The Basics of Lortab Rehabilitation

This guide was written to provide an overview of the Lortab rehabilitation process, as well as to offer helpful resources for those recovering from Lortab addiction.

Breaking the psychological, physical, and mental dependence on any type of opioid often requires rehabilitation. The first step taken during rehab intake is sharing facts about your usage with medical professionals to help them determine the level of your addiction and the best course of treatment, including detoxification. Withdrawal symptoms are the most painful part of detoxification, so a tapering process and/or medication-assisted treatment may be included in your detoxification to help ease these symptoms.

Once you’ve successfully detoxed from Lortab, you’ll take part in various types of therapy, which may include behavioral, individual, and group therapies. Rehab for Lortab dependence or addiction can take anywhere from several weeks to several months. Lengthier rehabilitation and recovery periods are often required if you took large doses for a long time, are addicted to multiple substances, and/or you also have a mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety. When you’re ready to leave the treatment facility, aftercare — including outpatient therapy sessions — is generally prescribed to ensure your continued recovery and to prevent relapse.

the four steps of rehab process

What Makes Lortab Rehabilitation Difficult?

Lortab has the potential for abuse and physical dependence, so even though it’s legally available by prescription, it’s still listed as a Schedule II controlled substance. Possessing Lortab without a valid prescription puts you at risk of serious legal penalties. Non-medical use of pharmaceutical opioids, especially those containing hydrocodone like Lortab, is a primary concern in the United States, but opioid use is also a problem on a global scale. An estimated 53 million people worldwide between the ages of 15 and 64 used opioids at least once during 2017.

The hydrocodone in Lortab blocks pain signals in your brain, which changes your perception of pain. It also stimulates the reward center in your brain, producing feelings of well-being and pleasure. This combination of euphoria and pain relief can become habit-forming, and the longer you use Lortab, the more your body develops a tolerance to it. Once you build up a tolerance, it takes more to achieve the desired effects. Chronic abuse affects brain processes, which can lead to dependence and addiction. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occur when you try to stop taking it, so the cycle of misuse often continues.

The Unique Struggle of Lortab Addicts
  • stimulates the reward system in the brain, causing feelings of euphoria.
  • users often develop a tolerance that requires them to take increasingly higher doses to experience the same effects.
  • causes changes in the brain that result in dependence and addiction.
  • creates severe withdrawal symptoms upon quitting.
  • withdrawal symptoms and changes in the brain make relapse a common occurrence.

Lortab Rehabilitation Statistics

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated in 2018:

  • 47,731,000 people 12 years old and older — 17.4% of the population — used hydrocodone products, including Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Zohydro ER, or generic hydrocodone.
  • 1,694,000 people ages 12 and over — 0.6% of the population — had a pain reliever use disorder.
  • 75,000 people 12 years old and older — 1.76% of the population — received treatment for a pain reliever use disorder.

Opiates Treatment Admissions by Gender

52.7% Male
47.3% Female

Demographics of Individuals Seeking Treatment for Opiates Addiction

According to a 2017 SAMHSA report that charts admissions to and discharges from publicly funded substance use treatment facilities, men are more likely to seek treatment for abuse of opiates other than heroin, including prescription pain relievers like Lortab, which contains the opioid hydrocodone. The gender breakdown of treatment admissions for opiates (not counting heroin) was 52.7% male and 47.3% female. While opiate addiction occurs in all age groups, the most common age group admitted to a treatment facility for opiate use was individuals aged 25 to 34, with 35 being the average age of all individuals from all age groups who sought rehabilitation.

Opiates Treatment Admissions Percentages by Age Group, 2017
Age at the Time of Treatment Admission Percentage of Opiates Treatment Admissions
12-17 0.4%
18-24 10.4%
25 – 34 44.9%
35 – 44 25.4%
45-54 12.1%
55-64 5.9%
65+ 0.9%

Lortab Detoxification & Withdrawal Process

Lortab detoxification is the process in which your body rids itself of the drug, which is required to achieve recovery from your dependence and/or addiction. To safely and more comfortably complete detoxification, it’s generally recommended to seek medical assistance, which may include medication-assisted detox to lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms, while not usually life-threatening, are usually very uncomfortable, which can increase the likelihood that you will go back to using Lortab to make the symptoms go away.

