Vicodin is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone and is in a class of drugs known as opiate pain relievers. Opiates work by changing the way the body perceives pain and produce feelings of euphoria in the user. Vicodin is used to treat pain from surgery, injury, and for chronic pain conditions. Vicodin is highly habit forming and dependence on the drug can develop after just a few doses. People with a personal or family history of drug addiction are at an increased risk of becoming addicted to Vicodin.
How Vicodin Works
Hydrocodone blocks the receptors on nerve cells in the brain that respond to pain. Acetaminophen changes the amount of pain that is needed for the pain receptors to respond. Hydrocodone also encourages the release of dopamine, the hormone that produces feelings of satisfaction and euphoria. Together these two drugs form Vicodin, a powerful pain reliever widely used to treat pain after surgery or injury. With prolonged use of the drug the body no longer produces its own dopamine and becomes dependent on the hydrocodone for those feelings. This causes both physical and psychological dependence. Tolerance to Vicodin happens quickly and the user needs more of the substance to produce the same response. When tolerance develops dependence and addiction are not far behind.
Vicodin and Family History
A person who has a family history of drug addiction is at a greater risk of addiction than someone with no family history. This may be due in part to a genetic predisposition to substance abuse and other addictive behaviors. A family history of drug addiction can also have an influence on the environment in which a person lives. Those who live around others with substance abuse problems or who abuse drugs and alcohol may be more tempted to use Vicodin in inappropriate ways. People who are struggling with Vicodin addiction may also be in difficult and challenging relationships at home and at work making it hard to use Vicodin only as prescribed. If you or a loved one struggle with Vicodin abuse getting help is the best way to avoid addiction.
Vicodin and Personal History
Vicodin is an effective post-surgery pain killer, so it is important to discuss any personal history of drug abuse or addiction with your doctor. People who have struggled with addiction in the past are more likely to become addicted to Vicodin if using it to treat pain. You doctor will work with you to control the Vicodin use and help find alternative ways to relieve your pain. Alternating Vicodin with non-addictive pain medications, physical therapy, continued addiction counseling, and natural pain-relieving remedies are all ways your doctor can help you avoid addiction to Vicodin.
Find Help for Vicodin Addiction
Vicodin is an effective pain reliever when used as prescribed but is highly addictive when taken in large amounts or for long periods of time. If you or a loved one struggle with Vicodin addiction we are here to help you. Call our toll-free number 24 hours a day to speak with a helpline counselor. We are ready to answer your questions about Vicodin addiction and help you find a treatment program that works for you.