Vicodin is a prescription narcotic composed of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Because of the acetaminophen, this drug has the potential for liver damage if taken in large quantities. Vicodin is highly addicted, and easily abused. As a Schedule III controlled substance, there is a serious risk for addiction and dependency with Vicodin. Prescription opiate abuse is on the rise in America.

Vicodin abuse results in ongoing non-medical use and illicit procurement. According to recent statistics, nearly 2 million people in the U.S. are addicted to Vicodin. Hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed opiate in the country, with more than 139 million prescriptions filled each year. Around 27,000 exposures to Vicodin were reported by the Poison Control Center. Also, 23,000 people engage in recreational use of this drug, according to a 2008 survey.

Effects of Vicodin

Sharing medications is a bad idea, as there are certain people who should not take acetaminophen. These people include alcoholics, those with head injuries, and anyone with kidney or liver disease. Vicodin’s main short-term effect is relief of pain and euphoria. For some people, the drug causes drowsiness, relaxation, itching, difficulty urinating, inability to focus, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Many people report that when using Vicodin they find it more difficult to concentrate or focus. Also, this drug has the potential to increase physical activity, cause fear, or bring on anxiety.

Long-term effects of Vicodin are that with addiction, there is a drug-seeking behavior and a compulsion to obtain the drug. Also, tolerance develops when it takes more and more of the drug to achieve the desired effect. As the addiction intensifies, there is a risk of overdose.

Causes of Addiction

There is no one exact cause of addiction. Research has determined that there are several contributing factors. These include:

  • Genetics – A person with a family member who is an addict has a high risk of developing an addiction. Researchers have uncovered a genetic component associated with drug use, abuse, and dependency.
  • Environmental – There is more risk for drug use and addiction for people who grow up in an environment where this behavior is commonplace.
  • Brain chemistry – The brain of an addict lacks certain levels of neurotransmitters that are associated with happiness and pleasure.
  • Psychological – For some people, addiction has a psychological base. People with certain mental conditions are more likely to use and abuse Vicodin.

Vicodin Dependency and Treatment

It is hard to recognize if or not you are dependent on Vicodin. This may be something that gradually occurs. For some people, life becomes focused on where to get the next dose of Vicodin. Some indications that you are addicted to this drug are:

  • Legal problems that occur from drug-seeking behavior.
  • Family members are expressing concern regarding use of this drug.
  • You require a steady amount to relieve your pain.
  • You are not taking the medication as prescribe.

If you or someone you love has an addiction to Vicodin, there is help through an addiction treatment rehabilitation (rehab) center. The rehab process has three stages: detoxification, counseling/therapy, and recovery/after care. During the detoxification (detox) process, you will be given medications to help with the withdrawal symptoms. This prevents painful symptoms of cramps, body aches, sweats, and diarrhea. With the counseling and therapy sessions, the reason for your addiction will be treated. Also, you will learn skills to help you get off and stay off drugs. The recovery stage is where you attend support group meetings for continued recovery. The aftercare process can be life-long for some addicts.