How Long Does Withdrawal From Hydrocodone Last?

Hydrocodone Withdrawal

How Long Does Withdrawal From Hydrocodone Last?

Some people with moderate-to-severe pain are prescribed hydrocodone as part of a pain management program. The potent opioid medication is more widely known by its trade names Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco. It is a blend of the drug hydrocodone and acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. Pure hydrocodone is sold as an extended-release capsule under the name Zohydro ER.

Hydrocodone’s strength is similar to that of morphine. Both medications are opioids. most other drugs in this class, hydrocodone binds to pain receptors in the central nervous system, blocking the pain signals that the nerves send to the brain. As a result, people who use hydrocodone perceive pain differently though the source of the pain has not been changed or eliminated.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), medicines that contain hydrocodone are prescribed more frequently in the U.S. than any other opioid medication. Users who take hydrocodone may experience nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, dizziness, anxiety, and slowed or irregular breathing.

Hydrocodone’s potency makes it easy for many users to become dependent on it and ultimately addicted to it. It is among the prescription medications that are cited as responsible for the current opioid addiction and overdose crisis in the U.S.

People who take the medicine on prescription ly will build up a tolerance to it over time.

This commonly happens with many drugs, but when it does, it means that a person may take more of the drug than prescribed or use it in a manner that it’s not designed for, which counts as abuse. Some use the drug to relax and experience euphoria.

Crushing and snorting the pills in powder form is often done to get high. This practice often leads to stronger drug tolerance, dependence, and addiction. 

Ending an opioid addiction is a tough battle that’s hard to fight without proper medical support and guidance. If you  or someone you know wants to stop hydrocodone use properly, help is available to get back to full-time sobriety. However, hydrocodone withdrawal is just the beginning of the journey.

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What Are Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms?

Once someone decides to stop chronic or frequent use of a substance, the body will react as it adjusts to functioning without the drug that it has come to rely on. Stopping use usually results in withdrawal symptoms that can be uncomfortable. Common symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Teary eyes
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Drug cravings
  • Depression
  • Stomach cramping
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills

Stages of the Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline

Most people who are going through drug withdrawal want to know when it will end. The answer depends on the person and factors unique to them and their situation. The intensity and duration of the hydrocodone withdrawal timeline depend on various factors, such as:

  • The hydrocodone dose taken
  • How often the drug is taken
  • How long hydrocodone use has occurred
  • Age, genetics, medical history
  • Substance use history
  • Whether other drugs were abused along with hydrocodone

It’s best to consult with a physician who can help you determine which timeline you can expect your withdrawal to take. Generally, a hydrocodone withdrawal can look something this:

Days 1-2 – You may begin to feel mild withdrawal symptoms within the first six to 12 hours after the last dose. Body aches usually happen early in this phase. Users report feeling muscle, joint, and bone pain. Nausea, stomach cramps, and increased sweating are common during this time.

Days 3-5 – Withdrawal symptoms may peak during this time, which means they will be very uncomfortable.  Diarrhea, shaking, vomiting, and other flu- symptoms may occur along with increased aches throughout the body. 

Days 6-7 – Users may feel some relief by the time they reach Day 6 as physical symptoms begin to ease up. However, mood swings are common during this period. Other psychological symptoms, such as drug cravings, can linger.

Day 8 and after – Many users find that their physical symptoms have subsided by this point. However, people with  severe cases of addiction may experience symptoms for a longer time. Anxiety can arise, along with mood swings, for a few days, weeks, or months. Continued treatment after the detox process takes place is strongly recommended.

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Why Should I Detox from Hydrocodone Use?

Some people will attempt to quit longtime hydrocodone on their own in “cold turkey” fashion. However,  quitting the drug on the spot is not recommended. It’s not safe, and there are no guarantees that relapse won’t happen. Stopping suddenly can be hard on the body because it has become used to functioning on the drug.

It is recommended that you enter a facility that offers medical detox to ensure you safely come off the drug. This process is carried out under the supervision of medical professionals and addiction care specialists who understand the unique challenges of drug withdrawal.

You will  be monitored for up to 10 days (or more if needed) for any complications that may arise. You will most ly be guided through a tapering schedule that will gradually reduce the dose you’re used to having to help minimize withdrawal symptoms.

If you are given medications during this period, they may include:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Clonidine

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

A detox under medical supervision is the start of the recovery journey. This is an important first step because users gain the stability that’s needed to continue the work that must be done.

After detox wraps up, you will receive recommendations on where to continue the rest of your treatment.

A continuum of care offers various placements at any point in the recovery process that should be able to address your situation.

You can enroll in a residential or partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient or outpatient program.

Any of these placements can provide you with behavioral therapies, counseling, and other services that you need for your recovery and growth in sobriety.

