Vicodin is the trade name for a drug containing the narcotic hydrocodone. It is widely prescribed for treating pain. Unfortunately, along with its widespread use has come the problem of Vicodin addiction.

While Vicodin also contains acetaminophen, but it is hydrocodone which makes the drug potentially addictive. Hydrocodone is an opioid that works by binding to opioid receptors located in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body. Once bound to these receptors, they block pain signals from reaching the brain. Opioids also interact with other chemicals in the brain such as endorphins in such a way as to create feelings of euphoria and sedation.

Along with pain relief, Vicodin produces a variety of side effects including:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Mood changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty urinating

About Vicodin Addiction

Addiction to Vicodin and other opioid pain relievers has become a major public health problem in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Three-quarters of prescription drug overdose deaths in 2011 (16,917) involved a prescription opioid pain reliever (OPR), which is a drug derived from the opium poppy or synthetic versions of it such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, or methadone.”

Hydrocodone is produced clandestinely and it’s widely available via the internet. However, those struggling with Vicodin addiction seek to obtain it from legitimate sources by a practice known as “doctor shopping.” This is a process by which patients will visit multiple doctors seeking prescriptions for the same medication. Brea Perry, Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University is leading a study of the problem. According to Perry “We know that people legitimately hurt themselves, they will break their own bones to obtain access to controlled substances.”

While the practice of doctor shopping has become widespread, physicians have also contributed to the problem by overprescribing pain relievers such as Vicodin. In March of 2016, the CDC issued a new guideline to doctors to control the problem. “More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Overprescribing opioids—largely for chronic pain—is a key driver of America’s drug-overdose epidemic. The guideline will give physicians and patients the information they need to make more informed decisions about treatment.”

Of particular concern is that the effects of Vicodin abuse and the misuse of other opioids may be fueling an epidemic of heroin addiction. Addicts will often turn to heroin as a less expensive alternative to Vicodin and other prescription opioids.

Opioids like Vicodin are extremely dangerous when abused and there has been a surge in overdose fatalities in recent years. According to the CDC, more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. The majority of those involved an opioid. Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have quadrupled since 1999. Symptoms of Vicodin addiction overdose may include:

  • Slow/shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Yellowing eyes/skin
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of consciousness

Considering the critical dangers associated with the effects of Vicodin abuse, the need for effective Vicodin addiction treatment is greater than ever.

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Treatment For Vicodin Addiction

At Sovereign Health of Texas we use the most effective treatment modalities available to help our patients overcome Vicodin addiction.

Vicodin addiction treatment usually begins with medically assisted detox. Detox – short for “detoxification – is the process by which patients stop using a drug so that their bodies can again function normally without it. This may produce a variety of painful, potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Accordingly, detox is conducted under the supervision of doctors who can manage these symptoms. When indicated, medications may be prescribed to ease the patient through the process.

Patients will then continue the recovery process in residential treatment or with a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Treatment generally lasts between 30 and 90 days depending on the patient’s needs.

At Sovereign Health of Texas, we recognize that every patient is a unique individual requiring a specific treatment approach. Each of our patients receives a comprehensive evaluation allowing our doctors and clinicians to identify anything that may be causing or contributing to their addiction. Once they have gathered this information, they will design a treatment program tailored to meet the patient’s needs so that they may achieve lasting recovery.

We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about Vicodin addiction treatment at Sovereign Health of Texas. Please call our helpline. It is staffed 24/7 by people who have the information you’re looking for.

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“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie