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Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms + How Long Does It Last?

Hydrocodone is considered a semi-synthetic opioid drug that is utilized orally as an analgesic and antitussive medication. It is derived from codeine and is often combined with acetaminophen in various formulations such as: Vicodin. It is mostly prescribed in the United States where it is considered a “Schedule II” controlled substance; indicating a high potential for abuse and dependence.

This is a drug that does a great job at providing relief from moderate to severe pain as well as coughing. In comparison to the opiate oxycodone, it has been found equally effective at providing pain relief; there is little practical difference between the two drugs. Hydrocodone works by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system, acting primarily on the mu-opioid receptors.

Research has shown that hydrocodone is more potent than its derivative codeine. Most people take hydrocodone to cope with pain that they are experiencing. For pain relief, this drug works very well. In addition to taking it for its intended purpose of pain relief, many individuals take it recreationally to “get high.”

In these cases, people may become addicted to the mood enhancement and reductions in anxiety associated with initial consumption. Over time though, most consistent users of hydrocodone end up developing tolerance to its effects. Other individuals simply want to get off of the drug because they don’t like the side effects. If you are planning on going through withdrawal, you may want to read below so that you are familiar with some common withdrawal symptoms.

Factors that influence Hydrocodone withdrawal

When it comes to withdrawal from any opioid, there are factors that play a role in determining intensity and length of symptoms. These factors include things like: how long you were on the drug, your dosage, whether you became tolerant, whether you are addicted, how quickly you withdrew, and other individual factors such as whether you are on any other drugs.

1. Time Span

How long have you taken hydrocodone? In most cases, the longer you were on the drug, the more difficult withdrawal symptoms will be. This is due to the fact that when the drug is taken over an extended period of time, your body becomes reliant on the effects of the hydrocodone for daily functioning.

People on this drug for a long period of time are typically those who needed it for chronic pain and/or addicts. Those who took the drug for a short duration typically will exhibit quicker recovery and less symptoms.

2. Dosage / Tolerance

What dose of hydrocodone did you take? Those that took higher doses tend to have a tougher time dealing with withdrawal effects because their body became used to that particular high dose. When a person takes a higher dose, it is easier to become tolerant, which in turn makes it significantly more difficult to cope with discontinuation symptoms.

Most people take the drug in formulations of 5 mg, 7.5 mg, and 10 mg of hydrocodone. Maximum doses for the drug are 8 tablets daily for the 5 mg, and 6 tablets daily for the 7.5 mg and 10 mg. The greater the dosage that you’ve been taking and greater the frequency at which you’ve been taking it, the more difficulty you may have coping with withdrawals.

Individuals that haven’t become tolerant to the effects of the drug are thought to have the easiest time coping with discontinuation symptoms. Those who have become tolerant to the highest doses may have a difficult time discontinuing.

3. Addiction

Are you addicted to hydrocodone? This is a powerful opioid that many people take for pain relief, but become addicted to the effects of the drug. Most people that become addicted don’t ever plan on developing an addiction. People that are using this drug for a long period of time to manage their pain can become dependent and addicted.

There are individuals that take the drug recreationally to cope with stressors who also can develop addictions. People that are taking it to deal with depression and/or to get high and escape life’s stressors can have a tough time kicking their habit as well. Most people that are addicted are going to need some outside support from a professional to help get through withdrawal symptoms.

If you know that you are addicted, it may be very helpful to consult a psychotherapist and/or a psychiatrist to help deal with the effects of withdrawal. If you have a high tolerance to the drug, you may want to consider something like “opioid replacement therapy” to help with the addiction.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

How quickly did you quit taking hydrocodone? Those who quit “cold turkey” without tapering are thought to have more difficult withdrawal symptoms because the nervous system is given no time to adapt to changes. If you quit “cold turkey” from a high dosage, it can sometimes serve as a shock to the nervous system, making the acute phase of withdrawal more intense as well as increasing the chance for protracted symptoms.

It is typically recommended to conduct a gradual taper if you were on a high dose of the drug. You may want to consider working with your doctor and/or a professional to come up with a tapering protocol. Although you can quit cold turkey usually without any severe danger, to minimize withdrawal symptoms, tapering is always recommended.

A third option to quitting cold turkey and/ or tapering is that of “opioid replacement therapy.” This involves transitioning to a less powerful opioid such as suboxone or methadone. This allows the individual to stop taking hydrocodone, and then gradually reduce their dosage of the less powerful replacement drug. The goal with this is to smoothly transition off of opioids.

5. Individual Factors

It should also be noted that everyone recovers at an individual rate based on personal factors. Things such as individual physiology, genetics, environment, social support, and habits all can play a role towards impacting withdrawal. People who are naturally less sensitive to drug withdrawal may feel almost fully recovered after a week off of the drug.

Other individuals that are highly sensitive to withdrawal may have protracted symptoms lasting for weeks or months after the acute phase. It is thought that things such as whether you are taking any other drugs, whether you work out, eat healthy, etc. can influence how quickly you recover.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below are a list of symptoms that you may experience upon facing hydrocodone withdrawal. Understand that what you experience will vary based on individual circumstances. You may not experience every symptom listed below. Intensity and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the person.

