Vicodin is a painkiller that can be very addictive. Prescribed by doctors to manage moderate to severe pain, Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. An opiate, it gives relief from pain by changing the brain’s neurotransmitters. As such, it alters the body’s reaction to pain.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to become dependent to Vicodin even when one takes it exactly as prescribed. Thus, doctors are careful about not prescribing this painkiller to anyone with a history of addiction or mental illness. Vicodin should be taken only every four to six hours but those who take it in at short time intervals and at higher doses get dependent on it real fast and start craving it. When dependence develops, it will take more than the higher doses to achieve Vicodin’s effects. Thus, they will want to have more and more of the drug.
Vicodin initially relaxes the individual and relieves them of the pain they experience. It also gives them a feeling of euphoria. After a short while, however, the high starts to wear off and they can get paranoid, anxious and cranky. Feelings of depression also develop. Thus, those who abuse it don’t want to come down from it and can take as many as more than 30 pills in a day just to sustain the pleasurable feelings it gives. Just like any long-term abuse of opiates, taking Vicodin at doses higher than prescribe can irreversibly damage the receptors of the brain and produce side effects that can include weakness, itching, vomiting and upset stomach.
If you or your loved one is suffering from Vicodin addiction, it’s important to get prompt treatment. Intense treatment sessions are necessary for those who are severely addicted to the drug. It’s also necessary to be under medical supervision during the detoxification process since the symptoms of withdrawal can be rather nasty. It includes hot and cold flashes, nausea, night sweats, confusion and even anger. Medical practitioners typically reduce the Vicodin dosage each day to make the withdrawal symptoms easier to manage.
It’s still important to get medical treatment even when you only have mild to moderate addiction to Vicodin. The treatment will not be as intense as that of one with severe addiction and it won’t also take as long as the latter. However, the support that only a drug rehabilitation program can give is valuable in helping the Vicodin abuser finally wean himself away from dependence to this drug.
The most successful Vicodin treatment programs fuse together the physical and psychological components. The physical detoxification programs will rid the body of the drug while the psychological support will help the abuser identify what led them to become addicted to Vicodin in the first place. Once the underlying cause is seen, the individual will be able to think of ways to cope with the problem without popping a pill.
Treatment options for Vicodin addiction can be done in an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility or through an outpatient program. It’s important to determine what mode of treatment will best suit you or your loved one. However, studies have shown that inpatient drug rehab programs are more likely to result to long-term recovery.