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Hydrocodone Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, & Detox

Hydrocodone withdrawal can occur when a person who is physiologically dependent on the drug abruptly reduces or stops taking it.1 The symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal can be distressing and uncomfortable, which is why detoxing “cold turkey” or at home is never recommended. Fortunately, professional detox services are available to help those struggling with hydrocodone withdrawal navigate this difficult time of early recovery.

This page will help you learn more about:

  • Hydrocodone dependence and withdrawal.
  • The symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal.
  • The hydrocodone withdrawal timeline.
  • Detox for hydrocodone withdrawal.

What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone, also known by the brand name Vicodin, is a prescription opioid pain medication. Medical professionals prescribe hydrocodone to treat severe pain associated with cancer, surgery, and trauma. It is commonly used with acetaminophen (Tylenol) to treat pain or other ingredients in cough syrups.1 It the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States.2

 Like other opioids, hydrocodone activates and binds to opioid receptors on cells in the body and brain. This blocks pain signals and releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for reward-seeking behavior, throughout the body.3 This can result in a cycle of wanting to use hydrocodone again to repeat the experience.3

Hydrocodone Dependence & Withdrawal

Hydrocodone is a Schedule II controlled substance because it has medical purposes but can also be misused and lead to physiological dependence.2

Physiological dependence can occur in anyone who takes hydrocodone over an extended period. Dependence is a physiological adaptation of the body to a substance, wherein the body becomes so used to the drug being present in the system that when the individual reduces or stops taking hydrocodone, withdrawal symptoms emerge.4 In other words, a person feels like they need this drug to feel and function normally. With significant levels of physiological dependence, a person may continue to compulsively drink or use drugs to avoid unwanted withdrawal symptoms.4

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone. The severity of withdrawal from hydrocodone can also range from mild to severe. The variability of withdrawal symptoms of hydrocodone can be a result of several factors, including:5

  • Length of use.
  • Amount of drug used.
  • Other substance use.
  • Underlying health conditions (e.g., infections).

Although the experience is different for everyone, common hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:6

  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Bone and muscle pain.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Anxiety.
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia.
  • Hypertension (e.g., high blood pressure).
  • Hyperthermia (e.g., high body temperature).
  • Sweating.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Increased respiratory rate.

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are often described as “flu-like symptoms.” They can be uncomfortable but are rarely fatal. However, in some cases, withdrawal can be life-threatening, specifically if other substances were also misused.7

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline

The hydrocodone withdrawal timeline can be influenced by several factors. Some withdrawal symptoms from hydrocodone can last days or even weeks.Your Vicodin withdrawal timeline may differ from others, and your symptom intensity will vary.7, 8

  • Onset: Symptom onset can occur anywhere from 6–30 hours after stopping hydrocodone.
  • Peak withdrawal: Peak withdrawal refers to the point during the withdrawal process where symptoms are the most severe. Peak withdrawal symptoms for Vicodin and hydrocodone can occur at different times, depending on individual factors, such as a person’s dosage. However, they usually occur around 72 hours.
  • Post-peak withdrawal: After peak withdrawal, hydrocodone symptoms will start to decline in intensity and frequency. Some symptoms can last for weeks or months and not all symptoms present at the same time. Symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal that may occur or persist after the acute withdrawal period may include dysphoria (e.g., a state of discomfort, distress, or unease), difficulty focusing, and irritability.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Help

Hydrocodone and Vicodin withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, severe, and even dangerous. For these reasons, abruptly stopping the use of this drug and trying to find recovery on your own is not recommended.

Additionally, relapse can occur during withdrawal. During withdrawal, you are more vulnerable to relapse as you are experiencing intense cravings and discomfort, which may be temporarily relieved through substance use.4 Continuing through detox and moving into a long-term recovery program can help treat and manage any underlying triggers, thoughts, or behaviors that may lead to hydrocodone addiction.

Detoxing From Hydrocodone

Trying to cope with hydrocodone withdrawal “cold turkey” or at home can be difficult. The experience of withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and include physical and psychological side effects. Fortunately, professional detox can help alleviate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.7

For many, detox is the initial phase of formal treatment for substance dependency and substance use disorder (SUD). Detox is the process of eliminating substances from the body and is usually under the care of addiction treatment professionals.7 Detox can occur on an inpatient or outpatient basis and can include a variety of medical and mental health professionals that can help determine appropriate interventions such as medications, behavioral therapy approaches, and education.9

Professional detox can help mitigate some of the potential dangers of withdrawal from Vicodin. Under the care of a licensed treatment facility, you will receive medical supervision around the clock during detox for addiction. You will be monitored and prescribed medications to help with withdrawal symptoms as needed. The time it takes to detox from hydrocodone effectively is different for everyone. However, you can generally expect to complete detox within several days to a couple of weeks.

Finding Lasting Recovery

It is important to note that detox is often just the first step on the road toward recovery. During detox, the purpose is to withdraw from hydrocodone safely; however, detox is the first step in substance misuse treatment, and it is often necessary for individuals to pursue additional treatment to achieve their sobriety goals.10

Your treatment experience will be dependent on factors unique to you. Together, you and a licensed professional will create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and recovery goals. Treatment usually entails a combination of services and interventions including:9

  • Individual or group counseling.
  • Family counseling.
  • Medication.
  • Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression).
  • Medical care.
  • Case management services that address social, vocational, and legal needs.

Therapy and counseling are the most used interventions in opioid addiction treatment.9 Therapy, both individual and group, offers a variety of benefits.

Find Out If Your Insurance Plan Covers Hydrocodone Addiction Rehab

American Addiction Centers can help you navigate your treatment options and recovery from hydrocodone dependence and withdrawal. To find out if your insurance covers treatment at an American Addiction Centers facility, fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential and there is no obligation to enter treatment. You can also call .

If you are unsure about where to start, contact one of our admission navigators and they can help you figure out which program will be the right fit for you. You can also look at some of the facilities listed below to see if they provide the program you are looking for:

Cost of treatment may feel overwhelming but there are various options to help cover rehab. To find out if your insurance covers treatment at an American Addiction Centers facility, click here, or fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential. You can also click here to find a rehab near me.

If you or a loved one are struggling with benzodiazepine misuse, We are available 24/7.




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