Medical Use vs. Abuse of Vicodin
Vicodin is classified as a Shedule II narcotic in the Controlled Substance Act. The primary medical use of Vicodin is to treat moderate to severe pain. However, people abuse Vicodin and use it to get high. So even if you have a prescription but use Vicodin OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED, you are definitely abusing the drug.
In addition, any use of Vicodin that is not prescribed by a doctor is both illegal and also considered to be abusive. Some of the signs of Vicodin abuse include:
- Taking higher doses than recommended.
- Taking Vicodin more often than recommended.
- Administering it via alternative routes.
- Using Vicodin to get high.
- Mixing Vicodin with alcohol, other medications, or illicit drugs.
- Using Vicodin recreationally and to get high.
But, what are most common risks and side effects of abusing Vicodin?
Are there any effective ways to address a Vicodin abuse problem?
We explore here. Then, we welcome your questions in the comments section at the end. We’ll do our best to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.
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Why Do People Abuse Vicodin?
Vicodin – a mix of hydrocodone and paracetamol – is one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States (abused by almost 24.4 million people aged 12 and older in the U.S.). It acts directly on the central nervous system and changes the way our brains perceive pain. Vicodin can easily become a drug of abuse since it triggers euphoric feelings.
Q: So, does experimentation with Vicodin count as ‘drug abuse’?
You might be thinking that using Vicodin just once for fun, only to get high, or solely recreationally…is harmless and not serious. You may initially feel pleasant feelings such as a rush of euphoria and relaxation. However, repeated abuse over a period of time can be a downward spiral.
How Is Vicodin Abused?
Vicodin is designed to be taken through the mouth as a pill. It is then digested in the gastro-intestinal tract, absorbed into the bloodstream, and carried to the brain. When taken only in the recommended amounts and according to a medical schedule, Vicodin can be effective for pain relief. However, abusers commonly opt for other routes of administration, including:
- Chewing the tablets and swallowing
- Crushing pills and snorting
- Diluting in liquid and injecting
- Smoking the crushed powder
Administrated through any of these alternative routes, a large, concentrated amount of hydrocodone gets released into the body, which increases the risk of experiencing side effects.
Tell-Tale Signs of Vicodin Abuse
If you are concerned that you or a loved one has a problem with Vicodin abuse, there are ways you can recognize it and intervene before abuse turns into a full-blown addiction. Here are some signs that you can look for:
Dryness of the mouth
Problems with concentration
Buying, stealing, and/or borrowing Vicodin (drug diversion).
Making false pharmacy call-ins (reporting prescription as stolen or lost).
Purchasing Vicodin from illegal sources online and off the street.
Running out of Vicodin before it’s time for a prescription refill.
Seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors (doctor shopping).
Do any of these signs and symptoms seem familiar?
If you or a loved one turn out to have a problem with Vicodin abuse – don’t wait! Seek professional help from a psychologist, counselor, or a treatment program to get the needed help.
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Vicodin Abuse Risks and Side Effects
Abusing a drug with a high addictive potential is never safe. Side effects can occur even in casual users. However, the risk of side effects jumps for those who use the medication chronically, for a prolonged period of time. Below is a list of the most common side effects of Vicodin abuse:
- Breathing problems
- Organ damage or injury
- Increased perception of pain
- Mood changes
- Poor stress management
- Memory consolidation issues
In addition to these, there is a number of adverse side effects of Vicodin abuse that can have a huge negative impact on almost every field of your life. These may include:
- Professional setbacks or job loss
- Strained relationships with family members and friends
- Occurrence or worsening of mental health conditions
- Financial instability
- Problems with the law
In other words, Vicodin can have a negative effect to almost every aspect of your being…work, family, emotional stability, and social interactions.
Treating Vicodin Abuse
Effective treatment programs that address Vicodin abuse will first work to evaluate your current physical and mental health state. Then, treatment programs are tailored to fit your needs and provide you with the adequate therapies that can help you become and stay drug-free. Treatment experts confirm that the most effective approaches to treating an Vicodin use disorder involve a mix of:
- Pharmacological therapy
- Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy
Pharmacological therapy = Can aid the first step of addressing your body’s chemical dependence on Vicodin. When Vicodin withdrawal symptoms start to occur, it is important to be medically monitored to prevent a relapse. By using medications to manage and alleviate harsh withdrawal effects, doctors make sure you are safe and stable as you move through treatment. Medications may include:
Doctors and pharmacists may also suggest the use of over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, Imodium, and Benadryl to treat flu like symptoms, cramps, and insomnia.
Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy = A full treatment of Vicodin abuse problem includes individual, group, and/or family counseling. Therapies can help you explore the issues that led to your drug abuse and learn alternative, Vicodin-free ways to handle those issues. Commonly used therapies include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment
- Educational Sessions
- Medication Maintenance Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
Therapy is aimed to help you deal with the mental and emotional issues that are rooted in your problem with Vicodin. This is the base for long term recovery.
6 Sources Of Vicodin Abuse Help
There are plenty of help resources that can assist you on your quest to quit Vicodin and stay quit. Here are some suggestions:
1. Vicodin Abuse Helpline – When you CALL US, you will get in touch with informed and caring professionals who are familiar with your struggles. Hotline staffers will ask questions and answer yours. We are 100% judgement-free. Most importantly, they can help you review treatment options that can best help your situation.
2. Drug Treatment Centers – Rehab facilities readily accept patients who are suffering from Vicodin abuse and work to tailor make their programs to suite each individual’s unique needs. They usually offer a variety of treatment options including inpatient and outpatient care. If you don’t know which type is for you, qualified addiction treatment professionals can help you assess the advantages and disadvantages of each to make sure that you select the right treatment type for you.
3. Prescribing Physicians – Your prescribing physician can run basic tests to assess the severity of your Vicodin abuse and refer you to appropriate treatment options close to your living area or away from home.
4. Psychiatrists – These mental health doctors can prescribe medications to help with co-occurring mental health issues in the case of dual diagnosis. An example of a co-occurring disorder is a Vicodin use problem + a depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or other substance abuse problem.
5. Licensed Clinical Psychologists – Your psychologist can play a crucial role in helping you to identify and resolve your existing psychological, emotional, and spiritual problems that compel you to turn to Vicodin abuse.
6. Addiction Specialists – Doctors who are Certified Addiction Specialists (CAS) are experts in the treatment of serious and recurrent addiction to drugs, including treatment of Vicodin addiction.
Got Something To Ask?
Did we answer all questions on Vicodin abuse, its effects and risks? If not, please contact us in the comment section below or via our contact us page. Each of your comments and questions are welcomed and appreciated.