Hydrocodone Addiction: Effects & Rehab

Hydrocodone products have traditionally been the most commonly prescribed opioids in the United States, making them readily available to the public.1 While hydrocodone can be an effective treatment for severe physical pain, it can also be highly addictive.2

In 2022, approximately 8.5 million Americans misused prescription painkillers, with 3.7 million of those individuals specifically misusing hydrocodone products.1 The misuse of hydrocodone can cause the onset of several serious physical and psychological health problems and can even be fatal.2

This article will go into further detail about what hydrocodone is, what its effects and dangers are, and what signs of hydrocodone overdose and addiction to look for. Information on how to connect with our team at Laguna Treatment will also be provided.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid analgesic that can be used to treat severe pain (for which alternative treatments are insufficient) and can also be prescribed as a cough suppressant.2,3 Hydrocodone is available in tablets, capsules, and a liquid solution and is often combined with acetaminophen and marketed under certain brand names.2,4

While it can be beneficial in the treatment of certain conditions, hydrocodone possesses a high potential for misuse, therefore it is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.2,5 This particular medication is frequently misused for the desirable effects it can produce, such as euphoria and relaxation.

Hydrocodone Adverse Effects

Hydrocodone can cause a several different adverse effects.2 These effects include, but are not limited to, the following:2

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Itchy skin

Health Risks of Hydrocodone

When hydrocodone is misued, it puts individuals at risk for experiencing serious health problems.2 Those who misuse hydrocodone do so by either taking it in a way or dose other than prescribed, taking someone else’s hydrocodone prescription, or taking it to achieve the effects of feeling high.6 Unfortunately, the misuse of hydrocodone can result in long-term damage or even death.2

Hydrocodone Overdose

Arguably the most costly risk of hydrocodone misuse is the potential for overdose, which can be fatal.6 An overdose occurs when someone uses enough of a substance to produce life-threatening symptoms, such as slowed breathing or respiratory arrest.6 As of late, a rising number of opioid overdoses involve benzodiazepines, which are central nervous system depressants such as Xanax, Valium, or Ativan.7 The combination of these two substances is highly dangerous and can increase the likelihood of an overdose occurring.8

Misuse and Addiction

The continued misuse of hydrocodone and other opioids can make the development of addiction more likely to occur.6 Addiction is considered a medical condition where a person engages in compulsive behaviors and continued substance use despite the unfavorable outcomes use can cause.6 Also known as a substance use disorder (SUD), addiction can be challenging to overcome and can quickly turn fatal.6

Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

According to the Diagnostic and Statisical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), someone who is experiencing an addiction to a substance like hydrocodone must exhibit at least two of the following symptoms over the course of a 12-month period:9

  • Using more hydrocodone than initially intended or for a longer period of time than planned
  • Attempting to cut back or stop using hydrocodone but being unable to do so
  • Experiencing intense cravings to use hydrocodone
  • Requiring more hydrocodone to achieve the desired effect (known as tolerance)
  • Spending an excessive amount of time obtaining, using, and recovering from hydrocodone use
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school due to hydrocodone use
  • Continuing to use hydrocodone despite interpersonal problems associated with misuse
  • Giving up important social or recreational activities because of misuse.
  • Using hydrocodone in settings where it is physically hazardous to do so
  • Continuing to use despite it causing or exacerbating a physical or mental health problem
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms when cutting back on hydrocodone

Hydrocodone Withdrawal & Detox

Patients who are dependent on hydrocodone have experienced physiological adaptations in response to their repeated exposure to this opioid.6 Therefore, if they reduce the amount they normally consume or stop their use entirely, withdrawal symptoms can develop.7 These symptoms can range in severity and can be highly uncomfortable.2

Some hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:2

  • Restlessness.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sweating.
  • Chills.
  • Muscle aches and pains.

Medical detox can help those withdrawing from hydrocodone and other opioids do so as comfortably as possible.10 Not only can medical detox provide individuals a safe space to go through this process, but licensed medical professionals can administer FDA-approved medications, such as buprenorphine and methadone, to help mitigate the severity of symptoms.11

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment in Orange County

If you or someone you love is addicted to hydrocodone, our Orange County rehab can help. Call us right now at to learn more about the rehab admissions process, levels of addiction rehab we provide, and much more. One of our admissions navigators can provide detailed information about rehab payment options, including paying for rehab with health insurance, as well as answer any other questions you may have.

Get started on the road to recovery by having your insurance verified with us right now. Simply fill out this secure online and get answers within minutes.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
We are here to help you get sober and learn how to stay that way. Laguna Treatment Center is located in Orange County within easy reach of the entire Los Angeles metro. We are the premier chemical dependency recovery hospital in the OC. We offer safe medical detox, mental health support, and wellness programs.