Vicodin Use Disorder: Detox and Treatment

Vicodin withdrawal

Vicodin is a type of brand name opioid that is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a prescription narcotic, while acetaminophen isn’t a narcotic. It acts as a powerful painkiller, which makes it life-changing for people in both positive and negative ways.

 It helps people with medical conditions but is diverted for illicit use. Using Vicodin without medical supervision or recommendation can turn into a Vicodin addiction. 

Prescription painkillers can be particularly dangerous and addictive. Sana Lake offers detox services in Missouri to help with the side effects of Vicodin abuse for this reason. An overdose is a likely possibility, so it’s important to detox and receive addiction treatment quickly. 

What Is a Vicodin Addiction? 

Vicodin detox

A Vicodin addiction is when a person cannot function without using Vicodin. A Vicodin dependency and addiction are different. However, a person suffering from an addiction to Vicodin can have a chemical dependency. 

Addiction means that an individual ignores the consequences of what harm could come with a substance use disorder. They may forgo eating, paying rent, and even taking care of their children when this happens. When a person suffers from a Vicodin use disorder they may start to feel withdrawal symptoms hours after their last dose. 

A dependency and tolerance can be less severe than a substance use disorder. During detox, members at Sana Lake may feel psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms anywhere from a week up to two weeks. However, it can last longer than this depending on the severity of the case. 

It’s not always easy to tell when you or a loved one has slipped into a substance use disorder. There are common symptoms and signs of a Vicodin addiction: 

  • Ignoring responsibilities 
  • Poor school and work performance 
  • A drastic change in appearance 
  • Disregard for personal hygiene 
  • A sudden desire for privacy and isolation 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Asking for money for vague reasons 
  • Financial issues 
  • Appetite changes 
  • Getting defensive when confronted about Vicodin use 

Around 128 people every single day in the United States because of an opioid overdose. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription painkillers, like Vicodin, cause a crisis. Part of it stems from the fact that doctors misunderstood how addictive prescription painkillers could be. 

In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies potentially lied about how easy it was to develop a chemical dependency on painkillers. Thousands of Americans have died as a result. Over 47,000 Americans died because of an opioid overdose in 2017. 

Vicodin Addiction Detox 

Vicodin

A Vicodin detox involves ridding the body of all toxins and traces of the drug from their body. Approximately 1.7 million Americans suffer from a prescription opiate-related substance use disorder. Some of these people have a substance use disorder related to Vicodin. Even though Vicodin is a legal medication, it can be just as dangerous as non-medical drugs. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms can be unbearable or even deadly without a medically supervised detox. 

Acute detox centers in Dittmer, MO can turn an unbearable situation into an uncomfortable one. There is no way to fully avoid the psychological and physical discomfort that comes with prescription painkiller withdrawal. But most detox centers can soothe the worst side effects of Vicodin abuse. 

Doctors may prescribe the following medications during detox: 

  • Buprenorphine – Manages pain in severe cases 
  • Methadone – Opioid medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms without any euphoric effect 
  • Naltrexone – Blocks the subjective effects of opioids 

Acute detox is for severe symptoms as opposed to sub-acute symptoms. Facilities at acute detox centers are committed to making members feel as comfortable as they can during the detoxification process. They provide support, which can be more important than the medication prescribed during detox. Addiction should never be faced alone. 

A detox protocol is the first step to long-lasting recovery. Those suffering from a substance use disorder must be drug-free once they enter treatment or it won’t work. Detox can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Members of Missouri detox centers may still feel withdrawal symptoms for years, typically known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). 

Vicodin Addiction Treatment 

Vicodin Addiction Detox

Vicodin addiction treatment requires an innovative and holistic treatment approach. Detox is arguably the most important step in a lasting recovery. But substance use disorder treatment, particularly in the form of therapy, is another powerful force against the temptation of drugs and alcohol.  

Therapy is a popular form of treatment in many addiction treatment centers. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) help recovering individuals maintain their commitment to a drug-free lifestyle after detox. One may work better than another for each person. A personalized plan means tailoring detox and treatment to our member’s needs. 

CBT 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is made to stop negative behaviors in their tracks. The theory behind CBT began when an American psychiatrist, Aaron T. Beck, found that people have “automatic” thoughts. As a result, these subconscious thoughts would lead to negative emotions and self-destructive behaviors. 

