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Vicodin Addiction and Treatment

vicodin addiction

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In the US, approximately 4.7 million people are addicted to different types of painkillers. Vicodin addiction accounts for nearly half of the number, with two million individuals who are physically dependent on and psychologically obsessed with the use of the opiate drug.

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Vicodin Statistics: Increase in Medical and Non-Medical Uses

Data suggest that people who are addicted to Vicodin and other painkillers come from different groups, but the most common are 20 to 40 years old and white. Vicodin has become such a common addiction in the country, with more than 23 million people reporting using the substance at least once without a proper prescription, for non-medical purposes in 2009.
Because the opiate-based drug has so many side effects, Vicodin-related emergency room visits have increased vis-à-vis the increase in the number of Vicodin units used in the last two decades. From seven million in 1997, the number of Vicodin units that was used for both medical and non-medical purposes reached 89 million in 2000.
Medically prescribed Vicodin has likewise increased in the past years. From 112 million in 2006, the number of prescriptions filled for the highly addictive painkiller went up to 139 million in 2010. According to the National Survey on Drug use and Health (NSDUH), abuse of the drug went up almost four times within the past decade.

Vicodin-related Emergencies and Deaths

Due to the many serious adverse effects of Vicodin opioids abuse and addiction, there were approximately 19,221 people who were brought to the emergency room in 2000. Within ten years since the number was released, this same data rose up by 500%. In 2009, studies found that emergency room visits due to the non-medical use of pharmaceuticals including Vicodin reached 1,244,679.
Drug overdose accounts for 44 deaths in the US every day. Hydrocodone-containing pharmaceutical are among the most consumed opiates that cause untimely deaths among addicts and dependents due to the drug availability and relatively low Vicodin price in unauthorized sources.

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Why Vicodin is Highly Addictive

VicodineVicodin is a highly addictive drug because of its very powerful pain-relieving effects. Vicodin stops the brain’s pain signal transmission while elevating dopamine levels, which can make the person feel euphoric. A person can become dependent to Vicodin within a week.
Vicodin is a prescription painkiller made of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a synthetic drug used to suppress the brain’s pain transmitters so that the person who takes the drug does not feel any pain after medical processes such as surgeries. Acetaminophen is a common analgesic that is also given to patients who complain of surgery or injury-related pain.
Once Vicodin is taken internally, it stops the brain from transmitting signals related to pain, and at the same time, ups the person’s dopamine levels to make him or her feel euphoric. As with many other addictive drugs, the body easily develops a tolerance to the amount of the drug being taken. This results in the need for higher doses to achieve the same satisfying effects.
Vicodin is very addictive that users can become dependent on the drug within a week. Even with a proper prescription from a physician, an individual is at a high risk of getting addicted to Vicodin. According to research, at most seven percent of people doing drugs on prescription within the same category will become dependent and addicted.

Vicodin Addiction Symptoms

When a person is addicted to Vicodin, he or she will:

  • Be shopping for physicians who will give additional prescriptions
  • Use the drug for the very least of pain felt
  • Suffer from muscular pain and severe mood swings when Vicodin is not taken
  • Consume more units than prescribed
  • Continue to use the drug despite harmful effects on the body
  • Spend much time on activities to acquire the drug, among others.

Vicodin Side Effects and Addiction

Taking Vicodin causes such side effects like drowsiness, euphoria, anxiety, a sense of delight, and inability to focus. Some experience nausea and vomiting, headaches, seizures, ringing in the ears, itching, weakness, slow heartbeat, and constipation. Confusion and hallucinations are also common effects of the drug.

What are the long-term effects of Vicodin addiction?

Prescription Medication — VicodineLong-term intake of Vicodin can lead to liver damage, jaundice, poor work and school performance, financial and relationship issues, coma, and even death. If the person tries to stop using this drug, he may suffer from unpleasant Vicodin withdrawal symptoms.
Long-term use of Vicodin results to jaundice, liver damage, inability to perform at home, work or school, financial and relationship problems, coma, and death.
When a person stops using the drug, as in quitting cold turkey, he or she will have intense cravings, insomnia, may experience depression, diarrhea, agitation, chills, irritability, restlessness, body pains, and intense sweating.

How to know if I’m addicted to Vicodin?

One may be addicted to Vicodin if the following signs an present:

  • Searching for doctors for additional prescriptions
  • Taking Vicodin even for minor pain
  • Muscle pain and mood swings
  • Consuming higher dosage
  • Continuous drug use despite its harmful effects
  • Spending a lot of time trying to acquire the drug

Finding Addiction Treatment

If one is addicted to Vicodin or know someone who is, it is crucial to get help immediately. The longer one abuses the drug, the more damage a person will face shortly before Vicodin leaves the system. Quitting on own may mean serious withdrawal symptoms that can hurt a person, family, and entire life. Additionally, since the drug is so powerful, striving to quit on own can only go to waste due to the high probability of having a relapse.
Receiving proper addiction treatment via an inpatient rehabilitation program will ensure that every step one makes leads to complete healing. Inpatient drug rehabs use medically proven processes that involve detoxification and weaning from the drug, as well as behavioral therapies that will set one free from dependence and obsession towards such a dangerous substance.

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  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Monitoring the Future 2018 Survey Results. 2018.
  2. Volkow N. D.. Teen prescription drug abuse a major health concern. Tennessee Medical Association. 2009; 102(4): 28–29.
  3. Drug Enforcement Administration. Hydrocodone. 2018.
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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