Hydrocodone Addiction Symptoms & Side Effects

Hydrocodone Addiction Symptoms & Side Effects

Last Updated: January 17, 2023

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America is facing a crisis of epidemic levels: substance misuse. Drug and alcohol addiction are real issues for the entire nation, but more specifically, opioid addiction is destroying the lives of individuals, families and communities all across America. Ohio is one of the states that has been hit the hardest.

One of the drugs at the center of this crisis is hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is a prescription opiate that is given to treat pain. It is combined with acetaminophen in the brand name drugs Norco, Lortab and Vicodin. While it’s commonly prescribed to treat pain, one of the most dangerous side effects of taking hydrocodone is addiction.

Of all the opioids that are abused, hydrocodone is one of the most frequently abused opiates. It’s an issue not just for people residing in Ohio – in cities like Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati – but all across the nation.

Here we will take a look at the signs, symptoms and side effects associated with hydrocodone use.

Hydrocodone Addiction Symptoms

Hydrocodone is a powerful medication. Whether you have a legitimate prescription for it, and you are taking it as prescribed, or you are abusing the drug by taking more of it than prescribed or even taking it without a prescription, there are some side effects that you should be aware of.

The side effects of hydrocodone will vary depending on the individual in question, how much hydrocodone they take and whether or not they are taking the medication for a legitimate reason. The most pronounced side effects will be felt by people who are older, debilitated or unwell.

Those taking hydrocodone are commonly said to experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Constipation
  • Swelling of extremities
  • Headache
  • Feeling drowsy or tired
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle pain

In severe cases, hydrocodone use may involve painful urination, extreme drowsiness, shallow breathing, confusion or feeling lightheaded enough to pass out.

One of the main side effects of all opiates is itching. This is because opiates impact the receptors within the central nervous system, and your brain can think an allergen has been introduced. While this side effect is common, it could actually be a sign of something more significant. If you are experiencing severe itching, you should ask your physician about it.

In terms of psychological symptoms of mood and emotional states, hydrocodone can produce feelings of euphoria. This is the high that makes the drug so addictive in many cases. It can also cause fluctuations in mood and anxiety.

Long-Term Side Effects of Hydrocodone

Just as all opiates do, hydrocodone affects the brain in significant ways. Opioids like hydrocodone bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, and it changes the way you experience and perceive pain. If your brain has significant long-term exposure to opiates like hydrocodone, there are likely to be long-term side effects.

Addiction and physical dependence are two side effects many people experience when taking hydrocodone in the long term. There is a difference between the two. While addiction is the psychological condition of being unable to control drug use, physical dependence happens when your body will have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking hydrocodone. It is possible to be physically dependent on hydrocodone without being addicted, and even those who take the medication with a prescription as directed will become physically dependent. 

Signs of Hydrocodone Dependence

How do you know if you have developed a hydrocodone dependence? The first sign is that you will develop a tolerance. This means you have to take more and more of the medication for it to be effective. If you reach this point and you stop the medication abruptly, you will experience withdrawal.

Symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal include gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances, intense cravings, chills, sweating, mood disturbances and runny nose.

Hydrocodone Addiction Signs

Whether you began taking hydrocodone as a result of a legitimate prescription of you have been abusing the drug, it’s easy to become addicted. Here are some of the signs of hydrocodone addiction:

  • Taking more of the medication that prescribed
  • Doctor or pharmacy shopping to obtain more than one prescription
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Trying to quit using hydrocodone unsuccessfully
  • Financial problems
  • Poor performance at work
  • Strained relationships

The good news is that if you are suffering from hydrocodone addiction in Ohio, there are many treatment options available to you including The Recovery Village Columbus. We feature inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.