Vicodin is a prescription medication often misused by those who do not need it. Even when prescribed, people can develop a dependence on the drug. The longer it is misused or prescribed, the more likely one will develop a Vicodin addiction. In addition, just like other substances, there will be symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal when discontinuing the medication.
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin is the brand name of a prescription opioid medication that helps relieve pain. The drug is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen is a non-addictive mild pain reliever. Whereas hydrocodone is an opioid drug that is partially synthetic. Therefore, it is much more potent than morphine or codeine, also opiates.
How is Vicodin Addictive?
The hydrocodone in Vicodin binds to the opioid pain receptors in the brain and central nervous system. By binding to the pain receptors, the medication can disrupt the pain signals sent to the brain. As such, the perception of pain is reduced or eliminated.
Vicodin also increases the release of neurotransmitters responsible for pleasure, like dopamine. For example, one often experiences relaxation and calmness with increased dopamine release. Some people also experience a state of euphoria.
It is these sensations that are remembered by the brain as being desirable and pleasurable. Therefore, people want to experience these sensations again, resulting in cravings for Vicodin. The more the drug is taken to achieve the desired effects, the more dependence grows, which leads to addiction.
Side Effects of Vicodin Use
While many people can experience pleasurable effects when using Vicodin, other people can have a bad reaction to it with side effects such as:
- Difficulties Remaining Conscious
- Blurred Vision
- Itchy Skin
- Slurred Speach
- Slowed Respiration and Heart Rates
Another side effect of misusing Vicodin is building a tolerance to the medication. The longer you use Vicodin, the more tolerant the body becomes to the drug. So, the pleasurable sensations and feelings do not occur without increasing the dosage.
Sadly, people get into an endless cycle where they must continue increasing the amount of Vicodin taken to reach a euphoric state. Unfortunately, the risk of overdose and death increases as they continue to go through this cycle.
Furthermore, some people will start mixing depressants to enhance Vicodin’s effects, like mixing it with alcohol. Alcohol also causes an increase in neurotransmitters associated with pleasure while slowing down signals sent between the brain and pain receptors.
Unfortunately, mixing these two substances is dangerous and could result in losing consciousness, coma, and respiratory and heart failure.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
If you experience two or more of the following signs, it indicates you have a Vicodin use disorder:
- Taking larger doses to achieve the desired effects.
- Ignoring your responsibilities.
- Losing all interest in activities, hobbies, friends, and family.
- Looking forward to using Vicodin.
- Continuing to use Vicodin even when you want to quit.
- Avoiding symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal by taking more Vicodin.
- Experiencing financial problems.
- Engaging in drug-seeking behaviors.
- Believing you cannot function unless you are under the effects of Vicodin.
- Self-medicating to maintain the effects of Vicodin.
- Having a secret stash of Vicodin.
- Attempting to get multiple prescriptions for Vicodin.
If you are experiencing two to three of these signs, it indicates a mild Vicodin use disorder. A moderate addiction is when you experience four to five of these signs. You have a severe substance use disorder if you are experiencing six or more.
The Withdrawal Symptoms of Vicodin
The symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal begin the moment the drug starts wearing off and leaving the body. Even when taken for a short time, people experience mild withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and muscle aches.
However, the longer Vicodin is used, the more likely one will experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Muscle Spasms
- Flu-Like Symptoms
- Body Aches and Pains
- Vicodin Cravings
Without being under the influence of Vicodin, the perception of pain intensifies. The longer the drug was used, the more intense these sensations. So, to offset the unpleasant symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal, people continue to misuse the drug.
Even people prescribed Vicodin can start engaging in addictive behaviors, such as self-medicating and attempting to get multiple prescriptions for the drug just to avoid experiencing withdrawal.
How to Safely Detox From Vicodin
Due to the changes in the brain’s chemistry, neurotransmitters, and pain receptors in the central nervous system, it is crucial not to stop using Vicodin without medically supervised detox. In addition, some of the withdrawal symptoms can be severe and life-threatening if you just quit using Vicodin.
As such, you must go through a weaning process with medical supervision. You will be gradually weaned off Vicodin using various treatment methods, including medication-assisted treatment. This approach is much safer and reduces the severity of Vicodin withdrawal symptoms.
Safe Vicodin Detox and Addiction Treatment in Nashville, TN
You can safely detox from Vicodin and avoid many of the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms by undergoing medically supervised detox at Detox Nashville. We will also use medication-assisted treatment during your detox process when required. To start your Vicodin detox or for further questions about our detox and addiction treatment programs, please feel free to contact us today.