Hydrocodone addiction recovery starts with an initial detoxification period in which hydrocodone is eliminated from the user’s body. This substance has a half-life of four to six hours, which means most users will eliminate half of the hydrocodone from their bodies within this timeframe. Elimination may take longer in some users, especially individuals who have chronic medical conditions and those who have used hydrocodone for a long time.
If withdrawal symptoms persist for more than two weeks, they’re classified as post-acute symptoms. Depending on the individual’s history of hydrocodone use, post-acute withdrawal symptoms may last for up to a year. How long it takes to complete the withdrawal process also depends on the individual’s health history.
Hydrocodone withdrawal can cause serious heart problems
In some users, withdrawing from opioids like hydrocodone can cause a condition called stress cardiomyopathy. This condition puts extra stress on the heart, damaging the chamber responsible for pumping much of the oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. In individuals who develop stress cardiomyopathy, the risk of heart attack increases.
Withdrawing from hydrocodone increases the risk of seizures
When a user stops taking hydrocodone, its effects on the nervous system wear off, which can cause seizures and other problems with the brain or nerves. Individuals who have seizures while withdrawing from hydrocodone may sustain serious injuries.
Hydrocodone withdrawal increases the risk for sudden death
Some users experience uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea while withdrawing from hydrocodone. If these individuals do not replace lost fluids by drinking plenty of water or other beverages, they can develop life-threatening dehydration, putting them at risk for sudden death.
Hydrocodone Detoxification Medications
To ease the symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal, some users take supportive medications. This makes the withdrawal process safer and more comfortable, and it also improves the chances that a user will stay sober. Anti-diarrheal medications and metoclopramide may be used to treat digestive symptoms like diarrhea and nausea. Medications may also be prescribed to help an individual sleep or relieve stomach pain.
For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on Hydrocodone Addiction.