You will learn the reasons behind your hydrocodone dependence or addiction and gain the tools and strategies to guard against relapse, which is common in recovery. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse writes that relapse rates in the recovery community are between 40 to 60 percent. These are similar to relapse rates for other commonly known chronic illnesses such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and asthma, among others. 

Psychological disorders that might be present are also addressed in treatment through dual diagnosis programs.

  Many users need treatment for anxiety, depression,  or post-traumatic stress disorder, among other disorders, while in treatment for substance use disorders.

They often occur hand in hand, so both need to be addressed at the same time together to improve the chance of managing both effectively.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is for people who have severe addictions and need more time to address and work through it.

People who enroll in this kind of program live on-site at a monitored facility that offers 24-hour care from medical professionals and a setting that promotes a full-time focus on recovering from substance abuse.

Treatment can last between 30 to 90 days, but longer stays are possible, as each person’s individual needs help determine their stay.

Partial Hospitalization

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a step down from residential treatment program. It is moderately structured but still offers the flexibility that addresses a person’s needs and the medical care they need as well.

This placement is ideal for those who have finished medical detox and completed their time in residential treatment. Individuals can move from detox to a PHP after their needs have been reviewed.

People who have attained stability to the point where they do not require traditional residential services, such as medical services, may find a partial hospitalization program is a good fit for their recovery.

Intensive Outpatient Programs And Outpatient Programs

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is ideal for users in recovery who live at the treatment center as they attend therapy and counseling. This kind of program is attractive to people who need more flexibility in their schedule so that they can handle other responsibilities, such as going to work or school or caring for a child.

The key difference between intensive outpatient programs and outpatient programs is the number of hours participants are required to complete each week.

IOPs require nine or more hours a week, while OPs require fewer than nine hours a week.

These programs are ideal for people who are in the early stages of substance recovery and for those whose addiction isn’t severe but serious enough that it requires working with an addiction treatment professional or counselor.

It’s best to be as honest as you can when deciding which setting is best for treating your hydrocodone dependence or addiction. Professionals can advise you or your loved one on the level of care that you need so you can leave substance abuse far behind for a life free from drug use.


Vicodin (Hydrocodone) Withdrawal — Signs, Symptoms, Treatment

How Long Does Withdrawal From Hydrocodone Last?

Vicodin is an opioid painkiller that combines the medications hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is also one of the most commonly abused opioid painkillers responsible for addiction today. addiction to other opioids, Vicodin dependence can cause severe withdrawal.

When an opioid enters a person’s brain, it activates certain receptors that are designed for naturally occurring opioid substances in the body. With repeated use, the body begins to believe that it no longer needs to fully rely on its own chemicals. Instead, it counts on the influx of the drug to balance and normalize its chemical functions. This is called a dependency.

Once a dependent person quits using Vicodin, or if they drastically reduce their dosage, withdrawal may set in. While opioid withdrawal isn’t in itself deadly, certain complications may be. Because of this, a person may find better success in the safe environment of a medically supervised detoxification program.

Signs And Symptoms Of Vicodin (Hydrocodone) Withdrawal

As an opioid, Vicodin holds a powerful potential to create a dependent state. Once a person is dependent, there is a strong chance that their body will become sick if they stop or reduce their drug abuse. This sickness, called withdrawal, can become extremely painful and uncomfortable. People who abuse opioid drugs may continue to take them in order to avoid these symptoms.

The timeline of acute Vicodin withdrawal may vary somewhat per person, but typically, withdrawal symptoms last four to ten days. In this time, a person will experience a variety of intolerable symptoms, some of which happen fairly quickly, and others as withdrawal progresses.

Early Withdrawal Symptoms Of Vicodin (Hydrocodone)

As a short-acting opioid, withdrawal from hydrocodone can begin in as little as eight hours to one day after a person last abuses the substance. At the onset of withdrawal a person may begin to develop:

  • Achey muscles
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Yawning

Opioid withdrawal can feel the flu, especially once late withdrawal symptoms begin.

Late Withdrawal Symptoms Of Vicodin (Hydrocodone)

As withdrawal from hydrocodone continues, gastrointestinal distress and other physical symptoms may develop, including:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Throughout withdrawal, a person may experience cravings of varying intensities. Without treatment, cravings and withdrawal symptoms may drive a person to relapse as a means of reducing these feelings.

Vicodin (Hydrocodone) Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

While many people reach a more physically stable state shortly after acute withdrawal ceases, certain people may continue to experience withdrawal for an extended period of time. Without treatment, these symptoms may become debilitating or significantly reduce a person’s quality of life. In the most severe of cases, they may lead a person back to drug abuse.

