When it comes to hydrocodone vs. codeine, there is a lot of confusion even among heavy users. There are a variety of health conditions that can lead veterans to need either of these opioids—particularly combat injuries during their service. And while hydrocodone and codeine are both effective painkillers, they both carry a strong risk of addiction, particularly among military personnel.
Veteran addiction is a unique phenomenon that only other veterans can truly understand. Keep reading for more information on hydrocodone vs. codeine and how veterans can achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction.
What Is Hydrocodone?
It’s not uncommon for veterans to have lingering chronic pain after their service. And depending on your unique situation, a physician may have written you a prescription for hydrocodone vs. codeine.
So, what is hydrocodone? Well, hydrocodone is a chemically manufactured opioid that’s often combined with acetaminophen. While the drug originates from the opium poppy, it is then synthesized in a lab, making this a man-made opioid.
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Hydrocodone belongs to a group of medicines called narcotic analgesics and is one of the most prescribed oral pain relievers. This Schedule II narcotic alleviates pain by changing the way your brain and central nervous system (CNS) respond to discomfort. Specifically, hydrocodone works by binding and activating the mu-opioid receptor in the CNS.
Effects of this binding can result in the following effects:
- Pain relief
- Respiratory depression
- Decreased gastrointestinal motility
- Physical dependence
The sad reality is that many of our veterans are left to suffer from chronic pain after sustaining an injury. And, for many veterans, the relief they get from hydrocodone can lead to developing a tolerance and an addiction.
What Is Codeine?
When it comes to hydrocodone vs. codeine, there are more similarities than differences. Like hydrocodone, codeine is also derived from the opium poppy. However, unlike hydrocodone, codeine isn’t quite as potent.
Another commonality the two drugs share is how they work in the body. Codeine performs the same way hydrocodone does; it blocks pain receivers by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. For this reason, it’s also a popular pain management tool for veterans dealing with combat injuries.
While severe pain may require a more powerful pain reliever to numb the effects, doctors typically prescribe codeine to veterans with more mild or moderate discomfort. Additionally, physicians use codeine to treat chronic coughing.
Of course, when comparing hydrocodone vs. codeine, it’s important to know that neither of them come without side effects. Analgesics like these can cause you to feel:
However, because of the addictive properties of these opioids, many veterans put up with the side effects. With hydrocodone vs. codeine, there is very little difference in the disastrous effects that they can have in a veteran’s life once they develop an opioid addiction.
Opioid Addiction and Veterans
As a former member of the U.S. armed forces, you are not alone in your hydrocodone vs. codeine addiction. In fact, the U.S. is currently involved in an ongoing public health crisis related to opioid deaths. Sadly, these losses include military personnel, who are among one the most at-risk groups for developing an opioid use disorder (OUD).
Many veterans struggle with biopsychosocial (BPS) challenges after their time in the service ends. Stressful social environments, mental health concerns, and physical pain are all factors that increase a person’s risk for an opioid-related overdose. To illustrate this, between 2010-2019, the rate of opioid-related overdoses among veterans increased by more than 50%.
Moreover, many veterans struggle with some form of mental health problem after their military service. Illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the struggle to re-acclimate to civilian life contribute to veterans being more apt to abuse opioids in an effort to self-medicate.
PTSD and Addiction
PTSD is a type of anxiety that occurs after an individual experiences trauma that their brain cannot effectively cope with. And the most common causes among veterans stems from experiences like combat exposure or military sexual trauma. But while veterans face many of the same causes of PTSD, each individual has their own unique experience with its symptoms. In some cases, people experience the symptoms of PTSD immediately following the event, where in others, symptoms may present right away.
The symptoms of PTSD are vast and affect everyone differently. However, there are some common symptoms that veterans with PTSD experience. These symptoms include:
- Intrusive thoughts and nightmares
- Feelings of shame or guilt
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Emotional dysfunction
- Irritability or aggression
In this way, PTSD alone and addiction often go together. For instance, veterans might initially begin taking hydrocodone vs. codeine for their chronic pain. But what they might not realize is that these drugs have a powerful effect of numbing emotions. And, over time, they may start to rely on these opioids to relieve their mental health symptoms.
In this way, these co-occurring disorders feed off each other. And using one to treat the other leads to developing unhealthy coping mechanisms that further worsen PTSD symptoms. This toxic relationship between extreme emotions and opioid abuse can make it hard to quit by yourself and even more challenging to stay sober.
Treatment Options for Hydrocodone vs. Codeine
What treatment option you need will vary depending on the condition you have. Heroes’ Mile in DeLand, Florida provides comprehensive care for veterans living with chronic pain and hydrocodone and codeine addiction.
Our veteran-focused addiction treatment programs include:
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Residential rehab
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
While enrolled in these opioid addiction treatment programs, veterans have a variety of treatment options proven to be effective in treating addiction to hydrocodone vs. codeine. These therapeutic techniques work by creating a veteran-to-veteran peer support network where military personnel can share their experiences and benefit from the support of their peers and addiction treatment professionals.
These treatment options include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Traumatic incident reduction therapy
- Equine therapy
- Art therapy
- Group therapy
Every patient at Heroes’ Mile follows a customized treatment program to ensure they’re getting the individualized care they need. By creating a space where veterans can share their stories with people who have lived through similar experiences, we give vets the best possible shot at recovery.
A Veteran Rehab Center Can Help
Clearly, when comparing hydrocodone vs. codeine, there is very little difference in how these drugs affect veterans. And at Heroes’ Mile, our highly qualified staff can help veterans dealing with any type of opioid addiction. During your time here, you will be surrounded by other veterans who face similar struggles.. For more information on how Heroes’ Mile can help you, reach out to our admissions specialists at 888-838-6692 or fill out a confidential contact form online.