Vicodin gets inside the body and attaches to opioid receptors in the brain. Once it is connected to these, a multitude of things happens within the body. Many users report feelings of euphoria, calm, or relaxation. Vicodin also lowers pain receptors and suppressed the cough reflex. There are also many unpleasant side effects associated with Vicodin use and abuse as well. These include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dangerously slowed breathing
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of consciousness
Vicodin abuse often occurs in combination with other substances such as alcohol. Mixing substances increase the risk of overdose exponentially, leading to fatal consequences. More deaths from overdose have been caused by the abuse of substances like Vicodin than heroin and crack combined.
As substance abusers continue to use Vicodin, several long-term effects can occur. Changes in mood lead to irrational decisions and reckless behaviors, anxiety, irritability, or problems with memory. Users may also have increased pain sensitivity, or it may be the opposite and become a higher-than-normal pain tolerance.
Vicodin dependency starts when abusers continue misusing the drug for extended periods. Their tolerance to the chemicals within the drug grows until they do not gain the desired effects they seek. This leads them to increase their dosage, and it must get higher and higher for them to feel what they are accustomed to feeling from misusing Vicodin.
The increase in dosage is just as dangerous as mixing Vicodin with other substances, and often the two continue together – the person increasing their Vicodin dosage while using other substances.
If you or a loved one is abusing Vicodin, seek professional help so you can regain the quality of life that was once yours. Do not lose a loved one to Vicodin abuse.