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How Hydrocodone Affects Sleep

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Hydrocodone is a common prescription painkiller that can treat moderate to severe pain, but it also causes sedation, euphoria while slowing the central nervous system. Additionally, it is highly addictive and can be deadly when combined with other depressants or alcohol.

Many medical professionals prescribe hydrocodone to treat pain following injury or surgery, but it is also an increasingly popular recreational drug. While it strongly sedates users, it can also interfere with natural sleep patterns.

How Hydrocodone Affects the Brain

Opiates such as hydrocodone work by bonding to pain receptors in the central nervous system. In the process it also masks any negative emotions or symptoms of psychological disorders.

This all happens in the part of the brain that manages the following functions:

  • Impulse control
  • Anxiety response
  • Sleeping and waking
  • Appetite
  • Sexual response
  • Memory

The brain creates its own natural substances to manage pain, induce sleep and provide energy, but these chemicals halt when hydrocodone is present. When this happens, the natural chemical balance of the user is disrupted, so the user becomes dependent upon a continuing supply of opiates to function properly.

Potential Side Effects of Hydrocodone

The body develops a tolerance to hydrocodone very quickly, which means a user will need larger and more frequent doses to feel the desired effects. Escalating use increases the likelihood and severity of addiction, and it may also cause any of the following side effects:

  • Potentially permanent brain damage
  • Dangerously lowered respiratory and cardiac activity
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Lowered immunity and decreased ability to fight off infections
  • Desperate cravings for the drug that may lead to risky, drug-seeking behavior
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks

You may consider yourself addicted if you exhibit any of these signs.


How Hydrocodone Affects Sleep

Although hydrocodone can cause drowsiness when first taken, it actually disrupts the brain’s normal sleep functions. Users may experience any of the following symptoms when they first take the drug or develop a tolerance:

  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Twilight sleep (half awake, half asleep)
  • Memory problems

It is also common for users to report that, while they can fall asleep on the drug, they do not feel rested when they awake. This may be because hydrocodone disrupts sleep patterns, which causes users to plunge into deep slumber without REM sleep. Sleep is critical to health, so inadequate sleep can lead to depression and can make people more susceptible to physical illness.

Help for Sleep Disorders and Hydrocodone Rehab

If you experience sleep disorders that may stem from hydrocodone abuse, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline for help at 269.280.4673. Our addiction counselors can connect you with the best recovery resources and can even discuss insurance coverage and transportation to and from treatment. Get the sleep you need to feel strong, optimistic and confident. Call today for instant support.