Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States. Duodin is a brand name for hydrocodone combined with acetaminophen, and is prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain.
By incorporating two different kinds of painkillers into one medication, Duodin can treat patients more effectively at lower doses than if the drugs were used separately. Conservative dosing is important when it comes to opiate drugs like hydrocodone, as they are highly addictive, especially when you take more than you actually need—or when you take it recreationally, without a prescription.
Understanding Duodin Abuse
Duodin works by blocking the reception of pain signals in your brain—the signal is still being transmitted by your nerves and spinal cord, but you no longer feel the pain. The area of the brain where pain is processed is also where pleasure is processed.
While the hydrocodone in Duodin is binding itself to opiate receptors, your brain is at the same time being induced to release additional dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates your brain’s reward and pleasure center.
The relatively small amounts of dopamine released when Duodin is taken as directed creates a mild sense of wellbeing that helps you cope with pain, and helps to protect your body from being damaged by shock from surgery or injury. When Duodin is abused—i.e. when you take a higher than prescribed dose, or you ingest the pill by crushing and snorting it, or by dissolving it in liquid and then injecting it—an abnormally large amount of dopamine is released, producing euphoria and extreme calm.
Because our brains use dopamine to encourage natural behaviors such as eating and sex, this effect literally trains us to abuse Duodin again and again. While part of our brain knows that drug use is unhealthy, another part keeps insisting that drug use is good and we should do whatever is necessary to repeat the experience.
Signs and Symptoms of Duodin Abuse
Considering Duodin’s highly addictive properties, it should not be surprising that anyone who starts using it, even by prescription, could potentially get hooked. Some people manage to hide their drug use fairly well from loved ones. Many addicts are secretive, hiding and lying about how much they use—but there still may be signs that you can look out for.
Some signs and symptoms of Duodin addiction may include:
- unusual levels of anxiety and agitation
- constricted pupils
- unusual lethargy and drowsiness
- seeming euphoric for no reason
- an inability to concentrate
- taking more pills than recommended
- pretending to lose pills to get new prescriptions
- visiting multiple doctors or clinics with pain complaints
- new complaints of physical pain at times and feeling no pain at others
- failure to follow through on work, school, or home responsibilities
- financial trouble, asking for money without good reason, stealing
- avoiding people or activities that discourage drug use
Dangers of Duodin Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “For the brain, the difference between normal rewards and drug rewards can be described as the difference between someone whispering into your ear and someone shouting into a microphone. Just as we turn down the volume on a radio that is too loud, the brain adjusts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of receptors that can receive signals.”
What does this mean for the addict? Well, you become tolerant to Duodin and need more and more of it, not just to “get high,” but to avoid feeling the extreme low energy and depression that comes from dopamine depletion. Eventually you get to the point where you can’t find pleasure in anything at all, because the pleasure and reward center in your brain has been fried.
Unless you get help and give your body and brain lots of drug-free time to heal, your instincts will keep pushing you to take large, unsafe amounts of Duodin.
Tolerance increases your chance of overdose. According to MedlinePlus, symptoms of a hydrocodone and acetaminophen overdose include:
- bluish-colored fingernails and lips
- breathing problems, including slow and labored breathing, shallow breathing, or no breathing
- cold, clammy skin
- liver failure (from acetaminophen overdose)
- loss of consciousness
- low blood pressure
- muscle twitches
- tiny pupils
- spasms of the stomach and intestines
- weak pulse
Who Abuses Duodin?
All kinds of people abuse Duodin. They may begin innocently, such as by taking doses of a prescription too close together, and accidentally experiencing euphoria along with pain relief. Or they may take it recreationally, knowing their actions are illegal, but mistakenly believing that taking a few pills over the weekend is no different than drinking a few beers.
Still, no matter how addiction begins, Duodin abuse rapidly and easily leads to addiction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. In fact, as many as one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with opioid addiction. Once addicted, it can be hard to stop. In 2014, nearly two million Americans either abused or were dependent on prescription opioid pain relievers.”
A brain trained to seek out drugs is partly responsible for this dependence, but so is a body that’s been trained to expect drugs, so that when you try to cut down or quit using on your own, you experience withdrawal symptoms that make you give up.
According to MedlinePlus, these symptoms may include:
- teary eyes
- runny nose
- hair standing on end
- muscle pain
- widened pupils
- back or joint pain
- stomach cramps
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- nausea, vomiting
- loss of appetite
- fast breathing
- fast heartbeat
Am I Addicted to Duodin?
If you fear that you are addicted to Duodin, read and honestly answer the questions below:
- Do I abuse Duodin on a regular basis, daily or multiple times a day?
- Have friends or family confronted me about my drug use?
- Does this make me defensive and angry?
- Do I take drugs to avoid feeling negative emotions?
- Am I secretive about my drug use, and/or do I lie about when I use or how much I take?
- Have I tried to cut down or quit Duodin, but gave up due to withdrawal symptoms such as those listed above?
- Do I no longer feel able to be social, enjoy myself or get through ordinary tasks without taking drugs?
- Do I need more Duodin now than I did when I first started using?
- Have I experienced any major problems in the last year, such as a breakup, job loss, car accident, family problems, financial problems, or getting arrested as a result of my drug use?
- Despite knowing how bad my drug use is for me and my loved ones, do I feel unable to stop using Duodin on my own?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then you will likely benefit from professional substance abuse treatment.
Duodin Addiction Treatment
Suffering from addiction has nothing to do with character or willpower, and everything to do with brain function. Addiction is a chronic brain disease, but it can be managed with the right help.
Caring, experienced professionals are waiting at an affordable treatment center nearby, ready to guide to a brighter, happier future. All you have to do is accept their help.
Stages of Treatment
- Detox– As you give up your drug of choice, your body goes through a process called detoxification, ridding your system of harmful chemicals as it begins to heal the damage done by drug use. It’s best to have medical assistance for this. A doctor will know the best way to taper your dosage of Duodin, and/or will prescribe you medications to help you withdraw more comfortably.
- Talk therapy– Counseling one on one with a therapist, in a group, and with family members and significant others, is essential to all recovery plans.
- Behavioral interventions– To make sure you don’t fall back on old, destructive coping mechanisms after leaving a treatment program, you have to learn new ways of looking at and reacting to stress, drug cravings, and trigger situations.