Unfortunately, when people abuse hydrocodone, there is a risk that they may become addicted to the drug. This can occur when people develop a tolerance, meaning they need more and more hydrocodone to achieve the same effects. Tolerance can develop even when people take hydrocodone as prescribed. Since the drug is a relatively powerful pain reliever, people may find its effects to be rather pleasurable. As they continue to take the drug, they may need larger doses of hydrocodone over time to achieve the same effects. This can lead to misuse and ultimately addiction.
People can also develop a tolerance when they abuse hydrocodone with the intent of getting high. For instance, some people may use hydrocodone illegally for its euphoric effects and take larger and larger doses of the drug over time. As people build a higher tolerance for hydrocodone, they may also eventually become dependent upon it, meaning they cannot function normally without the drug in their system.
When a person becomes addicted to hydrocodone, he or she will begin to lose control of drug use. This means that the drug may appear to take over a person’s life, and he or she will put himself or others in danger, or take serious risks, in order to obtain more hydrocodone.
Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction
When a person develops an addiction to hydrocodone, the clinical term that addiction professionals use to describe the condition is an opioid use disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders outlines the diagnostic criteria for this disorder.
Some of the criteria are as follows:
- Using larger doses of hydrocodone than intended
- Spending a considerable amount of time using or obtaining hydrocodone
- Giving up important work-related activities or giving up on leisure and socialization because of hydrocodone
- Continuing to use hydrocodone even when it causes physical or mental health problems
- Using hydrocodone even when it is physically dangerous
- Being unable to meet demands at work or home because of hydrocodone
- Continuing hydrocodone use even when it causes relationship issues
- Strong hydrocodone cravings
- Desiring to give up hydrocodone but being unable to do so
Given these symptoms, someone who has an opioid use disorder as a result of hydrocodone may begin to miss work because of drug use and may continue to use despite arguments with a spouse. Other behaviors that meet the criteria for an opioid use disorder may include driving under the influence of hydrocodone or losing friendships as a result of drug use. Additional behaviors could include failing to fulfill parenting duties or spending a large amount of time going to various doctors to get additional hydrocodone pills.