Vicodin Withdrawal

Vicodin, a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain, is derived from opium and acts on the central nervous system to change the way the body responds to pain. Vicodin is also called a narcotic painkiller.

Those taking narcotic painkillers for more than a few weeks can develop a tolerance to the medication, thus needing higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects. This can lead to Vicodin addiction, as the body can become psychologically and physically dependent on the medication. Once an individual has become addicted, withdrawal symptoms may present if the individual abruptly stops taking the drug (whether he or she has missed a dose or wants to quit).

Signs of addiction to vicodin include needing to take more pills to get the desired effect, taking more pills than prescribed by your doctor, seeing different doctors to get prescriptions for Vicodin (called “doctor shopping”), purchasing Vicodin illegally, feeling guilty about your Vicodin use, being told by family and friends that your Vicodin use has become an issue, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Vicodin. Vicodin withdrawal is not life-threatening, but it can be very painful and uncomfortable.

You should never try to quit taking Vicodin on your own; reduction of the medication and detoxification must be supervised by a doctor. Addiction experts and clinicians recommend a gradual reduction of the medication, as sudden cessation can trigger severe withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms usually start within a day or two of stopping the medication, and can include general pain, rapid heartbeat, fever, chills, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, and general discomfort. The symptoms can last for one to two weeks. Other symptoms may include trouble sleeping, depression, and loss of appetite. Some medications can help ease the symptoms, such as buprenorphine, but this medication must be prescribed by a doctor, and it is highly recommended that the detoxification process is medically supervised.

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of painkiller addiction should immediately seek professional treatment; most people who try to quit Vicodin on their own are not successful, and the withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable. Vicodin addiction treatment usually includes medically supervised detoxification, counseling (individual and group), and other treatment methods that can include alternative therapies.

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.