  • Abdominal cramping: Many people report feeling extreme cramps in their abdominal area when they stop hydrocodone. This symptom can be very uncomfortable, but should start to improve after a week or two off of the drug.
  • Anxiety: You may notice feelings of intense anxiety upon discontinuation. The drug acts as a depressant, reducing activity in the central nervous system – which leads to feelings of relaxation. When you stop taking the drug, you may experience a resurgence of anxiety until your nervous system heals.
  • Appetite changes: During the first few days after your last dose, you may experience significant reductions in appetite. You may not want to eat any food because you don’t feel hungry and/or are sick. Do your best to keep your body nourished with healthy foods, it may expedite recovery.
  • Chills: Some people feel notice chills throughout their body when they stop hydro. This is a common opiate withdrawal symptom. These chills should significantly improve after the first week of discontinuation.
  • Cravings: Many people have intense cravings for the drug after they’ve quit. Cravings tend to be most intense a few days after a person has withdrawn. You may crave hydrocodone weeks or months after your last dose – this is common among addicts. In general, the longer you’ve been off of the drug, the easier these are to resist.
  • Depersonalization: Do you feel unlike your normal self? Many people report feeling disoriented as well as depersonalized when they come off of hydro. Your endorphin levels and neurotransmitters will need time to readjust and are usually part of the reason you may feel abnormal during withdrawal.
  • Depression: It is common to feel depressed when you quit this drug. The depression that you experience may be mild, but it could be severe. Usually people that withdrew from high doses and/or quit cold turkey will have more powerful depression. This is a very normal withdrawal symptom that takes time to heal.
  • Diarrhea: While taking hydrocodone, you likely experienced some degree of constipation. When you stop taking the drug, you will likely experience some diarrhea. If the diarrhea gets bad, be sure to consider getting some Imodium (available over-the-counter).
  • Dilated pupils: Taking this drug (or any opioid) will likely constrict the pupils. Upon discontinuation, you may notice that your pupils become dilated. This isn’t usually a symptom that bothers most people, just something to note.
  • Dizziness: Do you all of a sudden feel dizzy after you stopped taking hydrocodone? The dizziness is due to the fact that your body is expecting the drug, but doesn’t receive it. As it scrambles to readjust itself, a person may feel dizzy and/or vertigo.
  • Fatigue: Excessive tiredness and lethargy are common initial withdrawal symptoms. The low energy levels that you experience may make it difficult to perform normal functions such as: get out of bed, go to work, prepare meals, etc. You should regain some energy after the first week and it should continue to improve over time.
  • Fever: You may notice that you have a fever when you quit. Low-grade fevers are most commonly reported, but you could have a higher fever too. This is more of an acute symptom and shouldn’t last longer than several days.
  • Flu-like: A combination of symptoms lead people to describe the withdrawal experience as being “flu-like.” Meaning, many people exhibit similar withdrawal symptoms from hydrocodone as they do when they have the flu. These can include things like: nausea, vomiting, fatigue, aches, and dizziness.
  • Goosebumps: You may have “goose bumps” across your skin as a symptom. These are caused by tiny muscle contractions at the base of each hair follicle and are influenced by the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Headaches: Many individuals report light or moderate headaches when they face withdrawal. These headaches can be intense to the point of migraines in more severe cases. The hydrocodone tends to provide headache relief, so when a person quits, the headaches may temporarily be more severe.
  • Hot flashes: These refer to sudden feelings of feverish heat that come out of nowhere. You may be doing something and notice that you feel very hot. Although you may also have a fever during withdrawal, hot flashes are very common. Some people also experience cold flashes as well.
  • Insomnia: Some people may be unable to fall asleep at night after they’ve quit this drug. Hydrocodone tends to have a relaxing effect that leads some people to nod off to sleep while taking it. During withdrawal, a combination of anxiety, restlessness, and an array of physical symptoms can set the stage for insomnia.
  • Irritability: You may feel more irritable than normal as you come off of this drug. The irritability is probably due to changes in endorphin and neurotransmitter function post-drug. As time passes, your degree of irritability should fade. In the meantime, whenever something minor upsets you, try to take a deep breath and realize that this feeling will eventually improve.
  • Itching: It is thought that feeling itchy may be a reaction some people have when they stop this drug. The itching is likely related to increased sensitivity of nerve endings underneath the skin. Many people believe they have developed a rash, when in reality it is a withdrawal reaction from the nerve endings.
  • Joint pain: During withdrawal it is common to feel muscle aches and joint pains. These aches and pains can be influenced by the body’s lack of endorphin production. When you take a drug like hydrocodone, your natural endorphins will lower as a result of the drug. It takes time to build these back up.
  • Mood swings: You may feel like an emotional wreck when coping with withdrawal symptoms. Your moods may be erratic and difficult to control. As time continues to pass, your emotions should begin to stabilize.
  • Nausea: The initial nausea associated with discontinuation can be overwhelming. If it becomes severe enough, it may lead a person to vomit. Fortunately the nausea will likely decline significantly after the first week.
  • Palpitations: These refer to sensations that your heart is racing or beating abnormally loud. These can be further influenced by increases in anxiety. If you are dealing with heart palpitations, realize that it’s just a symptom, and focus on relaxation.
  • Panic attacks: Some people may develop panic attacks when they quit hydrocodone. These are caused by intense surges in anxiety and inability to lower arousal. Although these may be more common in people with a history of anxiety, anyone could experience them if withdrawal is bad enough.
  • Restlessness: Many people feel internally restless and/or unable to sit still. In many cases this is influenced by anxiety levels and mood. You may have restless legs and/or feel as though you cannot stay in one place. To cope with this symptom, consider doing some deep breathing to calm yourself down. If relaxation doesn’t work, go for a walk until it improves.
  • Runny nose: When coming off of any opiate, it is possible to develop a runny nose. There is no controlling when the nasal drainage will stop, but be sure to keep some extra tissue handy.
  • Sleep changes: Your sleep patterns may become erratic and random during withdrawal. Some days you may feel excessively tired, while others you may not be able to sleep. Some people may not be able to get restful sleep as they may wake up in the middle of the night. Understand that your sleep pattern will fluctuate, but stabilize over time.
  • Suicidal thinking: It is important to realize that during withdrawal, your endorphins and neurotransmitters are imbalanced and will eventually correct themselves. However, you may feel suicidal before normative functioning is restored. If you feel suicidal, realize that this is a stage that will pass. If you are unable to cope with this feeling, seek immediate professional help.
  • Sweats: Most people end up experiencing profuse sweating during the initial few days of quitting the drug. These sweats may be heavy and constant. You may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night soaked. The sweating is a natural response from your body and should subside after a week or two.
  • Vomiting: You may get sick when you initially come off of the drug. Some people feel incredibly nauseous and end up vomiting. This symptom doesn’t usually last longer than a week.
  • Yawning: Do you find yourself yawning even when you’re not tired? If you are going through withdrawals, you may be prone to excessive yawning. It will take time for your physiology to readjust and the yawns to subside.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Length: How long does it last?

There’s no exact science stating that withdrawal will last a specific number of days. The drug itself has a half life of 4 to 6 hours, meaning that hydrocodone stays in your system for less than 24 hours after your last dose.  However, just because the drug is clear from your system does not mean that withdrawal is over. Once the drug has finished clearing your system is typically when withdrawal begins.