Early symptoms of Lortab withdrawal can begin as early as six hours after taking your last dose but may take up to 24 hours, depending on how much/often you were using the drug. Be prepared for muscle and body aches, excessive sweating, runny nose, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, anxiety, and irritability.

After the first day or two, the initial symptoms may become more severe, and you may begin feeling other more uncomfortable symptoms. These new symptoms may include chills, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat. Generally, your withdrawal symptoms should peak within about 72 hours and gradually improve over the course of a week. However, it’s possible that certain symptoms will last up to a month — or sometimes even longer. Lingering symptoms usually include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and fatigue. Your doctor may suggest medications to help you through withdrawal.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Body Mind
Short-Term Symptoms Flu-like symptoms
General feelings of discomfort
Body/muscle aches
Excessive sweating
Teary eyes
Mood swings
Difficulty sleeping
Long-Term Symptoms Chills
High blood pressure
Higher sensitivity to pain
Nausea and/or vomiting
Rapid heartbeat
Stomach cramps

Babies and Lortab addiction

Misusing Lortab while pregnant can put your unborn baby at risk of being addicted to opioids at birth. Once the baby leaves the womb, it’s no longer receiving the opioids on which it has become dependent and will suffer through withdrawal symptoms, which may include dehydration, digestive issues, poor appetite, vomiting, and seizures.

Issues with protracted abstinence from Lortab

Recovery generally requires at least six months if you completely refrain from taking any more of the drug in what’s referred to as protracted abstinence. Throughout this time period, you may experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. To ensure your withdrawal is going as it should, you should discuss all ongoing symptoms, as well as any new ones, with your doctor.

Lortab can cause severe withdrawal symptoms

Although Lortab withdrawal isn’t normally life-threatening, two symptoms can be severe enough to pose a significant danger and potentially require medical attention. The first symptom could cause you to inadvertently breathe vomited material into your lungs, known as aspiration, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia. Diarrhea can also cause a potentially dangerous loss of fluids and electrolytes. This depletion can cause your heart to beat abnormally, which may cause circulatory problems and even a heart attack.

Lortab Detoxification Medications

Several medications have been successfully used to help individuals through withdrawal, including some that can shorten or ease the withdrawal process and others that can make certain symptoms less severe. Common medication-assisted treatments include the use of methadone, buprenorphine, or buprenorphine combined with naloxone during withdrawal to ease symptoms and reduce cravings. Buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone may also be used to prevent relapse following detox. Another medication frequently used is clonidine hydrochloride, which can help treat specific symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

For more information about withdrawal, read our guide on Lortab addiction.

Treatment for Lortab Addiction

A wide range of treatments are available for prescription opioids like Lortab, including behavioral therapies and medication-assisted treatment. Both options are effective in helping with opioid addiction. Behavioral therapies help you modify your behaviors and attitudes concerning drug use and learn new, healthier life skills. Some common therapies used include cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy. Medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone, naloxone, and/or clonidine may also be used.

Rehabilitation Settings

Within either an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatments such as detoxification services, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatments are offered for varying lengths of time.

Inpatient treatment involves living full-time (including overnight) at a treatment facility for a set period of time. Outpatient treatment involves scheduled appointments at a facility, and you are free to come and go. Within each category, there are several distinctions.

Lortab Treatment Programs
Setting Type of Treatment Description Duration Time Commitment
Inpatient Short-Term Residential Intensive treatment, sometimes in a hospital setting. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day: 24

Days Per Week: 7

Inpatient Long-Term Residential Intensive treatment in a non-hospital setting, most often a therapeutic community with other patients. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-12 months Hours Per Day: 24

Days Per Week: 7

Inpatient Partial Hospitalization Intensive treatment in a hospital setting. Patients do not stay overnight. Considered inpatient due to the hospital setting. Extensive services are provided and require a near full-time commitment every week. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 14-30 days Hours Per Day: 6-8

Days Per Week: 5

Outpatient Intensive Day Treatment Extensive services of an inpatient program but patients return home each day following treatment. After completion, patients often transition to less intensive counseling. Therapies offered are extensive. Medication-assisted treatment is available to those who qualify. 3-4 months Hours Per Day: 2-4