Vicodin post-acute withdrawal syndrome (also referred to as protracted withdrawal or protracted abstinence) may affect some individuals after acute withdrawal symptoms wane. Protracted withdrawal from opioids may last anywhere from weeks to months, with symptoms including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dulled emotions (dysphoria)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping problems

One of the biggest dangers of protracted withdrawal is a relapse. Some individuals may not realize that the symptoms they are experiencing are a form of withdrawal.

These symptoms may disrupt a person’s job, relationships or schooling.

As they struggle to cope with these conditions or the damage caused by them, it could become tempting to return to Vicodin to self-medicate their struggles or this sense of discomfort.

Treating post-acute withdrawal for hydrocodone may be best achieved in an inpatient treatment setting.

Living on site at a treat facility gives treatment providers an opportunity to pinpoint PAWS systems and adapt the treatment accordingly.

Therapists and counselors can also help a person to develop coping and sober living skills that can help them better manage these symptoms, both within the treatment and after in their day-to-day lives.

The Dangers Of Do-It-Yourself Vicodin (Hydrocodone) Detoxes

Unsupervised at home detoxes, or do-it-yourself detoxes can be both dangerous and unsuccessful. These approaches are different than outpatient detox programs that allow a person to detox at home under the supervision and guidance of clinicians.

Detoxing at home often involves methods and treatments that have not been researched or determined to be safe or effective. They may even suggest the misuse of other potentially addictive prescription medications, such as benzodiazepine (benzos) drugs.

Benzodiazepines have a high potential for abuse. Some people may experience a sense of reward or pleasure when they use these drugs that makes them want to use them again. Additionally, benzodiazepines and opioids can be fatal when mixed together. If a person self-treats Vicodin withdrawal with benzo and relapses, they could experience respiratory depression, coma or death.

Unsupervised withdrawal lacks the 24-hour care and guidance that inpatient detox programs provide. If a person becomes overwhelmed by withdrawal, they’re lacking access to support and encouragement that could help prevent relapse.

Additionally, while the side effects of hydrocodone withdrawal are typically not in themselves life-threatening, certain complications from them may be. For instance, if a person chokes on their vomit they could suffocate and die. Enrolling in a detox program helps to protect from these and other risks.

Further, detox works best when paired with rehabilitation services. If a person does a do-it-yourself detox it could be tempting to skip the next stage of treatment. This can drastically decrease a person’s chance of success and the ability to live a balanced, drug-free life.

Vicodin (Hydrocodone) Withdrawal Treatment: Medical Detox Programs

Detoxing in a professional treatment program provides a safer and more comfortable environment for people seeking to withdrawal from Vicodin.

While some people find success in outpatient detox programs that allow them to detox at home, residential inpatient detox treatment programs often produce better outcomes.

Inpatient detox programs offer a safe environment and around-the-clock access to trained clinicians. These individuals are at the ready to administer medications or treatments as they become necessary. During this time, a person’s vitals will be consistently monitored to ensure a person is as comfortable as possible.

Not everyone should complete withdrawal prior to progressing to treatment. Clinical guidelines on opioid withdrawal recommend that pregnant women and individuals who will be beginning methadone maintenance treatment should typically not complete withdrawal.

Medications Used To Treat Vicodin (Hydrocodone) Withdrawal

In certain cases, mild withdrawal may be effectively treated at home, with a more minimal approach, including frequent water intake and vitamin B and vitamin C supplements. However, moderate to severe withdrawal frequently requires medications and professional treatment.

Medical detox for Vicodin withdrawal may use the following medications to reduce or alleviate withdrawal symptoms:

  • Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone)
  • Methadone
  • Lucemyra (lofexidine)
  • Clonidine

Chronic drug abuse can cause malnourishment and dehydration. To counter these states, and to initiate healing, IV fluid hydration and various nutritional supplements may be administered to support these medications.

For the maximum chance of recovery success, a person should consider attending a rehab program that treats opioid use disorders. Inpatient drug rehab centers typically provide more time, greater access to treatments and more sessions with treatment providers. This combination of attentive care and resources can give a person a strong foundation for a more fulfilling, sober life.

Contact Vertava Health for more information on hydrocodone rehab options call Vertava Health today at 615-208-2941.


The Three Stages Of Opiate Withdrawal

How Long Does Withdrawal From Hydrocodone Last?

Opioids are a class of drugs including heroin, synthetic opioids, and prescription painkillers. Opiates specifically are opioids naturally derived from the poppy plant. These drugs are often used to treat pain and slow down the central nervous system.