The initial phase of withdrawal, often referred to as the “acute phase” can last anywhere from 7 to 10 days. This is characterized by the most extreme physical symptoms, including sickness, as well as various psychological symptoms. The most difficulty people tend to have facing hydrocodone withdrawal tends to be in the acute phase. Following approximately 10 days, most people notice significant strides towards feeling better.

It should be noted though that some individuals still exhibit difficult symptoms following the initial couple weeks after discontinuation. This is often referred to as “PAWS” or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. During this time, a person may experience symptoms lasting for weeks (or in some cases months) following their last dose. For most individuals, these symptoms tend to continue fading as more time passes.

To speed up withdrawal, it is recommended to eat healthy, consider useful vitamins and/or supplements, get some mild exercise, socialize, and attempt to stay as productive as possible. If you are having a really tough time coping with symptoms, take things one day at a time. Realize that with each passing day, you are one step closer to full recovery. If you have gone through hydrocodone withdrawal and/or are currently dealing with symptoms, feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

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167 thoughts on “Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms + How Long Does It Last?”

  1. No one had explained to me when I was prescribed Norco’s that I could become physically addicted within 2 to 3 weeks. I know that doesn’t seem possible to some, but I was on 4-5 10/325’s a day. I’m 5′, 110lbs. It was a lot for me. The surprise of my life happened when I decided to cut down my dosage, but apparently too abruptly.

    I ended up experiencing withdrawals, though I didn’t even know that’s what they were at the time. I had everything, the vomiting, the sweats/chills, restlessness, depression, exhaustion, insomnia, zero appetite, severe headache. I’m so pissed that I wasn’t warned about this at all. When I voiced my concerns to the several different doctors I had seen, they all said to me as long as you are taking them as prescribed, you’ll be fine.

    Wtf? The worst of it is I’m going for a cervical epidural in two days. If that doesn’t take, I have no idea what the hell I’m going to do next. I don’t think I could go through what I did again.

    The only bright spot in all of this is I’ve had a loving husband who has been absolutely wonderful in helping me. We’ve been fortunate enough to be financially stable to withstand me not working. I wish everyone on here a speedy recovery. And I hope that they continue to have hope for the future.

  2. I posted back in June about taking Hydrocodone for several years, mostly at night, but things changed this year. I had 2 hip surgeries & while I was in the hospital & nursing home I was given Lortab every 4 hours & have been taking it since. I also am fighting depression since I lost my wife about a year ago. Now my doctor & psychiatrist have me tapering off of it. Worst part so far is the headaches & feel like I have a head full of mush & can’t concentrate. Have no interest in doing anything. Sure looking forward to better days.

  3. Thank you for all the stories here! It made me think of some things I hadn’t thought about. I got back from the doctor today that I went to see for a very foggy, dizzy brain which has been bothering me and getting steadily worse over the last week or so. My doctor didn’t have any ideas of what it could be — just suggested I wait a week and see if it gets better.

    Not very comforting, since I have had to lay down several times today, just to get through it. Additionally, the uncertainty of WHAT is causing it has been creating some depression, and sleep has been difficult because my brain feels too… dizzy? fuzzy? to sleep. I’ve had a chest x-ray, blood work, two doctor visits for colds trying to figure out what is causing this darn dizzy headache.

    Coincidentally, I’ve been taking vicodin for probably 8+ years, first 1.25 mg a day (quarter of a 5 mg pill), then slowly a bit more, till I reached about 10 mg a day (1 and a half of the 7.5/325 pills) which took the edge off lupus pain. I didn’t like that I seemed to have a tolerance for it and that it hasn’t been helping much, and I just started taking less about a month ago. (I just made the decision to see what would happen if I took half of what I normally did, and then inadvertently tapered off very quickly.)

    Around the same time as I was taking less though, my new-into-preschool twin kids got sick, and as I expected I might, I got sick as well (a bad cold) but also an odd dizzy headache at times that I figured was just another cold symptom from the rash of stuff my kids keep bringing home. Because I had a cold and was physically miserable, I wound up taking even less vicodin, just stopping it for days at a time because my physical lupus pain was less.

    However, as the cold symptoms have slowly gotten better, the headaches have not decreased. My vicodin use is down to almost nil — I think I may have had 1.5 pills (about 10 mg) total over the entire last week. Now after reading this forum, I’m curious if this past month of recurring colds, weakness, and dizziness is actually withdrawal — I’ve never felt addicted to it and over the past years have skipped a day or so with no noticeable effects.

    I didn’t actually realize that relatively low doses could cause withdrawal symptoms, but I guess it makes sense. What clicked a little is that I actually got home from work (feeling dizzy, needing to lay down) and had a quarter of a pill. Now a couple hours later, I still have the headache, but I feel a bit better. I guess it’s time to try to see what happens if I have absolutely NOTHING for several days.

    I’ve tapered a lot, without meaning to, but the headaches/foggy brain/weakness, and the uncertainty of not knowing what is causing it has been extremely scary. I’m scrambling for almost any answer I can think of and reading the stories here actually leaves me with some hope that maybe that’s what this is — not something permanent and horrible, but something that I’ll work through and that I’ll ultimately be in a better place for. Thank you!

  4. Well I’m going into let’s see my third morning of cold turkey discontinuation of Loritab 10mg up to 10 daily usually 8. I actually took two this past Sunday at 8:30a.m. So technically I guess this is going to be my full second day since those two on Sunday. I am cramping, lower back pain, insomnia horribly and just over it!

    My husband told me I should have tampered off and not done it this way, but I was DONE Sunday after those two it was like God spoke to me and said it’s time let’s go I’m here with you. My husband left 6 pills for me on Sunday and they are still there going into Tuesday morning, I’m so proud of myself. This addiction happened accidentally I had no idea about pills or opiates until I was addicted physically.

    We have three beautiful daughters and so much to live for that I had to just make the decision to push through and do it! I’m scared of what the next few days bring I’m trying to stay distracted etc. I’m using excedrin, multi vitamin and all natural supplements and I had two Valium left that helped me fall asleep Sunday night and a little Monday. I’m sure I’m forgetting something else but I needed to get some thoughts out to keep me from giving info going downstairs and taking half a pill.

    I’m very strong willed and hard headed and when you tell me I can’t do something I’m one that will give it my all to show you different. Prayers for me as I go through this HELL!

