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Vicodin Addiction

Are You Suffering from a Vicodin Addiction?

Though popularized and perhaps even romanticized by the hit television series House, Vicodin addiction is a very serious disorder. Vicodin is an opioid painkiller available by prescription only in the United States. It is comprised of the opium alkaloid hydrocodone and the non-opiate analgesic drug acetaminophen.

Unique Complications of a Vicodin Addiction

Because Vicodin is available by prescription only, it usually contains exceptionally large doses of acetaminophen in addition to the opioid component. Medical professionals feel comfortable prescribing Vicodin to certain patients, despite the high levels of acetaminophen, because the patient in question is otherwise healthy and not in any danger of liver disease. People who do not take their Vicodin as directed and abuse the drug, however, do run the risk of liver disease and liver failure due to how toxic it is for the liver in particular.

The Dangers of an Escalating Vicodin Addiction

The biggest danger of an addiction to Vicodin lies in how the disorder usually progresses. First, there’s the initial phase where the human body begins to build up a tolerance to the drug. This means that over time it will take more Vicodin to get the same pain relief. This escalating cycle of tolerance and the need for larger and larger doses eventually creates a physical dependency upon the drug. Before most people know it, they can’t go for longer than a few hours without a dose of Vicodin before unpleasant withdrawal symptoms start to set in – and that’s on top of the pain they were suffering from which necessitated the Vicodin prescription in the first place.

For some people, this addiction can escalate to the point where the Vicodin, whether they’re still getting it legally or whether their dependence issues have led to a shortage, is no longer enough. Under such circumstances it is not uncommon for Vicodin addicts to start looking to street heroin in order to maintain the same high.

Vicodin acts as a depressant on the central nervous system and can make people who take it feel drowsy and lethargic. It can also slow down a person’s heart rate and suppress respiration (breathing). In the event of an overdose, Vicodin can slow a person’s breathing and heart rate to the point of respiratory arrest and death.

Getting Help for a Vicodin Addiction

Addiction to drugs like Vicodin have both a physiological and psychological component to them. The first and most important part, of course, is to detox the body of Vicodin and get through the withdrawal process safely. The unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, insomnia, and more can be so severe that they trigger a relapse. Medically supervised detox programs are available at hospitals and rehab centers all across the nation to help patients eliminate their physiological dependency on the drug and make it easier to start the emotional recovery process.

Repairing the emotional and neurological damage caused by a Vicodin addiction is a much longer and more complicated ordeal. However, it is essential for continuing a patient’s recovery and maintaining a sober lifestyle. Inpatient and outpatient therapy, as well as group therapy, are available to help teach the patient coping skills.

How to Get Help for a Vicodin Addiction

If you or a loved one are currently struggling with a Vicodin addiction, there is hope. If you give us a call today, one of our addiction specialists can let you know which resources are available near you, and help you figure out a treatment plan which will work best with your recovery needs.