Vicodin is a prescription medicine that contains hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller. It affects dopamine levels in the brain to change how the central nervous system reacts to pain. Vicodin can be a lifesaver for people recovering from injuries, surgery or other physical disabilities. However, people who abuse it to get high can become physically and psychologically addicted within one to four weeks, depending on individual tolerance. Signs of physical addiction to Vicodin include the following:
- Constricted pupils
- Lethargy and drowsiness
- Inability to concentrate
Symptoms of psychological dependence include the following:
- Mood swings
- Continued use despite negative consequences
- Preoccupation with finding and using drugs
- Depression or anxiety due to unavailability of drugs
- Low motivation
- High sensitivity to stress
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
Vicodin addiction is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. With professional help, it is possible to break the habit and regain mental and physical balance.
The Connection between Homelessness and Vicodin
A high percentage of homeless people struggle with addiction to drugs such as Vicodin. One reason for this is because substance abuse is a frequent cause of homelessness. Addictive disorders disrupt relationships with family and friends and often cause people to lose their jobs. For people who are already struggling to pay their bills, the onset or exacerbation of an addiction may precipitate housing loss. Statistics which illustrate this problem include the following:
- Substance abuse is the single largest cause of homelessness for single adults reported by 68 percent of U.S. cities.
- Two-thirds of homeless people report that drugs and/or alcohol are a major precursor to becoming homeless.
- 34.7 percent of adults who are homeless are chronic substance abusers.
Drug addiction is also a result of homelessness. Some people may view drug and alcohol use as necessary to be accepted among the homeless community. Additionally, people who live on the streets often use drugs and alcohol to cope with their difficult circumstances and gain temporary relief from emotional pain. In reality, substance dependence exacerbates problems and decreases their ability to achieve employment stability and get housing.
Breaking an addiction is especially difficult for homeless substance abusers for the following reasons:
- Motivation to stop using substances may be low.
- Survival may feel more important than personal growth and development.
- Finding food and shelter may be a higher priority than drug counseling.
- Lack of a social support network can make sobriety more challenging to achieve.
- Widespread drug use on the streets makes avoiding temptation difficult.
For many homeless people, substance abuse co-occurs with mental illness. This is because people with untreated mental illnesses often use drugs as an illicit form of self-medication. Homeless people with both substance disorders and mental illnesses experience additional obstacles to recovery, including the following:
- Increased risk for violence and victimization
- Frequent cycling between the streets, jails and emergency rooms
- Treatment programs for homeless individuals with mental illnesses that do not accept people with substance abuse disorders
- Treatment programs for homeless substance abusers that do not treat people with mental illnesses
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers several free resource pamphlets for homeless people with addictions. Regardless of challenging life circumstances, full recovery from Vicodin addiction is possible with the right treatment and help.
Help for Vicodin Abuse
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to Vicodin, help is available. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness. Don’t go it alone when support is just one phone call away. Start your recovery today.