Get help today 888-287-0471 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Hydrocodone Detox and Withdrawal

Hydrocodone detox centers provide relief for those suffering the effects of this synthetic opioid. The medication is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that the drug has been proven to:

  • Have a high potential for abuse
  • Have a currently accepted medical use
  • Cause severe psychological dependence
  • Cause severe physical dependence

Hydrocodone white pills on the tableHydrocodone is regularly prescribed for treatment of severe pain and excessive coughing. The drug is only available with a prescription. It is often found as part of combination medications, such as prescription cough syrups and multi-symptom solutions. According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Infomatics, hydrocodone is the most prescribed drug in the United States, with over 132 million prescriptions issued in 2010. If you suspect a loved one is suffering the effects of addiction or dependencies related to hydrocodone, contact us at for a list of hydrocodone detox centers in your area.


“The main goal of detoxification is to reduce the patient’s reliance on the drugs, to reduce the likelihood of death or severe injury from abuse, and to improve the overall health of the sufferer.”The concepts behind detoxification from hydrocodone mirror those of treatment for opioid dependency. The main goal of detoxification is to reduce the patient’s reliance on the drugs, to reduce the likelihood of death or severe injury from abuse, and to improve the overall health of the sufferer. Similar methods are regularly used for morphine, codeine, oxycodone and other opiate-based medications. These typically include careful monitoring during withdrawal periods to prevent or lessen potentially life-threatening adverse effects caused by opiate withdrawal syndrome. These effects can include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Damage caused by dehydration
  • Suicide attempts

Doctors at hydrocodone detox centers may prescribe less addictive or diluted versions of opiates and similar substances to help lessen these effects during the withdrawal period. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine and diamorphine may limit the occurrence of more severe effects but pose a possible addiction risk if used for a prolonged period. Rehabilitation typically depends very heavily on the complete removal of hydrocodone from a patient’s system to limit cravings and prevent further adverse effects.


Patients undergoing treatment in a hydrocodone detox center typically stay in the center for the duration of the withdrawal period. This period can vary greatly based on the quantity, frequency and duration of hydrocodone abuse. Physical withdrawal symptoms and potentially life-threatening effects commonly start to fade within 48 to 72 hours. Opioid replacement therapy may be introduced during this period.

After the symptoms of opiate withdrawal syndrome subside, patients may undergo rehabilitative treatments designed to help them overcome the psychological dependencies that developed during regular hydrocodone abuse. These treatments often include sessions with a counselor, psychiatrist or group therapy discussions. Family and friends typically may not visit those in the grips of opiate withdrawal syndrome, but they are invited to participate in the rehabilitative treatment process. Call our support line at any time at for additional help or information on the processes used at hydrocodone withdrawal treatment facilities and the effects of opiate withdrawal syndrome.

More common but less severe effects of opiate withdrawal syndrome include:

  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Cramps
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Priapism

Additional Considerations

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 23.5 million people over the age of 11 required assistance with psychological or physical dependencies in 2009. The same report concludes that only 2.6 million of these received treatment at facilities designed to specifically combat the problem. Many health centers and addiction treatment facilities lack the medical knowledge or specialization to deal with the potentially severe effects of opiate withdrawal dealt with in hydrocodone detox centers. Patients may have to travel to centers located in larger cities and may be expected to stay at the facility for two to three days until these effects subside.

Many treatment centers offer follow-up appointments and ongoing group or individual therapy sessions for those recovering from the effects of addiction. Treatment of hydrocodone addiction typically requires long-term care due to the high potential for relapse. For more information on hydrocodone detox programs, rehabilitation, the processes involved, or the location of hydrocodone detox centers and support groups near you, call .


  • Hydrocodone has been shown to dramatically reduce testosterone in otherwise healthy men. This can lead to hypogonadism and problems including poor libido, erectile dysfunction, increased abdominal fat, memory loss, depression, anxiety, poor sleep, high cholesterol and infertility.
  • The FDA has considered banning many forms of hydrocodone due to the presence of high levels of acetaminophen and numerous reports of liver problems occurring from regular use or abuse of this medication.
  • Hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance when it is used as part of a combination product. Hydrocodone detox centers offer services for both the Schedule II and III versions of this drug.
Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.