Hydrocodone Addiction: Signs Symptoms and Treatment

Hydrocodone is an opioid medication used to treat pain. This substance belongs to a class of drugs known as narcotic analgesics (opioids) and acts on the central nervous system in the brain. While this medication helps treat severe cases of pain, it is also known to be extremely habit-forming. 

People who take this medication, even as prescribed, may become physically dependent on hydrocodone. When this happens, they experience symptoms of withdrawal if they stop taking the medication. The emergence of withdrawal symptoms can lead someone to begin abusing illicit opioid drugs to avoid experiencing hydrocodone withdrawal. 

Many people who aren’t prescribed this drug abuse it intentionally because of its euphoric, pain-relieving effects. Any type of long-term hydrocodone abuse can result in an addiction, and anyone who suffers from hydrocodone addiction should attend an opiate addiction treatment program. 

What Causes Hydrocodone Abuse?

Hydrocodone addiction is a type of opioid use disorder that stems from frequent hydrocodone abuse. As an individual takes more hydrocodone than they are prescribed, their body becomes accustomed to the presence of the substance. This leads to the development of a full-blown addiction. 

But what causes hydrocodone abuse?

The causes of hydrocodone abuse include:

  • Biological – Hydrocodone affects the reward system in the brain, so repeated use of the drug can lower the expression of dopamine. This causes individuals to feel like they need to use the substance to experience pleasure, happiness, or even just feel normal. 
  • Psychological – Hydrocodone addiction often stems from the self-medication of mental health conditions. People who suffered from childhood trauma or mental illnesses are more likely to develop an addiction. 
  • Social/Environmental – Experiencing peer pressure to use drugs, being around frequent opioid drug abuse, or living in a stressful and chaotic environment could lead to the abuse of this drug. 

What are the Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction?

Hydrocodone addiction is characterized by an impulsive need to continue using the substance despite facing the consequences of drug abuse. People who are addicted to this drug will continue using it even if they experience a worsening in their mental or physical health, financial issues, social isolation, and so on. 

Other signs of hydrocodone addiction include:

  • Strong cravings to use hydrocodone 
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the person cannot use the drug 
  • Physical and emotional dependence on the drug 
  • Inability to control or limit how much of the substance one uses 
  • Having to continually increase the dosage of hydrocodone to experience the desired effect (tolerance)
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor decision making 
  • Social isolation 
  • Engaging in dangerous behaviors to obtain hydrocodone 
  • Irritability, agitation, or mood swings 
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Headaches 
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about, obtaining, using, and recovering from the use of hydrocodone 
  • Hiding the use of hydrocodone 
  • Inability to complete daily tasks or work responsibilities due to drug use
  • Being unable to quit or cut back on using hydrocodone despite wanting to 

How is Hydrocodone Addiction Treated?

Prescription opioid addiction must be treated at a professional addiction treatment program. These programs include services such as detox, individual and group therapy, and relapse prevention planning. This combination of services ensures that patients receive the tools they need to gain and maintain long-term recovery from addiction. 


Hydrocodone addiction causes individuals to experience physical and psychological dependency. Because of this, when they stop using the drug they will experience withdrawal symptoms. 

The withdrawal symptoms associated with hydrocodone include:

  • Intense cravings for hydrocodone
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms can be extremely distressing if they are not properly treated. Without medical intervention, many people relapse during the withdrawal stage because the symptoms become unbearable. However, people who attend a detox program will receive medications that soothe the symptoms of withdrawal and prevent cravings from occurring.

Behavioral Therapy 

Once a patient has completed the detox process, they can begin recovering from the root causes of their addiction. First, they must uncover what caused their addiction in the first place. This is why individual therapy is a vital aspect of addiction recovery. 

When the root causes of their addiction are uncovered, clients will begin behavioral therapy to learn how to recover from their past traumas. These forms of therapy help people identify negative patterns of thought and turn them into positive ones. Additionally, they will learn about what triggers their drug abuse and receive coping mechanisms to help prevent them from feeling the need to abuse hydrocodone. 

