Bicodone is a brand name medication that contains hydrocodone bitartrate. Hydrocodone is a potent opioid drug that has been considered for many years to be one of the most (if not the most) abused opioid on the market. Normally, drugs like Bicodone are prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, but many people misuse them because of their ability to create euphoria when taken in high doses. Those who become dependent or addicted often require professional Bicodone detox treatment.
However, even someone who takes Bicodone exactly as prescribed for at least a few weeks could easily become dependent on it. This leads many people to take higher doses than prescribed in order to maintain their need to use the drug every day, and addiction will soon follow. The government is putting forth a number of changes in order to minimize the issue of Bicodone and other types of opioid abuse, but still, it continues to be one of the most serious substance abuse problems in the United States.
Understanding Bicodone Abuse
Hydrocodone, according to the National Library of Medicine, should only be prescribed to treat those who have severe, around-the-clock pain and who will need to take the drug consistently in order to treat it. However, many people are prescribed a high-strength opioid-like Bicodone even if they do not require it. This is just one of the ways a person can become dependent on the drug, which can lead to a host of other issues.
- Hydrocodone used to be the most abused highly abused opioid drug on the market. This is because it was so readily available and found in a number of combination drugs, including Lorcet, Vicodin, Norco, etc.
- Bicodone is not a combination drug and only contains hydrocodone. This can make it more attractive to abusers.
- People often start taking the drug as prescribed but like how it makes them feel so they begin to abuse it.
There are many ways in which the government is trying to curb this abuse. For example, the Drug Enforcement Administration cut the number of prescription opioids being produced in the country by 25 percent. However, many people are still abusing Bicodone and drugs like it.
Bicodone Abuse and Dependence
Bicodone abuse can quickly lead to dependence and dependence can lead to abuse. Even those who start taking the drug as prescribed can still become dependent quickly, as Bicodone is often prescribed around-the-clock for pain and because it is so easy for the body to become dependent on the drug.
- An individual who takes a drug like Bicodone is not receiving treatment for their pain but only a medication that masks the sensation of it. As a result, the individual loses their tolerance for pain.
- This causes the person to rely on the effects of the drug, which also include relaxation, euphoria, and others. Some individuals rely so much on the drug that they begin to abuse it in higher and higher doses, leading to tolerance, and eventually, addiction.
Most doctors who treat patients with this medication are careful to wean their patients off the drug afterward. However, if this does not occur, the patient can experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Bicodone withdrawal occurs when an individual who is dependent on the drug is not weaned off it properly. This often happens when the person does not realize they are dependent, as stated by the NLM, and because it feels similar to the flu, the person may just think they are sick. People who have been abusing the drug will also withdraw if they are unable to obtain more.
Though not as life-threatening as some other withdrawal syndromes, Bicodone withdrawal can be uncomfortable and even extremely painful. In addition, those who do not go through the proper treatment for opioid withdrawal often relapse back to abusing the drug.
Signs and Symptoms of Bicodone Withdrawal
Opioid withdrawal symptoms are fairly similar across the board, and Bicodone is no exception to these. When a person stops taking the drug after becoming dependent, they will experience uncomfortable symptoms that, as a whole, feel similar to a very bad case of the flu. The severity of the symptoms will fluctuate depending on the person, but you should be able to recognize the symptoms listed below in someone going through Bicodone withdrawal.
- Hot and cold flashes
- Runny nose
- Watering eyes
- Muscle, bone, and joint pain
- Dilated pupils
The symptoms are extremely disagreeable and can even become intolerable in some instances. The dependent individual isn’t used to experiencing pain and the vomiting, sweating, and runny nose all give the illusion of going through the flu. In addition, the individual will become very anxious and agitated at not having more of the drug. In some cases, they could become extremely depressed. If they were abusing the drug, cravings will also occur.
Timeline of Bicodone Withdrawal
According to the World Health Organization, long-acting opioids such as hydrocodone will often produce withdrawal symptoms about 12 hours after one’s last use of the drug. This is because the drug’s effects last longer than others, such as heroin, which causes withdrawal effects to occur less than 8 hours or so after one’s last use.
In most cases, Bicodone withdrawal will last about a week or two.
- First 24 hours: The first 24 hours are extremely physically uncomfortable. Most individuals experience intense pain and discomfort as well as the beginnings of the flu-like symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.
