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Hydrocodone detox

As a semi-synthetic opioid, hydrocodone is chemically similar to other opioids, such as oxycodone, tramadol, or in some ways, methadone or buprenorphine. Likewise, detox methods used for hydrocodone are similar to other opioid withdrawal treatments. Bear in mind that detox alone in not sufficient in for the treatment in cases of addiction; it is only the first step in getting help.

At its most basic, during hydrocodone detox, hydrocodone leaves the system and triggers withdrawal symptoms. But what can you expect during detox? What choices or options do you have? We review here and invite your questions at the end.

Hydrocodone detox methods

A combination of both pharmacological and behavioral treatments can be used during detox. Excellent inpatient programs for hydrocodone detox help monitor the process 24 hours a day, include medical supervision, and the use of prescription medications designed to address symptoms of withdrawal as they occur. Alternately, psychological support from professionals or peers can provide you with the tools you need to get through detox. And keep in mind that if you meet certain qualifications, you can detox from hydrocodone at home.

Some of the most common hydrocodone detox methods include:

  • Cold turkey hydrocodone method
  • Tapered hydrocodone method
  • Medically assisted detox
  • Detoxing from hydrocodone at home

Many cases of hydrocodone dependence can benefit from tapering hydrocodone, or slowly quitting by lowering doses over a period of time (sometimes 4-6 weeks). In addition to helping minimize the intensity or severity of hydrocodone withdrawal, tapering down off hydrocodone withdrawal may help reduce the length of time it takes to detox. However, other people respond well to cold turkey hydrocodone detox, especially in cases of addiction. The sudden, abrupt removal of the drug decreases the period of overall use. Still, IN ALL CASES OF HYDROCODONE DETOX, MEDICAL SUPERVISION IS RECOMMENDED.

Hydrocodone detox protocol

The main purpose of the detoxification process is to clear the body from drugs and to manage withdrawal symptoms. In fact, hydrocodone detox is a set of interventions aimed to manage acute intoxication and withdrawal symptoms and to make the experience more humane. The process of detox is best monitored in specifically designed detox clinics where substance abusers are monitored by medical staff. As crucial component of hydrocodone addiction treatment, the detox process consists of three main stages:

1. Evaluation

During this stage of detox, patients undergo a variety of tests for to establish he extent of hydrocodone dependence and to identify possible patterns of abuse or addiction. Urine, blood, and oral tests help establish a baseline. Moreover, evaluation entails complete observation of patient’s physical and psychological state to manage proper treatment.

2. Stabilization

This stage of detox entails medical and psychological therapies for helping overcome acute withdrawal symptoms. Usually lasting at least three (3) days, successful stabilization results in a medically stable and hydrocodone-free state. Prescription medications such as methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine may be prescribed during this time to help minimize hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

3. Guiding the patient into full recovery

The last part of hydrocodone detox prepares those who qualify for entry into addiction treatment. It is focuses on psychological aspects of addiction, help support decision making, and offers referral to longer term care.

Hydrocodone detox considerations

Since everyone reacts differently to hydrocodone, no set rules or rigid structure for hydrocodone detox exist. Here are some highlights that doctors usually recommend through detox:

1. Seek help from a detox clinic when possible.

During the process of detoxification, Hydrocodone leaves the body and triggers severe withdrawal symptoms. Detox clinics provide 24-7medical supervision to ease symptoms and address them as they occur.

2. Undergo hydrocodone detox at home only upon medical approval.

If the home environment is supportive, you are highly motivated, you are in general good health, your level of dependence is relatively low, you do not suspect the presence of co-occuring mental health or physical health issues, AND you have received medical approval… detoxing at home from hydrocodone can be successful. Usually, this type detox consists of slowly tapering the drug b lowering the hydrocodone daily intake while administering over-the-counter support aids and home therapies to address symptoms.

3. Cold turkey detox should be used only under medical supervision.

Cold turkey hydrocodone detox is an intense experience. This detox is usually not recommended for hydrocodone abusers as the chances of relapse are high. Moreover, long-term hydrocodone users are at risk of severe opioid withdrawal syndrome if they quit hydrocodone abruptly. Still, going cold turkey off hydrocodone can benefit some people, especially if a long taper postpones addiction treatment.

Hydrocodone detoxification questions

Did we answer your basic question about hydrocodone detox? We hope so. If not, feel free to ask use more in the section below. We will do our best to respond promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NIH: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A research-based guide
SAMHSA: Quick Guide for Clinicians: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment
State of Iowa: Talking about prescription drug misuse
NIH: Drug of abuse opiates

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Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “Hydrocodone detox
6:53 am February 15th, 2018

I would like to get off of hydrocodone even tho I have pain. I am not able to take alieve or things like that. I have read about a good program to withdraw without making things worse for me as the dose I’m on is 2 per day with withdrawal symtoms at 10-325 from 5 pills to 4 pills to 3 pills to 2 pills within 2 month interval. I’ve read a good program would be to reduce the strength not the # at first wk, then each week reduce the # each week thereafter and be free of it in 4 weeks without major discomfort.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:27 pm February 15th, 2018

Hi Sharon. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule. Also, download our free e-book ‘How To Quit Opioid Painkillers’ to learn more about this addiction, and ways to treat it: