Vicodin (hydrocodone) is one of the most widely abused prescription painkillers in the United States. It is commonly prescribed to help treat moderate to severe pain, such as what would be experienced after a surgical procedure or injury. While Vicodin is highly effective in treating pain when taken as prescribed, it is also a habit-forming drug. Using Vicodin outside of prescribed recommendations can quickly lead to tolerance and dependence. This medication is one of several prescription painkillers that more than two million Americans are addicted to today.
Addiction is a disease that impacts the proper functioning of the brain. Abusing a medication like Vicodin to the point where an addiction has developed can lead to several mental, physical, emotional, and behavioral problems that permanently alter the course of a person’s life forever. The longer that Vicodin is abused for, the more likely an overdose becomes, which can be fatal.
An addiction to Vicodin is so powerful that it can be nearly impossible to hide from others. Eventually, someone who is addicted to Vicodin is going to display a series of signs and symptoms of their addiction that are undeniable.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
Each person with a substance use disorder will experience this disease in their own unique way. That means no two people will show the exact same signs of addiction at the same time. However, that does not mean that there are not several commonly shared signs of this type of addiction. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Using Vicodin for purposes not related to a medical condition or doctor’s recommendation
- Making attempts to stop using or cut back on Vicodin but being unsuccessful at doing so
- Experiencing panic or anxiety when unsure where or when they will get more access to Vicodin
- Continuing to abuse Vicodin despite suffering consequences as a result of use
- Developing withdrawal symptoms when unable to use
- Regularly increasing the amount of Vicodin they are consuming in order to feel high (this is known as tolerance)
- Feeling like they cannot function without Vicodin
- Socially isolating themselves from others in an effort to keep using without judgment
- Powerful cravings
- Experiencing problems at work, such as a demotion, write-ups, or even losing their job
- Problems with finances
- Getting into legal trouble
- Difficulty obtaining employment/trouble maintaining employment
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, such as keeping the house clean or spending time with the kids
- Developing poor personal hygiene, including wearing unlaundered clothing, not brushing their teeth or hair, and not showering regularly
People who are addicted to Vicodin often become defensive when they are questioned about their use of the painkiller. They also maybe become reckless in their behaviors and engage in dangerous activities, such as having unprotected sex or driving while under the influence.
Symptoms of Vicodin Addiction
The symptoms that a person with Vicodin addiction experiences are usually directly related to the severity of their disease. This generally means that the more serious the addiction to Vicodin, the more symptoms a person will experience. This is also true regarding the intensity of symptoms.
Vicodin is an opioid medication, which means that it produces depressant effects. Someone who is addicted to these medications is going to display symptoms consistent with the effects of a depressant when under the influence. These symptoms include:
- Poor coordination
- Slowed breathing
- Nodding off at inappropriate times (such as mid-conversation or while driving)
- Slowed physical movements
Vicodin addiction creates symptoms that are constantly present in addition to those that develop when under the influence. A person addicted to Vicodin can exhibit the following symptoms:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Decreased libido
- Weight loss
- Flu-like symptoms (such as runny nose, watery eyes)
- Chronic coughing
- Chronic constipation
- Sensitivity to pain (known as hyperalgesia)
- Track marks on arms if consumed intravenously
These symptoms are the most common in those who are addicted to Vicodin and can range in intensity depending on how much is being abused at a time.
Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
Addiction is a disease that, while not curable, can be treated. Someone who is addicted to Vicodin can obtain professional addiction treatment services that combine therapy, medications, and detox if necessary.
Detoxing from opioids of any kind can produce many painful and distressing symptoms. Many people make attempts to detox from opioids on their own only to find themselves using them shortly after they begin the process. That is because these symptoms can be too overwhelming to bear. When obtaining professional addiction treatment services, however, individuals ready to stop using Vicodin can detox safely and under the care of trained professionals. And added bonus to detoxing at a facility includes the use of medications like methadone or buprenorphine, both of which are frequently administered to help reduce cravings and upsetting withdrawal symptoms.
Therapy is vital in order for a person to determine why they began using Vicodin and what has kept them going back for more. Evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), individual psychotherapy, group counseling, and trauma treatment can help identify these issues so they can be properly addressed. The more involved a patient is in their therapy, the more beneficial it can be for them.
If a person has completed an addiction treatment program at a facility, they can participate in aftercare services to help them transition back into their everyday lives. An aftercare program is designed to provide support to recovering Vicodin addicts by helping them get connected to recovery services in their community, seeing a therapist regularly, and making lifestyle changes that support their overarching goals in recovery.
Each Vicodin user has their own personal experience with this substance. Therefore, treatment plans can be developed to meet their needs so that recovery is attainable.
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Are you struggling with a prescription painkiller addiction? You do not need to continue on down a dead-end path. Call us right now to learn more about how we can help you overcome your challenges with Vicodin addiction.
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