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Vicodin Abuse and Addiction
Vicodin is a prescription opioid intended for use as a pain reliever. It is also extremely addictive. Taking Vicodin for as little as one week, even as directed, potentially leads to drug dependence and addiction. Vicodin abuse is only one piece of the ongoing opioid crisis in our country, but without help, it will take your whole life. If you’re ready to break free from drug addiction, call Muse Treatment today, and we’ll start your journey to sober living.
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin comprises hydrocodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). Doctors use it in treating moderate to severe pain largely associated with cancer, but often recommend it after serious injury or surgery. It is typically taken by mouth in fast and long-acting tablets or in liquid form.
Vicodin works by attaching to the opioid receptors in your brain and spinal cord and blocking their ability to signal that you’re in pain. Used regularly, these receptors adapt to the presence of hydrocodone, and ultimately, depend on it.
Along with pain relief, Vicodin provokes strong feelings of euphoria and relaxation. It’s a powerful combination that often leads people to disregard the dangers. This is especially true if you have an existing, undiagnosed, or untreated co-occurring mental health condition. Always take Vicodin as prescribed and talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following side effects, or if they worsen over time:
- Severe drowsiness or difficulty waking up
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Changes in mood or mental state – agitation, confusion
- Difficulty urinating
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sleep apnea
- Stomach or abdominal pain
Signs of Vicodin Abuse and Addiction
Because it’s so habit-forming, the signs of Vicodin abuse and addiction are often missed by the user until it’s too late. Keeping a drug journal where you record pain levels and dosages is useful in spotting any harmful trends around your behavior towards Vicodin. If you recognize any of the following behaviors in yourself or loved ones, you may want to speak with a doctor or contact the addiction specialists at Muse Treatment:
- Changes in exercise and sleep habits
- Decreased libido
- Getting sick with the flu more often
- Intense cravings
- Not paying bills
- Shoplifting or stealing from family, friends, or work
- Tolerance – taking higher or more frequent doses
- Unusually poor hygiene
- Weight loss
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Vicodin abuse, even if it’s your first time, is dangerous and potentially fatal. Taking someone else’s prescription, acquiring it through false means, exceeding prescribed levels, and taking it with or while on other substances, are all examples of drug abuse. Taking Vicodin with other drugs or medications is the most dangerous because it drastically increases your risk of overdose. If you or someone around you is experiencing an overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately. Take any and all necessary harm reduction measures, for which you are qualified, until help arrives.
Knowing when to call improves the chances of there being no permanent damage, and could save a life, maybe even yours. Call 9-1-1 or seek medical help immediately if either you or someone around you begins to show any of the following signs of overdose:
- Abdominal cramps
- Blue-tinged lips or nails
- Changes in consciousness or responsiveness, coma
- Cold, clammy skin
- Difficulty staying awake
- Dilated pupils
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems with breathing – slow, shallow, or no breathing
- Uncontrolled muscle twitches
- Weak pulse
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
If you’re addicted to Vicodin then you already have an idea of what withdrawing on your own will be like. You feel it between every use. That’s why choosing a qualified detox center is so important. Many treatment facilities today offer medical detox programs to help you through the process. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, medication may reduce any anxiety or discomfort, allowing your body to heal itself. Some common symptoms of withdrawal from Vicodin include:
- Anxiety and agitation
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Deep muscle or bone pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal cramps
Long-Term Side Effects of Vicodin Abuse
The lasting effects of Vicodin spread across a wide variety of your organs and systems, but you can still get help. Plenty of addicts who reached this stage, with one or more lasting effects, have gone on to lead happy, productive lives after getting clean.
- Chronic constipation and damage of the intestinal tract
- Damage to the cardiovascular system
- Difficulty urinating – increased risk of urinary tract infections leading to kidney damage and failure
- Hearing loss
- Liver damage and failure – from acetaminophen
- More frequent respiratory infection
- Reproductive problems
Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Don’t be scared by what you’ve heard, getting help with Vicodin addiction doesn’t have to be painful or traumatic. The Drug Detox Program at Muse Treatment monitors your condition day and night, providing a safe and comfortable experience, and preparing you for the real work of addiction treatment.
Getting the right help will set you up for a successful lifelong journey in recovery. Let Muse Treatment show you how.
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