdrawal. I had been abusing a powerful drug, and had no idea there would be consequences.
I merely thought I was having an acute anxiety attack. Then the friend of mine who sold me the pills told me she thought it was hydrocodone withdrawal. The next four days were awful. I called in sick to work everyday because I couldn’t get off the couch. Luckily, by day five I started to feel better. I was finally at the end of the hydrocodone withdrawal timeline.
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline
The hydrocodone withdrawal timeline and severity of symptoms depends on the following criteria:
- The quantity of hydrocodone you have been using.
- How long you have been using hydrocodone for consistently.
- The route of administration primarily used: inhalation, oral, intravenous, insufflation (snorting).
- Your unique biochemistry and constitution.
- Your overall level of health and fitness.
- The environment you spend in withdrawal (getting to relax somewhere alone with no responsibilities is preferable to having to go to work or take care of children obviously).
- If you are concurrently in withdrawal from other drugs as well as opiates.
- Your mental state going into the withdrawal.
- Whether or not you have tapered, and if so, for how long.
There are even more components than this, but these are the major ones determining the hydrocodone withdrawal timeline and severity of symptoms. Everyone is different, so your hydrocodone withdrawal might not look like the example described below. Some may have a shorter experience, while others might be in withdrawal for a longer period of time.
Day 1: This is usually the easiest part of hydrocodone withdrawal. Most people can get through day 1 with minimal complaints. You might experience lack of energy, anxiety, depression, runny nose and other symptoms, though they should be mild. Often it possible to fall asleep at the end of day 1.
Day 2: Here’s where things get more difficult. The symptoms are usually the same as day 1, only more severe, with the addition of vomiting and diarrhea. At the end of day 2 it could be extremely difficult to fall asleep, and some people toss and turn throughout the entire night. It is typical to only get a couple hours of sleep.
Days 3-5: Typically days 3-5 are the hardest. The hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are peaking and it’s even more difficult to sleep. Don’t give up! If you’ve made it this far keep going! You can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and the worst is almost behind you.
Days 6-8: The hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are a little easier to deal with. Falling asleep is usually still hard but possible. Staying asleep is also difficult.
Day 9 and Beyond: Congratulations! If you make it this far the nightmare is over or coming to an end. Give yourself a pat on the back because you’re one step closer to living a life free of opiate addiction!
From this point on the main symptoms experienced are fatigue and difficulty experiencing pleasure, though other symptoms vary between individuals. These lingering hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are the most mild, but also the slowest to go away.
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms
During acute hydrocodone withdrawal, you will likely experience the following symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Hot and cold flashes
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Treatment
Some of the most common forms of hydrocodone withdrawal treatment are:
- Inpatient Detox – Hydrocodone withdrawal medications are administered (clonodine, benzodiazepines, anti-diarrhea, etc.).
- Opiate Replacement Medications – Suboxone and Subutex can be used to eliminate hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.
Other Options for Hydrocodone Withdrawal
There are also ways to treat hydrocodone withdrawal that are not as well known to the public, though they can be very effective treatment options:
- Ibogaine Treatment – Ibogaine is a powerful hallucinogen that also stops hydrocodone withdrawal when used properly at a treatment center.
- Kratom – A natural plant that acts as an opioid agonist; has the ability to decrease hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Formulas
If you’re going to have a hydrocodone withdrawal home detox, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking an opiate withdrawal formula.
The following all-natural supplements can significantly reduce the severity of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms:
If you’re going to have a hydrocodone withdrawal home detox, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND taking an opiate withdrawal formula. I endorse all of them and only recommend products of the highest quality.
- Hydrocodone withdrawal can result even after you’ve been using the drug responsibly, as prescribed by your doctor.
- It results from continued use over a period of time, then stopping abruptly, after a tolerance has been established.
- There are many different treatment options for hydrocodone withdrawal, both natural and pharmaceutical.
And most importantly, remember……you cannot die from hydrocodone withdrawal, though you might feel so bad you want to die!
If you have any questions on hydrocodone withdrawal, please don’t hesitate to leave it in the comment box below.
I have went from about 150mg icy a day to 21.5 hydros. I only have 5 left. So far not feeling much WD other than major depression. Am I still going to go through WD since I’m tapering?
I’ve been using perk 30s about 3-4 times a day for 7 months I’m on day 2 of nothing cold turkey. I’m also 19
I have a question. My doctor all of a sudden discharge me over a bill and I want to come off hydrocodone. I know I can do this. I only have a 30 supply left and haven’t taken one today.
Good for you Norma! I know you can do it too! What is your question?