Vicodin rehabilitation: How long?

The duration of Vicodin rehabilitation depends on the seriousness of your addiction and the progress you make. Learn what influences the length of Vicodin rehab and more here.

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Vicodin problems can be treated

Vicodin is the most prescribed opioid in the U.S. It belongs to a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics, used in the treatment of pain. But even if it’s been prescribed legally, you can get addicted to it.

So, how can you move past a drug problem?
How do you  know that you need professional help?

Continue reading to learn more about how to identify a problem with Vicodin. Then, we’ll review the major stages of rehabilitation. Finally, we invite you to post your questions at the end. In fact, we try to answer all legitimate questions personally and promptly!


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Do I have a Rx drug problem?

Not everyone who uses Vicodin will become addicted to it. However, Vicodin has powerful effects on the brain. It creates euphoria, an intensely pleasurable feeling. It is this feeling that motivate us to use the drug again and again, despite the risks for significant harms.

So how do you know if you’ve crossed the line?

Drug problems are rooted in intention. If you use a drug to escape reality, your use can develop into a very unhealthy pattern. As mentioned earlier, opioid drugs like Vicodin are highly effective. They work really well to alleviate both physical and emotional pain. So, if you’re using Vicodin for its euphoric effect or as a coping mechanism for life, you should consider a change.

People who use Vicodin to get high or to relieve stress can benefit from a drug use assessment. These assessments are standardized questionnaires that help specialists determine a clinical diagnosis. They are administered by any of the following medical professionals:

An Addictions Counselor
A Family Doctor
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker
A Psychiatrist
A Psychologist

Vicodin Problem? The Red Flags

The main red flags for a prescription drug problem include:

  1. The loss of control of drug use, including amount of use, frequency of use, or ability to quit.
  2. Intense cravings for Vicodin, or a pattern of obsessive thinking about it.
  3. A compulsion to use Vicodin, especially to regulate stress or anxiety.
  4. Continuing to take Vicodin, even if use has destroyed health, home, or work situations.

If you notice any of the above, it’s possible that you can benefit from medical help.

While drug problems are often accompanied by changes in behavior or even physical changes…we believe that drug problems are rooted in both biological and mental patterns. These are often difficult to change on your own. This is why we think that rehabs can be effective in helping people get out of problem drug use.

Think you have a drug problem?

You are not alone.

Millions of people are living in recovery from drug problems in the U.S. Plus, 20+ million people are estimated to need help right now!

In the past few decades, we have begun to understand addiction as a brain disease. As such, addiction is treated with scientific, evidence-based practices. Next, we’ll cover just what happens in the medical management and treatment of Vicodin problems.

Rehabilitation minimum and maximum stays

How do you treat Vicodin addiction? Treating any kind of addiction is a process. While the “flavor” of a rehab center will vary, the two main treatments offered in rehab include:

  1. Medication Assisted Treatment such as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone to stabilize brain chemistry.
  2. Psychological and Behavioral Treatment to change thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes.

Still, the duration of any stay in rehab depends on the patient’s individual case. Most of the time, inpatient rehab is recommended for stays of 30-90 days, while outpatient rehab lasts for about 10-12 weeks. Sometimes, serious or more intense cases require long-term residential stays of 3-12 months in a rehab or supervised setting.

Minimum stay = Around 30 days inpatient.
Maximum stay = Up to 12 months in a residential setting.

Stabilization before rehab

The first step to any rehabilitation process is assessment. During assessment, clinicians aim to understand the severity of the drug problem and then work to create a treatment plan that meets your unique needs. Assessment usually includes:

  • A physical exam
  • A family history
  • A medical history
  • Standard assessment questions in an interview format
  • Drug testing

If you have developed drug dependence on Vicodin, the rehab should refer you to medical detox services. Often called “detoxification,” this process helps manage the physical and emotional symptoms that occur after a person stops using Vicodin. The most common symptoms include:

  • headache
  • insomnia
  • nausea, vomiting, or gastrointestinal problems
  • muscle cramps
  • restlessness
  • sweating

Withdrawal symptoms vary in intensity and duration but usually produce significant physical withdrawal effects for 3-7 days after you stop using. Still, most periods of Vicodin withdrawal are relatively short (3 to 5 days) and are managed with medications combined
with vitamins, exercise, and sleep.

