Wednesday April 1st 2015

How long does Vicodin withdrawal last?

How long does Vicodin withdrawal last?

Planning to withdraw from Vicodin (hydrocodone)?

Vicodin withdrawal occurs when you have become physically dependent on Vicodin and stop taking it abruptly.  Vicodin, an opioid blend of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, is usually prescribed to help with post-operative pain management.  But as an opiate, Vicodin has a high abuse potential because it produces a euphoric high (am I addicted to Vicodin?).

Vicodin withdrawal can be a painful and frustrating process.  But Vicodin withdrawal symptoms treatment is pretty straight forward.  Here, we talk about the process of withdrawal from Vicodin and what you can expect over the course of a few weeks. As always, we invite you to ask questions about Vicodin or hydrocodone at the end of the article.

How long until Vicodin withdrawal starts?

If you have developed a dependency or an addiction to Vicodin, once you have decided to stop taking Vicodin you will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. You will sense these symptoms 6-8 hours after the last dose of Vicodin has worn off. When the withdrawal process starts you’ll begin to feel several symptoms that mimic the flu. This will make you very sick for a time. Along with the “flu” there are other symptoms which may accompany withdrawal. They are:

  • cold flashes
  • diarrhea
  • goosebumps
  • insomnia
  • involuntary leg movement
  • muscle and bone pain
  • restlessness

Vicodin withdrawal timeline

Everyone is going to go through withdrawal differently. If you have just developed a dependency to Vicodin then detox will be less severe than someone who has been dependent on Vicodin for a long time or has become addicted to it. Generally for most however, onset of symptoms begin 6-8 hours after your last does of Vicodin has worn off. You can then expect to suffer withdrawal symptoms anywhere from weeks to moths after quitting Vicodin. Below is a more detailed timeline of what to anticipate from the withdrawal process.

24 – 72 hours Vicodin withdrawal: This begins the rocky road to detoxing from Vicodin. It will also be some of the hardest hours you may experience. Withdrawal symptoms you will go through may include: muscle spasms, chills, diarrhea, anxiety, and fear. Symptoms reach their peak during this time and stabilizing your body will be a battle.

Week 1 Vicodin withdrawal: Onset symptoms will carry over into week one as they continue to peak in intensity. Symptoms to expect are severe insomnia and mood swing which will continue to affect you. Also extreme fatigue as your body exerting a lot of energy to repairs itself.

Week 2 Vicodin withdrawal: You will begin to see a difference in your body and perhaps your mood. Your body is slowly returning to normal and withdrawal symptoms begin to even out and slowly decrease over time. Appetite should be returning to normal as well. May still have aches and pains.

Week 3-4 Vicodin withdrawal: During this time severe symptoms can return. You may experience some times where withdrawal symptoms wax and wane in severity. If you’re addicted to Vicodin these might be challenging do to drug cravings and drug seeking behaviors.

How long do Vicodin withdrawal symptoms last?

Every person’s body is unique and no two people will go through withdrawal in the same away. There are many factors that play into recovery. Many people have reported different period of withdrawal. Therefore general withdrawal symptoms of Vicodin on average start 6-8 hours after the last does has worn off. After that time of withdrawal fluctuates between several weeks and months of stopping Vicodin. Withdrawal can be long but eventually your body will return to normal and you will begin to feel a level of comfort.

Vicodin withdrawal: how long?

It is important to understand your body and its reactions to Vicodin. While there is a general process and symptoms to expect there is no accounting for the variant bodies and how they can adapt and react differently to dependence and withdrawal. There are many other health concerns that are important to be aware of as you are withdrawing from Vicodin so that you are not adversely affecting your body while it is trying to repair. It is also important to mention PAWS which is post-acute withdrawal symptoms. These are a set of persistent symptoms specific to the type of substance you are taking. For this case it is specific to opioids. These symptoms mimic the onset of withdrawal at the beginning but they then can last several weeks and months past expected detoxification time frame. Protracted withdrawal specific to opioid include; short term memory loss, anxiety, depression. In general psychological effects of drug dependence take much longer to treat and cure and some many never fully disappear.

How long Vicodin withdrawal questions

If you have any more questions regarding withdrawal from Vicodin please ask. We do our best to respond to your questions accurately and promptly.

Reference Sources: SAMHSA: Substance abuse treatment advisory
DailyMed: Vicodin HP
OASAS: Opiate and Addiction Medications
DEA: Narcotics

Photo credit: Pliketi Plok

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24 Responses to “How long does Vicodin withdrawal last?
6:59 pm December 15th, 2012

I can tell you one, the most challenging part of deciding to end your addiction is to endure withdrawal side effects. I sought help using a natural product which alleviated so many of the symptoms of withdrawal. It really helped me at night when I was having insomnia and my thoughts were racing. Painkiller addiction is a real problem in our society and I was among the millions of people in the US affected by it. I urge anyone who wants to be free of their addiction to stick with it and find help during the withdrawal process. I’ve been addiction free for one year now! Change your life people!

