Vicodin addiction is a very serious and growing problem across the United States. It leaves broken people and broken families in its wake. To combat this rising tide of vicodin abuse we have two vital tools – education and awareness. Giving information and education about the dangers of vicodin addiction to as many people as we can might stop some from slipping into addiction. Based on the way that prescription drug abuse is growing it seems that increasing everyone’s awareness of the dangers is an urgent need.
Vicodin – Where It Comes From and What It Is
Vicodin is an over the counter pain reliever administered for mild to severe pain. Generally used to alleviate acute pain from an injury, vicodin can only be obtained through a physician’s order. But it is widely used illicitly. Vicodin contains both acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone, an opiate or narcotic, treats pain by changing the way the brain responds to pain stimuli from the nerves. However, because hydrocodone is an opiate, it also causes a state of euphoria along with the sensation of painlessness. Acetaminophen is a milder pain reliever often used to treat headaches and aching muscles. Consumption of vicodin with or without acetaminophen is highly habit forming and often times leads to full-blown vicodin addiction, and abusers tend to resort to snorting crushed tablets to get their high.
Drug dealers and other addicts find it relatively simple to extract the pure hydrocodone from vicodin. Since acetaminophen can easily be dissolved in water, hydrocodone is what remains after the extraction process.
How Vicodin Addiction Starts
Many celebrities and ordinary people have wrestled with vicodin addiction. Famous actors and athletes were legally prescribed the drug for pain relief and became addicted to vicodin due to the potency of the drug. Their stories have been made public in some cases, and those who have recovered from vicodin addiction are passionate about telling people about the dangers.
Vicodin addiction usually starts with one of two scenarios. In the first it is prescribed legitimately by a physician to treat pain. Over a period of time the patient begins to notice the euphoric effects that accompany the medication. This will sometimes lead to the patient gradually increasing their dosage in order to maintain this euphoric state. Given the highly habit forming side effects of hydrocodone, such abuse is likely to lead to addiction. Individuals who have shown a tendency towards addiction to other substances such as alcohol are very likely to become addicted after any such abuse begins.
Recreational drug use is the second scenario in which vicodin addiction occurs. In recreational use vicodin is obtained illegally, sometimes bought from dealers, sometimes stolen from medicine cabinets, and taken to induce a state of euphoria, or a high. Vicodin is often mistakenly viewed as harmless because it is a legal drug approved by the FDA. But this is a mistake, and we should never forget that all prescription drugs are designed to address particular needs. The use of any drug without proper supervision, adherence to dosage instructions and oversight from a qualified physician is fraught with danger.
Recognizing Vicodin Addiction
Vicodin addiction is accompanied by various signs, both physical and psychological, that are relatively easy to spot. It is quite common for vicodin addicts to become obsessively particular about their pills and supply. They will always make sure they have enough tablets to hand, and will keep them away from other members of the family. Addicts will often take much larger doses of vicodin than prescribed, and they will resort to obtaining the drug by illegal means. They may start to buy from dealers on the street, or online, they may take vicodin from other people’s medicine cabinets when they visit, and they may burglarize pharmacies. They will lie, cheat and steal to obtain their drug of choice and it is common for vicodin addicts to seek out multiple physicians to obtain vicodin prescriptions.
Vicodin abuse leads to emotional and chemical dependency on the drug. It can result in increased irritability and agitation, night sweats, muscle and bone pain. Due to vicodin’s harmful effect on both the body and the mind, addicts will often suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug. These will include chills, sweats, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and tremors.
Vicodin can be fatal if taken in large doses over prolonged periods of time. It has a toxic effect on the body and in cases of prolonged abuse it can cause fatal toxicity to develop in the liver which is one of the main cleansing tools we have to rid our bodies of poisons.
Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Vicodin addiction can be treated in a number of different ways. Cold turkey is probably the least comfortable option, and if the user is still suffering from the condition that caused the pain that vicodin was prescribed to alleviate it will be even tougher. The other options are detox and rehab. Detox offers the relative luxury of being progressively weaned off vicodin through the use of other drugs to minimize the physical withdrawal symptoms and illness. But each treatment path should be explored fully with a physician or counselor who is qualified to advise and guide a vicodin addict to the right option for them.
Vicodin addiction and the abuse of any prescription drugs is just that, drug abuse. Drug abuse is not any safer simply because the drugs are prescribed. An inherent danger lies in people underestimating the effects of prescription drugs, and the ease of addiction to many of them. Overcoming vicodin addiction will require persistence and determination along with the support of a loving community to provide encouragement and support. This community should consist of family and close friends alongside counselors and physicians, interventionists and therapists – everyone has a part to play in helping vicodin addiction recovery.