Vicodin combines two active ingredients, hydrocodone and acetaminophen, to relieve moderate to severe pain. However, the hydrocodone in Vicodin helps relieve pain by interfering with hormone balances. The problem is that some hormones require a delicate level. For instance, a certain group of hormones, called endorphins, are part of the brain’s way to regulate pain by bonding to certain cells. As an opioid, hydrocodone bonds with the cells endorphins govern, meaning the endorphins are no longer necessary, so the body becomes addicted to Vicodin when it quits producing these natural hormones.
How Vicodin Changes Hormone Balance
Endorphins are just one of the hormones the body uses to stimulate and regulate normal processes. Levels of these hormones are normally balanced through interactions with the hormones, the cells they bond with and the glands that produce them. However, hydrocodone in Vicodin changes this balance. Not only does it bond to specific cells in the brain, but also with receptors of other hormones located in other parts of the body. Cortisol, testosterone and endorphin can all diverge from normal levels if someone abuses Vicodin.
Doctors who prescribe Vicodin carefully monitor patients for unwanted side effects. However, when people abuse Vicodin to achieve a euphoric high, the resulting imbalance can create physical symptoms throughout the body.
Effects of Hormonal Imbalance from Vicodin Abuse
The body uses testosterone and cortisol to prepare energy and regulate its use. As levels of these hormones drop, Vicodin users may feel fatigued, tired and lethargic. Additionally, cortisol stimulates a process that turns food into glucose, but testosterone is involved in the process of turning body fat into energy. With less of these hormones, both of these processes are suppressed. As a result, there is less glucose in the blood that muscles use for fuel.
Inflammation and fever are some of the body’s natural responses to injury or disease. Cortisol helps to suppress this response when it is not needed. However, when cortisol levels are suppressed, these immune responses are no longer properly restrained, so Vicodin users may feel painful swelling of the joints and night sweats as a result.
Psychological Depression from Vicodin Abuse
Testosterone plays a role in maintaining cognitive abilities. When testosterone levels reduce, mental sharpness may fall. Feelings of apathy and depression can sometimes result when Vicodin suppresses testosterone levels.
How Vicodin Detox Works
Some of the worst effects of hormonal imbalance are felt as the body returns to normal. Endorphins from the pituitary gland bond to the opioid receptors in the brain to suppress pain. With natural endorphin production suppressed, the hydrocodone in Vicodin is the only chemical that controls pain sensations. Therefore, when the hydrocodone goes away, the pain can become unbearable.
Help for Hormonal Imbalance from Vicodin Abuse
If you or a friend is suffering from Vicodin addiction, it is time to seek treatment. Our toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day. Call now to learn more about treatment for Vicodin addiction.