What is Vicodin Addiction?
Vicodin is a medication prescribed by doctors to relieve moderate to severe pain, usually after surgery, injury, or potentially painful dental work. Unfortunately, many people abuse Vicodin, which can lead to addiction. In some cases, people who started taking the medication for pain begin to feel dependent on it, and begin taking more than the prescribed amount or for longer periods of time than recommended by their doctor. This can build up a tolerance in the body, so people require higher doses of the medication to achieve the same effect.
In other cases, people take Vicodin simply to get high. The medication can often be purchased online without a valid prescription or bought “on the street.” Many times, children and teenagers steal the medication from their parents’ or friends’ parents’ medicine cabinets. Because Vicodin is the most widely prescribed medication for pain, it is also the most widely abused prescription medication.
Vicodin abuse often occurs when a person is prescribed Vicodin after a surgery or injury. Many people take more than recommended to ease their pain, which can lead to tolerance and dependence. It can take just a few weeks to develop an addiction to Vicodin, both physiologically and psychologically. Vicodin creates pleasurable feelings in the brain, so Vicodin addicts begin to believe they cannot function normally without the drug.
Abruptly stopping the medication can result in severe withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, agitation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, trembling, hot or cold flashes, muscle aches, bone pain, vomiting, and night sweats. High doses of the drug can lead to extreme drowsiness, respiratory problems, coma, liver failure, and even death.
Many experts believe that only those with a propensity for developing substance abuse problems are at risk of developing an addiction to Vicodin, but some say that, if taken long enough, anyone can develop a painkiller addiction. Research suggests that if you have struggled with substance abuse or addiction in the past or if a family member has struggled with substance abuse or addiction, you are at a higher risk of developing an addiction.
Anyone who is abusing or addicted to Vicodin should immediately seek professional help. This usually requires medically monitored detox, followed by inpatient treatment at a rehab facility. Outpatient care and aftercare are recommended after residential treatment is completed to prevent relapse.