Vicodin, from the synthetic opioid hydrocodone, is a highly addictive and abused opioid drug. As with all opioids, Vicodin provides swift relief of pain with an accompanying sense of deep relaxation and euphoria, creating a high risk for dependence to develop. Vicodin can become addictive in as few as two weeks of regular use, leading to Vicodin addiction behavior and physical symptoms. By recognizing these symptoms, it is possible to get the professional help needed to free yourself from the grip of a Vicodin addiction.
The prescription pain reliever, Vicodin, is made up of hydrocodone and acetaminophen and comes in three dosage levels of the hydrocodone, with the acetaminophen, which can cause liver damage, remaining constant at 300 mg. Vicodin is a Schedule II DEA controlled substance with a high risk of developing potential abuse or addiction.
When Vicodin is abused it is often taken with another substance, increasing the dangerous effects of the drug. Vicodin impacts the central nervous system in a similar way as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other depressants, which can have deadly consequences when used together with any of these substances, causing respiratory failure.
The Effects of Vicodin Abuse
Vicodin is an extremely effective analgesic, providing swift relief of mild to moderate pain. Because of its effectiveness people continue to take the drug longer than what is necessary, allowing their body to become less responsive to the drug’s effects. As tolerance to the drug ratchets up, the individual will be driven to take higher or more frequent doses as they chase that initial response of pain relieve, relaxation, and euphoria.
However, the brain’s opioid receptors have shifted their role as the inflow of the drug induces a flood of dopamine. Over time, the brain stops producing its own natural dopamine, having become chemically dependent on the Vicodin. The individual now begins to show signs of distress and experience negative consequences due to the increasing use of the drug. These might include loss of a job, getting into legal trouble, trouble in school, experiencing relationship problems, financial fallout, and social isolation.
Vicodin Addiction Behavioral and Physical Symptoms
As the Vicodin addiction behavioral, physical, and psychological symptoms compound, it becomes clear that the individual has acquired an addiction to the drug. When these symptoms present themselves it is important to consider getting professional treatment for the addiction.
- Memory difficulties
- Problems concentrating
- Doctor shopping or obtaining Vicodin illicitly
- Isolating behaviors
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Continuing to use Vicodin despite negative consequences
- Nodding off
- Slowed heart rate
- Constricted pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Chronic constipation
- Muscle pain
- Experience withdrawal symptoms if drug is unavailable
- Euphoria (in early phase of Vicodin abuse)
- Mood swings
- Mental confusion
- Craving the drug
- Obsession with obtaining the drug
Getting Help for a Vicodin Addiction
When you or a loved one is addicted to Vicodin there is a real fear of going through the withdrawal phase, causing many who need treatment to avoid it. While true that the withdrawal symptoms are highly unpleasant, these can be significantly mitigated through the medical interventions provided in a medically supervised detox program. This provides the best chance for the individual to actually complete the detox process and proceed to the active treatment phase in recovery. Without the help of a medical detox team, the individual is very likely to relapse back to the drug and never make it into rehab.
- Detox and Withdrawal. The typical detoxification period for Vicodin addiction is 7-10 days, although the duration and intensity of the withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on the amount of Vicodin regularly consumed, the length of history of the Vicodin addiction, and the individual’s general health status. Withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, nausea and vomiting, sweating, chills, muscle and joint pain, rapid breathing, insomnia, irritability, confusion, anxiety, fatigue, and diarrhea will peak on days 2-4 before beginning to subside. During the detox period, trained detox personnel will provide medications that will ease the symptoms, as well as offer psychological support.
- Treatment. Immediately following the completion of detox the individual will begin the process of addiction treatment. There are two basic options available: outpatient or inpatient rehab.
- Outpatient treatment is appropriate for individuals with a mild or recent addiction, and who have a strong support system at home. The individual will reside at home while engaging in outpatient rehab during the week, allowing them to continue to work and fulfill other responsibilities.
- Inpatient treatment is the highest level of care with the individual residing at the treatment center and receiving round the clock monitoring and a full daily schedule of therapeutic activities. Inpatient treatment is the better option for individuals who have a long history of abusing high levels of Vicodin.
Regardless of whether one chooses inpatient or outpatient treatment, the basic programming will include individual and group psychotherapy, classes about how addiction develops and how to prevent relapse, family therapy, 12-step or similar recovery group meetings, recovery skills education, and medication management.
- Continuing Care. After completing an outpatient or inpatient treatment program, the need for continuing therapy for a minimum of six months is essential. This is because overcoming an opioid addiction takes patience and perseverance and having regular meetings with a group and a therapist offers the needed support as challenges to sobriety are encountered. Sober living is another excellent post-rehab continuing care element. Sober living provides a drug and alcohol-free home environment where a built-in deterrent to relapse is present, due to regular testing. Sober living also helps recovering addicts to establish new, healthy routines and to learn to be accountable to others once again.
Solutions 4 Recovery Provides Expert Treatment for Vicodin Addiction Recovery
Solutions 4 Recovery is a highly respected addiction and dual diagnosis treatment program set in the south region of Orange County, California. The highly trained professional clinical staff is second to none in offering expertise in addiction recovery, including helping those exhibiting Vicodin addiction behavior and physical symptoms. In addition to the individualized treatment plan using evidence-based therapies, Solutions 4 Recovery blends in complementary activities, such as yoga, recreational therapy, and mindfulness training, to enhance the therapeutic results. For more information please contact Solutions 4 Recovery today at (888) 417-1874.