He dubbed these thoughts “self-talk” and decided that people could consciously use it to change negative thought patterns into positive ones. The first step was identifying these subconscious thoughts that happened before a self-destructive behavior. 

The next step was counteracting a negative thought with a positive one. He would teach people how to react differently to situations that would lead to pessimistic thoughts. Members at Sana Lake use CBT techniques to turn to self-care instead of drugs and alcohol in stressful situations. 

DBT 

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is similar to CBT. However, it focuses more on accepting negative thoughts and emotions. A DBT therapist asks individuals to validate these thoughts and emotions. Once their feelings are validated, they can work on reacting differently to them. 

This form of therapy focuses on behaviors rather than thoughts. It’s a school of thought that acknowledges life can be painful and stressful. However, the DBT philosophy believes that people have the power to choose self-care over self-destruction in response to a world that can be unfair at times. 

What Is Vicodin Use Disorder? 

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes substance abuse as the non-medical use of substances despite negative consequences. Vicodin abuse would be using this particular substance without medical permission or in a way different than what a doctor recommended.  

Here are some examples of Vicodin use disorder: 

  • Taking Vicodin longer than a doctor prescribes it for 
  • Taking a larger dose of it than medically recommended 
  • Using Vicodin without a prescription 
  • Obtaining a Vicodin prescription by lying about symptoms 

Vicodin abuse doesn’t mean a person is addicted to it—yet. It means a person uses Vicodin for no medical purpose despite if it hurts them in the process. It’s important to talk to a doctor before taking more Vicodin than suggested. Even if it’s not working in the way it should. Abuse can lead to addiction easily without medical supervision. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Vicodin as a Schedule 2 controlled substance. The government tightly controls substances within this classification to reduce instances of Vidocin abuse. 

It makes it much harder for people to obtain refills and requires more steps to prescribe it in the first place. Doctors aren’t able to call in prescriptions to pharmacies except in extreme emergencies. 

Side Effects of Vicodin Use Disorder

Opioids have side effects. While every medication typically has side effects, powerful painkillers seem to have more. The short-term side effects of Vicodin are usually easier to identify. But the long-term effects are a bit trickier to pinpoint. Doctors should monitor patients to make sure they aren’t experiencing any side effects in general. 

Non-medical Vicodin use can be dangerous because of the side effects. Doctors check to make sure people don’t accidentally create a fatal drug combination. Individuals who use Vicodin recreationally may not be aware that certain substance combos can result in a higher risk of side effects. Short-term effects and long-term side effects of Vicodin can both be extremely dangerous. 

Short-Term Side Effects of Vicodin Use Disorder

Individuals should reach out to their doctor if they experience any short-term side effects. However, they need to get medical assistance immediately if they’re experiencing any rare, short-term side effects. They might be having an allergic reaction to the medication. 

Most common, short-term side effects include: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Feeling tired 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Headache 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation 

Rarer short-term side effects: 

  • Sleep apnea 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Light-headedness 
  • Dark urine 
  • Off-color stool 
  • Jaundice 
  • Off-color urine 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Rash 
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) 

Long-Term Side Effects of Vicodin Use Disorder

Prescription painkillers can result in long-term side effects. Vicodin isn’t a long-term medical solution. It can help those suffering from a substance use disorder go through detox comfortably. But medical professionals are careful to avoid prescribing it any longer than necessary. 

Long-term side effects of Vicodin use disorder include: 

  • Fertility issues 
  • Permanent loss or impairment of hearing 
  • Serotonin syndrome (particularly when used with certain antidepressants) 
  • Adrenal insufficiency 
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome/SJS (a serious rash with flu-like symptoms) 
  • Androgen deficiency 
  • Abnormally low level of blood platelets 
  • Low level of white blood cells 

Sana Lake Helps Members Get Through A Vicodin Addiction

We don’t like to use the words “beat” or “cure” at Sana Lake. Unfortunately, it’s because substance use disorders are a lifelong struggle. The temptation of drugs and alcohol is never too far away. But, a Vicodin addiction is treatable even though it’s not curable. 

Sana Lake allows members to make better choices every day. The first step to recovery is dealing with the side effects of a Vicodin addiction. We’re here to help you or a loved one every step of the way, so contact us now. 

References: 

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.