Vicodin is a branded form of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. There are several reasons why you might be prescribed an opiate such as Vicodin, but most of these reasons involve one thing: pain. It is a highly effective painkiller, but because it contains a narcotic, it also has the potential for abuse. Vicodin, like all opiate-containing drugs, can be addictive.
Why Would I Be Prescribed Vicodin?
Opiates are very effective at treating pain. Some opiates, however, are more effective than others. Vicodin is classified as being of intermediate strength, which means it is suitable for moderate to moderately severe pain. Consequently, it is used for back pain, post-operative pain and other forms of acute or chronic pain. While most people use it on a short-term basis, there are some who go on to abuse it.
How Does Vicodin Abuse Start?
To start identifying drug abuse, you need to look at the circumstances under which you are taking Vicodin. If you are prescribed the drug, you need to take it exactly as recommended. Because Vicodin contains acetaminophen, it is dangerous to take more than the recommended dosage. However, there are times when the pain may become more intense, and you may be tempted to increase your dose. If this happens regularly, you end up relying on the drug to numb you, and you build a higher and higher tolerance to the drug. This could result in an overdose of acetaminophen, which can be lethal. Always consult your physician if your prescribed dose of Vicodin appears to stop working for you.
The other way that Vicodin abuse starts is when you start taking it at parties or with friends to relax. This may be a result of peer pressure, curiosity or simply to get high. While taking Vicodin will certainly achieve this, it is not the best way to spend an afternoon or evening due to its dangerous side effects. Mixing Vicodin with alcohol increases the chance of severe liver problems as the liver has to cope with breaking down both the alcohol and acetaminophen. In addition, it is easy to underestimate the amount of Vicodin that you have taken when you are drunk. Taking Vicodin in social situations may become the norm, and you could find yourself taking it every day, even though you had no medical reason to do so.
If you find yourself suffering from shakes, anxiety, nausea and other withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Vicodin, or if you are worried about your Vicodin use, it is time to call us at 1-888-287-0471. You can talk to an advisor who can discuss your options with you, including how to approach your parents, rehab options and who you need to talk to.
Naturally, your parents will be worried about you. As a parent, your mom or dad wants you to be the best you can be. Parents simply want their children to do well, and learning that one’s child has a drug problem can be hard. Remember that they still love you, and they will eventually encourage you to get help. They may have noticed that something was wrong but were afraid to ask you about it. In some cases, the admission that you might have a drug problem is not a complete surprise, and your parents may be extremely relieved that you have come clean about it.
What Are the Effects of Vicodin?
“…driving under the influence of Vicodin may be a crime if you are significantly impaired by the drug.”As discussed above, Vicodin relieves pain by blocking certain pain channels in the brain. However, it also slows down your central nervous system, which means your movements become more lethargic and your reaction times become longer. Do not forget that driving under the influence of Vicodin may be a crime if you are significantly impaired by the drug. The half-life of Vicodin is a little under four hours according to Davis, Glare and Hardy’s “Opioids in Cancer Pain,” which is the time it takes for half of the drug to be removed from your body.
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Vicodin?
When you’ve used Vicodin long enough to build up a tolerance to it, withdrawal symptoms occur when you try to reduce or quit the drug. These can start between six and 24 hours after the last dose.
Immediate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety, panic and agitation
- Muscle aches
- Insomnia and yawning
More severe withdrawal symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramping
None of these symptoms are life threatening on their own; however, it’s advised that you only detox in a medical facility to ensure help is available if needed. Also, removing the drug from your system is only the start, and you may need professional help to stay off the drug permanently. This is where a rehab clinic that specializes in teenage Vicodin treatment is required.
These centers help teens beat their addiction by providing rehabilitation services. These services might include counseling, help with withdrawal symptoms, and assistance with joining external support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous.
Depending on the facility, treatment may be on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Your first few days in rehab are likely to be on an inpatient basis as you will need some medical supervision. You might be prescribed a drug such as naltrexone that stops opiates from working. In addition, you may be given some medication to help with the discomfort.
An inpatient clinic ensures you do not have access to Vicodin except as and when a doctor prescribes it. Consequently, your withdrawal period can be carefully managed; oftentimes medical staff members slowly lower the amount of Vicodin you’re receiving to wean you off the drug, thereby reducing the likelihood of complications during detox. In addition, an inpatient clinic allows you to completely focus on getting better as there are fewer distractions.
An outpatient clinic, on the other hand, means that you go home after treatment sessions. While this makes it cheaper, it does mean you may get distracted by external pressures. In addition, if your home life was part of the reason you started taking drugs, it may not be beneficial for you to stay at home during treatment.
There are many options available to help treat your addiction. Prescription drug abuse is extremely common among younger people, but you now have the chance to do something about it.