Vicodin Addiction and Abuse

Vicodin is prescribed as a pain medication. It is made of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and hydrocodone, which is a synthetic version of codeine. Vicodin abuse is all too common among users and is one of the most common subjects of prescription drug abuse.

What is Vicodin Addiction?

No one sets out to deliberately become a Vicodin addict. They may get a prescription for this medication following surgery, an injury, or for chronic pain. If the person is not getting the level of pain relief they are expecting to get from the medication, they may start using it more often than directed by their doctor. This behavior is the start of Vicodin addiction.

Signs of Vicodin Dependence

Signs that your use of Vicodin has gone from taking the medication the way your doctor intends to a case of Vicodin abuse are:

  • Taking larger amounts than directed on the bottle
  • Visiting more than one doctor to get a prescription
  • Needing to take more of the drug to get the same effect
  • Feeling guilty about the amount you are taking or your actions to get more Vicodin
  • Have symptoms like night sweats, insomnia, or muscle aches when you stop taking the medication

Causes of Dependency

A person may become physically dependent on Vicodin after taking it for only a few weeks. It is also a psychologically addictive substance. Vicodin use affects the user's brain by stopping it from producing endorphins. Over time, the person involved in Vicodin abuse doesn't feel they can function normally without the medication. Using Vicodin produces the kinds of good feelings that brain chemicals like endorphins produce.

Effects of Use

This is a narcotic medication, which means that using it tends to make the user feel sluggish. Symptoms of Vicodin use include:

  • Anxiety
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lethargy
  • Sense of relaxation

Complications and Long Term Effects of Vicodin Abuse

Vicodin abuse can lead to several complications. Here are some side effects you need to be aware of:

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Trouble urinating
  • Vomiting

Vicodin addicts need to be aware that using this drug may make diagnosing medical conditions affecting the abdominal region. It also makes it more difficult for you to cough. This can cause problems if you have recently had surgery or have a medical condition affecting the lungs.

Help and Treatment for Vicodin Addiction

For Vicodin addicts, the first step in getting help is to go through detox. Since a person who has been using the medication long enough to become addicted likely has developed a high tolerance for it, the detox stage should be supervised by trained medical personnel in a hospital or drug rehab clinic setting. In some cases, slowly cutting back on the dosage is the right approach, while other people in Vicodin addiction treatment can stop all at once. The withdrawal phase may be painful, and the person may experience other withdrawal symptoms. Here are some examples:

  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats
  • Trembling

Beyond Quitting: Vicodin Recovery and Rehabilitation

After the detoxification stage is completed, the next step is to deal with the psychological aspects of the addiction. Vicodin treatment needs to address the underlying reasons for the addiction and how to prevent a relapse. Since someone who is addicted to Vicodin may not simply be able to stop, no matter how much they want to, group and individual therapy needs to address the possibility of a relapse and provide strategies for dealing with one if it occurs.

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