Vicodin is a brand name of the synthetic opioid painkiller hydrocodone. When one thinks of the dangers of abusing powerful opioid medications like Vicodin, one generally thinks of the physical danger of overdose. However, abuse of Vicodin, especially long-term abuse, can result in serious damage to the user’s emotional and psychological well-being.
Vicodin’s Effect on the Psyche
Opioids like Vicodin act directly on the mesolimbic pathways in the brain, the region responsible for feelings of mood and emotion. Use of the drug produces euphoria, followed by a “crash” of depression when the drug wears off. Regular use over long periods of time will actually alter the chemistry of the brain so that the user becomes dependent on the drug to feel normal and avoid severe depression. Chronic long-term use of opioids typically results in cycles of extreme mood changes, from euphoria to depression. These constantly cycling, extreme mood changes can result in severe and debilitating emotional instability that, in the worst cases, can resemble or even trigger psychosis. Once physical dependence occurs, quitting use of the drug results in withdrawal symptoms, one of the most common of which is depression.
Indirect Psychological Effects of Vicodin Use
Opioid addiction typically results in serious damage to all areas of the user’s life, from work and career to family and interpersonal relationships. The resultant damage in turn causes the user to seek further escape through drug use, which then makes the problems worse. The user then becomes trapped in a continuous downward spiral of addiction and its consequences. He or she can see the damage that is being done by the addiction and often becomes severely depressed. However, due to the extremely powerful nature of physical dependence combined with psychological addiction, the user is unable to quit using Vicodin, despite the serious, negative consequences to his or her life. The depression caused by the deteriorating circumstances of the addict’s life combine with the clinical depression caused directly by the altered brain chemistry due to Vicodin use. This combination can cause severe depression that, in the worst cases, can lead to suicide.
Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
Addiction to a powerful opioid like Vicodin is a serious and potentially deadly condition that requires professional treatment. Addiction is now recognized as a disease; overcoming addiction is not simply a matter of will power as was once believed. Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal can be severe enough to overpower the will of the most determined individual, who may relapse into use of Vicodin simply to end the misery. Withdrawal can also cause serious medical complications or depression severe enough to result in suicide. Detox from Vicodin should be conducted under medical supervision to ensure the patient’s safety.
The good news is that Vicodin addiction can be overcome, and through treatment and counseling, the patient can regain complete physical and emotional health. If you are struggling with Vicodin addiction and would like help finding treatment, or if you simply have questions about Vicodin abuse, addiction, treatment or recovery, call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and to help you find the treatment you need.