Vicodin Addiction, Symptoms and Treatment Information
Vicodin is a prescription painkiller given by doctors for the management of pain. It’s designed to be used for the short-term because it is addictive. However, some patients may exceed the dosage or continue taking the medication longer than recommended. Others may access this medication as a street drug. For some, taking the medicine may result in Vicodin addiction, which can be difficult to overcome like any other drug.
What is Addiction to Vicodin?
A person may abuse Vicodin or any other prescription medication and not become addicted. However, abuse often leads to addiction as the system becomes used to having the substance present. These addictive substances alter the brain’s chemistry to where it requires more of the drug to achieve the “high” that comes with certain types of drugs.
Often, a person who is taking prescription medications like Vicodin will notice that it doesn’t work as well to alleviate pain. They may not feel as good as they once did, so they increase the dosage on their own rather than talking to their doctor. As the system develops a tolerance for the drug, it requires a higher dosage or increased frequency.
In other cases, a person may take someone else’s prescription rather than going to a doctor for treatment. It’s never a good idea to take a prescription that hasn’t been prescribed to you because it may not be the right option for your condition.
Not everyone who takes Vicodin will become addicted. It often depends on how much they are taking and for how long. It will also be influenced by the person’s medical history. Someone with a history of addiction will be at an increased risk to become addicted if they take some of these prescription painkillers. This is one reason it’s important to divulge your history to your doctor prior to treatment.
Many times, people who being abusing Vicodin go on to other drugs, including illegal street drugs like heroin. When they can no longer obtain the prescription, they search out other ways to achieve the same feelings they had with the Vicodin.
Symptoms of Vicodin Addiction
Many people who become addicted to Vicodin are able to continue working and functioning as they would normally. They may be able to hide their addiction from family and friends. In some cases, they may not even realize it themselves. However, addiction to this painkiller does come with some symptoms which will alert you to a problem.
A person may experience euphoria, which may be followed by anxiety as the effects of the drug wear off. They may have severe mood swings that range from extremely happy to sad and angry or anxious and depressed. Memory problems are also a possible result of the addiction. The person may become confused and even experience hallucinations.
Some people experience physical symptoms. This often occurs when the drug is consumed at a higher dosage. You might notice any of the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Slow heartbeat
- Constricted pupils
When someone is abusing Vicodin and addicted to it, they often start seeing multiple doctors to get new prescriptions before their current one runs out. This becomes even more noticeable as they need a higher dosage. The addict may possibly steal the prescription from others who are taking it.
Many people think that because Vicodin is a prescription medication it’s safer than illegal drugs. However, it can cause liver damage as well as other issues and even lead to death when taken incorrectly. The situation may be complicated by the use of other drugs or alcohol, which can lead to other symptoms and increase the risk of death.
Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
It’s common for drug addicts to believe they can stop taking a medication on their own, especially if it’s a prescription painkiller. However, medications like Vicodin often come with withdrawal symptoms, which can lead the person to relapse. For this reason, it’s best to find a treatment facility to go through detox.
A detox program may include medicines which will alleviate many of the withdrawal symptoms or reduce their severity. A trained medical professional can prescribe the correct medication and dosage to ensure the addict is successful with their detox program.
After the initial detox program is completed, the addict will need to begin therapy. This may include group and individual therapy in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. In therapy, the person will learn what led to the addiction and how to avoid it in the future. They will learn to recognize triggers and develop strategies for handling those situations.
Once the person has completed their initial treatment program, they may choose to continue with regular group therapy such as Narcotics Anonymous or other programs that provide support for the long-term.
Treatment for the Vicodin addict is usually personalized. It depends on their individual needs and what programs are provided by the facility. Many of these places offer traditional therapy along with alternative therapies. You can research treatment programs and find out what they offer to select the facility which is best suited to your needs and personality.
Just like with any other drug, people who have been addicted to Vicodin aren’t cured of their addiction. They simply learn the strategies on how to handle it and avoid relapsing.
If you are given Vicodin by a doctor for pain relief, it’s important to follow the directions exactly and not try to change the dosage on your own. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be addicted to the medication, you should consult with your doctor. They may be able to reduce your dosage until you no longer need it. Otherwise, you may need to seek out a drug addiction treatment program so you can receive the help you need to overcome your Vicodin addiction. It is possible to overcome this addiction and lead a productive life drug-free.