Vicodin is one of the most popular and addictive substances in use for the treatment of chronic and severe pain. It is two different drugs, Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen, combined to form one more powerful and effective drug. Hydrocodone works on the nervous system as an opioid while acetaminophen is a pain reliever.
Due to the effects of acetaminophen, it is much easier to overdose on Vicodin at lower doses than it is with other substances. Acetaminophen does damage to the liver and is toxic at certain levels. Side effects other than liver damage are not limited to:
- Emotional indifference
- Slowed or shallow breathing
- Decreased heart rate
- Euphoric feelings
- Nausea or vomiting
- Mood swings
- Changes in behavior
- New or worsening mental disorders
- Decreased immunity to illnesses and bacteria
- Changing brain function
- Trouble sleeping
- Cardiovascular problems
Vicodin use starts harmlessly, but slowly it increases in toxicity as the user comes to depend on the drug and its effects on the mind and body. Some users are unable to think of nothing except their next Vicodin fix, as cravings become more and more intense with increased use. Some individuals even turn to other drugs, looking for a stronger and more effective feeling than Vicodin can give them.
This is even more likely since Vicodin tolerance increases. Substance abusers then increase their dose of Vicodin to feel similar effects to previous times of use, getting into more and more dangerous territory. If users continue to search for a more intense experience, they may end up pushing themselves towards a potential overdose which can have fatal consequences.
Once an individual is addicted to Vicodin, it is extremely difficult to quit on their own. Professional help is needed to break the addiction to the substance successfully. Detox is unpleasant and is much safer in a controlled and monitored environment. The physical symptoms of withdrawal can be intense, with symptoms such as trouble sleeping, nausea, sweating, muscle tremors, and more. Some users may even experience things such as hallucinations, aggression, or psychotic episodes. These episodes can lead to legal trouble and lasting consequences for the individual.
Some other consequences of the abuse of Vicodin are:
- Lowered performance at school or work
- Trouble in relationships
- Financial issues
- Medical issues
- Harming others
- Memory problems
Many people report that they are unable to remember things that they did or said while under the influence of Vicodin or Hydrocodone. They can also developmental disorders that go along with substance abuse, such as depression or anxiety. Extreme aggression is also likely along with irritability.
Help is available so that people suffering from substance abuse do not have to feel alone. Effective treatment is possible at the Center for Combating Vicodin Abuse in Minnesota. Our staff is highly trained to deal with any measure of addiction so that you or your loved one can return to their lives and recover from substance dependence.