Vicodin is an opiate painkiller prescribed after surgery, injury or for chronic pain. Although it is a prescription drug, many people use it as recreationally, because it changes the way the body perceives pain and also produces feelings of euphoria. Using Vicodin in larger amounts or for longer periods than prescribed can lead to addiction. In the US, recreational Vicodin abuse is quite high among 18 to 25 year-olds, but professional treatment can help these young people recover.
How Vicodin Abuse Works
Many people who use Vicodin do not intend to become addicted, but it happens as the drug changes how the body perceives pain. Eventually, users develop a tolerance for the drug, which means they need more of the substance to produce the same results. Once tolerance develops, users can become dependent on the euphoria from the drug if they take greater doses or doses more often than prescribed. This forms addiction because Vicodin works in the part of the brain that controls pleasure and reward through the neurotransmitter dopamine. When someone is dependent on Vicodin, the brain no longer produces normal levels of dopamine, but instead relies on Vicodin to feel good. Therefore, recreational Vicodin abuse can quickly lead to addiction.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
If someone is addicted to Vicodin, she will exude the following signs:
- Becoming preoccupied with getting and using the drug
- Needing more of the drug before the next dose is due
- Doctor shopping to get new prescriptions
- Engaging in illegal or dangerous behaviors, like stealing, to get and use the drug
- Spending money you do not have on buying the drug
- Changes in behavior, relationships, friendships and physical appearance
If you recognize these signs in yourself or a loved one, then seek professional help immediately.
Recreational Drug Use among 18 to 25 Year-Olds
The National Institutes on Drug Abuse’s “Monitoring the Future Survey 2012” found that, while teen alcohol and cigarette use is down, the use of illicit drugs, including prescription drugs, has risen in recent years. These numbers increase in young adults ages 18 to 25. Many factors affect illicit drug use in this age group, for instance pressure to perform in college, attempts to juggle busy schedules and the stress of beginning a new career. Peer pressure is still a big part of this age group, and prescription painkillers are readily available from friends and family members than ever before. Whatever the reason for drug abuse, many resources can help these young people overcome addiction. Treatment programs can meet the unique needs of young adults, as well as support groups for 18 to 25 year-olds.
Vicodin Addiction Help
Vicodin is a highly addictive painkiller; when used for recreational purposes, it can quickly lead to addiction. If you or a loved one suffers from Vicodin addiction, we are here to help. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now to speak with an addiction counselor. We are ready to answer your questions about addiction and to help you find treatment.