March 25, 2024

Hydrocodone Addiction: FAQs, Symptoms, & Treatment

an image of someone dealing with hydrocodone addiction

Hydrocodone is among the most commonly prescribed medications for pain management in the United States. Hydrocodone is also available in combination products like Vicodin which contain hydrocodone and acetaminophen. While this medication is effective, it also carries a high risk of abuse, dependence, and addiction. Read on to learn more about hydrocodone addiction and find out how to engage with effective and compassionate treatment.

Is Hydrocodone Addictive?

Like all Schedule II controlled substances, hydrocodone is potentially addictive. It’s classified as an opioid, a class of drugs known for their powerful pain-relieving properties as well as their high potential for dependence and addiction.

Hydrocodone works by binding to MORs (mu opioid receptors) in the brain, which can produce feelings of euphoria alongside pain relief, contributing to its potential for abuse. Regular use of hydrocodone, even as prescribed, can lead to physical tolerance and dependence, where more of the drug is needed to achieve the same effects, and withdrawal symptoms manifest upon discontinuation.

How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Hydrocodone?

The time it takes to develop an addiction to hydrocodone can vary widely from person to person and depends on variables that include:

  • Dosage
  • Frequency of use
  • Individual physiology
  • Genetic predisposition

Some people may develop signs of dependence within a few weeks of regular use, while others may take longer. It’s also possible to become psychologically dependent on hydrocodone after a short period if a person experiences significant euphoria or relief that they wish to replicate. Always follow the prescription guidelines of a healthcare provider and communicate openly about any concerns regarding hydrocodone use.

Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction

Some signs of hydrocodone addiction may be noticeable to others. These include:

  • Doctor shopping: Seeking multiple prescriptions from different doctors to obtain more hydrocodone is one of the most prominent signs of prescription drug abuse.
  • Change in social circles: Associating with new groups of friends who also use hydrocodone or other addictive substances.
  • Financial issues: Spending lots of money on hydrocodone, possibly provoking financial instability or unusual borrowing of money.
  • Secretiveness: Being secretive or lying about the amount of hydrocodone consumed or the frequency of use.
  • Neglecting appearance: Showing a lack of interest in personal grooming and outward appearance.
  • Mood swings: Experiencing erratic emotional states that may not be related to identifiable life events.
  • Altered energy levels: Displaying atypically high energy or lethargy.

Hydrocodone Addiction Symptoms

Hydrocodone addiction is clinically described as opioid use disorder. The symptoms are outlined in DSM-5-TR, the revised fifth edition of APA’s diagnostic tool (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as follows:

  1. Consuming more opioids than intended.
  2. Persistent failed attempts to moderate or discontinue use.
  3. Excessive time spent using opioids.
  4. Cravings for opioids manifesting.
  5. Failure to meet role obligations due to opioid use.
  6. Ongoing opioid cause causing or inflaming interpersonal issues.
  7. Reducing or giving up important activities due to opioid use.
  8. Recurrent opioid use in potentially dangerous situations.
  9. Continuing to use opioids even though it’s triggering or worsening a physical or psychological health condition.
  10. Tolerance developing so that more opioids are required to achieve the same effects.
  11. Withdrawal symptoms presenting upon discontinuation or reduction in dose.

Am I Addicted to Hydrocodone? | Quiz

Reflect on your experiences with hydrocodone over the past year as you answer these questions. This quiz is designed for self-awareness and is not a substitute for professional diagnosis.

  1. Have you found yourself taking hydrocodone in larger amounts or for a longer duration than you initially intended?
  2. Have you ever wanted to reduce your hydrocodone usage but found that you were unable to do so?
  3. Do you spend a significant portion of your time obtaining hydrocodone, using it, or recovering from its effects?
  4. Do you often feel a strong urge or craving to use hydrocodone?
  5. Has your hydrocodone use interfered with your responsibilities at work, school, or home?
  6. Despite experiencing problems in your relationships that are exacerbated by your hydrocodone use, do you continue to use it?
  7. Have you stopped or reduced participating in important activities because of your hydrocodone use?
  8. Do you use hydrocodone in situations where it could be physically dangerous?
  9. Are you continuing to use hydrocodone even though you are aware that it’s worsening your physical or mental health issues?
  10. Have you noticed a need to significantly increase your hydrocodone dose to achieve the same effect, or has the same amount become less effective over time?
  11. If you try to reduce or stop using hydrocodone, do you experience withdrawal symptoms, or do you take the medication to avoid feeling unwell?

This quiz aims to prompt reflection on your use of hydrocodone and its impact on your life. Responding positively to multiple questions may suggest it’s time to consider seeking professional guidance and support.


Can you get addicted to hydrocodone after using the medication as prescribed?

Yes, it’s possible to develop an addiction to hydrocodone even when using the medication as prescribed, especially with sustained use. Dependence can develop due to the effects of opioids on brain chemistry.

How addictive is hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is considered highly addictive due to its opioid properties, which can quickly lead to physical dependence and addiction even at prescribed dosages, especially over extended periods.

Get Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

If you feel that you require hydrocodone addiction treatment, we can help you achieve and maintain abstinence from opioids at Gratitude Lodge. Our pet-friendly treatment centers are located in Long Beach and Newport Beach, California.

Get your recovery started the right way with our medical detoxification program. Access medications and continuous care to minimize discomfort, streamline withdrawal, and reduce the risk of complications or relapse. Transition from detox into ongoing inpatient treatment at one of our luxury beachside facilities.

All hydrocodone addictions are unique, so expect to engage with personalized treatments that include:

  • Motivational therapy
  • Talk therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Counseling (group and individual)
  • Family therapy
  • Aftercare planning

Call 800-994-2184 today and address hydrocodone addiction right away.

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Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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