Days Per Week: 3

Outpatient Counseling Both individual counseling and group counseling focus on short-term behavioral goals to develop coping strategies. Therapies offered are moderate. Medication-assisted treatment is not available. As long as desired Hours Per Day: 1-2

Days Per Week: 1-3

Outpatient Support Groups Support groups center on maintaining abstinence after another form of treatment. Typically meet one day a week for 1-2 hours. As long as desired Hours Per Day: 1-2

Days Per Week: 1

Behavioral and Medication-Assisted Therapies

Behavioral therapy for substance addiction seeks to identify and manage addictive behaviors that lead to use and attempts to prevent relapse. Behavioral therapy is based on the concept that all behavior is learned, and thus, unhealthy behavior can be changed through learning coping skills and increasing awareness of negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to substance abuse.

The general purpose of medication-assisted treatment is to help you through withdrawal and your continued recovery. Medication-assisted treatment can ease, suppress, or even eliminate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings to help you complete the withdrawal process. Medications can also prevent opioid drugs from having the intended effect, eliminating the purpose of using Lortab and discouraging you from relapsing.

Behavioral Therapies for Lortab Addiction
Type of Therapy Definition
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Further reading:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you unlearn or modify old habits and behaviors that lead to your substance abuse and develop healthy habits along with coping strategies to manage stress and drug abuse triggers to prevent relapse.
Contingency Management/Motivational Incentives


Further reading:

Contingency management (CM) is a specific type of behavioral treatment with the purpose of positively reinforcing good behaviors, such as not using drugs or attending counseling, with rewards. Goal-oriented rewards, such as prizes or monetary vouchers, can provide effective motivation for healthy behaviors.
Multidimensional Family Therapy


Further reading:

Multidimensional family therapy (MFT) is intended for adolescents in rehabilitation for drug abuse and for the families of these adolescents. The intent of this treatment is to address what influences the adolescent’s drug abuse and the patterns of this abuse while also improving the overall functioning of the family.
Type of Medication for Treatment Definition
Agonist Drugs


Further reading:

Methadone is one of the most common agonist drugs, which may be used to replace opioid-based medicines like Lortab during rehab or as a long-term maintenance method following rehab to help prevent relapse. Methadone is also an opioid, so it works much the same way, but it works more slowly and without the euphoric effects to discourage abuse. During rehab, it can help ease withdrawal symptoms and Lortab cravings.
Partial Agonist Drugs


Further reading:

Buprenorphine is a partial agonist drug that also targets the same area of the brain as opioids but without the euphoric effect. It’s often used during rehab to potentially shorten the detoxification period and decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It may also be used in combination with naloxone to help prevent future opioid abuse.
Antagonist Drugs


Further reading:

Naltrexone is an antagonist drug, meaning it’s the chemical opposite of opioids. This essentially helps prevent relapse by suppressing the euphoric effects of opioids to remove a primary reason why the drug is abused. As part of a long-term treatment plan, naltrexone may also help restore chemical balances in the brain.
Medications for Specific Symptoms


Further reading:

Individual symptoms may be treated with a variety of prescription and/or over-the-counter medications. One or more medications may be recommended to help treat diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, depression, insomnia, and other withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine is one medication commonly suggested because it may reduce muscle aches, cramping, and anxiety.

How to Find Help

Finding a Rehabilitation Center for Lortab Addiction

When taken as prescribed, Lortab helps effectively manage moderate to severe pain. However, since the hydrocodone ingredient is an opioid-based narcotic pain reliever, it can be addictive, especially when taken long term or not as directed. Abusing Lortab can cause you to develop a tolerance, which requires you to take higher and/or more frequent doses to achieve the same results. This ever-increasing tolerance can lead to dependence and addiction, and the increased doses of acetaminophen found in Lortab can cause significant liver damage.

Choosing a reputable rehabilitation center that can provide customized treatment plans to meet your individual needs can help you overcome your Lortab addiction. These facilities may offer inpatient and/or outpatient treatment options, and you may benefit from both options to ensure lasting recovery from your addiction.

Our Directory

Our directory of rehab programs includes a comprehensive list of available treatment centers and programs as provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In the directory, you will find tools to filter the programs by setting, price, and location.