Vicodin is a prescription painkiller that is composed of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone acts as a pain reliever while acetaminophen reduces fevers. For many years, drugs that have contained hydrocodone, such as Vicodin, have been abused by almost 5 million people in the United States alone. It was because of this that Vicodin was moved to a Schedule II controlled substance in 2014. This puts a limit on the amount of Vicodin prescriptions. When used as directed, Vicodin use can be safe and effective. However, when Vicodin is abused or used without a prescription, physical, mental, and social consequences can occur. Knowing what Vicodin is and how it can be treated will help overcome Vicodin addiction.
The Effects of Vicodin Use
Vicodin contains hydrocodone, an opioid substance, which can lead to harmful effects similar to morphine and heroin. The effects of Vicodin use are achieved when it connects to opioid receptors located in the brain, spinal cord, and the gastrointestinal tract. When Vicodin reaches these areas, the desired effect is achieved, which generally includes feelings of euphoria, calmness, and less pain.
Vicodin Use Side Effects
While it may seem safer to take prescription drugs, they can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. The side effects of Vicodin include the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Slowed breathing
- Impaired judgment
Tolerance of Vicodin
When a person continues Vicodin use over a long period of time, tolerance can develop. Tolerance is when a person needs to take more of a drug or substance in order to achieve the same high or effect. In this case, those who have a high tolerance of Vicodin will feel the need to increase the amount of Vicodin taken in order to feel the same effects.
When a person becomes tolerant of Vicodin, addiction can develop. Those who are addicted to Vicodin may do the following:
- Seek prescriptions from multiple doctors
- Modify prescriptions
- Make false pharmacy call-ins
- Buy, steal or borrow money in order to get more Vicodin
- Steal Vicodin from relatives or friends
- Purchase from illegal sources
Physical Effects of Vicodin
Vicodin causes a number of health risks, especially to the nervous system. When Vicodin is taken to the point that it slows down breathing or causes the heart rate to slow down dramatically, lack of oxygen is delivered to the brain and other vital organs, which can cause several unwanted health conditions.
Other physical effects of Vicodin include:
- Problems with memory
- Anxiety and poor stress management
- Mood changes
- Increased perception of pain
- Frequent sedation
Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Vicodin addiction can be treated. The two options available for patients suffering from a Vicodin addiction include inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient rehabilitation is a good option for anyone but is specifically helpful to those with advanced addictions. Inpatient facilities offer a structured environment with around-the-clock support and supervision. On the other hand, outpatient care is good for those who have moderate addictions. Outpatient facilities allow the patient to receive treatment, therapy, and counseling while they remain living at home and continue to go to work, school or do other activities. Outpatient facilities require the patient to stick to a schedule without as much structure as an inpatient facility.
Stopping Vicodin Addiction
When patients overcome Vicodin use and addiction, it is an exciting and proud day for the patient and the staff members of the rehab facility. While we don’t always understand the reasons for addiction, we do want to see that each patient receives the help that they need to recover and live a life of sobriety. We have the resources to help as many people as possible become clean and sober. If you or a loved one are struggling with a Vicodin addiction, please call us to speak with one of our specialists.