Lortab Dependence – Signs of Lortab Use Vs. Abuse, Tolerance
- Print VersionIn This Article
- Is Lortab Addictive?
- Understanding Lortab Dependency and Tolerance
- Effects/Side Effects
- Withdrawal and Detoxification
- Treatment for Lortab Addiction
Lortab is a prescription drug made up of acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate. Hydrocodone is a synthetic variant of codeine, and it can be addictive, especially for individuals with a history of substance abuse. Because of the potential for abuse, hydrocodone is considered a Schedule III controlled substance. As a hydrocodone-containing product, Lortab falls under this classification, so it is only available by prescription.
Is Lortab Addictive?
How addictive is Lortab? Lortab is considered a moderately addictive drug. Most people who become addicted to Lortab start using the drug legitimately and develop an addiction over time. Recreational use of Lortab is rare, although some people do attempt to use the drug to get high and thereby develop an addiction in this way. Signs that someone is addicted to Lortab include taking the drug without a prescription or taking higher or more frequent doses of Lortab than the specific prescribed dose. An addicted individual often tries tactics such as obtaining prescriptions from multiple doctors or tampering with prescriptions in order to get more of the drug. If you or someone you know has an addiction to Lortab or needs more information about reducing Lortab dependence, fill out our short contact form or call 1-888-803-9961.
Understanding Lortab Dependency and Tolerance
Lortab dependence develops over time in individuals who take it to control pain. Physical dependence on Lortab occurs because the brain receptors stimulated by the drug come to rely on it. Physical dependence can develop in just a few days of continuous use in some individuals, although it more often takes a few weeks to develop. An individual may also become psychologically addicted to Lortab. Psychological dependence may develop if the person feels that he or she cannot handle chronic or acute pain without the help of the drug. People taking Lortab may develop tolerance and need stronger, more frequent doses to manage their pain. Different people develop different levels of tolerance depending on their individual biochemistry.
According to Dr. Jann Gumbiner for a Psychology Today website report, many people who have used marijuana recreationally have not experienced addiction to it. However, other medical experts would argue that long-term use of marijuana could cause addiction. Marijuana is a dry mix of shredded stems, seeds, leaves and flowers that derive from the hemp plant known as Cannabis Satvia. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main ingredient in marijuana and is a strong mind-altering substance. It is believed to be this that causes long-term use of marijuana to lead to addiction.
The hydrocodone in Lortab affects the opiate receptors in the brain, but the precise mechanism of action remains unknown. Lortab does not produce a high like illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or marijuana. Instead, Lortab causes sensations of relaxation and well-being. In addition, the user experiences a significant reduction in any existing chronic or acute pain. Side effects are also possible. For example, a person who takes Lortab may feel sedated, dizzy, or lightheaded. Nausea and vomiting may also occur as side effects. Coming down from Lortab can be unpleasant for individuals with severe chronic or acute pain because the sensations of pain return as the drug wears off. People who do not have significant pain may notice that they become less relaxed as the drug wears off. An overdose of hydrocodone can cause irregular breathing, a drop in blood pressure, coma or death. Taking Lortab for long periods of time can lead to constipation. When used in combination with alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines, Lortab can potentially cause fatal breathing problems. The acetaminophen component of Lortab can cause acute liver failure when taken in high amounts. Doses of over 4,000 milligrams, the amount in about eight Lortab tablets, can cause sudden, irreversible liver failure. High doses of acetaminophen can also cause respiratory problems and heart failure.
Withdrawal and Detoxification
Withdrawal from Lortab typically requires treatment in order to help manage the cravings that occur as the user stops taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include strong cravings, goose bumps, shivering, sneezing, runny nose, fever, diarrhea, rigid muscles, vomiting, pain, hallucinations, sweating, insomnia, restlessness, involuntary leg movements, and a rapid heartbeat. Gradual detoxification can help prevent or reduce some of the withdrawal symptoms and is generally preferred over suddenly stopping the drug. Some doctors prescribe another drug during or immediately after detoxification to help manage the withdrawal symptoms and help prevent relapse. Anyone attempting to stop using Lortab should do so under the care of a physician who can monitor the patient’s withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment for Lortab Addiction
Lortab abuse treatment should take into account the original problem that the medication was prescribed for. If Lortab was initially used for pain relief, other methods of pain relief may need to be used in place of this drug while the patient undergoes detoxification and treatment. Both the physical dependence and the psychological issues surrounding the addiction must be addressed for treatment to be successful. Treating Lortab addiction usually requires the assistance of a medical professional, but full recovery is possible with this type of help.