- Day 1 through 3: The individual will feel extremely sick similar to if he or she had the flu, have very little energy, and have trouble sleeping. This will likely make the individual irritable, and anxiety and depression often set in at this point too.
- Day 4 through 7: At this point in the syndrome, most individuals experience vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme sweating. The pain experienced early on during withdrawal will often linger as well.
- Day 8 through 14: Withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside at this point, although this could take anywhere from one day to a week. It is important for the individual not to return to normal activities until withdrawal is completed.
After the general timeline of withdrawal ends, many individuals experience PAWS or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. This often includes long-lasting depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, irritability, fatigue, and dysphoria. These symptoms can linger for weeks or months after the individual has stopped abusing Bicodone and gone through acute withdrawal.
Dangers of Bicodone Withdrawal
Bicodone withdrawal is not considered one of the most dangerous withdrawal syndromes, but there are many dangers associated with this drug and its dependence. It is important to be aware of these issues, especially if you are struggling with Bicodone abuse.
- Depression is one of the more serious side effects of opioid withdrawal. Many people do not realize how dangerous this can become, but some individuals even experience suicidal thoughts as a result of their depressive symptoms. Every individual going through opioid withdrawal must be screened for depression.
- The second leg of withdrawal leaves individuals extremely vulnerable to dehydration. Due to the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating, many individuals become dangerously dehydrated, and they experience many more complications because of it. If this is not caught quickly, it can even be deadly.
- Relapse must be considered the most dangerous potential outcome of opioid withdrawal, however. People are most vulnerable to opioid overdose when they relapse during or after withdrawal because they often do not realize their tolerances have diminished considerably.
Avoiding all these issues is extremely important. Any of the common withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable enough to cause an individual to return to abusing Bicodone, so one must be extremely careful when going through withdrawal.
Am I Dependent on Bicodone?
- Use Bicodone every day
- Have been using the drug regularly for several weeks
- Need the drug to get out of bed, to fall asleep at night, to get through work, etc.
- Rely on the drug to get you through difficult situations
- Are abusing Bicodone (taking it in a way other than how it was prescribed)
- Have experienced physical and/or psychological symptoms when unable to get more of the drug
- Think you will experience severe symptoms if you stop taking the drug
you are likely already dependent on Bicodone. If you have been abusing the drug, there is also a strong chance you are addicted as well. Abusing this drug—or even taking it as prescribed for a long enough time—can easily lead to dependence, and unfortunately, without the proper treatment, you can experience intense, even dangerous side effects.
Should I Go through Bicodone Withdrawal at Home?
One should never go through withdrawal from any drug without the proper treatment. According to SAMHSA, it is cruel to ask someone to go through opioid withdrawal without medication and professional care, as this just forces a population with a low pain tolerance to experience needless suffering. Therefore, it is not recommended that you attempt to go through Bicodone withdrawal without some sort of professional treatment.
Bicodone Detox Treatment
Bicodone detox starts with an assessment of the severity of your symptoms, usually with a scale called the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale or COWS. Afterward, your medical staff will provide you with treatment options that will suit your needs.
Most individuals require medication during Bicodone detox, usually either buprenorphine or methadone.
- When dosed properly, these drugs minimize one’s withdrawal symptoms and stabilize the patient without causing euphoria or the other symptoms that lead to abuse and addiction.
- The individual may choose to be slowly weaned off this drug once they become stabilized or to continue on it in a maintenance program.
- Antidepressants may also be prescribed if the individual is experiencing intense depressive symptoms.
Many patients also start behavioral therapy of some kind in order to help them cope with their withdrawal symptoms and prepare for rehab.
Not everyone going through opioid detox will require inpatient care, and some may feel comfortable in an outpatient program, especially if they have a job and a strong social network of friends and family members who can support them during treatment.
What Happens After Detox?
After detox, patients require rehab treatment for addiction. This is because detox itself does not treat addiction, only dependence. Individuals who do not seek rehab often relapse after detox, so it is extremely important you find a rehab program that suits your needs. The staff at your detox facility will likely assist you with this, and after rehab has ended, you may choose an aftercare program to round out your treatment.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018). Hydrocodone.
- United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (2016). DEA Reduces Amount Of Opioid Controlled Substances To Be Manufactured In 2017.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal.
- World Health Organization. (2009). Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings- 4 Withdrawal Management.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.). Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder.
- Wesson, D. R., & Ling, W. (2003). The Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS). J Psychoactive
Drugs, 35(2), 253–9.