11:47 pm January 4th, 2013

After years of constantly struggling, I learned that withdrawal symptoms both physical and mental vary between abusers. I can admit I am an addict, but have also been able to at least focus on my primary reason for my continues usage. It literally is the stomach issues. I have all of the other symptoms as well, depression, lack of energy, etc, but the excessive pain and need to run to the bathroom are the only symptoms that have a concretely negative impact on my life, work, school, etc. Prior to using, I was never one to get much sleep, so the insomnia is at least endurable. I find myself now even when I am not on it for 2 days now, not having “mental cravings”. I literally take them to prevent the excessive diarrhea and severe stomach cramping. I have tried every over the counter med for these symptoms but nothing works. So now the main mental issue I have is depression which is mainly because of the stomach problems. So if you have a suggestion Michelle I would be eternally grateful. Congratulations on going on a year now!!

3:30 am January 13th, 2014

i was a 6 year vicodin user, i got up to 3 to 6 per day, ive been off of them for 12 days now, the withdrawls were probably the worst thing ive been thru in my life, but i did it. im feeling better every day but my question is when will i get my energy and ambition back, it still seems like a huge effort to even do things around the house and pick up my hobbies, such as guitar and building models :(

2:04 pm January 13th, 2014

Hi Russ. It can take a few weeks to months to get your energy back after Vicodin dependence. Some mood disorders such as depression can persist for months afterwards. Have you thought about seeking help from a psychologist or psychiatrist?

10:00 pm January 27th, 2014

I just finished day 15 after being on 10/325mg of Vicodin for over 6 years. At my worst, I was taking 10-12 pills a day. Over the past few months, I managed to ween myself down to 5-6 5/325 pills per day but, I still felt like I was in a state of withdrawal every day. I ended up running out and had that moment when I had to call my Dr for a refill and I was just disgusted with myself. So, I never filled my prescription. I went cold turkey with the help of my wife. I had all of the usual side effects…nausea, fever, anxiety, sneezing, restless legs, etc… My physical symptoms were bad for 6-7 days and started getting better every day. At about day 12, I felt really good but now at day 15, I feel like my energy is zapped but now I’m back to not sleeping again. I am really hoping that this resolves itself soon because the idea of taking a pill just so I can feel normal scares me to death. Is this normal?

11:11 am January 31st, 2014

Hello Jason. Totally normal. Check into PAWS – protracted/post-acute withdrawal symptoms. I’d suggest that you look into possible help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. You might benefit from the use of antidepressants or anxiety medications (for a short period of time) to make it over the hump.

5:43 am September 22nd, 2014

I started taking vicodin 2 1/2 years ago after surgery. I was against it so i took it sparingly. Then I realized it was helping with my ibs so I kept taking it. Only 1 – 2 500mg a day but not every day. Then it got out of hand. A year ago i started cutting my 750mg into 3the sections. I dont take it until i start to feel the achy bone feeling and by the end of the day i’ve taken all three 1/3′s. I have two jobs and am so busy, i cant afford to miss work so I just keep telling myself soon you will do it. It has effected my emotions. I feel like my body doesnt make its own dopamine anymore. I have decided I have to quit. A friend is going to take me camping and let me get through the process. Is there anything natural, vitamins or supplements that will help with the withdrawel. Given the low amount I take do you think a week is enough? Do you have thoughts on the over the counter dopamine?

8:21 am October 2nd, 2014

Hello Shannon. First, you can discuss a tapering plan with your doctor to reduce Vicodin use slowly over time. Tapering is the single most important step in order to reduce the severity or intensity of Vicodin detox symptoms. For help you can turn to over-the-counter NSAIDs, hot water bottles, Immodium AD, natural sleep aids, massage or muscle lotions.

11:54 pm October 8th, 2014

i have taken norco for 25 years as I detox in day 2 I am having extreme headaches…what can I do

12:50 pm October 13th, 2014

Hi Steven. Have you tried aspirin? Some people have reported it helped them with headaches from Norco withdrawal. Hang in there, they won’t last too long. I know that’s easier said than done, especially when nothing seems to help them.

11:35 am October 21st, 2014

I’m on day 4 off vicodin. My question is my doctor gave me clonidine for 14 days. This helped with most symptoms but pain is still so bad. I have pain from disease which is what started the addiction. I am taking tramadol (never took prior even though I had a filled perscription) and Advil for pain. My plan is to taper down on the tramadol during the 14 day period of clonidine and taper the clonidine as well. If I do it as outlined, will I go thru a whole new withdrawal at the end of the 14 days? Am I really getting off this stuff or prolonging the withdrawals? Thank you in advance.

