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What Does A Hydrocodone High Look Like?

By Manjari Bansal
Medically Reviewed by Yilang Tang, MD, PhD on July 11, 2021
Is someone you love abusing hydrocodone? Learn the symptoms of a hydrocodone high and how to get help.

Hydrocodone is one of the most commonly-abused prescription opioids, according to American Addiction Centers. When taken as prescribed, the drug works to reduce pain. When it is abused, however, it produces a feeling of euphoria or “high.” Knowing the signs of a hydrocodone high may help you to distinguish the signs of opioid abuse. Read on to learn about the key signs of a hydrocodone high and when to get help.

Signs of Hydrocodone Intoxication

A hydrocodone high may look different in different people, but in most people, there is one common effect: “The opiates can make people have a false sense of euphoria,” Jordana Latozas, MSN, nurse practitioner and president of Recovery Mobile Clinic in Michigan, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

According to the American Addiction Centers, if someone is high on hydrocodone, you may also notice the following symptoms:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness or “nodding off”
  • Changes in mood
  • Relaxed state
  • Itchiness
  • Inability to answer simple questions or perform simple tasks
  • Tiredness or lack of energy
  • Feeling more social or content
  • Unresponsive with slow heart and breathing rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weak pulse
  • Combative or aggressive when aroused

Hydrocodone Abuse Symptoms

A person may start using hydrocodone as a legitimate prescription provided by their doctor to treat pain. But due to its euphoric effect, this “can turn into illegally purchasing hydrocodone, which can lead to misuse, abuse, and addiction,” Jamie Bolduc, DO, family medicine physician in Miami, Fla., tells WebMD Connect to Care.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 11 million Americans aged 12 or older had abused opioids in the past year. The majority of them had misused prescription pain medications, such as hydrocodone.

In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) changed hydrocodone combination products from a Schedule III to a Schedule II classification. This means that they moved these products from the class of drugs that pose a “moderate to low potential” for addiction and abuse (Schedule III) to the class of drugs that pose a “high potential” for addiction and abuse (Schedule II). 

According to the American Addiction Centers, the most common symptoms of hydrocodone abuse include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Depression
  • Tightness in chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma
  • Seizure

Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.

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