Hydrocodone Treatment and Rehab

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

It’s estimated that more than two million people in the U.S. have an opioid addiction. Doctors prescribe legal opioids like morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone for acute or chronic pain. But, they’re easily abused.

Because they’re highly addictive, people get hooked before they even realize it. It can be extremely difficult to quit.

If they don’t get treatment, addiction becomes increasingly destructive. It leads to the loss of health, family, jobs and even life. 

There are many treatment facilities worldwide which are dedicated to treating hydrocodone addiction. The method of treatment depends on a variety of factors like health, age, the severity of dependence, insurance, and preferences.

Many addicts must attempt numerous times to kick the habit before they find one that works for them — if they’re lucky. Here’s a brief explanation of the different kinds of treatment available.

Inpatient Hydrocodone

Long-term inpatient care is usually used to treat patients with serious hydrocodone addiction. It’s often recommended when other methods haven’t worked.

What Is Inpatient Treatment? 

Inpatient treatment separates the addict from the people, places, and things that trigger the urge to use. It also provides ongoing therapy in a safe, heavily, regulated environment. The addict learns new habits and ways of coping with life without taking pills.

When someone goes to inpatient treatment, they live in a tightly controlled environment with other recovering addicts. They’ll share various forms of therapy throughout the day. Many addicts find that the support and shared experiences of other addicts is instrumental in their recovery.

These facilities vary in resources and amenities. Some inpatient rehabs are luxurious with activities like horseback riding and hiking. Insurance and the ability to pay are often factors, although there are also publicly funded programs as well.

Almost all medically-supervised methods of treating addiction start with detoxification. This is the process where the individual is deprived of drugs. All traces of the drug gradually get cleaned out of the body.

Many inpatient treatment centers provide supervised detox procedures or require that the incoming patient undergo a full detox before entering.

Detoxing from painkillers can be extremely unpleasant and similar to withdrawal from heroin. Symptoms include body ache, nausea, sweating, cramping, and diarrhea. Psychological symptoms can include anxiety, depression, and despair.

Addicts are strongly encouraged not to try detoxing on their own, which can be dangerous or even fatal. 

Often, doctors will ease the symptoms of withdrawal through the use of other, safer drugs. To allow a patient to withdraw from using hydrocodone, a doctor may choose to administer a replacement drug such as Suboxone or Methadone. These medications are helpful in allowing a patient’s body to get clean of the opioids while undergoing other treatments and preventing a relapse. 

However, replacement drugs may themselves be addictive, so they need to be taken under the supervision of a physician. 

Standard Length of Hydrocodone Inpatient Treatment

The detoxification process can take a week or longer, depending on how much the addict was using. Anxiety and depression can remain for weeks after the initial physical withdrawal symptoms abate.

Inpatient treatment can be short-term, usually about 28 days, or long-term. Some facilities offer programs which last a year or more. This length of time may be necessary for chronic relapsers.

More insurance programs cover short-term inpatient care where it is medically warranted.

Each state has different laws on what insurance companies must cover. If your loved one is an addict, familiarize yourself with what is legal and available. For example, in New York insurers must allow 14 days of inpatient treatment for opioid addiction. 

Hydrocodone Outpatient

Outpatient care is an option for patients with professional or family obligations that prevent them from going away for an extended period of time. It can also be less costly and is more likely to be covered by insurance. 

What Is Outpatient Treatment?  

Outpatient care provides many of the same therapeutic approaches used in inpatient treatment. The difference is that a patient remains living at home. This can be helpful if the person has young children or other family obligations.

However, the addict must learn to deal with the triggers at home which may have compelled them to use. 

Like inpatient, addicts must first undergo detox. Then, instead of moving into a facility, they may enter an “IOP” or intensive outpatient treatment. Here, they report to a facility for eight hours per day. They’ll take part in group and individual therapy, plus counseling on employment, health, and other matters.

Many also undergo therapy on an individual basis with an experienced, credentialed drug counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  They’ll help the addict focus on developing healthy routines and how to avoid situations where they may be tempted to pick up their habit again. Counseling can also address underlying issues which contributed to the addiction.

After an addict gets clean, they may be overwhelmed with emotions. A significant part of recovery is working through the reasons an addict came to rely on drugs in the first place. These reasons may include past trauma or drug abuse and alcoholism in the family.

Family therapy is an important part of many outpatient programs. Sessions with other members of the family help many addicts get to the root of deep-seated issues. By facing these problems and working with the support of loved ones, they’re often able to stop taking pain pills for good.

Group therapy is also used in outpatient treatments. In groups, recovering addicts work together on getting sober. A licensed psychologist or drug counselor supervises the group.

People addicted to hydrocodone find that other addicts know best about addiction and recovery. They know what it feels like, and they also know the many tricks addicts use to avoid the truth.

Being able to speak honestly and openly in a safe environment with others who understand the disease can be very helpful. Especially when professionals moderate the dialogue.

Standard Length of Hydrocodone Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs can last anywhere from 90 days to a year. The daily commitment may range from 10-12 hours a week to more. These programs allow a patient to maintain their daily routine and stay connected to their families.

Hydrocodone Sober Living 

After getting clean, many addicts relapse when they return to the environment where they were formerly using. If their friends and family aren’t sober, it can be a serious struggle to avoid going back to old ways. Sober living helps with this transition. 

What Is Hydrocodone Sober Living? 

Sober living houses are alcohol and drug free living environments for people attempting to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Residents themselves usually pay for costs. Many sober living houses emphasize 12-step group attendance and peer support.

What to Expect 

At a sober living facility, the patient will share living quarters with other recovering addicts. 

These houses require residents to follow a strict set of rules. Residents must abstain from drugs or alcohol, attend house meetings, complete specific chores, and agree to random drug screening. The houses usually impose a curfew and residents have to sign in and out.

Many sober houses use the buddy system, where someone fresh out of rehab is assigned a more tenured resident to stay with them when they go out.

After chores, residents are expected to attend 12-step meetings, support group sessions, and individual counseling. They’ll be encouraged (or required) to look for a job if they don’t already have one. Meals are shared and there’s usually an early “lights out” policy. 

Ongoing Recovery 

Recovery is a lifelong process. Because relapse is so endemic, addicts use a variety of methods to stay clean on a long-term basis. 

Many recovering addicts find help in the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. This a 12-step program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. These programs are free and open to anyone who thinks they need help.

They’re not professionally staffed by doctors so they cannot provide medical assistance. 

Many addicts find that attending meetings with others who know what it’s like to be a great help in staying clean. The “rooms” of NA encourage and support the struggling addict through fellowship and service. 

Some people employ a “sober coach,” who can stay with them for extended periods of time. These coaches, who may be in recovery as well, help to make sure their clients stay away from harmful substances and stick to healthy regimens.  

Other recovering people find strength through alternative healing methods, from yoga to Reiki to hypnosis. There’s no single way to get and stay sober.

Hydrocodone Addiction: There Is Help 

Being addicted to hydrocodone or other painkillers can be terrifying and devastating. Rest assured that there is help available, no matter how helpless and hopeless you feel. 

For more information about overcoming drug addiction, check out our blog. If you need help finding treatment, we’ll work with your insurance carrier to get you into the best possible program.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.