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Hydrocodone withdrawal

Classified as a Schedule II drug in the Controlled Substance Act, hydrocodone works on the central nervous system by changing the way we perceive pain. Moreover, this highly addictive narcotic can become habit forming, manifesting symptoms of both dependence and tolerance after regular dosing. So what can you expect when you want to cut down or stop using hydrocodone? We review here.

When does hydrocodone withdrawal start?

After only a few weeks of regular hydrocodone use, the human system manifests hydrocodone dependence in order to adapt to the presence of the opioid. As the body becomes used to the chemistry of hydrocodone and adjusts accordingly it achieves a new baseline homeostasis; basically, to respond to the nervous system depressant effects of the drug, it speeds up specific systems and action to account for the depression.  Over time and after developing dependence, however, the human system cannot function normally with out.  This is why when you stop taking hydrocodone or significantly lower the dosage, withdrawal symptoms start. The body needs time to return to original baseline and adapt to the lack of hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms occur a few hours after the last missed dose or dose reduction. Acute withdrawal symptoms reach their peak 24-72 hours after the last intake. Moreover, each individual reacts differently to hydrocodone, so withdrawal varies in duration, intensity, and severity by person. Generally, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks.

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms

Hydrocodone withdrawal may be uncomfortable. But, this doesn’t mean that every hydrocodone user will manifest all withdrawal symptoms; different bodies respond differently to the drug. Some of the more common hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Heightened sensitivity to pain
  • Hydrocodone cravings
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the muscles and bones
  • Restless
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Hydrocodone withdrawal timing

Hydrocodone withdrawal can last from couple of days to several weeks after the last dosage.  The total duration of any withdrawal period depends upon several factors including period of use, dosage, level of drug dependency, an individual’s health, and so on. The type of detox you choose can also affect hydrocodone withdrawal timing: cold turkey withdrawal generally manifests more severe symptoms resolved in a shorter period of time that a tapered withdrawal.

Still, experts advise that you seek help from a detox clinic with medical supervision. Moreover, it is often recommended you go with a tapered detox protocol in order to ease hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.  In these cases, tapering occurs over a period of 3-6 weeks, with acute withdrawal resolving in under a week’s time after last dose.

Hydrocodone withdrawal tips

We know that every experience of withdrawal can hard. The safest way to get off hydrocodone is to ask help from a medical or addiction professional. Doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses trained in withdrawal protocols are trained to deal with drug dependence and addictions, so they can provide advice and support based on experience. Secondly, prescribed medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can be used during hydrocodone withdrawal. Moreover, drinking lots of fluids is important in the process of detox.

There are numerous ways to overcome hydrocodone withdrawal; you only need to find the right therapy for you. Here are some tips to help you get through hydrocodone withdrawal:

Support – Talk openly about your experience during hydrocodone withdrawal with friends and family, and/or peers going through the same process. A religious, spiritual, or community leader can also support you emotionally and provide guidance during withdrawal.
Herbal teas or nutritional supplements – There are vitamins, minerals, and herbs which can help address symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal. Nutritional supplements can also help you keep body weight and health. Before taking any nutritional aid, always seek advice from your physician.
Mind and body therapies –   Mind therapies such as meditation, breathing, or gentle exercises can help you focus on your goals, and help you relax while body therapies such as massages, hot baths or steam rooms, and/or  can be helpful for pain management.

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms questions

Hydrocodone withdrawal can be extremely difficult, but is usually not life threatening, so consulting and learning about this drug during withdrawal is a great start to the process. We’ve given you a general overview about hydrocodone withdrawal, but if you have any concerns and questions regarding hydrocodone addiction treatment, please share them in the comments section bellow. All your comments are welcomed and appreciated. We will try to address you comments with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: Teen Drug Abuse: The word of the day: Withdrawal
DEA: Drug Facts Sheet: Hydrocodone
NIH: Drug of abuse- opiates

Hydrocodone withdrawal

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Detox From Hydrocodone

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A full guide to hydrocodone detox protocols here.

