Symptoms of Vicodin Addiction

Vicodin is a powerful opioid prescription medication that is composed of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. This medication is often prescribed to alleviate moderate to severe pain; unfortunately, it is also frequently abused. Not only is the abuse of Vicodin extremely dangerous, but it can quickly lead to the development of an addiction. Those who abuse Vicodin place themselves at risk of experiencing a number of disastrous and even life-threatening consequences. This is especially true when Vicodin is taken in higher doses than recommended or in combination with alcohol and/or other drugs.

The presence of a Vicodin addiction indicates the need for professional treatment. If Vicodin abuse and addiction are left untreated, the associated effects can ultimately destroy an individual’s life. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available that can help an individual overcome a Vicodin addiction.

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Statistics

Vicodin is currently one of the most widely prescribed and abused pain medications in the United States. Nearly 140 million prescriptions for this medication are written every year.

Causes and Risk Factors for Vicodin Abuse

The exact cause for why one person develops an addiction to Vicodin why another does not is not completely understood. However, researchers have identified a number of factors that most likely play an important role in the development of an addiction to substances such as Vicodin. Please consider the following:

Genetic: Studied conducted in the field of addiction has consistently demonstrated a strong link between a person’s genetics and his or her vulnerability to developing an addiction. More recent research has found that there are certain genes that can be passed along from one’s biological parents that make an individual more susceptible to abusing and/or becoming addicted to substances like Vicodin.

Environmental: It is very likely that an individual’s environment plays a significant part in the development of a Vicodin addiction. For example, if an individual grows up in a household where substances are regularly abused, there is an increased risk that that person will engage in substance use at some point in his or her life.  Additionally, if an individual is prescribed the medication to help alleviate the pain associated with an injury or medical procedure, an addiction could result if the medication is not taken directly as prescribed.

Risk Factors:

  • Family or personal history of substance abuse
  • Family or personal history of mental illness
  • Suffering from a chronic pain condition
  • Undergoing surgery
  • Being involved in an accident or suffering from an injury
  • Easy access to Vicodin

Signs and Symptoms of Vicodin Abuse

An addiction to Vicodin can be identified by a wide variety of signs and symptoms. If you are concerned that you or someone you love may have a problem with Vicodin be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Isolating oneself
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Hiding Vicodin
  • Possessing numerous prescriptions for Vicodin
  • Making multiple visits to various doctors in order to acquire Vicodin
  • Lying about pain in order to get more Vicodin from one’s doctor
  • Stealing Vicodin or money for this medication from loved ones

Physical symptoms:

  • Slow heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Itching
  • Ringing in one’s ears
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Memory difficulties
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Dissociation

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Vicodin Abuse

When an individual abuses Vicodin for a prolonged period of time, it is likely that number of negative effects will present themselves. In some instances Vicodin abuse can cause a number of extremely harmful and life-changing effects. Without proper treatment, the following effects have been known to occur in those who abuse Vicodin:

  • Problems within relationships
  • Trouble at work or loss of job
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal problems
  • Incarceration
  • Social isolation
  • Mood swings
  • Development of a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Liver damage and failure
  • Brain damage
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Lung problems
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Suicidal ideation and behaviors

Co-Occurring Disorders

It is common for those who abuse Vicodin to also be struggling with other mental health concerns. Below are some examples of mental health conditions that are known to occur alongside Vicodin abuse:

  • Other substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Personality disorders

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal: When an individual who has been using Vicodin on a regular basis for a prolonged period of time suddenly stops taking this drug, it is likely that he or she will experience symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms that have been known to occur include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Panic and anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Short temper
  • Frustration or anger
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Yawning
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Effects of Vicodin overdose: A Vicodin overdose occurs when an individual consumes more of the medication that his or her body is able to process. Whether accidental or intentional, without immediate medical treatment, an overdose can result in death. The following effects are examples of what can occur if a person overdoses on Vicodin:

  • Drowsiness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Liver failure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Death
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