Vicodin is a highly addictive drug, commonly prescribed to treat pain. The substance is very useful, and induces euphoria, enabling the user to get high. The combined relief from pain and the rushing sensation of happiness may entice users into abusers. That is when the actual pain of addiction begins.
Vicodin contains hydrocodone, an opiate drug with similar effects to morphine. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 136 prescriptions containing hydrocodone was dispensed. Despite the high risk of addiction, Vicodin was one of the most common drugs out of the 136 million.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of overdose deaths from prescription opioids outnumbered deaths from heroin and cocaine combined, in 2007.
Anyone who uses Vicodin may get addicted by accident. It is typically prescribed due to pain or injury, though over time, the body builds up resistant. The user will require a higher dosage to relieve the pain. After a while, the patient needs more than the physician is willing to prescribe and thus leading to illicit drug use.
Due to the opiate, the withdrawal symptoms may be severe, and mimic those of heroin. The pain of withdrawal may spur the addict into desperate actions to procure more and avoid becoming ill. Symptoms may include pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats and insomnia.
Over time, desperate users may turn to criminal action to procure more money for drugs. Vicodin users may face legal and financial difficulties, and work, friends, and family may suffer due to the abuse.
Vicodin abuse may be connected with fraud, as the user will go “doctor shopping” to get more pills. Users may also modify their prescriptions, purchase illegally or make false pharmacy call-ins.
It is tough for families to witness the behavioral and personality changes caused by addiction. It is crucial not develop codependency with the addict, and counseling and group meetings are available for anyone needing the understanding support from others facing the same problems.
Serious health threats
Both long and short-term use come at a cost. The medication may cause some substantial side effects, even when taken as prescribed, such as nausea, constipation, confusion and even loss of consciousness.
Long term, users face dire consequences. Addicts may ignore these risks, due to the desire to get high and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Vicodin abuse poses health risks to the nervous system, slows breathing and heart rate, and may increase the user´s perception of pain.
Many addicts are unwilling to admit to their problems, even though everyone around them knows they need help. However, the first step towards reclaiming life from addiction is asking for help and finding adequate treatment.
Vicodin abuse may require a monitored detox by trained professionals, in surroundings such as a rehab center or hospital. Some may even require medical detoxification. The duration of the process may vary according to the level of Vicodin abuse.
For the patient to maintain sobriety, an inpatient, outpatient treatment, or attending support groups, should commence immediately after the detox. Reclaiming life from Vicodin abuse is hard, but thankfully, no addict needs to face it alone, as long as they are willing to seek help.