Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Widely prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, dependence on the drug can develop after long term use. Tolerance builds over time which leads to cravings for more of the drug to sustain the same pain relief. Learn more about how Vicodin works and whether it is possible to become addicted to Vicodin and what to do if this happens to a loved one.
A person develops dependency on a drug when the body stops receiving it and withdrawal symptoms occur. Vicodin dependence occurs when the brain and central nervous system adapt to the presence of hydrocodone and need the drug to function normally. Even when taken as prescribed, Vicodin dependence can develop quickly (within 2-3 weeks after initial dose).
The difference between addiction and dependency is that addiction involves the presence of psychological symptoms. Behaviors may include seeking more of the drug than prescribed, thinking about Vicodin in an unhealthy way and if, during withdrawal, a person seeks more of the drug to overcome the symptoms. Addiction and dependency can also coincide with one another.
The body gets used to having Vicodin in the system. When a person stops taking the drug, homeostasis, or balance, is off in the body. Without Vicodin, the body’s response can be painful and uncomfortable but rarely dangerous. Severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the length of time Vicodin was used and the individual body’s response. A tapering process of lowering doses gradually can lessen some of the symptoms which may include:
- Mood changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
- Sweats and chills
Physical Dependence on Vicodin
The body will not function normally without Vicodin. Since the body adjusts to having it in the body, once it is gone the body does not know how to react. Withdrawal symptoms will begin soon after the last dose. To know if physical dependence has occurred, a person may lower, miss or cut out a dose of Vicodin which will kick in withdrawal symptoms.
Psychological Dependence on Vicodin
Vicodin addiction creates a psychological dependence to cope with life’s stressors, seek and use Vicodin at all times and may disrupt a person’s life by constantly doctor shopping to get more medication. Reducing the dosage is unlikely to help a person quit Vicodin if addiction has begun. More support, therapy and treatment may be required to help guide a person through the process to recovery.
There is no shame seeking help for dependence or being addicted to Vicodin. Many people out in the world understand the thoughts, feelings and emotions of experiencing addiction to this drug. Seeking a positive, empowering support group and treatment protocol which is personalized for an individual’s needs can help bring clarity and hope for recovery.
If you or a loved one struggle with being addicted to Vicodin, Hired Power can help. Call us for more information on how we can help you on the journey to recovery.