What are the Most Common Treatments for Hydrocodone Addiction?

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Hydrocodone is both the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States and the drug that is associated with more diversion and abuse than any other opioid, licit or illicit (Drug Enforcement Agency). As a result, hydrocodone addiction is a severe problem, and anyone who becomes addicted to the substance will require treatment in order to recover. Below are the most common treatment types used to help hydrocodone addicts stop abusing the drug and start on the path to recovery.


Methadone is a medication that is used to treat individuals who have been abusing hydrocodone for a long period of time. It is also a synthetic opioid that works to relieve the withdrawal symptoms experienced by hydrocodone users when they suddenly stop taking the drug, minimize drug cravings so patients can focus on getting back to their lives and recovering from their addictions, and decrease a patient’s chances of relapse before, during, and after treatment.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone “has been used successfully for more than 40 years to treat heroin addiction,” as well as prescription opioid addiction, “but must be dispensed through opioid treatment programs.” Therefore, if you decide methadone will be a beneficial treatment for you, you will need to attend either an inpatient or outpatient rehab program in order to receive methadone. Unfortunately, the drug does have a high abuse rate and can cause addiction on its own, but if you follow the instructions of your doctor, methadone can be taken safely and effectively to treat hydrocodone addiction.


Buprenorphine is a partial opioid analgesic, which makes it somewhat safer than methadone for the use of addiction treatment. However, it is more effective in treating those individuals who do not have a severe physical dependence on the drug; sometimes, a person may be treated with methadone first and then, over time, slowly be transferred to treatment with buprenorphine.

hydrocodone addiction

Buprenorphine is commonly used to treat Hydrocodone addiction.

Often, buprenorphine is paired with naloxone as the drug Suboxone. This medication helps treat hydrocodone addiction by executing many of the same effects methadone has, but if it is crushed and snorted by the user in an attempt to abuse its effects, the naloxone in the drug precipitates withdrawal. For this reason, Suboxone is safer from abuse than buprenorphine alone or methadone.

The medication is “well tolerated by patients,” and like methadone, it can be tapered off slowly so the individual does not experience severe withdrawal symptoms, or the patient can be maintained on it for as long as necessary.


As stated by Harvard Medical School, naltrexone is best tolerated by “physicians and other middle-class patients who are highly motivated to get free of the opiate because they have so much to lose from a persistent addiction.” The drug blocks the opioid receptors like methadone and buprenorphine do, but it also neutralizes the effects of other opioid drugs and precipitates withdrawal in any individual who is currently dependent on opioids.

Someone who is highly motivated to stop abusing hydrocodone can receive many benefits from this medication, but it is not easy for many patients to take and can cause a number of issues for the individual. If you are considering taking naltrexone, make sure you understand everything involved in the safe and effective use of the drug and how it might affect you before you choose to do so.

Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most widely used counseling methods when it comes to treating addiction. Patients are able to learn new ways to see themselves and their addictions through positive, one-on-one talk therapy sessions with a counselor. According to the NIDA, “A central element of CBT is anticipating likely problems and enhancing patients’ self-control by helping them develop effective coping strategies.” This type of therapy also teaches patients how to monitor themselves and recognize instances where they may be in danger. They learn to notice when their cravings tend to occur and to avoid triggers.

As stated earlier, hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed opioid in the United States “with more than 136 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing products dispensed in 2013 and with nearly 65.5 million dispensed in the first six months of 2014” (The US Department of Justice). “The relative ease of hydrocodone availability” means that most patients will be faced with a chance to abuse the drug during their recovery, possibly while even in treatment. This therapeutic method teaches patients how to think about their addiction in a new way and to create better, safer behavior patterns around that new understanding, which is very helpful in the situation of addiction to a very available substance.

Contingency Management

This behavioral therapy can use either vouchers or prizes to reward patients for staying clean and avoiding hydrocodone abuse. Patients agree to take urine tests in order to prove that they do not have hydrocodone––or any other dangerous or unprescribed substances––in their systems and then they receive a reward. Vouchers are often for free movie tickets, food, or other drug-free-related goods or activities, and prize incentives usually enter patients in a drawing for cash.

Contingency management can be very beneficial for patients because it gives them an incentive to avoid hydrocodone abuse while also retraining the brain’s reward pathway to desire different items, services, or activities instead of drugs and the euphoric feelings they create.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can be used in inpatient care, outpatient care, or even in mutual-help groups that meet anywhere from a church to on a school campus. Group therapy helps individuals who are all going through the same issues meet one another and draw from one another’s strength. This can be a great way for patients to meet other individuals or even just to listen and be reminded that they are not alone in their struggle. Group therapy has been found to provide a much-needed support to patients going through addiction treatment, and those in hydrocodone rehab can benefit just as well from it.

Are You Looking for Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment?

If you want to find a treatment program near you where you can recover from hydrocodone and receive some of these beneficial treatments, call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? today. We will help you find the right program for your needs.

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