Into Action Recovery Centers provides effective, individualized Vicodin addiction treatment. Our highly trained, professional staff understands the unique challenges faced by Vicodin addicts in their path to sobriety. We offer a range of rehabilitation and treatment options, from long-term residential programs to outpatient treatment and support programs. These include group and individual counseling, 12-step immersion, family therapy, mindfulness training and securing sober living arrangements for your next phase of sobriety. Our focus is you and your sobriety, whether you are seeking treatment on your own or for court-ordered treatment.
What Is Vicodin Used For?
Vicodin is a prescription medication used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It contains a combination of hydrocodone, a synthetic opioid, and acetaminophen, a non-steroid pain reliever.
As a central nervous system depressant, Vicodin lowers pain levels and is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the US. Instead of pain, panic attacks, and anxiety, Vicodin produces pain relief and feelings of calm.
These same benefits make Vicodin a popularly misused drug. According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report, approximately 10.3 million people misused opioids in 2018. The same report reveals that the vast majority of opioid users misused prescription pain relievers like Vicodin. As the opioid crisis continues to result in drug overdose and death, learning more about prescription opioids like Vicodin is extremely important.
Common Signs of Vicodin Addiction
Although signs and symptoms of Vicodin use differ from person to person, the most common warning signs and symptoms associated with Vicodin addiction affect the users’ mood, behavior, and body. These symptoms include:
- Feelings of euphoria
- Mood swings
- Continuing to use Vicodin despite negative consequences
- Lying and stealing money from family and friends
- Forging prescriptions
- “Losing” prescriptions in order to obtain more
- “Doctor shopping,” or visiting multiple doctors to obtain more Vicodin prescriptions
- Stealing or borrowing Vicodin from family or friends
- Intense cravings for Vicodin
- Hiding Vicodin in the house, car, at work, or even at school
- Lying about the frequency or amount of Vicodin consumed
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, work or school
- Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
- Withdrawing from once-enjoyed activities
- Inability to focus
- Preoccupation with obtaining and using Vicodin
- Liver or kidney damage
- Difficulty urinating
- Slow heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Psychological changes
- Cloudy thinking
- Irritability and agitation
How Does Vicodin Affect the Body and Brain?
When consumed, Vicodin travels into the bloodstream, reaching the brain and attaching itself to pain receptors. Once attached, Vicodin blocks the body’s pain signals, creating feelings of relief and euphoria. As a depressant, Vicodin also affects the brain by slowing down activity in the central nervous system and inhibiting brain activity. This leads to physical effects like drowsiness, poor concentration, dizziness, low blood pressure and slowed breathing.
Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to Vicodin and begins to depend on it in order to function normally. Dependent Vicodin users need to consume more of the drug just to feel normal. Chronic Vicodin use can lead to kidney and liver failure and brain damage.
The Short-Term Effects of Vicodin on the Body
When a person takes Vicodin for the first time, the pleasure, pain relief and sense of calm they feel make them want to take more of the drug. Often by the second use, they already begin to experience more adverse effects.
Some of the most common short-term effects of Vicodin on the body include:
- Brain fog or confusion
- Slowed heart rate
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Drowsiness, sleepiness and a sedated-like feeling
- Stomach cramping
- Difficulty urinating
- Difficulty breathing
Although symptoms may appear mild, misusing Vicodin in any way for any period of time is dangerous. Tolerance for the drug builds up fairly quickly as the brain begins to develop a chemical need for Vicodin. If left untreated, misusing Vicodin can lead to addiction.
The Long-Term Effects of Vicodin on the Body
Some of the most common long-term effects associated with Vicodin include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Changes in pain perception
- Hearing loss
- Chronic constipation and increased risk of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Liver damage
- Kidney failure
- Cardiovascular damage
- Brain damage
- Reproductive problems
- High-risk pregnancy
Is Taking Vicodin Dangerous?
Although Vicodin use is legal when prescribed and overseen by a physician, misuse can be highly dangerous. Hydrocodone is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs among teens and young adults, but most people fail to understand that hydrocodone also changes the way the brain functions. Chronic misuse of hydrocodone alters the brain by disrupting its careful chemical balance. As a result, when a person stops taking the drug, they feel anxious, depressed, and often physically sick.
Unlike hydrocodone, acetaminophen isn’t addictive. However, the drug does take a toll on the liver. Although the liver processes most of acetaminophen, some of it becomes a toxic metabolite that harms the organ. Taking too much acetaminophen too often increases the risk for liver damage. Together, hydrocodone and acetaminophen, although effective, make Vicodin a risky drug.
As an opiate, Vicodin produces a feeling of euphoria along with pain relief. Over time, the addict builds tolerance and requires higher and more frequent doses to provide pain relief or induce the same euphoric high. Addicts often switch to heroin or other opiates if their supply of hydrocodone is unavailable, leading the addict to progress to snorting and injection to achieve the high from the drug.
There is a large underground market for Vicodin, leading to prescription fraud on the part of patients and doctors who provide the drug for sale.
Many users feel that since Vicodin is a prescribed drug, they cannot become addicted to its use and, since they can continue to get prescriptions, that they are not addicted. And since it is relatively easy for addicted patients to “shop” doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions to supply their increasing need for Vicodin, they are reinforced in the perception that their drug use is “normal.”
Even prescribed by a physician, Vicodin can be dangerous. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor or a medical professional if you or a loved one are experiencing short-term or long-term effects of Vicodin use.
Common Symptoms of Vicodin Withdrawal
Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant. Common Vicodin withdrawal symptoms include:
- Psychological difficulties like irritability, agitation, mood swings, anxiety and confusion about the place, date and time
- Appetite changes, including an increased craving for Vicodin paired with a reduced appetite
- Physical irregularities like tremors, enlarged pupils, nausea, vomiting, sweating, diarrhea, salivation, shivering, goosebumps, rapid breathing, muscle aches, and cramps
- Sleep disturbances like insomnia, restlessness, exhaustion, and overall fatigue
- Common cold and flu symptoms like a runny nose, fever, sweating, chills, and nasal congestion
Often, these symptoms tend to dissipate after 7 to 10 days. However, certain symptoms like sleep disturbances, cravings, anxiety, and mood swings can last for several weeks or months.
Less common but more severe cases of Vicodin withdrawal can include post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome refers to any symptoms that linger after acute withdrawal has resolved. Most times, it feels like a “rollercoaster” of symptoms that come and go suddenly. Although an episode of PAWS may only last for a few days, the syndrome itself can last for weeks, months, or even a year. For this reason, people with PAWS receive the most effective treatment in an inpatient treatment program.
Some of the most common symptoms of PAWS include:
- Difficulty with cognitive tasks, such as learning, problem solving and memory recall
- Anxious feelings and panic attacks
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
- Apathy or pessimism
- Increased sensitivity to stress
Treatment for Vicodin Addiction At Into Action
Vicodin addiction is best treated in a professional rehabilitation center. Here at Into Action Recovery Centers, we first begin treatment by detoxing the body. Our onsite medical detox program provides our clients with a safe, medically-supervised environment to begin the recovery process.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
- Individual, Group and Family Counseling
- Peer Support
- Recovery activities
At Into Action, we recognize the difficulty in convincing the addicted person that help is needed to treat their Vicodin abuse. Our compassionate, experienced staff works with each client to fully prepare them for the challenges they will face during recovery.
An addiction to Vicodin may be debilitating but it doesn’t have to control your life forever. Treatment is possible. So call our offices today at 844-303-3969 if you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to Vicodin.
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