In addition to individual therapy, patients will attend group counseling sessions. These sessions allow people to connect with others who are going through similar situations as them, allowing them to see that they are not alone. Group therapy also allows patients to receive advice from their peers and create healthy relationships with others. 

Relapse Prevention Planning 

Lastly, people undergoing hydrocodone addiction treatment will participate in relapse prevention planning. This is a process that provides patients with tools to prevent themselves from relapsing after they leave the treatment facility and begin their everyday lives.

Services included in a relapse prevention plan include, but are not limited to:

  • Continued therapy
  • Continued medication management if needed
  • List of triggers and coping skills to use 
  • List of sober supports to call in times of need
  • Alumni support groups to attend
  • Referrals to additional programs like outpatient treatment or sober living housing 
  • Referrals to addiction recovery support groups like AA or NA

Finding Help for Hydrocodone Abuse and Addiction 

Hydrocodone abuse can be difficult to beat, especially if you have a prescription for the drug. However, you or your loved one must attend a professional addiction treatment program that can help you learn how to live life without the use of opioid substances. 

Contact Moving Mountains Recovery Center today for more information on our opioid addiction treatment program in northern New Jersey.

Related Posts

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops after you experience something traumatic. You could also develop this condition after seeing or hearing about a traumatic event. The symptoms can begin immediately after the traumatic...

6 Warning Signs of Relapse

Maintaining long-term sobriety from addiction is never easy. People must continuously practice their recovery maintenance techniques without cutting any slack. When someone does slack in their recovery, they put themselves at risk of suffering from a relapse. ...

Stereotypes About Addiction and Why They Are Dangerous

Addiction is a common disease that affects about 10% of Americans.[1] Despite addiction being so prevalent in our country, the attitude around this condition is not always supportive or understanding. Many people still believe in stereotypes and the stigma surrounding...

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment

Heroin is a powerful, illicit opiate drug that has been a major contributor to the United States opioid crisis. In 2020, about 691,000 people had a heroin use disorder and more than 13,165 people died as a result of a drug overdose involving heroin.[1] Despite how...

Can My Family Visit Me During Rehab in New Jersey?

Going to rehab for an addiction can be extremely scary, primarily if you’ve never attended addiction treatment. While giving up drugs and alcohol is distressing, inpatient treatment programs also require you to take time away from your family and friends.  Being...

How to Choose an Opioid Rehab Center in New Jersey

10.1 million people abused a prescription opioid last year and more than 1.6 million people have an opioid use disorder.[1] While treatable, opioid addiction is extremely difficult to overcome due to the withdrawal symptoms that appear when people quit and the ways in...

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood changes, including emotional highs and lows. People who struggle with this condition may experience mania (emotional highs) for weeks to months on end until they crash, leading to emotional lows...

What Can I Expect During Benzodiazepine Rehab in New Jersey?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), over 40 million adults in America suffer from an anxiety disorder.[1] One of the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety is benzodiazepines and many Americans take these substances daily. ...

Should I Go Back to Rehab After Relapse?

Drug addiction and alcoholism are complex and progressive diseases that require constant dedication and practice to recover. If you suffer from a substance use disorder, you know that attending professional treatment is the best way to learn how to maintain long-term...

Dangers of Mixing Xanax (Alprazolam) and Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.[1] This substance is highly dangerous, claiming the lives of thousands of Americans each year. Oftentimes, fentanyl is mixed into drugs to create a stronger...

Take The First Step to a New Life

Transform daydreams into realities

Moving Mountains takes a whole-person approach to recovery by offering a continuum of care, clinically proven treatments, and holistic healing. We work closely with you to identify your unique needs, facilitate individualized treatments, and help you establish a foundation upon which your recovery--and the rest of your life--can grow. Our compassionate, friendly staff is available 24-hours a day to take your call and help you begin your recovery journey.


Combatting the ever-growing drug epidemic that this country faces begins with you. Make the most of our vast knowledge of addiction treatment and our proven ability to change lives. Let's Move Mountains together.  Take the first step towards a new, better life by giving us a call today.

Begin RecoveryVerify Insurance

Get Addiction Help Now
(973) 397-5055
Representatives available now.