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Help for Hydrocodone Withdrawal

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Hydrocodone withdrawal does not need to be torture. Learn more about the medications and protocols used to address symptoms, plus a full timeline of what to expect…and when. This is your guide to getting help!

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline: A Guide to Detox Symptoms

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline: A Guide to Detox Symptoms

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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.

4 What is rapid opiate detox? Does it work and is it safe?

What is rapid opiate detox? Does it work and is it safe?

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An interview with practitioners of The Waismann Method® about how rapid opiate detox works, its safety, and what to expect during the procedure.

178 How to withdraw from hydrocodone

How to withdraw from hydrocodone

November 1st, 2013

Practical suggestions for how to withdraw from hydrocodone safely. Plus. a section on How to ease withdrawal symptoms from hydrocodone. More here.

24 Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment: How to treat hydrocodone withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment: How to treat hydrocodone withdrawal

June 12th, 2013

What’s the best way to withdraw from hydrocodone? Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment should ideally be individualized by case. But you can treat flu-like symptoms that occur during hydrocodone withdrawal using over-the-counter and prescription medications. More on how to treat hydrocodone withdrawal here.

37 Cold turkey hydrocodone

Cold turkey hydrocodone

February 25th, 2013

Going cold turkey off hydrocodone can be severe and is unnecessary. Learn more about cold turkey hydrcodone risks and benefits of tapering your doses first.

6 What is hydrocodone withdrawal?

What is hydrocodone withdrawal?

February 9th, 2013

Once you stop taking hydrocodone after regular use, a period of withdrawal will occur. Why? Because the brain compensates for opiate effects and suddenly speeds up when hydrocodone is no longer present. More on how hydrocodone affects on the central nervous system and body here.

245 How long does hydrocodone withdrawal last?

How long does hydrocodone withdrawal last?

October 12th, 2012

Acute hydrocodone withdrawal occurs within the first few days after your last dose. Symptoms usually peak around 72 hours after last dose and resolve within 7-10 days after last use. More on how long hydrocodone withdrawal lasts here.

26 Dependence on hydrocodone

Dependence on hydrocodone

September 30th, 2012

Hydrocodone dependence can develop as quickly as three (3) weeks after regular dosing begins. More here about dependence on hydrocodone and how it differs from addiction. Plus, a section for your questions about hydrocodone dependence at the end.

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Leave a Reply

7 Responses to “Hydrocodone withdrawal
10:36 pm March 17th, 2016

I am 72 years old and have been taking Vicoprofin 7.5/200 four times daily for over a year. I have a very mangled foot and broken un attached Ulna at the Styloid and both cause severe. I want to completely stop the Narcotics. If I stop cold turkey am I risking any serious side effects. If I decide to taper how should the taper be addressed. I can’t see my Doctor now because I have to change PCPs due to his retiring. Thanks for the help.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:32 pm March 25th, 2016

Hi Marvin. I suggest you speak with another doctor [since you can’t see your doctor] or a pharmacist to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

4:55 am June 14th, 2016

I have been taking 5 mg hydrocodone or tramadol 3 times daily for 3 and one half months for shoulder surgery and hip pain. 4 days ago I stopped cold turkey, the nights started immediately very nervous legs, at times they be jerking in bed. stomach felt nervous, not hungry, sweats chills in bed, very little sleep, literally jumped out of bed after a few minutes.
Very irritated in daytime, very unsafe to drive.

This is day 4 and am seeing some improvement at night, nervousness not constant, legs more calm. still get hot and chills but not nearly as often, still not much sleep even with Ambien. Still don’t like to drive. Remember, these drugs are the devil.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:47 pm June 28th, 2016

Thanks for sharing, Dallas! Hope everything’s fine, now.

