What We Know
Vicodin is the brand name of a powerful pain medicine containing acetaminophen and hydrocodone. It is commonly prescribed for severe pain management after surgery or an injury and it’s highly addictive. It is an opiate, which is a class of drugs that suppress the central nervous system and pain receptors in the brain.
Vicodin is extremely addictive because the brain can easily become dependent on it. Even users who never intended on becoming dependent or addicted to the drug end up abusing it, even if they were prescribed Vicodin by a doctor. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are 4.3 million nonmedical users of painkillers as of 2014.
Let’s look at the important signs of Vicodin addiction and the effects of this opiate to help you or a loved one get the help they deserve.
Vicodin Addiction Symptoms
Vicodin is an opiate that suppresses the central nervous system, meaning that a user is likely to experience slower brain function and motor skills. Vicodin addiction symptoms include:
Slowed heart rate
Taking more of the substance than is intended
Stealing to afford Vicodin
“Doctor shopping” to obtain more Vicodin prescriptions
Buying Vicodin illegally
Vicodin alone is dangerous for any user, but it’s especially dangerous when combined with other substances, such as alcohol. With these two suppressants combined, users can suppress their central nervous system so much that it will actually shut down, which can be fatal. This dangerous opiate affects a user’s behavior, health, relationships, and daily functions.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Like other opiates, such as heroin, fentanyl, or oxycodone, the withdrawal symptoms are less likely to be fatal but can be extremely uncomfortable. They often include both physical and psychological symptoms, such as:
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Decrease in appetite
Intense Vicodin cravings
A runny nose
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Difficulty handling stressful situations
Withdrawal symptoms can present themselves as soon as eight hours after the last dose of Vicodin leaves the body and last between 7 and 10 days. But, some symptoms can last for weeks or even months, depending on a user’s health and severity of addiction. The longest lasting withdrawal symptoms when a user stops using Vicodin are the psychological symptoms, such as those listed above.
Effects of Vicodin Use
Not only does Vicodin affect a user in the short-term, but there are also a number of long-term effects of Vicodin use on both the brain and the body.
Effects of Vicodin Use on the Brain
Like other opioids, Vicodin influence the brain’s reward system and opioid production. Our brains naturally produce opioids, but when an outside substance is introduced, it produces much more. The brain then registers this as a reward system and becomes dependent on those increased opioids, meaning that it needs more and more of the drug present to continue the cycle. This leads to Vicodin dependency and addiction.
Effects of Vicodin Use on the Body
As mentioned, Vicodin is a central nervous system suppressant, so many of the physical effects of this drug are as a result of this. For example, long-term Vicodin use can cause:
A decrease in motor control
Slow and shallow breathing
Reduced oxygen to the brain
Changes in pain perception
The central nervous system is responsible for nearly all of our important physical and mental controls, which is why Vicodin addiction is so dangerous. According to DrugAbuse.com, in recent years there have been more overdose deaths caused by prescription opioids like Vicodin than heroin and crack combined. If you or someone you know is addicted to Vicodin, contact us today to get help.
Co-occurring disorders, sometimes called dual diagnoses, are when a user struggles with both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. These co-occurring disorders require special treatment programs because they often feed off of each other. For example, a client might be prescribed an opiate for their depression or anxiety, but then become addicted to the opiate. Both disorders then exacerbate the other and the symptoms blend together.
In order to get sober, both parts of the equation must be addressed. Otherwise, the risk of relapse increases because someone struggling with a mental health condition might crave a substance and start the cycle over again.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
When treating Vicodin addiction, there are both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient programs involve a client living on-site and receiving around the clock care. Inpatient programs are structured and include group and individual therapy, medically-assisted treatments where necessary, behavioral work, and free time. All of this seeks to help a client build a life outside of substance abuse so that when they return to their normal lives, they can stay clean.
Outpatient treatment programs involve scheduled sessions with a client and dedicated professionals. These outpatient therapies can be as frequent or sparse as a client needs, depending on their needs. But just because outpatient care isn’t as structured as inpatient treatment, it can still be a very successful tool in fighting Vicodin addiction.
A third option for busy professionals to continue their care is a telehealth program. Through telehealth, clients can use video technology to receive care on their schedule. They can continue to further the connections they built during their inpatient or outpatient treatment and stay on the road to long-term recovery. It has been long believed that a support system helps people reach recovery and telehealth makes this connection easier.
If you want more information on our inpatient or outpatient care for busy professionals that are ready to get sober, contact us today.
Substance Abuse and Medical Health Services. Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Sept, 2015.DrugAbuse.com. The Effects of Vicodin Use. Aug, 2016.