Some common examples of opiates and opioids include:

  • oxycodone (Oxycontin or Percocet)
  • morphine
  • codeine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • methadone
  • heroin
  • fentanyl

While opioids are effective in treating pain, they are habit-forming and can quickly lead to dependence. In the United States, an estimated 1.6 million people had an opioid use disorder in 2019.1

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Because long-term misuse of opioids can lead to tolerance and dependence, when someone stops using these drugs, their body and brain struggle to adjust. The result is often a series of uncomfortable symptoms known as opioid withdrawal that can last several days or longer.

Some common opiate and opioid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • aches and pain
  • sweating or chills
  • nausea
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • insomnia
  • mood swings
  • anxiety

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How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

The opioid withdrawal timeline and the symptoms vary from person to person as well as from opioid to opioid.

Most people on short-acting opioids codeine, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and morphine will begin experiencing the first signs of opiate withdrawal within 8 to 24 hours after they last took the drug.

These symptoms will peak after a one to three days and then start to fade after about a week when acute opiate withdrawal ends.2,3

In contrast, long-acting opioids extended-release and controlled-release tablets of these drugs have a slightly different opioid withdrawal timeline with symptoms beginning as late as 36 hours after the last dose, peaking on day 3 and 4, and going away closer to the 2-week mark. In both case, psychological symptoms may persist for weeks or months later. 3

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

Although everyone is unique, there are some distinct stages of opioid withdrawal the symptoms themselves and  their intensity. The stages of opiate withdrawal include early withdrawal, peak period, late acute withdrawal, and post-acute withdrawal.

Stage 1: Early Withdrawal

Short-Acting Opioids: Starting within 8-24 hours

Long-Acting Opioids: Starting after 36 hours

While the opiate withdrawal timeline varies, the first stage of opiate withdrawal typically begin within 8 to 24 hours after the last use for short-acting opiates or closer to 36 hours for long-acting prescription opiates.

Early opiate withdrawal symptoms generally include:

  • a runny nose
  • tearing up
  • excessive sweating
  • chills
  • goosebumps
  • muscle and joint pain
  • stomach cramps
  • anxiety
  • insomnia

Stage 2: Peak Period

Short-Acting Opioids: Days 1-3

Long-Acting Opioids: Days 3-4

During this stage, symptoms from early opiate withdrawal tend to grow in intensity over the next several hours and new symptoms also arise. After one to three days for short-acting opioids and three to four days for long-acting opioids, the severity of these symptoms usually hits their peak.

Symptoms during this stage of opiate withdrawal tend to be both physical and psychological. At this point, the person may feel flu- as well as emotionally distressed. It is important for people to maintain adequate levels of hydration and nutrition as well as have emotional support.

Peak opiate withdrawal symptoms include:

  • rapid breathing
  • racing heart
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • intense drug cravings

Stage 3: Late Acute Withdrawal

Short-Acting Opioids: Ends around days 7-10 

Long-Acting Opioids: End after up to 2 weeks

In the last stage of acute opiate withdrawal, physical symptoms will begin to wane, so a medical detox will near its end. On the other hand, some psychological symptoms may linger or new ones may even arise.

Symptoms of late acute opioid withdrawal include:

  • drug cravings
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • restlessness
  • depression
  • insomnia

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Lasts weeks to months later

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is the part of the timeline for quitting opiates where the physical symptoms tend to all be gone, but psychological symptoms remain or come and gone. Because these symptoms may last weeks or even months, additional opioid addiction treatment is often needed after detox to help the person maintain their abstinence from opiate use.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • sleep problems or disturbances
  • anxiety or panic
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • irritability
  • increased sensitivity to stress

Factors Impacting the Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

The exact opiate withdrawal timeline can vary widely because its length as well as the symptoms depend on several variables.

Some factors that can impact the opiate withdrawal timeline include:

  • type of opioid
  • route of administration
  • severity of addiction
  • tolerance
  • regular dosage
  • polysubstance abuse
  • previous opioid use
  • state of mental health
  • overall health
  • medical history
  • care during detox

Medications To Assist In Opiate Withdrawal

Even in more mild cases, the opiate withdrawal timeline can be an incredibly uncomfortable and trying time for someone. While many people tend to be wary of the idea of using other drugs during the detox process, doctors may prescribe or recommend medications as needed to provide a safer and more beneficial experience for the patient.

In particular, medication-assisted therapy (MAT) uses certain FDA-approved medications buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone to help ease psychological cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and block the euphoric effects of opioid use.

Getting Help

While these medications can make opiate withdrawal more manageable, detox is only the first step.  Additional treatment is often necessary to address the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction. Our residential addiction treatment in Texas provides a safe and comfortable environment for patients to overcome these lingering symptoms and build a foundation for lasting recovery.

At Vertava Health Texas, formerly The Treehouse, we want to be here for you and your loved ones. To learn more about our programs, contact us today.


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