The number of senior citizens with drug addiction is on the rise in the United States. Prescription painkillers, such as hydrocodone and other opioids, play a big role in drug problems with people who are elderly. Opioid painkillers are the fourth most commonly abused substance among senior citizens in the U.S.. Find out why older adults struggle so much with hydrocodone addiction.
What is Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone is a commonly prescribed opioid painkiller in the United States. This semi-synthetic narcotic is used as an analgesic (pain med), typically combined with acetaminophen. It is sold under the names Vicodin, Hysingla, Zohydro, Norco, and Lorcet, among other names.
How Addiction Happens
Like opium and opiates, opioids have highly addictive properties. Even when prescribed by a doctor, hydrocodone pills can lead to physical tolerance and dependence if taken at higher doses for too long. Once tolerance to an opioid like hydrocodone develops, pain levels may spike as soon as a person stops taking medication. This increase in pain is a withdrawal symptom that, if not well-managed with a transition to non-opioid painkillers and other therapies, leads people to renew their prescriptions and bump their dose, setting a cycle of dependence and withdrawal that may lead to addiction. Painkillers don’t necessarily produce effects superior to that of alternative measures. Since opioids have been found to have comparable or lower efficacy than other painkillers over the long haul, transitioning to a non-opioid painkiller and supportive therapies for greater long-term relief and comfort is optional.
Managing Pain, Avoiding Addiction
To manage pain and avoid addiction to drugs, good communication with a prescribing physician is necessary. Studies show after five days, addiction to painkillers becomes more likely, especially if the dose is too high. Given the busy nature of hospitals now and the burden on doctors, it seems that the patient’s advocate needs to ask for so many things. The burden is really on the patient to work with their insurance to determine alternative medications and therapies for their plan.
If and when hydrocodone dependence occurs, it will likely be necessary to undergo detoxification at a treatment facility. A few days of medically assisted detox can help restore balance to the body while providing alternative pain relief. Withdrawal is challenging with pain, confusion, depression, muscle and joint pain and fever among some symptoms. Finding alternative ways of managing pain can be challenging but great overall for physical and mental health going forward. The goal is to have the client rely on a new course of pain management that is effective and supports overall recovery.
Arbor Behavioral Healthcare knows that lifetime sobriety, health, and wellness, are completely possible. Each of our treatment programs offer the opportunity for holistic healing utilizing an integrative approach for the recovery of mind, body, and spirit. You can recover. You will recover. Call us today for more information: 844-560-7269
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