Vicodin is a powerful prescription painkiller that includes two drugs, the opiate hydrocodone and the over-the-counter drug acetaminophen (Tylenol). This drug is highly addictive and many people abuse it. In addition to all of the repercussions of narcotic abuse, Vicodin abuse can also cause a painful and potentially lethal disease known as drug-induced hepatitis.
What Is Drug-Induced Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a condition that enlarges liver cells, which makes the abdomen become tender. As a result, liver enzymes in the blood increase and the following symptoms develop:
- Dark urine
The risks of drug-induced hepatitis increase significantly when people consume alcohol with acetaminophen. This is due to tolerance: as Vicodin addicts become used to the drug, they will require larger and more frequent doses to feel the same level of relief. To counter this, many addicts take Vicodin with other drugs or alcohol to intensify its effects, but this exacerbates the damage to the liver. This increases the likelihood of developing hepatitis and completely eroding the liver. Most symptoms of drug abuse will disappear shortly after the user stops taking acetaminophen, but liver failure is still possible, and continued Vicodin abuse can be fatal.
Vicodin Addiction and Recovery
Vicodin is made from the same chemical as heroin. The opiate hydrocodone in Vicodin binds to special receptors in the brain, which blocks physical pain signals, anxiety and psychological distress. The drug replaces natural chemicals that manage pain and anxiety, rendering the addict dependent on Vicodin to function. The brain also craves the emotional relief from drugs, so it will use every psychological tool at its disposal to keep it coming. When a Vicodin addict stops using the drug, she will experience any of the following symptoms:
- Physical pain throughout the body
- Obsession with finding and taking the drug
- Nausea, fever, diarrhea and other flu symptoms
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
Vicodin addiction is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. If left untreated the addict risks overdose, brain damage, coma and even death. However, recovery from Vicodin addiction requires both physical and psychological rehab, so to recover patients may need any of the following therapeutic tools:
- Individual and group counseling
- Medically supervised detox
- Learning to cope with problems
- 12-step programs
- Treatment for any co-occurring disorders, like hepatitis
The best option for these methods is often inpatient treatment.
Help for Vicodin Abuse and Hepatitis
If you abuse Vicodin and you also have hepatitis, then please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right away. Our addiction counselors can answer your questions about hepatitis and addiction, and they can connect you with the best treatment plans for your individual needs. If you’re ready to get clean, we’re ready to help.