  5. Guys I’m on Day 2 going 2 days 3 after being on hydro 10 325 mg for the past 5 years and it’s a MF for me. I’m actually having bad diarrhea right now while writing this post terrible huh? But I do realize I’m the one who put myself here so I’m the only f****** idiot that can get myself together. I read a lot of those post on this site and it made me feel a lot better and there are a lot of suggestions here and I’m very grateful to have read them because this is hell.

    I don’t know if I saw this particular drug but I want to share it as well. I did hear people say Gabapentin and clonidine would help with withdrawal but I did not see this and I am taking it and I think if anything and with God’s help this will get me free from my addiction. Vistaril, it is a prescription similar to clonidine but different look it up it is a sedative so it will relax you with your anxiety possibly depression also with the Gabapentin will relax your body your joints and things like that but this Vistaril is a very strong non-narcotic sedative that will help you get through your withdrawals.

    Hydroxyzine pamoate generic for Vistaril you can get it 50 milligrams 20 milligrams that I know and it will help with your withdrawal. I’m actually taking one right now at 7:30 in the evening again it’s a sedative so it might make you sleepy but it will make you feel a lot better with your withdrawals is my opinion and I wanted to stay that because I did not see that listed anywhere and I read a lot of the post and I’m very grateful for you guys because this is some real b*******.

    Tomorrow morning I will be at starting day 3 so right now I’m 48 hours going into my next day clean and I already feel a lot better. I was an alcoholic for 15 years plus and a addicts of crack cocaine for probably about 10 years butt I’ve been sober from it for about 10 years. I got all this pain medication because I had a car accident had bad back well I’m just going to have to deal with that because this narcotic s*** is killing me a lot worse alcohol or cocaine withdrawals.

    This is a very harmful drug is physically addictive and I heavy alcohol and cocaine so I will beat hydrocodone tabs. It’s funny they say Three’s a charm right it’s going too damn sure be a charm for me. I hate how things have turned out for me being addicted to this horrible drug. I’ve been clean two prior times in the past 5 years for 3 days and tomorrow morning will complete my third day. I think the withdrawals will be over I’m damn sure hoping so. I did do a little exercise on Day 2 and today working on my third day.

    It was pretty tough and really not nothing at all but a little bit of activity instead of running out of pills and going to buy them off of the stupid Street an assload of money. This is a real b**** I woke up last night completely drenched in sweat and back to sleep and woke back up completely drenched again. I did read it in the Articles earlier that this is part of your withdrawals well I just hope it doesn’t last that much longer. It’s crazy since I’ve been on this ship I haven’t been off of it for more than 3 days in the past 5 years that is sick.

    I hate being dependent on something the drug that’s why I quit drinking and quit smoking crack. But the Lortabs that I’m trying to get off of now they are physically addictive drugs. I don’t know I have to stay positive and eat nutritional and be as active as I can and pray to God to help me be strong and walk me through this. I wish everyone the best of luck with this.

    I’m sorry I’m rambling but I just wanted to add to the Post of the drug Vistaril because it is helping me and it might help other people so that was my point in even posting this and to say thanks to all you guys for your post on this site because this is drug hydrocodone Lortab he’s the Devil Himself in my book. I would never suggest anyone taking this b******* for anything I know if I get clean off of it I would never take it for anything any kind of opiate because it is horrible to get off of it. Thanks.

  6. I have been on hydrocodone for 8 years for chronic pain. I want off of it so bad I had a neuro spine stimulator put in. That was a major mistake. It all went wrong and I ended up in more pain than before. I ended up taking three times as much. I had it taken out. Now I want off this junk.

  7. Having terrible withdrawal symptoms a few days after stopping the use of hydrocodone after surgery. Body aches, chills, sinus issues and runny nose, fevers, nausea, muscle pain and overall fatigue. I’m so ready to be over this. F-ck.

  8. One day I was working with someone who was legally prescribed Lortab for (whatever) pain affiliated reason. Arguing that pain pills make you lazy, sleepy, no energy when you take them. I was prescribed pain medicine around 16 maybe 17 years old when I had my wisdom teeth removed and during that time, I was taking these pills for pain and had these type of effects on me (I guess since I was taking them for that specific reason). One day at work, a co-worker takes out a prescription bottle and all I see are these small white tablet looking things.

    So I ask if she has a headache and what’s that prescription for. She said these are Lortab, yeah they give you energy. I said those are pain pills, they make you sleepy, there’s no way they could give you energy. So she gives me half of a 10/325 hydro/lortab (Watson 853) I think. She says here try it, I bet it’ll give you energy. About 30 minutes later, I start getting this “feel good feeling”.

    I felt like I wanted to go do backflips off of buildings or something. Seriously, that’s how good it made me feel. Ever since that day, I wanted it, I wanted that feeling again. Keep in mind, during this time (over a decade later) I’m 30 now by the way, I was never in any pain to be trying or taking these in the first place, not physical, mental nor emotional type pain. So obviously someone had to prove me wrong by giving me one and letting me try it.

    I’ve bought them on the street ever since. As time passed, things got worse. Started spending more and more money. Started taking more than what I could afford. Started working longer hours at work just so I could buy more. Spent life savings on buying this stuff off the street, just so I could get that one feeling. During the past six months, I’ve spent at least $6,000 dollars on this stuff alone. I wanted that high, I wanted that feeling and as we all know, it’s always that last one, that last time, I won’t get anymore after this, it’s a never ending cycle.

    That last one will turn into a hundred more and you’ll never be able to quit. I’ve been through withdrawals several times because I had no money to buy any. Self-detox is not fun. The only way to quit is cold turkey. If you’re addicted, the time to quit is now. I’m currently on day one from the last time I had one. The first four days suck but after that, it gets better.

  9. I am in day 2 of hydrocodone withdrawals. Cold Turkey! I have been on them for 10 years at 10/325 at at least 20 a day. I am a complete mess. And I know the hell is just about to began!!

  10. I’m in hell. Day 2 and alone. I didn’t ask for this. I just wanted the pain to stop and now I feel like a junkie even though I’ve never abused my medication.

