Vicodin is a drug that is basically a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is the drug that makes up Tylenol and hydrocodone is an opiate. These two medications work together to relieve pain that ranges from moderate to severe. The medication blocks the pain receptors in the brain, thus relieving pain. Unfortunately, Vicodin can also induce feelings of euphoria, which makes it an extremely addictive medication.
Vicodin works by blocking the neurological passages that allow the brain to sense pain. It also enhances the dopamine in the body, which is the primary neurotransmitter, and triggers pleasure receptors which cause feelings of euphoria. Chemically, Vicodin is closely relate to heroin and can be so addictive that users can develop a dependency on the drug after using it for just a few days.
Because Vicodin decreases physical pain and provides feelings of relaxation and euphoria, it is a very attractive drug. Users can however, develop a tolerance to the medications included in Vicodin which will cause the need for more drugs to be taken in order to achieve the desired results. Some people who are addicted to Vicodin take as many as 30 pills every day or more in order to reach their desired feelings.
Prescription drug abuse in general has increased drastically over the past few years and Vicodin is among the most commonly abused drugs. Some people become addicted to the medication after taking it as it has been prescribed while others simply begin using it, without a doctor’s prescription, for the feelings that the drug invokes. When taken for long periods of time, Vicodin can cause serious medical issues including liver damage and failure, jaundice and many urinary system problems. It depresses the central nervous system which will naturally decrease the heart rate and overdose can occur easily in those who are taking more than they are prescribed or those who take Vicodin simply to get the “high” effects of the drug. Combining Vicodin with other substances such as other opiates, barbiturates or alcohol could also cause an overdose.
Stopping Vicodin cold turkey is often not recommended. In fact, one common problem that Vicodin users face when reducing doses is major withdrawal symptoms. Some users are so afraid of the physical withdrawal symptoms that they simply refuse to begin treatment for their addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can include severe nausea and vomiting, return of pain, panic attacks, tremors, cold sweats, depression and seizures among others. Because withdrawals can be so severe, it is recommended that those addicted to Vicodin choose a rehabilitation facility that offers medical assistance for withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from this drug can be very difficult to overcome, which leads many to simply begin taking the drug again. Rehabilitation without medical assistance is often not successful so patients are urged to enter into a residential rehab for the treatment and recovery of Vicodin addiction. Patients will begin their road to recovery with a detoxification process that should be medically supervised. This process will remove the drug from the body gradually. This process could take several days to a week or longer and leads to the next step of the recovery process.
Intensive therapy is often needed for patients who are attempting to overcome a Vicodin addiction. This type of treatment can and often does last for several weeks. Patients during this time, will learn what caused them to become addicted in the first place and are urged to learn new ways of dealing with the problems that led to their addictions. Patients who suffer from chronic pain, those who began taking Vicodin as prescribed and became addicted through their prescriptions, can be taught better methods of pain management that do not include the use of narcotics. There are however, often psychological issues that will also need to be dealt with in order for treatment to be completely successful.
Once a program type has been chosen, it may be necessary to determine how long the patient needs to stay in the rehab facility. Some facilities offer programs that range from 60 to 90 days, many even longer for those who need it. In the first few weeks of treatment, the process will focus on ridding the body of the drug and many patients may find that it could take weeks before they even begin to recover from the physical signs of Vicodin addiction.
Recovery is possible and many who have been addicted to Vicodin and other painkillers have gone on to live very normal lives, free from drugs. The best course of action is to find a rehab facility that offers treatment for this type of addiction. Once a facility has been chosen, the road to recovery can begin.