Many people take the prescription drug Vicodin – a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone – to manage pain after a surgery or injury. If taken as prescribed under a doctor’s supervision, this medication can bring relief to people who are suffering. However, because Vicodin is an opioid, it stimulates the brain’s pleasure center in a way that causes a rush of dopamine. These intense feelings of euphoria give opioid drugs like Vicodin a high potential for abuse. How can you tell if you or someone you care about might be misusing Vicodin?
Warning Signs of Vicodin Abuse
There are several telltale red flags associated with a burgeoning addiction to Vicodin. Look for the following.
- Using the drugs differently than intended: Vicodin abusers may crush pills and inhale them, chew them or dissolve them in water in pursuit of a more intense high.
- Taking higher doses to achieve the desired effect: As a tolerance builds, it will take more of the drugs to result in the same euphoric sensations. Eventually, you might find you don’t feel “normal” unless you’re taking Vicodin.
- Doctor shopping: In an effort to curb the opioid epidemic, many states now strictly limit the amount of opioids doctors can prescribe. If you start to depend on the high Vicodin provides, you might visit multiple health care providers trying to get more drugs. Some patients also claim to have lost their remaining supply of pills, lie about their symptoms, forge prescriptions, purposely harm themselves or commit other forms of deception in pursuit of the next dose.
- Marked behavior changes: Drug abuse often causes people to say and do vastly different things than they do when they’re sober. A lack of inhibitions may cause you to take risks such as driving under the influence or stealing money to buy drugs.
- Cravings for the drug: The longer you misuse Vicodin, the more your body will become accustomed to having the medication in your system. When you’re not taking drugs, you may obsess over thoughts of your next dose – when, where and how you will use it.
- Financial issues: Maintaining a drug habit can be expensive. If you find yourself going into debt or borrowing money from friends and family to buy drugs, you could put your future at risk.
Withdrawal Symptoms Associated With Vicodin
Opioids such as Vicodin can quickly cause a physical dependence because of the way they affect the reward pathways in the brain. Even if you use Vicodin precisely as prescribed, you can still experience withdrawal symptoms such as confusion and anxiety.
Trying to taper off Vicodin or go completely cold turkey can lead to the following symptoms:
- Anxiety and agitation
- Runny nose
- Flu-like muscle aches
The time it takes for withdrawal symptoms to begin differs from person to person. Both long- and short-term use of Vicodin can cause these symptoms.
What to Do If You Have a Drug Addiction
If you have developed a substance misuse problem, there’s still hope for you to live a healthy, drug-free life. Spearhead Lodge provides world-class addiction treatment for young men in the heart of Austin, Texas. You can find the counseling and the life skills you need to pursue a bright future through our unique program. When you’re ready to learn more, we invite you to call us.