What Happens When a Person Abuses Vicodin?

Vicodin remains one of the most popular narcotics for treating moderate to severe pain. It is a Schedule III substance, meaning a doctor can simply call the pharmacy to place a prescription order and patients can get refills without a doctor’s office visit. But when someone takes more of the drug than prescribed, or takes it for non-medical reasons, it’s easy to fall into a habit of abuse. This powerful drug can have powerful, even deadly side effects when not used under a doctor’s care or as prescribed.

Vicodin is a combination of the opioid hydrocodone and the drug acetaminophen. It’s a synthetic form of codeine with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. If used improperly here are some of the things that can occur:

  • Constipation, vomiting, dizziness or drowsiness
  • Because acetaminophen affects the liver, jaundice may result, meaning the skin and whites of the eyes take on a yellowish hue
  • Anxiety, mood changes, lethargy and mental fogginess
  • Trouble urinating, or a burning sensation while urinating
  • Permanent liver damage due to acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of liver failure in this country
  • Respiratory suppression; taking too much Vicodin may lead to breathing and heartbeat stoppage
  • Fainting
  • Convulsions or seizure
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, memory problems and confusion
  • Mental and physical function problems if taken with another sedative like alcohol or anti-anxiety medication.

Addiction creates a slew of problems. Although it can be very difficult for someone to break their habit, with the help of a professional freedom is possible.

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The Pain of Addiction

Vicodin addiction often starts innocently enough. Most people start taking Vicodin or other pain medications after surgery or an injury. But then they can’t stop. They need more to get the same pain relief. They start doctor shopping to get more pills. And the cycle continues until it takes over their lives.