What are Vicodin withdrawal symptoms?

Common Vicodin withdrawal symptoms can appear a few hours after your last dose of Vicodin and may include: diarrhea, stomach pain, sweating, and chills. More here on Vicodin withdrawal symptoms, including how long you can expect symptoms to last.

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Thinking about detoxing from Vicodin (acetaminophen and hydrocodone)?

Read on to learn more about how does Vicodin affect the brain and which Vicodin withdrawal symptoms to expect during detox, as well as how long they last. Plus a section at the end for your questions about Vicodin.

Why do Vicodin withdrawal symptoms occur?

Vicodin is part of the opioid family of pain killer medicines. The main ingredient in Vicodin is hydrocodone, which is an opioid man-made synthetic derivative of drugs like morphine. Like most opioids, hydrocodone suppresses the pain receptors in the brain and (in effect) slows the overall body responses. This is why when you are on Vicodin, you can no longer feel pain and/or feel Vicodin euphoria, the feeling of being high.

But the bottom line about Vicodin is: If you are taking Vicodin every day, you run the risk of developing a physical dependency on Vicodin (hydrocodone). When you are dependent on Vicodin, this means that the body has adjusted to the presence of hydrocodone in the central nervous system, and compensates for the chemical imbalance. So when you stop taking Vicodin, the body needs to adjust to the new chemical state. In other words, Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are just a sign of the body “rebounding” from the slowed state which was chemically produced by hydrocodone and are a necessary part of detox if you want to stop using Vicodin.

What are symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal?

Vicodin can become habit forming and drug cravings can make it harder to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. You can expect to feel Vicodin withdrawal shortly after a missed does, sometimes even a few hours after the effects of Vicodin have worn off. The degree and timeline for Vicodin withdrawal symptoms fluctuates depending on the doses and frequency of Vicodin taken. There are a variety of symptoms you may experience withdrawing from Vicodin. Symptoms include:

  • abnormal skin sensations
  • chills
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • erratic moods
  • excessive yawning or sneezing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • seizures (more serious)
  • sleep disturbance
  • stomach pain
  • strong drug craving
  • sweating
  • yellowing of the skin and the whites of eyes

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms: How long?

Symptoms of withdrawal from short-acting opioids such as hydrocodone can develop a few hours after the last use, peak within 36–72 hours, and subside over 5–10 days. Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal can manifest after only a few hours after a missed dose or when stopping or significantly reducing Vicodin dosage suddenly. The first couple of days of Vicodin withdrawal are the hardest. Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal can include drug cravings, sweating, diarrhea, extreme moods. But after about a week or so, you should begin to feel normal or at least better. After this, protracted Vicodin withdrawal symptoms can linger and often include: insomnia, continued mood swings, and psychological cravings.

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms treatment

Vicodin withdrawal symptom treatment aims to lessen discomfort during the withdrawal period. If you think you are physically dependent Vicodin, you might want to seek a rehab facility or detox clinic so that you can be monitored while withdrawing from Vicodin. Medical attention not only makes sure that the withdrawal period goes smoothly, but also provides emotional and psychological support during this period. Then, once you have detoxed and taken care of most of the withdrawal symptoms you can begin to take care of any possible psychological aspects of Vicodin addiction.

There are two main forms of Vicodin withdrawal treatment:

1. Supportive care

2. Medications

1. Supportive care for Vicodin withdrawal – Withdrawal from Vicodin can be accomplished with psychological support and symptomatic treatment alone, along with periodic reassessment by a health care provider. While possible to withdraw from Vicodin cold turkey or at home, experts still suggest that you seek professional help in order to decrease chances of relapse.

2. Medications for Vicodin withdrawal – Pharmaceutical interventions during Vicodin withdrawal aim to reduce the occurrence of signs and symptoms of withdrawal, and may or may not include the use of a substitute narcotic. Vicodin, like Heroin, can be painful to withdraw from and there are various methods of treating withdrawal symptoms. Some doctors prescribe Clonidine to reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle cramps, and sweating. Buprenorphine can also be administered to support and shorten detox. However, prescriptions for opioid withdrawal can vary and will depend upon your ultimate goal for either maintenance or abstinence. Furthermore, beware of rapid opiate detox has not been proved to decrease time in detox, nor the severity of symptoms as some claim.

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms questions

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Still have another question about Vicodin withdrawal symptoms? Please ask your Vicodin questions below. We are happy to respond to you personally, and will try to answer your questions ASAP. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: Federal Bureau of Prisons: Detoxification of Chemically Dependent Inmates
DailyMed FDA Drug Info on Vicodin
Drug Enforcement Administration: Drugs of Concern Hydrocodone
MedLine Plus: Opiate withdrawal
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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