Vicodin: Signs, Effects, and Treatment w
Vicodin is a prescription tablet
that is a combination of hydrocodone and
the active ingredient in Tylenol, which is acetaminophen.
Vicodin is a prescription pain reliever that is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. While it helps patients struggling with moderate to severe pain, it can also put some users at risk of addiction. A study from 2013 showed that 5.3 percent of 12th graders abused Vicodin that year.
The problem of widespread Vicodin abuse may be related to the fact that the drug is oftentimes unnecessarily prescribed to patients with only mild pain. In 2011, over 131 million people in the US were given Vicodin.
Because of the drug’s abuse potential, it is important to look at its potential effects, and how treatment works for addicted individuals.
Vicodin is a prescription tablet that is a combination of hydrocodone and the active ingredient in Tylenol, which is acetaminophen. It was developed to provide relief for pain ranging from moderate to severe. As a synthetic opioid, Vicodin works by attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors and blocking pain signals.
Each tablet of Vicodin contains 300mg to 325mg of acetaminophen. It also comes in three different dosage levels of hydrocodone: 5mg, 7.5mg, and 10mg. It is typically prescribed for one tablet taken every 4 to 6 hours. Addicted individuals may take much higher doses than is prescribed.
Vicodin Abuse and Effects
Vicodin used to be classified as a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act. But in October 2014, the DEA decided to tighten the restrictions because of the drug’s high abuse potential. That is why Vicodin and other hydrocodone combination drugs are now classified as Schedule II controlled substances. It is also classified as such to prevent fraud and protect people from abusing or misusing Vicodin.
Taking Vicodin without a prescription or misusing a doctor’s prescription is considered abuse. That means taking too much of the prescription or taking it too often can be considered abuse.
The reason some people abuse Vicodin is because of its calming and euphoric effects. Just like other opioids, Vicodin can make a person feel relaxed and uninhibited. This sensation is what gets people addicted.
Excessive amounts of acetaminophen may cause liver damage or failure. That is why in March 2014, the FDA restricted products with more than 325mg of acetaminophen. Previous formulations included 500 to 750mg of acetaminophen.
Vicodin’s most prominent adverse effects are liver damage and addiction. Other common Vicodin abuse and addiction effects include drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, constipation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, depression, aches, cramps, and reduced heart rate.
Some people begin developing dependence after taking large doses of Vicodin over an extended period of time. When a person becomes physically dependent on Vicodin, they may experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop taking the drug. They may also become tolerant, meaning they will have to take more of the drug to experience the same pain relieving and euphoric effects.
Oftentimes, users don’t realize they have become dependent on Vicodin until they stop taking it. Dependence can lead to addiction, which is the compulsive use of the drug despite negative consequences.
If a person is taking larger amounts of Vicodin, they may be addicted. One clear sign of addiction is wanting to cut down or stop using Vicodin but failing to. The addicted person will spend a lot of time getting, using, thinking about, and recovering from the use of Vicodin. They will experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they don’t use the drug.
Addicted individuals tend to lose interest in hobbies and other activities they used to enjoy. They will prioritize the drug over everything else and even neglect their responsibilities. Relationship problems may develop as the addiction may cause conflict within the person’s social circles.
Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Professional treatment is the best way to deal with Vicodin addiction. Withdrawal can be intense and painful, which is why many people just continue taking Vicodin to avoid it. Proper medical detox is necessary so that the patient can gradually lower their Vicodin intake.
Rehab facilities may offer medical detox and behavioral therapy to safely manage addiction and dependence. Medications may be given to ease the symptoms and make recovery more likely. Buprenorphine and Naltrexone are two of the most commonly prescribed medications for people in recovery.
Buprenorphine is a drug that activates the same receptors as Vicodin, relieving withdrawals and releasing dopamine. Naltrexone is also used for treating alcoholics, but for Vicodin users, it can reduce cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.