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Signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction

Vicodin addiction signs

Vicodin (hydrocodone) is a very potent opioid that can be extremely habit-forming. If you’re taking Vicodin to get high, you risk developing addiction quickly. And while you may start taking Vicodin to relieve moderate to severe pain, Vicodin addiction can slowly creep up on you. Why and how does Vicodin addiction occur? And how can you help Vicodin addiction?

Vicodin has the potential to alter the brain’s neurotransmitters. In fact, Vicodin is so effective at relieving pain, habitual use is common. But Vicodin can also trigger euphoria in the brain, or an extreme sense of well-being. While this is an expected outcome, use of Vicodin becomes addictive when you seek out this high. And Vicodin addiction occurs when you begin to use Vicodin to cope with the daily stresses of life.  In this way, psychological dependence on Vicodin is a primary sign or symptom of Vicodin addiction.

Symptoms of Vicodin addiction

Signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction can be physical, emotional, and behavioral. However, addiction is characterized by psychological need for a drug and symptoms of Vicodin addiction manifest clearly once you stop taking Vicodin after prolonged use. For a full assessment of possible Vicodin addiction, see a family doctor for screening. Symptoms of Vicodin addiction to be aware of include:

  • becoming aggressive when asked about Vicodin use
  • continued Vicodin dosing, even when health, work, or family are affected
  • craving Vicodin
  • decreased performance in school or work
  • disinterest in or ignoring hygiene or dress
  • disinterest in social activities
  • hiding Vicodin use
  • losing the ability to control, stop, or reduce Vicodin
  • make excuses to use Vicodin
  • missing work or school due to Vicodin use
  • obsessing about getting or using Vicodin
  • needing Vicodin to get through the day, most days of the week
  • tried and failed attempts to stop taking Vicodin
  • uncontrollable compulsion to use Vicodin
  • using Vicodin alone
  • using Vicodin to cope with life’s stresses
  • using Vicodin to get high (like when you snort Vicodin, chew, or inject it)

A word about Vicodin tolerance

Over time, taking Vicodin daily can lead to increased usage. In fact, prolonged use of Vicodin can cause users to need more hydrocodone in their systems to achieve the same initial effect. while doctors still don’t understand why this phenonmenon of tolerance occurs, it can signal increased dependence on Vicodin. While increased tolerance to Vicodin or chemical dependence on Vicodin do not characterize Vicodin addiction on their own, they can occur simultaneously. And may be additional indicators that someone is addicted to Vicodin.

A word about Vicodin dependence

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When the effect of hydrocodone wears off, a Vicodin addict may show signs of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms manifest when the body is physically dependent on a drug. For Vicodin, these withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, or nausea and vomiting. In more severe cases, Vicodin addicts can experience extreme muscle or bone pain, high levels of anxiety and restlessness.

Vicodin addiction symptoms: Can they be treated?

YES!

The most common treatment for Vicodin addiction involves a combination of pharmaceutical and behavioral interventions. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction, you can take the rights steps in order to help yourself or a loved one suffering.  Getting someone to admit they have a problem with their Vicodin use is tough, though. In some cases, the first step to getting help is organizing an intervention for your loved one. How?

An intervention is a process involving family and friends and possibly others who care about a person struggling with addiction. An intervention allows people to gather together to confront the person about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment. This process is not about judging but highlighting and supporting people with addiction to get help.

It’s important not to wait until they “want help.” Instead, think of an intervention as giving your loved one a clear opportunity to make changes before things get really bad.  If you don’t feel confident to organize an intervention yourself there are some services that offer intervention planning.

Once your loved one agrees to get help for Vicodin addiction, you can begin to consider what type of treatment they may need. This will depend on the intensity of the addiction and how well the individual feels they can manage withdrawal. Inpatient and outpatient addiction services exist to address Vicodin addiction directly.

Inpatient Vicodin addiction treatment

Inpatient treatment may be part of a hospital program or found in special clinics. You’ll sleep at the facility and get therapy in the day or evening. Inpatient addiction treatment usually lasts from 3 to 6 weeks, depending on how long it takes with withdraw from Vicodin and how recovery is going. After inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment or counseling and group therapy is recommended. Inpatient Vicodin treatment may be a good option if:

  1. You’ve tried outpatient treatment but it didn’t work.
  2. You have other physical or mental health problems.
  3. Your home situation makes it hard to stay away from drugs or alcohol.
  4. You don’t live near an outpatient treatment clinic.

Outpatient Vicodin addiction treatment

Outpatient treatment for Vicodin addiction takes place in mental health clinics, counselors’ offices, hospital clinics, or local health department offices. Unlike inpatient treatment, you don’t stay overnight. Outpatient rehabilitation programs should focus on the whole individual, not just the presenting or primary indicators of addiction. Outpatient Vicodin addiction treatment may be a good option if:

  1. Inpatient treatment is too expensive.
  2. You can’t or don’t want to quit work or take a leave of absence.
  3. You want to be close to loved ones.

Signs of Vicodin addiction questions

Still have questions about how to identify or address Vicodin addiction? Maybe you have an experience to share? If so please, share your questions and experiences about Vicodin addiction in the comments section below. We will try to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia
National Institute of Drug Abuse
National Library of Medicine Pub Med
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence: Learn about drugs: Signs and symptoms

Photo credit: PHMSA

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