Vicodin is a prescription medication that helps alleviate severe acute and chronic pain. However, it is easy to misuse the drug even when one does not suffer from a medical condition. As such, it can lead to Vicodin use disorder. By understanding the signs of Vicodin abuse, you can determine when you may have a problem and when to seek help.
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is classified in the prescription opioid family of drugs, which includes morphine, codeine, oxymorphone, and fentanyl. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter medication used to alleviate headaches, fever, and mild pain. It is a non-addictive drug.
Hydrocodone is a narcotic medication with a chemical structure that attaches to opioid receptors on the neurotransmitters and nerve endings in the brain and central nervous system. The drug essentially numbs the nerve endings, so the neurotransmitters no longer receive pain signals.
How is Vicodin Abused?
Vicodin can be abused in different ways. For example, suppose you have a prescription for Vicodin. As your body builds a tolerance to the drug, you may believe it is no longer working and start self-medicating to experience the pain-relieving effects.
However, self-medicating is dangerous as the more you increase your dosage, the higher the risk of accidental overdose and potentially death. Eventually, you become addicted and believe you cannot function without the drug.
When you take Vicodin and do not need it, it causes you to feel relaxed and calm while in a euphoric state. You can feel happy, content, and upbeat. YHowever, you can also experience dizziness, lightheadedness, and hallucinations.
If you enjoy these sensations, the brain remembers the behavior as pleasurable. As a result, the brain will start to crave Vicodin and subconsciously encourage you to use it again. The more you use it, the more the body will crave it, leading to dependence and addiction.
What Are the Signs of Vicodin Abuse?
The signs of Vicodin abuse can vary from one person to the next. They also depend on the dosage amount, frequency of use, and length of time Vicodin has been taken. However, most people will display one or more of these common signs:
- Attempting to obtain multiple prescriptions from different healthcare providers.
- Claiming a prescription was lost, damaged, or contained the wrong number of pills.
- Borrowing or stealing Vicodin from family or friends that also take the drug.
- Frequent emergency room visits at different hospitals with complaints of severe pain.
- Neglecting one’s personal hygiene and appearance.
- Crushing Vicodin into a powder, snorting it, or mixing it with saline solution and injecting it.
- Isolating and withdrawing from family and friends.
- Attempting to hide one’s drug use from others.
- Keeping a secret stash of Vicodin.
- Becoming agitated, irritated, or angry when someone questions your Vicodin use.
- Lowered inhibitions that cause you to engage in risky behaviors to secure the drug, such as exchanging sex for Vicodin or stealing cash.
- An attitude where you no longer care what others think so long as you can continue to take Vicodin.
Effects of Vicodin Addiction
There are physical and psychological effects of prolonged Vicodin addiction, including:
- Financial Problems
- Relationship Problems
- Inability to Keep a Job
- Legal Problems
- Liver Damage
- Liver Failure
- Loss of Appetite
- Extreme Weight Loss
- Unusual Behaviors and Thoughts
- Accidental Overdose
Unfortunately, even when someone is experiencing these damaging effects of misusing Vicodin, they will still continue to take the drug despite the negative consequences.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline
The intensity of withdrawal symptoms also depends on the dosage amount, frequency of use, and how long Vicodin was misused. Once the effects of the drug start to wear off, you can start to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Sadly, most people will just take more Vicodin to avoid going into withdrawal. Yet, when you are ready to get help with your addiction, medically supervised detox and withdrawal are crucial first steps to recovery. During this time, you could experience:
- Body and Muscle Aches and Pains
- Cycling Between Being Sleeping Excessively and Insomnia
- Uncontrolled Seating
- Flu-like Symptoms
- Cravings for Vicodin
- Impaired Cognitive Functioning
- Disorientation and Confusion
Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within the first 24 hours after starting Vicodin detox. After that, the symptoms can become more frequent and intense until they peak in about two to four days. Then, they gradually decline, and all physical symptoms are completely gone within seven to fourteen days. However, cravings for Vicodin can continue to last for several months.
Get Help For Vicodin Addiction in Orange County, CA
When you are ready to take the first steps to recovery and want help for your Vicodin addiction, Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, CA, is here to provide the care and support you need. We offer medically supervised detox and addiction treatment programs tailored to your specific needs.
We have no set timeline for treatment and move at a pace that is the most comfortable and appropriate for you. Instead, we want you to focus on healing your body, mind, and spirit at our IMS and JCAHO-accredited treatment center that provides a family-style environment.
For further information about the signs of Vicodin abuse or to get help for your Vicodin addiction, please feel free to contact us or visit our admissions page today.
Addiction is a life-changing disease that affects every aspect of daily life. Determining when your use of drugs or alcohol becomes an addiction is a nuanced and difficult question to answer that depends on a number of factors. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand the unique approach necessary to make the most of one’s time in recovery, and the various ways in which addiction can manifest and affect your life. We are committed to creating a personalized treatment plan with therapeutic programs that address your needs in detox and recovery. We believe in the transformative potential of professional recovery, helping you not just embrace new grounding strategies to combat urges and cravings, but also addressing the myriad of other effects addiction has had on your life. We will help you rebuild relationships and balance stresses as you work toward sobriety. For more information, call us at (949) 426-7962.