  11. I was in a car accident 5 weeks ago and broke my wrist. I was prescribed Norco for the pain, taking half of a 5 mg tab once every 2-3 hours around the clock. Had surgery 2 weeks ago, decided to stop taking the Norco because the pain was better. Last week I had a severe panic attack at night because I was very short of breath and my abdominal muscles were tight. I wanted to crawl out of my skin…

    Can’t sleep, feel tingling all over sometimes, restless even though I am so tired, some diarrhea, poor appetite. Started taking Xanax thinking my panic attacks returned last week, now I’m not experiencing relief. From the info above it sounds as if I might be withdrawing from the Norco, even though it was low dose. Thoughts?

  12. I’ve been taking hydrocodone for 2 years. I lost my prescription, so my Dr said deal with it. 2 weeks of not taking it cold turkey. The worst side effect I am experiencing is not being able to breathe. I am not sure what do do?

    • Wow and I thought I was the only one this happened to. I have been on pain pills for over 30 years that I can remember. Sometime during this period I could go to a doctor and secure my pills, for some years without the classic where can I get more. Well I for one promote using grass as a substitute. I read thru this whole page and know all to well the withdraw issues.

      I even remember as the supply was going away I had a community doc take pity on me and subbed my tramadol. Do not ever take this drug. I know this is going to sound funny but I withdrew off of tramadol and didn’t even know it! I thought I had food poisoning. I could keep typing on and on about the pain pill dragon but I am jonesing as I write this.

      I notice that the various symptoms can strike at any time. I have also developed this sudden breathing issue like you Melissa. Here is what to do. Breath thru your mouth when you exhale. It also helps to force yourself to take deep breaths. And last but not least, this old technique sometimes works. Here is what you do. Exhale and keep doing it like you are squeezing all the air out of a bag.

      When you think you can’t exhale anymore push for just a bit more. It will most likely sound awful but you will squeeze out crap you didn’t know was in there. when you finally take in a deep breath you will instantly know what I am talking about. Only do this a few times when the need arises. Good luck beating the dope. And remember people this little statement. People do drugs because it makes them feel better.

  13. After 8 years it’s time to be done. On day 4 of cold turkey giving up 10mg 3x day. I have the chills, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme sweats, flu like symptoms, insomnia… And the most incredible support family that anyone could ask for. The hardest part for me was not going cold turkey but admitting I had the problem.

    There is some incredible advice on this page on how to cope… My words to all of you are… You can do it!! Just push through the first week… After the first week things get better… it’s time for my daily dose of Imodium… LOL LOL LOL let’s face it… Life is worth living and this is just a bump in the road… you can do it !!!!

  14. I am now going on 27 HOURS cold turkey since my last 7.5 that I am currently prescribed 4 times a day. I have been on this mess due to back surgery since 2001 which over the years there have been different dosages. I am always running out of my prescription and having to cut in half and skip takings in order to make it to the next filling date.

    I have been sick of this for quite some time now but I do enjoy the relaxing effect. I had been taking morphine pills along with the Hydro up until about 6 months ago. I finally quit that cold turkey after 5 years on that. That was rough for only about 3 days. I know this Hydro is going to be a different animal to kick. I get a lot of extra things done around the house because the energy I have while on Hydro.

    I really enjoy the nights because I am relaxed and can go on to sleep and have a good nights rest while on it. But I have to say I am starting to feel like crap about right now. I know most of the posts I have read here are already on there 4th 5th and 6th days so I have some hope there. I think I can deal with the stomach pain, frequent bathroom visits and aches which are starting.

    I know the fatigue issue will be a problem due to having a 5yr old and a 1yr old at home. Helping my wife with them is going to be a struggle. But the issue I am not looking forward to is the anxiety. I am already having major issues with that. I could not sleep last night. Constantly feeling nervous and anxious is starting to suck. I am glad I came here and found this page to read other dependency issues on this drug.

    I know I have to keep telling myself it is going to get better but thinking about the anxiety maybe taking weeks to subside is very depressing to read. My next Hydro filling is in two days. As much as I want to quit at this point, there are still moments when I am thinking “just get me through a couple more days”. I am hoping on the day after tomorrow I still have that disgust of the drug and wanting to quit inside not to get it filled.

  15. I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia 5-1/2 years ago. Was started on Mobic, which offered no pain relief, and shortly thereafter hydrocodone 7.5/500 twice a day as needed but I didn’t fill it right away for fear of addiction. My rheumatologist put me on FMLA that year to protect my job (since the flare ups are so unpredictable and every year thereafter).

    I was also having problems with my SI joint going out and being pulled to the right. I am a medical transcriptionist (24 years) and sitting for hours was excruciating. Went to a chiropractor every week for 6 months with no lasting relief more than a day or two each time. I began getting behind on my house pmts from missing so much work, so I succumbed to taking the hydrocodone as prescribed.

    Then I developed tolerance to the 7.5/500 mg and my rheumatologist increased it to 10/500 twice a day. Then the pharmaceutical companies stopped making Tylenol in the 500 mg because of folks having liver problems and so my dosage dropped to 10/325 twice a day. I was later found to have positive blood work for rheumatoid arthritis. The hydrocodone was increased to 10/325 three times a day.

    I never abused it but I was pretty sure that I had developed dependency. Was recently found on an MRI of the spine to have multiple herniated disks, stenosis, moderate-to-severe arthritis, and nerve impingement. Stayed on the same dosage of the hydros though. This was just back in May of this year. I then lost my job of 9 years (think they just got sick of my FMLA status and couldn’t fire me over that so they began not picking my workmate calling some things “critical” errors that WERE NOT according to their own guidelines) and I also lost my medical insurance.

    So I was basically forced into cold turkey. It was pretty rough the first week with first having aching like the flu, then terrible watery diarrhea, then smothering in the afternoon and evening with a bit of a panicky feeling, and then a feeling of itching all over and like bugs crawling on me. Ugh!! My last hydro was June 6th.

    Today is June 18th and I’m dealing with extreme fatigue and not having any “gumption” to get up and do anything. I miss that euphoria, but it’s not too bad. It’s just that I need to do so many things in my house (dishes, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, etc.) but I cannot get up and do it. Having to make myself shower and not daily either!! And I wonder how long this will last? Does anybody know?

    I’ve heard it takes 3 mos to reset your brain after addiction. I hope this doesn’t last 3 mos!! I’ve got things to do!! I realize the euphoria was what gave me the energy to perform my daily tasks. I’m sure that the 3 autoimmune disorders contribute to the fatigue, but it has just recently become extreme.

