It is most commonly prescribed for moderate to severe pain on a short-term basis. Despite that, many health care providers continue to prescribe it time and again for patients, often for longer periods of time than it should ideally be prescribed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2.1 million Americans have substance use disorders related to prescription opioid painkillers.
Who Uses It and How?
The most common abusers of Lortab include women, adolescents, and seniors. Unfortunatley, Lortab abuse is only growing in popularity among youths as is the abuse of other substances, with the NIDA citing seven out of 10 teenagers who use prescription opioids non-medically and combine them with other substances. Typically, Lortab is swallowed in its oral tablet form, but some users choose to crush the tablet and snort it, while others may mix it with water and inject it — the most dangerous methods considering Lortab is manufactured in an extended-release form. This means the construction of the pill allows for it to slowly release more medication over a span of several hours.
When crushed, the entire concentrated dose is ingested and could be fatal.
Signs of Addiction
Being dependent on any drug generally brings with it certain signs and symptoms that can be hard to ignore. If you, or your loved one, are misusing or abusing Lortab and you find any of the following sounds familiar to you, it is time to seek the help of professionals who are experienced in treating Lortab addiction:
- Avoiding withdrawal by using Lortab again before it sets in
- Loss of interest in social activities
- Failed attempts to quit or cut back on using
- Obsessed with making sure you have enough of the drug on hand and knowing where you will get more when you need it
- Persistent use of Lortab even when it’s been a detriment to your life
Along with symptoms of addiction, abusing Lortab can come with some pretty unpleasant side effects. Non-drug abusers often don’t understand how abusers can suffer from such and continue to use and abuse the drug, but that is all part of addiction. Some abusers will experience severe side effects as a result of Lortab abuse. All too often, individuals assume that prescription drugs are somehow safer to consume. Naturally, people are inclined to believe a drug that a physician regularly prescribes must come with little dangers associated with it. Quite the contrary, serious side effects of Lortab include:
- Liver damage
- Respiratory depression
- Decreased hormone production
- Hearing loss
In addition, the opioid portion of the drug isn’t the only concern. While many view acetaminophen — popularly branded as Tylenol — as a safe pain relief option, in large doses, it can be fatal. ProPublica notes drugs containing acetaminophen have been linked to as many as 980 overdose deaths in one year’s time.
Frequently, those who abuse drugs find — if they don’t already know — that they’re suffering from a mental health disorder. In fact, this is the case for 29 percent of substance abusers, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Typically, drugs like Lortab numb many of the uncomfortable symptoms of a lot of mental health disorders. Thus, abusers self-medicate, quite often not even understanding why they feel the way they do.
For some, it has never occurred to them that something could be wrong with their mental health. Yet their moods are up and down frequently, or they can’t snap out of a persistently depressed mood altogether. Then they’re injured, and their doctor prescribes Lortab for the pain. Over time, they notice their mood swings and other symptoms like fatigue and disinterest in social activities feel more manageable. They may have a greater capacity for brushing off things that bother them when under the influence of Lortab. Before long, abuse escalates and addiction takes hold.
Treatment for Abuse and Addiction
It can be incredibly difficult to try to detox from a substance on your own. If you’re considering such, keep in mind that the majority of individuals who do so end up relapsing, and often sooner than they would have with professional care. In addition, detox is merely the first of many steps that must be taken to successfully treat an addiction to Lortab. This isn’t a substance you can wean yourself off and consider it done. Continued care — either on an inpatient or outpatient basis — is vital for long-term sobriety. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids notes that patients who seek continued treatment within a month of detox take 40 percent longer to relapse, if they ever do. Furthermore, detoxing isn’t as simple as letting the drugs run their course and cutting off your future supply when it comes to opioids. The preferred method of treatment includes continued rounds of medicated maintenance therapies while you are slowly weaned off opioid-based drugs altogether. One of the most widely recognized detox programs for opioids is methadone maintenance treatment, which boasts an impressive 60 to 90 percent success rate, per the California Society of Addiction Medicine. Following it is buprenorphine, another opioid agonist that serves the same purpose but comes with the added benefit of inhibiting the user’s ability to get high on the drug — even with large doses. The Fix reports buprenorphine was successful in 88 percent of treated patients in one study. Comprehensive care may include any combination of therapy —group and individual, support groups, medication, nutrition assistance, exercise regimes, and more. If you have been struggling with Lortab abuse, there is hope. We can help you get well and achieve balance. Call Futures of Palm Beach and speak with a representative today.