Medically Reviewed

Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

- 7 sections

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid that doctors use to treat moderate to severe pain. While this substance can manage pain, it is not recommended for long-term use. Using hydrocodone long-term or in a manner other than prescribed can result in dependence and addiction.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), prescription opioids like hydrocodone were responsible for 14,712 overdose deaths in 2022.[1]

If you or a loved one suffers from hydrocodone addiction, it’s important to be aware of how withdrawal works. Once you stop using hydrocodone, you will experience withdrawal symptoms like muscle aches, flu-like symptoms, drug cravings, and changes in heart rate. Withdrawal can begin as early as 6 hours after your last dose and continue for a little over a week.

Thankfully, medical detox centers can provide you with FDA-approved medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms. While hydrocodone withdrawal is not life-threatening, receiving medical treatment will lessen your chances of relapsing substantially.

What you will learn:

  • The symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal
  • How long the symptoms of opioid withdrawal last
  • How medical detox centers treat hydrocodone withdrawal

What are the Symptoms of Hydrocodone Withdrawal?

Hydrocodone withdrawal occurs when you suddenly stop taking the medication after a period of physical dependency. Withdrawal can occur whether you were simply taking the medication for a long period or if you were struggling with addiction. Either way, opiate withdrawal requires professional treatment within a detox center.

The symptoms and side effects of hydrocodone withdrawal may include:[2]

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Teary eyes and runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • Frequent yawning
  • Fatigue or insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Cravings to use hydrocodone
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills

While hydrocodone withdrawal can be difficult to endure, you have a variety of treatment options to choose from. First, you should attend a medical detox center that can assist you throughout the withdrawal process. Once you overcome withdrawal, you should enter an inpatient or outpatient treatment program to address the root causes of your substance use disorder.

Understanding the Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline

If you stop taking an opioid when you are struggling with addiction, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Even though hydrocodone withdrawal is not fatal, you should seek professional help. Without the medications offered during detox, you could end up relapsing.

While everyone experiences withdrawal differently, most people follow a general timeline. The timeline for hydrocodone withdrawal is as follows:

6 to 12 Hours

The half-life for hydrocodone is about four hours.[3] As a result, your withdrawal symptoms will begin within 6 to 12 hours after your last dose. The early symptoms are usually mild and might include body aches, sweating, slight flu-like symptoms, and cravings for hydrocodone.

3 to 5 Days

Sometime between three to five days after your last dose, your symptoms will begin to peak. In other words, hydrocodone withdrawal is the most severe during this period. You might experience vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, sweating, chills, severe cravings for hydrocodone, and more.

Thankfully, medical detox programs will already have you on FDA-approved medications to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms. Your symptoms will not become severe if you are under the care of a detox center and your risk of relapse will be reduced.

One Week

Around the 7th day of withdrawal, your physical symptoms will begin to subside. You might continue to experience psychological symptoms like cravings for hydrocodone, irritability, and insomnia. These symptoms can persist for weeks or even months, making it vital that you have access to detox services.

If you experience mental health symptoms longer than a week, you might have post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This condition causes prolonged psychological symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Thankfully, PAX Memphis can connect you with a detox center that is equipped to manage conditions like PAWS.

How Does Detox for Hydrocodone Withdrawal Work?

Hydrocodone withdrawal is not directly life-threatening, however, symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration.[4] For this reason, medical detox is absolutely vital to your health. Additionally, without treatment, the cravings for hydrocodone could lead to a relapse.

Opioid detox programs treat hydrocodone withdrawal with a combination of medications, health monitoring, and psychological support.

During hydrocodone detox, you might be given one of the following medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms:[5]

  • Suboxone
  • Methadone
  • Clonidine
  • Lucemyra

These medications will prevent you from experiencing severe symptoms and ensure your cravings remain at a minimum. In addition, nurses will monitor your vital signs consistently. As a result, your heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and temperature will remain stable throughout the entire process.

Because withdrawal can be mentally taxing, you will have constant access to a mental health professional. If you need individual therapy, group counseling, or a support group, you will be able to participate in these services throughout your stay.

Once you overcome withdrawal, you will be transferred into an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program. The level of care you receive will depend on your personal needs. These programs are designed to help you address the root causes of your addiction and develop relapse-prevention skills to maintain long-term recovery.

Get Connected to a Hydrocodone Detox Center

Hydrocodone addiction is a chronic and progressive condition that requires professional treatment. The first step in recovery should always be medical detox. These programs will help you overcome withdrawal symptoms using a combination of evidence-based approaches.

At PAX Memphis, we can connect you with a top-rated hydrocodone detox center. Our admissions counselors will assess your specific needs and refer you to a reputable detox center in your area. Additionally, we can help you find inpatient and outpatient treatment programs to transfer into once you complete your detox journey.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find hydrocodone detox and addiction treatment in Memphis and other areas of Tennessee.


  1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Drug Overdose Death Rates
  2. Medline Plus: Opiate and opioid withdrawal
  3. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Vicodin Label
  4. The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre: Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal
  5. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Withdrawal Management