Hydrocodone, known by the brand name Vicodin, was originally designed to help treat severe pain. The medication is extremely common in medicine cabinets all around the United States, and its popularity may be on the rise. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the milligram-per-person use of prescription opioids like Vicodin increased 402 percent between 1997 and 2007. As rates of use rise, so do rates of addiction. While there are effective treatments that can help ease addiction to help the person move forward and create a safe and sober life, hydrocodone users may need some convincing in order to stop use.
Hydrocodone is often considered safe by addicts, since the substance is not illegal and is prescribed by doctors. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration reports that two in five teens believe that prescription drugs are safer than street drugs, and three in ten believe that prescription medications don’t cause addiction. People who are in the grips of a hydrocodone addiction may not believe that their behavior is problematic, and they may not initiate treatment alone. Additional Resource: Prescription Drug Myths and Rehab
Parents of teens may be tempted to simply drive their teen to an inpatient facility for treatment, without holding an intervention. While experts agree that therapy works whether the addict asks for the treatment or not, it is important to lay the groundwork for treatment in an intervention, no matter the addict’s age. The teen may be able to build upon the statements provided in the intervention, and the family may be able to express their concern in a loving and helpful way in a proper intervention, and this might help the whole family heal.

At the end of the intervention, when the family members have aired their concerns and explained why they feel the addict needs treatment, the addicted person is asked to participate in a treatment program the family has selected.

People who stop taking the medication can develop severe abdominal pain and cramping, along with depression and cravings for the drug. In an inpatient program, doctors can provide medications to help ease these symptoms, and medical staff can stand at the ready to assist if the symptoms grow worse. Some patients benefit from taking a drug called buprenorphine, which is also an opiate. This drug doesn’t produce a euphoric state, and it’s nearly impossible to abuse the drug due to its chemical makeup, but it can ease some common withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, people addicted to hydrocodone start on high doses of the drug, and then they taper down to smaller and smaller doses as treatment progresses. In some cases, the addicted person is given a narcotic medication called methadone to ease withdrawal symptoms. This medication has been used with great success in people who are addicted to heroin.Whether or not the doctor provides buprenorphine or methadone depends heavily on how much hydrocodone the person was taking before rehabilitation began. In addition, one study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment suggests that patients also influence the decision, as they may request one drug over another.Once the person has successfully removed hydrocodone from the system, with or without the use of drugs, that person is asked to participate in a series of counseling sessions. Addiction to hydrocodone is often a habit that people have developed due to a variety of other causes, such as:
  • Boredom
  • Underlying mental illness
  • Poor relationships with family members
  • Social pressures
In counseling sessions, the addict can learn more about why he or she takes drugs, and develop new methods to deal with those underlying problems. Some counselors also ask addicts to participate in group meetings the counselor holds with all addicted people currently in that doctor’s care. This can help the addict make new friendships and learn that addiction is both common and treatable.

After Inpatient Treatment

When an addict emerges from an inpatient treatment program, that person no longer has drugs in his or her system and he or she is armed with many tactics that can be used to keep addiction at bay. This doesn’t mean, however, that the fight is over. As mentioned, hydrocodone is plentiful, inexpensive and remarkably easy to obtain. Often, this means that people must participate in treatment programs for hydrocodone addiction for months or even years in order to ensure that the changes stick. Some addicts continue to participate in counseling sessions once or multiple times per week, discussing the problems that have occurred since treatment stopped. At Michael’s House, we consider this an important part of the care we provide to our clients and we
encourage all recovering addicts to participate in these check-in sessions long after they’ve been released from our program. When an addict enters a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, he or she has the opportunity to listen to other addicts talk about their successes and failures with addiction problems, and they can share their own stories. Other addicts prefer to deal with outpatient care on a more informal basis, and they may rely on community programs to help them stay sober. One of the most recognizable programs is Narcotics Anonymous. This program is run by recovering addicts for recovering addicts, and meetings are often free and open to the public.
It’s also important to remember that people who are in hydrocodone addiction recovery cannot take the drugs again, no matter what happens. Doctors may attempt to prescribe the medication if the recovering addict has an injury or undergoes a surgery; however, the addict must be completely honest about the addiction that has come before and ask for alternatives to the opioid medications. If you or a loved one is struggling with hydrocodone abuse or addiction, please give us a call today and find out how we can help.