  16. Thanks for all the comments. I am on day 8 from withdrawal of 10/mg norco, 4x a day for over two months. Suffering chronic pain for over 40 years, I have been on and off this medication for years. I have said “time and time again” that this is the last one for me, and doctors still prescribe it with no great alternatives for pain management.

    I am 61 years old, feel 100, and whether the drug effects are cumulative or not, I reached the “bottom”. I have suffered this withdrawal to the point of wanting to die last night. I was having chest pains, and I prayed that my next heartbeat would be my last. The shame and damage from this little pill has taken so much from me – stolen my life force.

    When I look in the mirror, I no longer see my light. Even though the physical pain has gone for the most part, I feel a depression that weighs so heavily I pray that I will have one more chance to put this “pit of hell” in the past where it belongs. I pray for each and every one of you that this “demon” has robbed your lives, and that you will know that, if I could save one of you from this horrific “death” I would.

  17. I am 39 hours in and I’ve been on Norco 10 for 10 yrs 4-6 a day for severe pain just wanted to stop. I am just so tired… Please tell me it gets better.

  18. I have been taking Hydrocodone for over 12 years for chronic pain and I am just tired of the routine. These days with all the restrictions it’s harder for me to get my medication. I was taking 7.5mg 4 times a day and that helped a lot with my pain. I have degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia and lower back pain.

    I’m just so tired of having to go to the doctor every month for my prescription. I’ve been cold turkey for 6 days now and cannot seem to get rid of the headache I have. I have tried Kratom and it helped so much, but my state has recently banned it so I can no longer get it. Anything else that would help?

  19. Taper off. This is the answer to withdrawal. I had to take Norco twice a day for 2 years because of severe chronic pain. I finally found a doctor that performed an ablation on my SIJ that freed me from severe pain. I NO LONGER NEED PAIN MEDS. Real simple guys, Taper off.

    I took 1/2 at night and 1 in the morning for 3 weeks. Then 1/2 at night and 1/2 in the morning for 3 weeks. Then 1/2 at night for 3 weeks. Then 1/4 at night for 3 weeks. Then 1/8 at night for 5 weeks. Then stopped. No withdrawal and I’m off of it completely. Thank God!

  20. I have been taking prescribed pain meds for about 6 yrs now. at one time I was taking 300mg of Tramadol, 90 mg of Morphine Sulfate and 22.5 mg of Hydrocodone a day. I have taken myself off the Tramadol and that was fairly easy but I did have some complications, but recently I took my self off the Morphine. It was the worst experience I have ever had.

    I’m still feeling poorly and it’s been 12 days now. I don’t advise anyone to stop taking morphine without help like I did. I’m glad it’s over but I was really sick and really scared and I live alone… my wife passed away about 7 months ago and with all this pain I simply didn’t get out. So I don’t have friends or family. I still have the Hydrocodone to tackle but I am going to get help.

    I am going to rest up for a few weeks and completely recover from the morphine then I’m going to see my Dr about getting off the Hydrocodone. I’m thinking I can gradually taper off. I don’t have to stop taking it…it’s a choice I have made to try another way to control my pain instead of all these drugs.

    If you have chronic pain like I have…I would try anything before I take opioids long term. They might be fine for passing a kidney stone or getting past a bad sprain, but long term they cause a lot of issues. Before you know it you’re taking a ton of meds and you’re still in pain.

  21. I was taking 1/2 tablet of Vicoprofen at night because of bladder pain. For about a year now I have taken 4 or less in 24 hours because it helps after going through death of my wife then hip replacement & bad headaches. I do often take 1/2 tablet every 4 hours or more.
    I have talked to my doctor about it often.

    He says I am not addicted but maybe dependent. I am also taking an antidepressant & he tells me in a couple of months when that takes effect, I should be able to keep cutting on the Vicoprofen and get off of it. I always write the time down when I take one & will not it more often than every 4 hours & sometimes it is 6 hours or more & taking 1/2 more often now. Hopefully, I can eventually get completely off of it.

    I do know when I have a bad headache. I do see my doctor every month. I guess I am addicted to it, but I don’t seem to have all the problems I read in these post. July 23 will be 6 months since hip surgery, so I hope I can keep cutting down & be off of it by the end of July.

  22. I posted a note yesterday about my hydro problem. I took my last dose 49 hours ago after taking from 15 mg to 30 mg a day for 5 years… So I’m a little antsy but that is the only reaction so far. Well not really – can’t get myself up to do anything. The problem I’m having is the pain that I was taking the pills for is unbearable.

    Have tried Advil, Tylenol, Flexeril, and anything else you can think of. I don’t know if I’ going to make it. My hubby has 4 dilaudid that he told me to take if I needed them but I’m trying really hard – can anyone make a suggestion on the anything to get rid of the pain?

  23. I was on 5mg of oxycocet 2pills a day for about 2 years the recommended was 4 pills a day but I felt better pain management with 2 pills. I had shoulder surgery 6 weeks ago and my doctor put me on dilaudid 2mg 8 pills a day and I was taking 6-8 a day then when I ran out I took the maximum of oxycocet a day for about a week. It’s been about 5 days since I last took an oxycocet and 24 hours since my last dilaudid I am very irritable and have very bad vertigo and allergy symptoms.

    I never considered myself addicted to these pills and didn’t think I would have withdrawal. How long do you think this will last? I have 2 young children to take care of and this is horrible! I want to feel like myself again now that I’m mostly out of pain and can take OTC meds for pain management.

  24. Day 1 – I was on 325/10mg… 3 a day for 6 months. Quit cold turkey. I’ve cried all day today and feel nauseous. Do not want to feel like this ever again…

  25. I have been off for almost a week. Seriously depressed, intolerable migraines and non stop cramping and diarrhea. I just took one praying it makes me feel better. I have chronic pain and fatigue.

  26. I have been taking Norco for about 5 years now. In the beginning it was vicodin and now norco. I never knew this drug was addicting when I first started taking it. I did not take it at first but I have always had a stressful life. I will never forget the first time I took the vicodin. I went with my mother who always stresses me out and when I went that day after taking two for pain I realized how calm and able to cope they made me feel.

