The Subtle Signs of Hydrocodone Abuse

signs of hydrocodone abuseMost people think they’ll be able to spot a hydrocodone abuse issue quite quickly. The truth is much more complicated. In fact, some people know so little about hydrocodone that they don’t know how to spot an overdose of the drug. According to an article in BMJ, when communities get enrolled in educational programs, individuals are more likely to identify an overdose, and the people who do overdose are more likely to live. However, if more people knew how to spot the signs of abuse, perhaps there would be fewer overdoses in the first place. These are just a few of the subtle cues family members can look for in order to identify an addiction in the people they love.

Behavioral Changes

People who are addicted to hydrocodone may be taking three, four or even five times the dosages prescribed for people with valid medical conditions. As a result, they may run out of pills on a regular basis, and they may need to take their pills in order to avoid unpleasant symptoms of physical withdrawal.

In order to stay up on their addiction, they may:

  • Visit many doctors, sometimes within a single day
  • Ask other people to go to the doctor and get prescriptions for them
  • Steal pills from others
  • Stash pills in strange places
  • Steal or borrow money in order to buy pills from dealers

These acts can be subtle. People may skip work obligations in order to visit a doctor, for example, and the family may not discover the act until the person’s supervisor calls the house. Families may also not know that pills are stolen or stashed, until they find empty bottles or pills in common areas.

The euphoria that hydrocodone can bring about can result in sudden mood changes, and sometimes, those can be cues families can spot. Someone they love might come home irritated and angry, for example, and after a few moments alone in the bathroom, that same person might emerge seeming happy, alert and a little giddy. This is definitely a sign that something is amiss.

Physical Changes

Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed painkiller in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and when the drug is taken properly, it’s considered safe. People who abuse the drug, however, may take such large doses of the drug that they experience severe constipation. People like this may consistently complain of bowel or abdominal pain, and they may stock up the family medicine chest with laxative medications.

What Hydrocodone Users Experience

People who attempt to stop taking the drug or cut down on the amount they take each day may experience withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, abdominal distress, insomnia or bone pain. People who complain of these problems and who then seem magically healed a few moments after taking a pill may very well be dealing with an addiction issue.

What to Do

If you suspect that someone you love is using or abusing hydrocodone, we’d like to help. At The Oaks at La Paloma, we’ve developed treatment programs that can help people to understand the dangers inherent in hydrocodone abuse, and we provide intensive care and outpatient therapies that can help people to improve. We can tell you about our hydrocodone program and help you learn how to talk to the person you love about addiction, just as soon as you call us. Please get in touch.