One of the most ironic things about substance abuse in America is that despite the emphasis people put on steering clear of illegal substances such as heroin or cocaine because of fears of their addictive properties, the majority of substance addiction comes from perfectly legal sources. These include substances like the tobacco or alcohol that can be bought in stores, or the prescription medicine that your very own doctor might advise you to take for the relief of pain or to help cope with the anxieties of life when it feels like a bit too much.

Painkillers are often an unintended source of addiction because they help people to cope with actual physical suffering. While the person prescribed the painkillers is usually the one considered at risk for becoming addicted, bringing Vicodin into a household with others present who may be suffering from emotional disorders or are in a phase of substance experimentation can lead to addiction as well. If this should happen, a Vicodin detox and rehabilitation program should be strongly considered for a successful recovery.

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What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is the brand name of a drug that is classed as “Schedule II” by the United States. This means that while the substance is considered legal, it is a controlled substance, meaning it can only be used under certain circumstances, usually of a medical nature. A schedule II drug means that while the medical profession recognizes the usefulness of the drug, it also acknowledges a high potential for developing a physical addiction and that addiction phase occurs rapidly without properly controlled dosage.

It’s actually composed of two painkilling components. The first is hydrocodone, which is an opioid, meaning that is a lab-created chemical that replicates the powerful painkilling properties that naturally occur in the opium plant, from which opiates are naturally derived. The second component is acetaminophen, a low-grade painkiller that can be bought without a doctor’s prescription and is found in the painkiller Tylenol. The acetaminophen acts as both a painkiller in its own right, and a “booster” for the effects of the hydrocodone, which is why the risk of addiction is high and often requires professional addiction help.

The Vicodin Addiction Cycle

All opiates and opioids are physically addictive. This means that when used long enough, the chemicals used to relieve pain eventually replace the normal neurochemicals the body produces, and the body develops a dependency, appetite, and craving fsimilar to the craving for food or water. The body now believes it needs the drug, and subsequently, addicts will pursue the satisfaction of their addiction in the same way any person would struggle to avoid starvation.

Vicodin is normally prescribed by doctors to relieve moderate to severe levels of pain. It will often be advised to take this powerful drug only for short-term use, usually after some injury has been sustained, or there is recovery from a major surgery where recovery could prove painful.However, as with many drugs, there is a “plateau effect” where, as a body adjusts to the presence in the system, it develops a tolerance for its effects. This means that in order to achieve the same effect as the first few times a dose was taken, larger amounts need to be ingested. Also, as with other opioids, it can produce a “euphoric” effect, which is an emotional sense of well-being, happiness or even joy. This combination of making people feel emotionally good, while also creating a physical craving in the body is why its addiction is a real risk that requires professional treatment.

Treatment for Vicodin Addiction

The first step in detox and addiction treatment is to detox from Vicodin. Detoxification is a process where the addict must flush the chemicals from the body, which usually means stopping or reducing the intake so the remaining drug gets used up without being replenished.

Detox may be an extremely uncomfortable experience because of the physically addictive properties, which can result in withdrawal symptoms once the addict stops taking it. Depending on the strength of the addiction, withdrawal can be no more serious than flu-like symptoms of a runny nose, muscle aches and sweating, or can entail irregular heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea and more serious symptoms.

happy man after treatment for vicodin abuse

Getting Treated for Vicodin Addiction

The best chance for successful Vicodin rehabilitation is with professional help. Once a safe, supervised detox has been achieved, rehabilitation can begin with personal therapy, support group work, and new behavioral tools and coping strategies to help a recovering addict handle the challenges and stresses of life without resorting to the relief of pain or stress through addictive substances.

Call today at 877-284-0353 to speak with one of our addiction experts.


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