    From that moment I began my pill journey. My 16 year old began giving me problems and the pills helped with the hell he was putting me thru. I was not taking many at that time maybe 4 a day but then when he turned 17 & 1/2 he became ill with schizophrenia. I began taking more to cope with thus vicious mental illness. Each day I would push one or two more until I realized I could pretty much take 40 a day without dying.

    It became very expensive though. Huge depression. They finally hospitalized him after 2 years of begging for fear of my 2 younger children’s safety. Just when things are looking up my dad becomes ill and passes away last July. His death alone was devastating but the worst part is my family lied to him days before he died to a point that they were going to get a restraining order against me.

    I will never know why they lied or have the needed closure. Today I feel much better and have found an amazing man who has proposed to me knowing all my issues. Therefore it is time. These pills have controlled the last 5years of my life and it is time to take my life back. I have always been very strong and independent but these pills are hard to overcome.

    I have tried a few times during the past 6 months to stop but the withdrawals are severe. I tried to taper but impossible cause once that pill hits my body I want more and lose control so I know cold turkey is my only option. I am much stronger than ever but the withdrawals kick my butt. I work full time have a schizophrenic son a 14 year old daughter and a 7 that has ADHD.

    So please any advice would be deeply appreciated. I have been on these cites before and never posted but this time I want to get my life back. Please help with any advice. Thank-you.

  27. I’ve been 67 hrs now cold turkey from hydrocodone. I started taking them 5 years ago. It started with 2 after lunch for that afternoon pick me up. Then went on to 3 after lunch. Then one in the morning and 3 after lunch (when I could afford it) every now and then having to split the pills in half but I always made sure I had at least 1.5-3 for after lunch. (I should add these are 10/325) for a while I got up to close to 10 a day.

    Before I decided to just stop I got back down to about 2-3 per day. I have some still but I’m trying to stay strong. Like I said its been 67 hrs and for the most part I’m fine which I tried this in the past and it felt so much worse. I’ve not really been able to sleep. A little diarrhea. Anxiety (but that’s all the time). IDK if I should try 1/2 now since this is actually the worst day I’ve had so far but I’m stretching as long as I can.

    I want this so bad. Will I be okay? To just keep going cold turkey? I have some benzos for my anxiety but I’m not trying to fill my addiction with something else. Should I keep up CT or try 1/2? I probably sound like I’m rambling. My mind isn’t really working right but I feel pretty mentally stable for the circumstances.

    • I’m in the UK so not sure if our names and dosages are the same but I’ve been taking Dihydrocodeine 30/500 tablets for 4 years now (their not mine). I took them for an injury first time then to help me sleep when my partner left me. Since then I’ve been hooked, sometimes taking up to 15-20 tablets a day for the 4 years. Decided last week to come off them (I’ve been ill for 8 weeks and these probably weren’t helping).

      It’s hard to pin point what has been my illness and what’s been withdrawals but maybe us both. I’m hot/cold/shivery, the headaches are horrendous at times and the sleep is a bit off as I’m up and down finding myself in the bath at 3am this morning just to get rid of the cold clammy sweat. I don’t want to take the tablets anymore, I want my life back – to be able to get out and do activities I loved.

      Reading all these experiences has helped but it also makes me realize how many of us there are, and how we are not alone, even though I feel like I’m going through this on my own.

      • Hang in there… I’m sorry you are going through this but don’t stop trying now. You already have all that time invested don’t waste it… you will feel better.

  28. 20 days in. I have been taking hydromorphone 4 mg and morphine 100 mg for 6 years. Still a little hard to sleep and get the occasional joint pain, but I never have to be dope sick again thank GOD. It does get better DO NOT FOLD. I wish you all the very best in destroying your beast.

  29. No kidding, I’m female age 67 and have been on hydro 7.5 325 since I have been 37 years old! 30 years! I have quit a hundred times, sick as a dog, doubled over in pain, puking, aching, hot and cold, goose bumps, can’t sleep. And having to run to the bathroom is getting old. 10 – 12 hydro’s a day, I try to keep it no more than four an hour.

    I’ve never made it past a month off the drug. My family has no idea because who’d believe Grandma is a junkie? It’s a week and a half since I quit cold turkey and I swear I had a seizure on the third day. I planned this “Quit” when I knew my whole family would be on vacation because I can’t let them see what this does to me AND I’m too embarrassed to even have them know!

    It got out of hand when it was no longer touching the back and leg pain so after awhile I was taking more just to feel normal. It’s been about a week and 3 days. I’m determined but my body and brain know I have a huge stash and the bottle calls to me hourly! I know what your thinking… get rid of it, if I can’t make it? I’ll be really, REALLY sick so I’ve stored it.

    It helps not seeing it. I’m truly trying and have read all the comments and applying suggestions this time around. I’ve got one more week before family starts coming a round and if the runny nose, hacking, coughing and sneezing will be attributed to a “wicked sinus infection” that’s beginning to clear up. I will do just about anything for them not to find out… hence this well planned try at quitting while no one is around.

    Any other ideas? I’m wide open. I want this really badly… more than I want the drug. Thank you for any response or encouragement. Rainie

  30. Full knee replacement on 1/18/2016. Addicted to oxy for 8 weeks. Cut dosage from 8 5/325 to 1 per day for 2 weeks. Cut to 1/2 per day for 1 week. Cut to 1/4 per day for 4 days and stopped. I am 5 days into no medication and all the ugly demons are visiting me.

    I understand that I am near the end of the worst of it. My doctor was very little help. “It’s best to do this without drugs, just hang in there”. I am real proof that taking hydro in the short time is very bad. I am not a pill taker and I will beat this.

  31. I was on hydrocodone for 10 years. For the first 5-6, it was 10/650 3-4 per day, later I found I could drop the dose so started cutting them in 1/2, still the 3-4 per day. Eventually my doctor changed my prescription to 5/325, I even dropped the dose to 2-3 per day. I have very severe Restless Legs Syndrome and had tried pretty much every med on the market but found hydrocodone worked the best.

    Five months ago, I went to a specialist to help me get off an RLS med that was making me worse but also wanted to get off hydrocodone. I was put on low dose methadone (5mg). Almost immediately after quitting the hydrocodone (but on methadone) I started having dizzy/nauseous/sleepy spells. They start every day at noon and last until bedtime.

