Vicodin is a type of opioid painkiller. It is made up of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. The latter is a type of opioid that is effective in treating moderate to severe pain. It also helps to treat coughs. Acetaminophen, meanwhile, is also a painkiller, although not as strong as hydrocodone. However, it addresses different receptors, which means that, when combined with hydrocodone, it is more effective.
Unfortunately, more and more people in this country are abusing prescription painkillers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some 2 million people now suffer from a prescription opioid addiction. Vicodin addiction is indiscriminate of demographics, gender, or age group. The fact that this is a national problem is publicly recognized, and a lot of help is available to reduce and even eliminate the problem.
How to Speak to Someone Who Abuses Vicodin
Because the frequency of prescription painkiller addiction is increasing, people are encouraged to learn how to approach their loved ones if they feel an abuse problem is present. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has estimated that some 4.3 million people in this country over the age of 12 were abusing prescription painkillers like Vicodin. It is a known fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of overdoses, accidents, and deaths each year are related to Vicodin abuse. This is why engaging in conversation with someone you care about is so important. It could save that person’s life.
Confronting a loved one, for many, is incredibly intimidating. This is particularly true if the problem started with a genuine need for prescription pain relief. Intimidating though it may be, you must remain positive and optimistic. What you do today could be exactly what your loved one needs to seek help and treatment. Remain compassionate and emphatic at all times, as well as non-judgmental. There are a few specific things you could consider doing as well, including:
- Going with them to a physician and gathering more information
- Working with them to find resources and information about different treatment centers and plans that exist
- Writing a list of questions for them, so that they will have all their concerns answered.
Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
People who are addicted or are dependent on Vicodin will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the substance. These symptoms include pain, vomiting, nausea, trembling, sweating, insomnia, and agitation. While generally not dangerous, these symptoms can be so severe that they would return to the drug in order to stop feeling the withdrawal symptoms. This is why it is so important to go through a medically supervised period of detox, whereby a team of professionals can support the patient, sometimes through other drugs, in breaking their physical addiction, while at the same time making sure that they are safe and comfortable. Research has shown that detox that is medically supervised is far more likely to be successful.
Once someone has detoxed, rehabilitation can start in earnest. This is usually achieved through a personalized plan that includes individual and group therapy. During therapy, you will gain an understanding of what drove you to addiction in the first place, and what triggers you to turn to substances. In understanding these, you will learn to put strategies in place to avoid triggers, or respond to them in different ways when you are confronted with them, thereby maintaining sobriety.
There are different options available for treatment, with one of the best ones being inpatient treatment. This will give you the opportunity to be in a supportive environment around the clock, allowing you to focus on nothing but your recovery. For some people, however, inpatient treatment is not possible, in which case there are also outpatient facilities that you can turn to. You will receive similar types of treatment there, but with the convenience of being able to return home at the end of the day. Often, however, removing yourself from the environment in which your substance abuse was facilitated is the only way to truly beat the addiction.
After detox and rehab, you will need to be supported to maintain sobriety. Aftercare, therefore, is vital to long term success. This can be offered through support groups and various other facilities.
Getting Addicted to Vicodin
Because Vicodin is a prescription medication, many people believe that it is safe to use. The fact is, hydrocodone is a powerful opioid that can make you feel euphoric, slow down your bodily responses, lower your physical tension, enable you to worry and stress less, lower your anxiety, and help you sleep better. Because these are all positive feelings, releasing the reward hormone dopamine, it is actually quite common for people to become addicted to the substance.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
Nobody starts to use Vicodin with the goal of becoming addicted to it. However, there are now tens of thousands of people in this country who have become addicted to this drug. They also try to cope with the negative side effects associated with this drug, including poor motivation, nausea and vomiting, constricted pupils, mood swings, lack of focus and concentration, and drowsiness. As the addiction becomes worse, these negative side effects will also become more apparent. For instance, someone who experiences nausea will soon start to vomit more frequently. This is due to the body becoming tolerant to the substance, at which point people need to take more of it in order to have the same positive results. This is a vicious cycle, however, as the body will continue to build up tolerance, and the required dose to get the positive feelings increases.
It can be hard to admit that you are addicted to Vicodin. However, if you notice any of the following signs, there may be reason for you to be concerned:
- You are “doctor shopping” so you can get multiple prescriptions.
- You use Vicodin without prescription, or you don’t follow the directions on your prescription.
- You need to increase your dosage of Vicodin in order to continue to feel its effects.
- You have said that Vicodin is your favorite drug.
- You feel odd and uncomfortable if you don’t have the substance.
- Your muscles start to ache when you don’t use Vicodin.
- Your loved ones have told you that you have changed.
- Your priorities have changed.