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Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline: A Guide to Detox Symptoms

A visual guide to symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal and the TIME OF THEIR APPEARANCE. What happens in the days and weeks after you quit? Find out here.

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minute read

What Is Hydrocodone Withdrawal?

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic, prescribed for severe pain. Regular dosing of hydrocodone for a period of a few weeks or more can lead you to physical dependence, as well as addiction. So, when you lower the daily dose or stop taking hydrocodone abruptly, you may experience hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.

Explore our visual guide below for the timetable of when you can expect symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal to manifest. And, if you like it, feel free to print it our for an office wall or in your clinic. We hope that our readers use these resources in real life! Or, if you’d like to share the infographic on your blog, the embed code is right below the infographic.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline

Why does withdrawal happen?

When you become physically dependent on hydrocodone, the nervous system has adapted to the medication. It has to in order to function. So, over time, the presence of hydrocodone becomes normalized within the chemistry of the body. this means that when you stop taking hydrocodone or suddenly lower dosing…BANG!

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Withdrawal happens. It takes time for the body to reach balance again. What’s actually happening during withdrawal is that you are manifesting the symptoms that are usually masked by the depressant effects of the drug. The body needs to “speed up” to counter balance the depressant “slow down” signals caused by hydrocodone.

Usually, the onset of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms occurs within few hours after the drug effects wear off.  Symptoms tend to reach their peak around 72 hours after last dose. However, the entire period of withdrawal can last anywhere between few day to several months.

What are hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms? Below is a list of the most common hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms with a general timeline that outlines their appearance:

24 – 72 hours after the last hydrocodone dose:

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  • abdominal cramping
  • abnormal skin sensations
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • mood swings
  • sweats

3-7 days after the last hydrocodone dose:

  • decreased appetite
  • depression
  • exhaustion
  • irritability
  • intense craving
  • sensitivity to pain

Week 2 of Hydrocodone Withdrawal:

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  • back aches
  • cravings
  • irritability
  • mood swing
  • muscle cramps
  • tremors

Week 3 of Hydrocodone Withdrawal:

  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • restlessness
  • sleep disorders

Week 4 of Hydrocodone Withdrawal:

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  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • restless legs syndrome

How Long Does Hydrocodone Withdrawal Last?

How long does hydrocodone withdrawal last? The period of hydrocodone withdrawal may last from a week up to few months. It all depends on a person’s individual factors: general health, frequency of use, and dosage all influence how long it takes for withdrawal to end. Generally, the longer you’ve been taking hydrocodone or the higher the doses, the longer the period of time for detox.

KEEP IN MIND: Long-term users may experience post acute symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal. These symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • cravings
  • exhaustion
  • irritability
  • sleep disorders

Once you have battled the physical symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal, you may have to deal with psychological symptoms such as cravings, anxiety, and/or depression. This is why the safest way to quit hydrocodone is to enroll into rehab program that includes a supervised medical detox. A professional detox clinic can support you during withdrawal. Medications can help alleviate or minimize discomfort. Staff can also provide emotional or psychological support as you withdraw.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline Questions

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Got questions? Please, feel free to post them in the comments section below. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries ASAP.

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Reference Sources: Harvard Medical School Treating opiate addiction, Part I: Detoxification and maintenance
American Chronic Pain Association Consumer Guide to Chronic Pain Medication & Treatment
NCBI: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
NCBI: Drug withdrawal syndrome
PubMed Health: Hydrocodone
Utah Department of Human Services: Opioids
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

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