    I usually have to sleep an hour or so every afternoon as I become so tired and feel as though I have the flu. At times I’ve vomited. This has been going on for over 5 weeks. Is this hydrocodone withdrawal? I was told the methadone should keep this from happening. Another twist… I’ve had these same symptoms for 9 years but they come and go, usually starting in fall or winter then quitting in the spring.

    What I’m going through now, eerily feels like the same symptoms as what I had while still on hydrocodone. I’m confused and so are all the doctors I’ve seen. I was checked for ear problems, allergies, saw a neurologist and last, it was thought I had vestibular migraines (which cause dizziness/nausea) but even that didn’t make sense because, like clockwork, it always starts at noon.

    Coincidentally, noon was always when I took the first dose of hydrocodone. I’m tired of being sick, I’m depressed and have nowhere to turn. No one seems to be able to figure out what this is and why I’ve had it so long.

  32. Day 2 of no hydrocodone. My body is a little sore I can kinda cope with some symptoms but the fuzzy brain feeling scares me. I feel like I’m going to faint. Been on them for almost a year and a half but determined to get off this junk.

  33. A few hours from the “72” hour mark of withdrawal. All symptoms listed have been experienced. Without crying about all my pain issues I’ll just note that a surgery to attempt improved quality of life last year failed and rendered me disabled so I lost my job and insurance. I suppose I didn’t realize my level of dependency because I’ve always just taken my Rx as prescribed and would get new scripts on my regular visits, etc…

    I found a Cristian clinic for the noninsured and listed all my regular meds, they wrote everything but the pain meds. I didn’t want to ask for it and look like an addict. I suppose I never realized how bad it (the pain) was until now. I tried buying the from a “guy” I know but they are really expensive! Like 1000% mark up in price! Wow, no wonder people become dealers!

    Anyway, I ran out and my guy didn’t have any so here I am about to hit 72 hours admittedly not by choice! Now he’s blowing my phone up and it sucks to know that I could just answer the phone, go see the guy, and feel 100% better right now. How do you resist that?!? I have sooo much stuff to do its ridiculous how far behind I’ve gotten from being in the bed for 3 days.

    I’m one of those folks that does everything in the house especially since I don’t have a job anymore they just expect that I have time to do it all but where the hell am I supposed to get the energy from 24/7? Every time I buy some I tell myself I’m going to use them to taper off, alert!!!! You still feel withdrawal symptoms when tapering, they’re just not as severe but every bit as annoying, especially restless leg, sweats, and stomach pain.

    It’s weird, I remember 3 years ago I worked 50-60 hours a week, kept my house up, and socialized without issue or drug assistance. That is to say that I always had hydros around but I only took them with pain events from my disease, just a couple days- 2 or 3 times a month… Definitely not daily like the last year. Since last March I went from a few days, a few times a month, to 50-70mg a day which on the street can be very costly!!

    Anyway… here I am, hurting from real pain that Tylenol couldn’t possibly touch, and tempted to score. Hoping I can resist, optimistic that venting to strangers may help in some way. Btw, first time ever posting anything, desperate I guess. Good luck to you all.

  34. Thanks Mike – Same scenario! Sober about 35 years! 2 hip surgeries and then a bad back led me down the same road… as we age we have health conditions develop never mentioned in any big book! I had an epidural on my back which has allowed me to taper off. I was on a very moderate dose, but I have a nasty headache and feel like I have a cold. For those of us who are able to get off of them due to health improvement – we are blessed!

  35. I was taking Hydrocodone (Norco) for about 7 & 1/2 years now, 10-20mg daily. Because I was taking a relatively small dose, I figured that I wasn’t really addicted. Stopped a couple of other times for a couple weeks over the years, just to flush out the body, and to prove to myself I could. Been about 3 & 1/2 weeks this time.

    First week was miserable… diarrhea, fever, felt like I had the flu, etc. Over that but it seems like I’m still having some anxiety and depression symptoms. Hard to get motivated to do my usual routine. Have to admit, I miss the euphoria I’d get from the pills. Finding my sleep at night isn’t what it was, either.

    I’ll wake up during the night and be awake 2-4 hours before finally falling back asleep. Thanks to the 8 knee surgeries, I’ve been permanently disabled, so at least I don’t have to worry about getting up for work. Anybody else experiencing these symptoms? Didn’t think they’d last this long.

  36. Hello, Just wanted to let some of you know that I have been on up to 9 10/325 a day prior to my back surgery in 2005 and up until recently I was on 4 10/325 a day. Two weeks ago I went cold turkey and haven’t really had any bad withdrawal symptoms. I have been waking up in the middle of the night, but as far as physical symptoms, I really haven’t noticed to many other than (instead of restless leg) I have restless body. I am so happy that I am on my way to being hydrocodone free!! It can be done!!

  37. I’ve been reading the posts of all these brave souls and I realize I have some planning to do. I’ve been on Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen, 5/325, for 16 years. First it was for surgery and the dose was limited by the surgeon. Then, the same year I needed physical therapy for my arm and I took it for the pain. Now I’m taking it for osteoarthritis in my back and knees.

    I started with one pill than two; now I’ve been taking four (20 mg) for several years, making sure I take no more than that. Recently, my doctor’s office didn’t call in the subscription until the day after I ran out of them. I felt so bad after just that one day that I had to have my brother pick them up and bring them to me. That made me realize that getting off this drug is going to be a very big deal.

    I’m taking other drugs for various things and I’m sick of them and what they must be doing to my body. Between the ages of 11 and 26, I intermittently took amphetamines (legally, and I never abused them) to lose weight; I almost died from the last ones I took. I stopped taking them at the same time I stopped smoking. The diet pills made me crave cigarettes more, I smoked 3 packs per day.

    I am 71 now and worry about the side effects of withdrawal on an older body. I already have palpitations at times, I think, from the effects of the diet pills. I’m tired of being a walking drug company and I want to become as healthy as I can. I also hate that I am at the mercy of others for the pills. I have to do a song and dance routine every month in order to get a controlled substance.

    I don’t take extra pills, yet, at times, a pharmacy has told me “You’re too early, come back tomorrow.” Which I think meant that I may have been shorted by the pharmacy of some of the pills to begin with. All of you give me hope. I wish you blessings and the best outcome possible for your efforts.


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