Vicodin is a brand name medication and contains the ingredient hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It has become one of the most commonly abused prescription pain medications in America today.
As a strong physician-prescribed medication, Vicodin most often is dispensed for a limited period use to relieve severe pain from injury, surgery, and illness. Hydrocodone is highly addictive opioid used in many prescription medications. Acetaminophen has been linked to both kidney and liver damage.
Because the opiate properties of Vicodin constitute hydrocodone in higher concentrations for severe pain purposes, it may become tolerated by the body over a short period of time. Once the barrier of tolerance is reached stronger doses may be needed to achieve the same pain relief effect creating a possible dependency. Once dependency for a prescription drug is established in the brain and central nervous system, addiction may follow.
Prescription drug abuse is a national dilemma which has the medical community highly concerned. It is treatable, but a person must come to the point to want to become free from prescription drug addiction on such medications as Vicodin.
This page discusses warning signs, facts, and dangers of Vicodin addiction, along with treatment potential for the addicted user.
There is help. Along with this page and website there are people ready to answer your questions immediately. Action Recovery Group alcohol and drug rehab center, located in Ogden, Utah, is a privately located, yet easily accessible facility offering drug and alcohol addiction treatment. We are eager to help will all related drug or alcohol addiction issues. Freedom is just a phone call away. Call us at 801-475-4673 for information if you or a loved one needs help due to an addiction to the prescription drug Vicodin.
About the Prescription Drug Vicodin
Vicodin is a brand name prescription drug developed in the 1990’s and most often prescribed for pain relief. Its main pain relieving component is hydrocodone which is classed as an “opioid,” but sometimes also referred to as an “opiate.” As a narcotic, Vicodin has the potential to affect the neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for natural pain relief, including the dopamine receptors. Over time a person seeking pain relief through narcotics or seeking the euphoric effect from an opiate, may seek higher doses to achieve the same prior effect. When this happens addiction and drug dependency has occurred.
Vicodin combines the drugs hydrocodone and acetaminophen in its pain relieving treatment. Acetaminophen is the component which constitutes the brand name over the counter medication Tylenol.
Opioid Class of Prescription Drugs
Opioids are a class of drugs that are prescribed for relieving pain. Pain in all its forms destroys the quality of life. Pain relief is always a temporary reprieve and benefit to chronic sufferers. Some of the pain sufferers may have a terminal illness. When prudently dispensed, opioids can help in the treatment of pain while seeking to avoid addiction. Some of the brand name prescriptions classed as opioids include:
Hydrocodone is synthesized from the substance which comes from the opium poppy. The terms “opioid” and “opiate” sometimes confuse people. They are essentially referring to compounds derived from the Asian poppy flower and can be explained as follows from NAABT.Org: http://www.naabt.org/education/opiates_opioids.cfm
“Opiates are drugs derived from opium. At one time “opioids” referred to synthetic opiates only (drugs created to emulate opium, however different chemically). Now the term Opioid is used for the entire family of opiates including natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic. Medical professionals use the word opioid to refer to most opioids, and opiate for a specific non-synthetic opioid; however, many only use “opioid”. Consistent with the newest definition, this website uses “opioid” to refer to all opioids and opiates.”
“An opioid is any agent that binds to opioid receptors (protein molecules located on the membranes of some nerve cells) found principally in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, and elicits a response. There are four broad classes of opioids:
“Consistent with the newest definition, this website uses “opioid” to refer to all opioids and opiates.
- Endogenous opioid, naturally produced in the body, endorphins
- Opium alkaloids, such as morphine and codeine
- Semi-synthetic opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, and Buprenorphine
- Fully synthetic opioids, such as methadone, that have structures unrelated to the opium alkaloids
“Examples of opioids are: painkillers such as morphine, methadone, Buprenorphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. Heroin is also an opioid and is illegal.
“Opioid drugs sold under brand names include: OxyContin® , Percocet® , Vicodin® , Percodan® , Tylox® and Demerol® among others.
“Opioids attach to receptors in the brain. Normally these opioids are the endogenous variety created naturally in the body. Once attached, they send signals to the brain of the “opioid effect” which blocks pain, slows breathing, and has a general calming and anti-depressing effect. The body cannot produce enough natural opioids to stop severe or chronic pain nor can it produce enough to cause an overdose.”
Dangers of Vicodin Addiction and Abuse
Vicodin addiction is troubling because it is so often the unintended consequence of taking a prescribed drug offered by a medical doctor for the primary purpose of persistent pain relief. An addiction recovery and drug rehab program can begin to heal what has become a devastating scourge of prescription overdose death and addictions worldwide.
Addictions from prescription pain medications can be insidious. When taken for pure pleasure, the drug Vicodin may turn into drug abuse. When the craving for the drug becomes an obsession a drug rehab treatment center is most often needed to reverse the user’s obsessive desire for the opioid drug.
Vicodin related overdoses and deaths have spiked dramatically over the past two decades. Medically prescribed users and those who seek the drug without a doctor’s prescription for pain relief, may tend to overuse as they seek greater doses for the euphoric and short term pain relief effect the medication is intended to provide.
Medical professionals understand opioid type drugs can create dependency. They have been more cautious in their prescriptions of Vicodin as time as passed. Nevertheless, the risk exists to become addicted and dependent upon Vicodin and drug medications like it, including those containing oxycodone and hydrocodone.
The mixing of other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, and prescription drugs derived from opium such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, may exacerbate the situation of casual use to permanent dependency.
This temptation to mix drugs stems from a desire either for a quicker effect on the brain and to avoid withdrawal symptoms which can be intensely painful. This has further led to high rates of accidental overdose and death even among casual first time users.
