Last updated: 04/23/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Lortab is the prescription-based, brand name drug that contains both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is prescribed to those patients who suffer from moderate to severe pain, but many individuals abuse it for its ability to cause euphoria in high doses.
Because of the inclusion of hydrocodone in the drug, which can itself become habit-forming, Lortab can be addictive and should only be taken as prescribed. Abuse of drugs like Lortab is a big problem in the nation today, and has contributed to many deaths due to overdose.
How Does a Person Become Addicted to Lortab?
Lortab and other drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse. The brain becomes used to the feelings of euphoria caused by the drug and will begin to crave it. When someone abuses Lortab in the long-term, they will start to experience several issues that fuel the potential for addiction. These are:
- When a person who abuses the medication realizes that the same dosage no longer causes the same effect, they will often start to take more of the drug each time in order to counteract that tolerance.
- This issue also occurs in individuals who are taking the drug as prescribed. If someone has been taking regular doses of Lortab for several months and then realizes that their current dosage no longer causes the desired effects, they must discuss the issue with their doctor and not begin to take more of the drug on their own. This kind of action is considered abuse and can quickly lead to addiction.
- Consistent abusers and prescription users of the drug alike will begin to become dependent on its effects. This means that they will not feel normal without the drug and will start to experience withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to take it which can include:
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Goose bumps
- Abdominal cramps
- In order to avoid these issues, many individuals continue to abuse the drug in high doses, which will eventually lead to addiction.
What are the Signs of Lortab Addiction?
Lortab addiction has specific signs and symptoms that allow others to see when someone has begun to compulsively abuse the drug. When an individual becomes intoxicated, hydrocodone can cause drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, urinary retention and in higher amounts, depressed respiration. Other signs of Lortab addiction include:
- Secretive behavior
- Constant confusion
- Coordination problems
- Hostility toward those who bring up the individual’s drug abuse
- A change in friendship circles
- Apathy toward activities that once mattered to the individual
- Anxiety and depression-related issues
- Mood swings
- Constant headaches
- Drug-seeking behavior
- This includes a willingness to do dangerous things in order to obtain more of the drug. Many individuals who become addicted to Lortab will buy the medication illegally, fake or steal prescriptions, or go to different doctors and fake pain issues in order to continue receiving access to the drug.
The Effects of Lortab Addiction
A person who becomes addicted to this medication is more likely to experience mood disturbances, illness, and physical and psychological problems in general. Hydrocodone is generally abused orally, often in combination with alcohol.” This type of abuse makes the potential for overdose more likely, which can lead to severe respiratory depression and death. In addition, the acetaminophen present in Lortab can cause serious liver damage when the drug is taken in high doses.
Individuals who abuse Lortab in the long term and become addicted often experience
- Job loss or other problems at work
- School problems including low grades and disciplinary actions
- Financial distress
- Family or relationship issues
- General dissatisfaction with life
There is also a strong possibility that those who become addicted to hydrocodone products will turn to heroin as a means of overcoming tolerance. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in 3 recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Lortab addiction can become deadly and dangerous in many ways, and those in this state need proper addiction treatment in order to recover.
Lortab Addiction Treatment
The most frequently prescribed combination is hydrocodone and acetaminophen among hydrocodone brand names, which is why the issue of Lortab addiction is so common. Individuals who can easily get ahold of the drug usually do not consider the consequences of abusing it, and once addiction sets in, often only formal treatment will help the individual make a change.
Several options exist for the treatment of Lortab addiction. These options are drawn from research on the treatment of heroin addiction and include medications as well as behavioral counseling approaches. Some of the best treatments for prescription opioid addictions are:
- This medication is an opioid antagonist and is best used for individuals who need short-term treatment or are otherwise very serious about getting sober, as its effects can hard for many patients to tolerate.
- This drug is a partial opioid analgesic that can be used in both short-term and long-term addiction treatment and as a means of medically-assisted withdrawal. Patients can visit a doctor’s office in order to receive buprenorphine.
- Those who have been abusing Lortab for a long time might receive the best results with methadone, as a patient can often be maintained on the synthetic opioid drug for as long as possible.
- Cognitive-behavioral Therapy
- CBT teaches patients ways to fight their cravings and how to change the way they view their addictions.
- Contingency management
- CM helps addicted individuals readjust the changes made to the reward pathway in the brain by allowing them to receive vouchers that reward them for staying sober.
- Group therapy
- Group therapy allows patients to meet other individuals in need of opioid addiction treatment and to discuss their issues in front of a group which can be particularly healing.
Individualized drug counseling and support groups are two other options for Lortab addiction treatment that can also be very beneficial. Medically-assisted withdrawal, medication, therapy, and other treatments (such as vocational and legal help and aftercare) can all be part of a comprehensive treatment regimen for Lortab addiction.