Detox is not enough

Help during Vicodin withdrawal is highly effective in preventing immediate and serious medical consequences. However, by itself, detox is not an effective treatment for any deeper issues. It is best considered stabilization. However, stabilization is considered
a first step toward recovery. The next step is attendance at a reputable rehabilitation program.

Vicodin rehabilitation duration

Inpatient rehabs – If you are entering an inpatient Vicodin rehab, you can expect the treatment to consist of:

  • a structured routine and daily schedules
  • group therapy sessions
  • individual therapy sessions
  • educational lectures about addiction and recovery
  • regular eating times
  • regular sleeping times

You are pretty much committed full-time when enrolled in this type of treatment program, which can engage you in daily activities for 6-8 hours a day. The duration of treatment is most effective when it is a full 30-90 days long. Heavier Vicodin usage results in a longer rehab stay. If you need to go through the detoxification phase, then add on a couple days to more than a week.

Outpatient rehabs – Outpatient programs are generally less intense than inpatient programs, but allow you to reside at home or continue working. Most programs are available at night or on the weekends, and will last from 10-16 weeks. You’ll need to visit the outpatient clinic multiple times per week, or see your individual counselor on a regular schedule. Entire duration of outpatient rehab is from 3 months to 1 or 2 years.

Vicodin rehabilitation: Short term vs. long term

The duration of Vicodin treatment depends on where you are in accepting help and the progress you make, and should be determined by a doctor or an addiction specialist. Some of the factors which will contribute to this decision include:

  • How much Vicodin you were taking and for how long.
  • Your general health.
  • Your home environment and support systems.
  • Your medical and family histories.
  • Your willingness to engage in the treatment process.

Choosing a treatment facility near your home or in another city or state is up to your personal preference, availability of addiction treatment programs in your area, insurance coverage and physicians recommendations. People who live in a smaller town might have difficulties accessing Vicodin treatment due to the distance.

Average time spent in rehab

The average stay in an addiction treatment facility is usually 30-60 days, but if you are dealing with serious Vicodin addiction you may have to stay longer.

Vicodin prescriptions during rehab

So, what do you do when you’re in the unique situation of using Vicodin for pain management but seeking help for addiction at the same time?

The tablet, capsule, syrup, and solution are usually prescribed every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The extended-release capsule and the extended-release suspension are usually prescribed every 12 hours. The typical Vicodin doses prescribed during rehabilitation are divided in 3 (three) sections:

  • First time users are usually prescribed with 5 to 10 mg per day.
  • Tolerant users are usually prescribed with 10 to 15 mg per day.
  • Addicts are usually prescribed with 20 to 30 mg per day.

The maximum safe daily dose of Vicodin is 750 mg. If you need to take more than 750 mg of Vicodin you have to be very cautious. With each increase of doses there is a higher chance of developing dependence. In case you have exceeded the recommended daily dose of Vicodin, it is important to consult your doctor so s/he can help you figure out what is the best course of action.

The Reclassification Of Hydrocodone

Under a final rule issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), hydrocodone combination products (one of which is Vicodin itself) are now in a more restrictive category of controlled substances, along with other opioid drugs for pain like morphine and oxycodone. Hydrocodone used to be a Schedule III drug, but is now classified as a Schedule II drug. This is due to the fact that it is one of the most abused prescription drugs.

Here are some of the key changes that occurred with the reclassification of hydrocodone from a Schedule III drug to a Schedule II drug:

  1. If you need additional medication, your doctor must issue a new prescription. Phone-in refills for these products are no longer allowed.
  2. In emergencies, small supplies can be authorized until a new prescription can be provided for you.
  3. You will still have access to reasonable quantities of medication, generally up to a 30-day supply.

Duration of Vicodin rehabilitation questions

Did we answer your question(s) about Vicodin rehabilitation? If you have anything else you want to ask regarding the length of Vicodin rehabilitation please post your questions below. We do our best to respond personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: FDA: Additional progress on reducing the abuse of opioid pain relievers
Medline Plus: Hydrocodone Combination Products
DEA: Hydrocodone
AMDG: Interagency Guideline on Opioid Dosing for Chronic Non-cancer Pain
UTAH: Dosing Guidelines
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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