Drug abuse with Vicodin and other prescribed medications occurs when a person seeks the “high” or euphoric effect which accompanies the pain killing properties of the drug.
Short and Long Term Effects of Vicodin Addiction and Abuse
Misuse, abuse, and unintended addictions create both long and short term effects in the body. Because a tolerance builds in the body to prescribed doses it takes stronger dosing to get the same effect. Addiction then, is the main short and long term effect of Vicodin and other drug abuse.
Because Vicodin and other opioids can suppress breathing and slow heart rates when overdosing and mixing with other central nervous system drugs occurs – including alcohol – respiratory failure and death may occur.
Some of the ill effects occurring in the body from Vicodin and opioid addiction include:
- Heart, liver, and kidney damage
- Respiratory failure
- Cardiac arrest and cardiovascular damage
- Brain and nerve damage
- Overdose and possible death
Withdrawal from Opioids:
A person with a dependency or addiction on opiate drugs will suffer withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms may peak anywhere between 24 and 48 hours and last for many days.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms from drugs considered opioids include:
- Severe headache
- Anxiety and fear
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shakes and shivering-chills
- Rapid heart rate
- Runny nose and teary eyes
- Dry Mouth
Action Recovery Group Vicodin Rehab
Recovery from opiate addiction takes time but is possible. An addicted person will need to reframe dependency through learning of coping skills that help deal with the challenge of dependency and underlying motivations for opiate abuse.
At Action Recovery Group in Ogden, this begins with an individualized approach to healing addictions created by Vicodin and other opioid drugs. Specific treatment designed with the individual in mind is created with dedicated staff, medical, and counseling professionals. Drug rehab is the positive first step in reclaiming independence and freedom from any drug or alcohol addiction.
Action Recovery Group of Ogden, Utah offers a highly effective program for long-term sobriety and recovery. For more information about prescription drug addiction, please contact our drug treatment center today at 801-475-4673.
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin® is the brand name of a prescription drug that contains acetaminophen and hydrocodone. It is prescribed for moderate to moderately severe pain. Acetaminophen is a drug commonly found in over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol. When too much acetaminophen is introduced to the body, it has been found to cause major liver damage and can eventually lead to liver failure. Acetaminophen halts the production of prostaglandins which otherwise cause pain. Hydrocodone binds to the pain receptors in the brain so that the sensation of pain is reduced.
What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. It is derived from codeine and is used to relieve moderate to more severe pain as an analgesic. This drug works fast to numb pain and sensory reactions, but over time more of the drug is needed to feel the same effects. Hydrocodone is a schedule II prescription medication, which can only be prescribed by doctors for individuals dealing with pain symptoms. Typically the use of hydrocodone medications is only intended to be a short-term solution for pain symptoms. The human body has the ability to develop tolerances for medications containing hydrocodone. It has a high tendency to be abused for non-medical reasons. This leads to prescription drug addiction, which is rapidly becoming a serious concern in the United States.
Abuse and Addiction of Prescription Drugs
Other Brands Containing Hydrocodone
There are two main reasons for the increase in Vicodin abuse and addiction to prescription drugs. First, pills are very accessible through physician recommendations as well as through the black market and Internet. Second, prescription drug abuse is easy to hide. Also, the use of prescription drugs for innumerable different ailments and conditions is readily acceptable within society. Any resultant addiction seems to be more socially acceptable than to illegal drugs.
People who are prescription drug abusers often had no intention of becoming addicted to the drug they are taking. The person may have been injured or undergone an operation that requires the use of pain medication like Vicodin. This prescription, even when taken correctly, may give the user a “high” or euphoric effect that he or she finds desirable. When the prescription runs out or the pain has gone away, the user remembers the euphoric feeling and begins to have a craving for more of the drug.
Physical Effects of Vicodin
Two effects of Vicodin® are pleasure (euphoria) and pain relief. Vicodin addiction is extremely common among prescription drug users. This is probably because it is often prescribed for many different types of pain problems.
When someone abuses Vicodin®, the brain stops producing chemicals like endorphins. This makes the body feel that it is unable to function without the use of the drug. A person who has become dependent upon Vicodin can experience withdrawal and cravings if he/she cannot get anymore.
An addiction to Vicodin® often goes unnoticed until it is very severe. A person with a severe Vicodin addiction has developed a high tolerance for the drug. He or she may be taking anywhere from 30 to 100 pills daily. For some addicts, tapering off the drug may be necessary so their body doesn’t react adversely and unpredictably if taken off the drug completely. In less serious cases, the withdrawal period tends to be shorter and less uncomfortable.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Vicodin® withdrawal symptoms include cold sweats, nausea, convulsions, dizziness, and delirium. These symptoms are painful to go through, but a person’s body must be free of all toxins in order to begin the recovery process.
Over time, the effects of Vicodin® and prescription drug abuse will become more noticeable and more harmful. At first the Vicodin user will have effects such as constipation, irregularity in heart functions, nausea and dizziness. As Vicodin use grows, Vicodin effects can also come in the form of hallucinations, vision problems, and constant confusion. During the last stages of Vicodin addiction, users have been known to be unable to control bodily functions and this use can sometimes result in coma or death.
Some individuals addicted to Vicodin® have skin problems including hives, skin rashes, and swelling in the face. This occurs because the body is trying to rid itself of the toxins that are being put into it each day.
It is never too early to seek treatment from a drug rehab center. Most cases of Vicodin addiction go unnoticed until it is too severe and treatment becomes necessary. If this is the case there are as many as 100 pills of Vicodin® being ingested a day. Imagine the damage that is being caused to the body, mind, and spirit when this is the case. If you know someone in need of addiction treatment for Vicodin, Action Recovery Group is here to restore hope and recovery.