Vicodin is the prescription brand name of a combination of the synthetic opioid painkiller hydrocodone and the non-narcotic pain reliever acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is commonly abused as a recreational drug and can be highly addictive. Hydrocodone can also cause death by overdose, especially if combined with alcohol. The acetaminophen in Vicodin can cause permanent and potentially fatal liver damage.
Vicodin Addiction and Dependence
When discussing drug abuse, it is important to understand the distinction between addiction and physical dependence. Physical dependence occurs when the body comes to rely on a substance in order to achieve its normal state. Without the substance, the body may experience withdrawal symptoms. Dependence can occur as a result of prescribed medical use of a drug, as well as recreational abuse. Addiction involves a psychological component that is often related to other mental issues such as depression or a need to escape. Addiction also involves a behavioral component, which can be characterized by compulsively engaging in destructive behavior despite negative consequences.
Addiction often occurs in conjunction with physical dependence but can also occur with a behavioral dependence, such as gambling or shopping. Many behaviors that people find pleasurable or exhilarating release the chemical dopamine in the brain, which produces positive feelings. This can also result from healthy activities, such as exercising or receiving praise for a job well done. Many drugs also stimulate the brain to release dopamine, often in excess levels, which can lead to the euphoric high of drug use. With regular drug use, the brain may stop producing adequate levels of the chemicals dopamine and serotonin, which can result in depression and other withdrawal symptoms if drug use is stopped. Once an addiction is developed, the user may physically and psychologically rely on the drug and will often engage in destructive behavior in order to maintain the chemical equilibrium that the drug has established in the brain.
Physical and Psychological Dangers of Vicodin Addiction
Addiction to Vicodin can result in overdose, destructive addictive behavior, legal problems and problems in the user’s personal and professional life. The acetaminophen in Vicodin can also cause permanent liver damage when taken in high doses over an extended period of time.
Opioid drugs such as Vicodin can be physically and psychologically addictive. They can also lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that may make the detox process physically, emotionally and psychologically harmful. For these reasons, it can be beneficial to seek help from the professionals at a medically supervised addiction treatment facility.
Finding Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with Vicodin addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about the science behind Vicodin addiction and rehabilitation. We can help you find the best treatment options for your situation. Please call now.