Painkillers are an incredibly popular type of drug to be prescribed. They are prescribed for injuries, chronic ailments, and more. One of the most popular types of painkillers to be prescribed is Vicodin, which is a brand name of a drug containing both hydrocodone which is an opioid, and acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol. Since it can help mitigate pain for up to 6 hours, it is often prescribed as the painkiller of choice after surgery or dental work.
The downside to the effectiveness and duration of Vicodin is the tendency for it to be highly addictive. Additionally, many of the patients that are prescribed Vicodin begin to build a tolerance to the effects relatively quickly. This leads to the patient taking more pills in a day than they should, allowing the opioid to take hold in their bodies, and frequently preventing them from taking larger and larger doses on an almost compulsive level. The physical dependence that Vicodin builds in the user also means the withdrawal symptoms will begin much quicker when the user stops taking it on schedule.
Signs That You Have an Addiction to Vicodin
Just like with other opioids, there are many signs that you or someone you care about may be struggling with a Vicodin addiction. There are some signs that may be recognized in behavior, some changes to the user’s mood, and then some that are identified through physical movement or observation.
When someone is addicted to Vicodin, they will often display a euphoric mood as a function of the opioids. They may also exhibit somewhat severe mood swings or inability to regulate their mood, as well as displaying or feeling intense anxiety. They may also have a preoccupation with getting more Vicodin.
Behavioral signs will be quite obvious if you are close to the person. Since Vicodin is only available with a prescription, they may be found doctor shopping or talking with many doctors trying to get one to write a prescription. In order to pay for the prescriptions addicts often turn to theft as well. When speaking with them, you may also notice memory problems.
The physical signs will include pupillary constriction, weakness, lack of focus, drowsiness, seizures, nausea, itching, dizziness, constipation, and headaches.
Dangers of Having an Addiction to Vicodin
While most opioid pain relievers do not harm the liver while wreaking havoc on the rest of the body, Vicodin can actually be very dangerous for the liver. This is due in no small part to the addition of acetaminophen to the Vicodin formula. In large doses, acetaminophen causes not only severe liver damage but it also causes intense allergic reactions in people that take upwards of 300mg consistently.
Other potential dangers of addiction to Vicodin include relationship damage, job loss, isolation, urinary issues, imprisonment, coma, and death. Many of the most likely potential dangers are related to not only the effects the drug has on the person’s behavior but also their health and ability to function normally in society.
What Withdrawal Looks Like When You Have an Addiction to Vicodin
Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are going to be very similar to many other opioid pain relievers. When someone with a dependence on Vicodin stops taking it, within a few hours they will begin to feel the beginnings of the withdrawal symptoms. Vicodin has a half-life of just 4 hours in the body, meaning without another dose, withdrawals can begin just 8 hours after the most recent dose. Depending on the intensity of the addiction, the amounts that were taken consistently, and how long the addiction lasted, the withdrawal symptoms could range from mildly or moderately uncomfortable to severely painful and debilitating.
The worst of the physical symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal will peak within a few days of beginning the withdrawal process, and will generally be gone in between 1 and 2 weeks. However, this will vary with the individual and can be affected by a number of factors ranging from age and medical history to the amount of Vicodin that was taken, the frequency, and how long the addiction went on. The most common estimates predict that a recovering individual will see most if not all symptoms significantly recede in 7 to 10 days’ time.
While most of the physical symptoms may fade within a few weeks, at the most, some of them will continue to persist for months afterward. The psychological symptoms such as psychological cravings, depression, insomnia, mood swings, and more may be present for years following the withdrawal and detox process. Like other opioids, it is quite possible that someone who has been in successful recovery for several years may suddenly have an intense craving for the drug.
The post-acute withdrawal syndrome that accompanies many recovering opioid addicts can stretch for weeks or even months, where the user must deal with intense withdrawal symptoms. This is often said to be the primary hurdle that makes the psychological detox process so challenging to complete.
The worst part is that for those who experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, there is no accurate way to predict how long it, or the symptoms, will persist. In situations like these, it is often best to work with an inpatient facility that can provide medical supervision. In some situations, they may also be able to help mitigate some of the symptoms.
Have an Addiction to Vicodin?: Here’s How to Get Help
Addictions to opioids can be some of the most difficult addictions to recover from, so if you or someone you care about may be struggling with the influence of Vicodin, the most important thing you can do is to reach out and speak to someone experienced with opioid withdrawal and detox. By working with experienced health care professionals you can take advantage of inpatient facilities that help you work through the hardest parts of Vicodin withdrawal, in a medically supervised environment that can reduce the chances of dangerous or even deadly potential complications.
You deserve the opportunity to live the life you’ve always dreamed about, free from the tight grip of addiction. Reach out to a premier detox facility that can walk you through the detox process in a safe, medically-monitored environment.