Can Hydrocodone Make People Violent?

Lots of drugs change how we act and what we say. They change how our brains work and affect how we feel. They make us do things we’d never want to do while sober. They can bring out the worst in us and leave us feeling ashamed or alone.

Hydrocodone is no exception. This drug is prescribed to treat pain, but in the long run, it can create a lot more hurt than it ever solves. Luckily this hurt can be healed through treatment and recovery.

What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is found in brand-name medications like Vicodin, Norco and Lorcet. It’s a semi-synthetic opioid, which means that, like all narcotics ranging from heroin to codeine to morphine, it’s made from opium poppy alkaloids.

How Does Hydrocodone Work?

In the body natural chemicals activate opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Opioid receptors can relieve pain and create feelings of reward and other responses. Hydrocodone binds to these same receptors. Using the drug changes the receptors and other neural circuitry. This changes how you feel and think. It can change how you act. And it can lead to addiction and dependence.

>>> READ THIS NEXT: Start with Hydrocodone Detox


Does Hydrocodone Make Me Angry?

Hydrocodone is a central nervous system depressant, so violence isn’t a direct symptom of abuse. This doesn’t mean hydrocodone and violence aren’t related. Hydrocodone can affect anger and aggressive behavior in other ways.

Hydrocodone lowers inhibitions. So maybe you would normally feel angry but not say anything or act out. With fewer inhibitions, your anger management skills may slip away. You may say or do violent things you would never otherwise consider.

You may also take more or other drugs than you normally would. These substances may contribute to anger and violence. LiveScience explains: “Getting drunk increases the risk for violent behavior, but only for people who have a strong tendency to suppress feelings of anger when sober.”1 When alcohol and hydrocodone combine, they lower inhibitions even further, increasing the likelihood of violence. Other drugs like anabolic steroids, stimulants and PCP can have similar effects on anger and action.

What If I’m Already Angry?

You may turn to hydrocodone because of anger. Current Psychiatry reports that some individuals turn to opiates, “to avoid being angry and impossible to be around.”2

Hydrocodone doesn’t address underlying anger issues, so instead of being a solution, addiction and anger form a cycle where each continues to contribute to and worsen the other.

How Does Hydrocodone Impact Mental Health?

Mental health concerns and addiction often overlap. As mentioned above, you may already struggle with anger management issues. Addiction may create new ones. Other connections between hydrocodone and mental health include the following:

  • Untreated mental health disorders may have motivated the original opioid abuse
  • Narcotic highs may be used to self-medicate symptoms of depression, emotional pain, posttraumatic stress disorder and more
  • Opioid abuse can initiate or accelerate preexisting mental health issues
  • Chronic opioid abuse can cause complex changes to mood and behavior
  • Individuals with violent histories have less impulse control during opioid highs

While hydrocodone can seem like an immediate solution, opioid abuse ultimately increases the rate of mental health symptoms, overdose and accidental and self-inflicted injuries. Integrated treatment addresses both mental health and addiction so that you can find healing in all areas of health and life.

What’s the Connection Between Withdrawal Symptoms and Violence?

While recovery is the first step towards ending violence and addiction, it can be a rough road to get there. If you choose to detox at home, you may experience increased anger rather than symptom relief. Opioid withdrawal symptoms can lead to heightened aggression, as symptoms such as the following may make you feel angrier than before:

  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Feelings of anxiety and agitation
  • Difficulties falling asleep

Stopping hydrocodone abuse can initiate aggressive moods and behaviors and ultimately lead to relapse. However when you choose medically supervised detox services, you will have professional support and treatment at every step of the recovery process.

Ending Anger, Violence, and Hydrocodone Addiction

You can recover in a peaceful, safe environment. You can seamless connect detox, addiction treatment, relapse prevention, anger management training and more. You’ll also have access to family therapy and counseling that can help heal strained relationships or unhealthy home environments.

The Oaks offers compassionate, state-of-the-art treatment. Give us a call at 901-350-4575 to learn more about finding integrated addiction and mental health treatment for yourself or a loved one.

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1 People Who Suppress Anger Become Violent When Drunk.” LiveScience. 29 Jun. 2010.

2 Tucker, Sheridan. “Opiates Calm Addicts’ Anger.” Current Psychiatry. Oct. 2007.

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Oaks. For more specific information on programs at The Oaks, contact us today.