Hydrocodone is an opioid, and is synthesized as the active ingredient in many types of prescription cough syrups. It is also prescribed in pill form under the brand name Vicodin, with other derivatives called Zohydro ER, Hycodan, and Robidone. Hydrocodone has properties of both an analgesic and an opiate, and it’s extremely potent effects produce feelings of euphoria similar to morphine, heroin, and other opiates. Prescription drug abuse has been steadily increasing in recent years, and hydrocodone abuse has increased right along with it. Hydrocodone admittance into emergency rooms has jumped up 500%, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) speculates that hydrocodone may the the most abused prescription medication in the United States.


Effects on the Body

As an opiate and an analgesic, hydrocodone binds with opiate receptors located in the brain and the spinal cord. These receptors exist so the body can naturally regulate feelings of pain, and hydrocodone interferes with those signals by producing intense feelings of euphoria.

When taken as prescribed, hydrocodone is an safe and effective treatment for alleviating pain. It is often prescribed to people who are getting well after surgery, broken a bone or injured themselves, or experience chronic pain. Is also prescribed as a cough suppressant, and used in many different types of cough medicines.

Although it can be helpful in reducing pain, many people who take hydrocodone do not respond well for the drug. Some of the side effects reported are:

  • headache
  • congestion
  • trouble breathing
  • tightness in chest
  • anxiousness
  • exhaustion
  • losing/gaining weight

Continued use of the drug can lead to other negative health effects, such as constipation or decreased heart rate. Although these two symptoms can sometimes persist even after the person stops using the drug, they are generally only present when it is abused.


Opioids are infamous for their high rates of addiction. Both physical and psychological dependence can develop surprisingly quickly, and can often result from simply taking them as prescribed for pain. Increased use will lead to tolerance, which forces the user to up their dose in order to experience the high that they are seeking. This increases the chance of accidental overdose. Hydrocodone also acts on the respiratory system to slow down breathing, which could result in life-threatening consequences, especially when combined with alcohol. Additional effects include nausea, disorientation, slurred speech, and exhaustion.

Treatment and Recovery

Withdrawal from hydrocodone and other opioids can be particularly uncomfortable, so detoxing should happen in a supervised facility under the care of medical professionals. Northbound Treatment Services uses our one EIGHTY detox program to provide our clients with a comfortable transition into sobriety, offering a full staff of medical and treatment professionals and 24 hour monitoring.

We offer a comprehensive treatment plan individualized to our client’s specific needs and challenges. In addition to our one EIGHTY detox program, Northbound offers inpatient treatment, gender-specific CORE programs, work or school programs, faith-based recovery, and aftercare. From the day you begin detox to your experience years down the line with our aftercare program, our aim is to help our clients achieve sobriety, success, and satisfaction.

If you have a loved one stuck in a hydrocodone addiction, California drug treatment Services can help. Please contact us today at (866) 538-4356.