3:39 am August 6th, 2016

I am 60 yrs old. Twenty years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was prescribed vicodin for pain xanax for sleep disorder and dexoamphetamin for fatigue. A year later I was diagnosed with Lupus and added an anti-mylaria drug. After several years I stopped taking the mylaria med. Over the next 15 yrs I increased my vicodin from 2 5mg a day to 3. I increased my dexos from 2 to 3. Switched from xanax to klonipin. Also about 10 years ago I added Cymbalta and was able to monitor my breakthrough pain and fatigue and some days take less and possibly just half a pill. Which brings me to the predicament I find myself in today. Two months ago my dr of 7 plus years had to take an immediate leave of absence. Leaving me with an extra month of my meds. I called a dr taking new patients accepting my insurance and telling me the dr did not have a problem prescribing me narcotics. The day before my appointment her office manager called and told me the dr. infact did not fill scripts for narcotics and believed it was best to cancel my appointment. This was July 13th. My scripts needed to be filled by the 15th. I can not get in to the pain management dr till the end of Sept. He is now on a 3 week vacation. I cut back to half all my prescriptions believing I could find someone to at least fill my pain meds and sleep med. for 6 weeks. No such luck. I even drove to the next county to see a dr. that does prescribe pain meds. He said he would only give me one or the other and absolutely no dexos. Then he said before he would fill my prescriptions he wanted me to be seen by a Rhuematologist. He knew perfectly well about my chronic pain. My fingers are crippled over in pain. Plus I broke my shoulder in 3 places a year ago. It is as much of a source of pain as my fingers, wrists,elbows and feet. I had not decided to give up all 3 meds during the last month of summer. I had plans for going camping next week and my brother coming to visit the end of Sept..This is my second day of no meds other than Cybalta plus I also take imodium for IBS. I was beginning to feel very heavy like my arms and legs weighed like cement. Today I have a runny nose. Everything smells and tastes sour or bad. Everything fills like it weighs a ton. I am barely crawling around. I go from pain to numbness and tingling in my fingers hands and toes. I am overly emotional and would probably break out crying if I had the energy. Oh yes and my good friend invited me to go visit her on Maui . She manages a beachfront resort and has 2 weeks reserved for me the first 2 weeks of Oct. So please help advise me on what to do. My head is spinning. My coordination and balance is off . It is 100′ out and I am beside myself!.

I forgot to tell you I live in Grants Pass Or. I understand the government has set strict guidelines for drs. to follow regarding pain management. I am well below the maximums. This is a large retirement community plus there are high numbers of meth and heroin addicts. Resulting in drug related crimes and a large population of pill seekers.Everything I have read says I should not abruptly stop my meds and that I should still be under the care of a medical dr. I can barely look at my dog without feeling so horrible for not taking her to the river to get out of this heat.

5:45 pm August 22nd, 2016

Dear Debi. The situation that the doctor has left you in is horrible. I can never believe when doctors leave patients without a prescription…let alone without several prescriptions. Is there any way for your old doctor’s office to write prescriptions for your medications?

If you still have no meds and cannot get any, you will experience withdrawal once you run out. I suggest it’s best to go to the hospital or check in a detox facility. The medical staff there can provide you with the proper pain management and help you avoid any bigger withdrawal risks.

9:58 pm March 14th, 2018

Hi. I wanted to ask anyone about this problem I’m having. I took my last hydrocodone dose on Sunday and the withdrawals since then have been awful. I went three days without any opiates . I was however taking a large dose of the hydrocodone and some Tylenol 4 and benzos so when i ran out the withdrawals hit hard and fast. I got the diarreia cramps and hurting everywhere like i have the flu. So,I got my dentist to get me a refill of tylenol 4 however it seems that even though I took ten pills in the course of five hours I am not really getting much help for my withdrawals ! Usually, if I’m in withdrawal and take another dose of opiates then my withdrawals will fade in an hour or two,but this time its just awful. I have still thrown up after trying to eat,and usually once i have taken pills ill get hungery again,but not this time! is it just taking time for the pills to get back into my system or what? I hope someone will suggest why this is happening, and not just “talk to your doctor” because I’m not doing that. I’m not going to risk losing the benzos he is giving me and he will probably do that if i tell him I’m addicted to painkillers,if only i had my benzos right now!

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