Vicodin is a powerful prescription painkiller with a high risk of abuse and addiction. Its root ingredient is hydrocodone, an opiate that is related to more infamous drugs like heroin. It is quite effective for short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain, but is not recommended for long-term use or for chronic pain.
Many users experience euphoria when they first take Vicodin, but the body develops a tolerance to the drug fairly quickly. This means that users will need to take larger or more frequent doses to feel this euphoria again or repeatedly. Escalating use can quickly lead to a full-blown addiction.
Recognizing the Signs of Vicodin Addiction
Opiates like Vicodin create both physical and psychological addictions. The drug replaces the brain’s natural chemicals that manage pain, leaving users dependent on the drug to function normally. If and when a user quits taking the drug, she is likely to experience many difficult withdrawal symptoms. Psychological addiction is even more powerful than the physical need for the drug. Vicodin provides relief from a range of psychological symptoms such as the following:
- Anxiety disorders
- Borderline personality disorders
- Behavioral addictions (self-injury, eating disorders, etc)
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
The brain will crave this temporary relief and will chemically rewire neural pathways in order to keep the supply coming. This part of the brain can direct behavior more powerfully than rational thought. For this reason, even a person who wants to stop taking the drug may be unable to do so without professional help. Once addicted the brain needs to be re-programmed through comprehensive rehab to correct the disease.
Reducing the Risk of Vicodin Addiction
The following steps can help a person reduce the risk of Vicodin addiction:
- Share your entire medical history, including any previous substance abuse or addiction, with your doctor
- Let your doctor know if you have a family history of chemical dependency
- Only take as much of the medication as you absolutely need and never take more than the amount prescribed
- Discontinue your use of the drug as soon as possible, even if you have not taken all of your pills
- If you feel any desire to take higher doses or to take pills more frequently than prescribed, call your doctor immediately
- Do not mix your medication with other drugs or with alcohol
While addiction is unlikely to form in someone with no personal history of substance abuse and who follows dosing instructions diligently, some people are born with a genetic predisposition toward addiction.
Vicodin Addiction Help
If you are concerned about your growing need for Vicodin, or if you are worried about a loved one’s use of the drug, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our specially trained addiction counselors are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they are ready to answer any questions you may have about addiction and recovery. We can connect you with the best treatment options for your specific needs and can even help with logistical concerns. We can help you prevent or recover from this serious disease. Call today.