1:32 pm October 21st, 2014

Hi Michelle. It’s a good thing that you’re tapering doses down before you quit completely. Going cold turkey can be much harder and the withdrawal symptoms severe. By gradually lowering the amount you are taking, your organism gets accustomed to the smaller doses, so the reaction you’ll get when you finally stop won’t be serious. However, there is no way to completely avoid withdrawal symptoms, but they should resolve within a weak or so.

5:52 am October 31st, 2014

I’ve been taking Vicodin for 5 months straight every day all day. I took my last pills yesterday around 5. I’m already going nuts. Help. How long will this last?

12:48 pm November 6th, 2014

Hi Cheryl. As we mentioned in this article, the withdrawal is not going in the same way for everyone. Withdrawal can be long but eventually your body will return to normal and you will begin to feel a level of comfort. We understand your feelings and reactions on this one. Just try to hold on. Good luck!

7:26 pm November 10th, 2014

So I was on methadone for 5 yrs after a long period of herion addiction. I weaned my methadone use down to 5mgs a day. I thought that I could use vicodin as a further step down from the low dose of methadone, but I think I screwed up and made it worse. Yesterday I took 50mgs. Of vicodin and still had periods of uncomfortable withdrawl. I have 1 10mg narco left and I want to hold off on taking it for as long as possible. I am considering checking into a hospital for detox. Is suboxone effective with vicodin withdrawal?

8:09 pm February 8th, 2015

my boyfriend is going thru his first wk of detoxing from Vicodin and he has the mood swings real bad. he was taking like 15 pills a day he needs help

2:22 pm February 10th, 2015

Hi Deb. It’s not a bad idea to get him examined by a doctor. Then, the doctor may prescribe medications that can help your boyfriend manage the symptoms of withdrawal better. Or, at leas point you to other medications that can also treat symptoms (you can get some over-the-counter meds at the pharmacy). I hope he gets better soon.

8:23 am February 17th, 2015

I have degenerative spine aches. Doctor took me off Ibuprofen and prescribed Vicodin 3 years ago , one every 4-6 hrs. I averaged 4 per day. I began weaning off and after 4 days I switched to Tylenol . Now, after being off Vicodin 3 days, I’m aching, and freezing like the flu. How long does this last? Should I continue with Tylenol, within recommended dosage?

4:03 pm February 18th, 2015

Hello Les. You discontinued the Vicodin too quickly, now you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms for going almost cold turkey. Vicodin withdrawal symptoms can last for week, but they get less intense as time passes. Please consult a doctor about your tapering plan and for advise on what should you do next. Kind regards,

Charles A
2:12 am March 13th, 2015

Help. My uncle is an addict and having affairs.

4:28 pm March 26th, 2015

At my weakest, I was taking 12-14 Vicodin a day along with Jack Daniels!!! The pain was so severe, that was my answer. Then I quit drinking but I continues to take 10-12 pills daily. Finally with the help of an epidural injection, I went to the fentanyl patch and Vicodin 4-6 a day for breakthrough pain. I finally was able to wean down to 3 a day. Now I’ve decided, since Vicodin doesn’t work, to get them out of my life for good…. But I feel like I’m going to loose my mind!!!! Over the past few days, I’ve weaned myself to 1/2 a pill a day…. The pain is just unbearable!!! I can sleep and I wanna ouch someone!!! Dr gave me lorazepam to help at night…. Not helping!!! Am I going crazy?!?! How much longer is this going to last? I’m shaking, every joint, muscle, everything hurts. And I am sweating like a pig!! I’m miserable!!! Please, any suggestions will help!!! Please!!!!

12:02 pm March 27th, 2015

Hello Vikki. Will you be taking any other medication for the management of your pain? The withdrawal symptoms will be over soon, but you need a pain management plan. Can your doctor refer you to a clinic in your area? You can feel better if a medical staff helps you detox and can also successful manage your pain at the same time. At home you can try helping the pain with massages, warm showers, and heating pads. Also, NSAIDs can address muscle aches and pains. Make sure the food you eat is soft on the body and doesn’t promote nausea. If you are having a hard time eating, make sure you are getting the fluids and electrolytes you need to stay hydrated.

If you want to find resources for pain, support groups, or addiction treatment you can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This is a national hotline designed to get you in contact with addiction treatment centers. Good luck to you Vikki. I wish you fast recovery and I hope these tips can be of somewhat help to you. Stay strong!

5:08 pm March 27th, 2015

I’m on day 3 of trying to quit taking vicidon i have 3 kids and two jobs so i can not get time off. I feel like this is taking forever to get off I’m just tempted to take like 2 to get some sleep please help.

10:59 pm March 27th, 2015

Hi Monica. You might want to look into prescription medicine options (buprenorphine or methadone substitution therapies); your eligibility will depend on past history of Vicodin use. But I would really encourage you to see a doctor…there are pharmacological treatments out there that can help. And you are not alone!

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