Vicodin is a prescription drug that can be highly addictive. Vicodin falls under the opiate category and is traditionally prescribed for pain management. The drug is frequently abused in the United States because it is easily accessible through prescriptions and illegal means. The active ingredients in Vicodin are hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The combination of these two ingredients can be lethal for those who have become addicted.
Vicodin is a Schedule II drug and is supposed to be prescribed by a medical professional for short term use. Of the ingredients within Vicodin, individuals first become addicted to hydrocodone, the opiate pain relieving drug that can leave a person in a euphoric state wanting more of the drug. The secondary pain reliever, acetaminophen, is not addictive, but can be dangerous on its own when taken in high dosages. Acetaminophen can lead to liver damage and failure.
Vicodin addicts tend to up the amount of drug use, and even alter the method in which the drug is taken in order to receive the same, if not stronger, effects. Opiates are often crushed and snorted, dissolved and injected, or chewed to create a more intense high or for drugs to work faster. The frightening part about Vicodin is that, once a person is addicted, their tolerance levels to hydrocodone raises, and by taking higher dosages than would ever be prescribed over a long period of time, acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
There are two types of Vicodin addicts; those who fell into addiction accidently from a pain management prescription, and those who obtained Vicodin illegally as a street drug and ultimately became addicted. If an individual started out with a legitimate prescription to Vicodin, they might start to exceed the recommended dosage and need to find alternative access to the drug. This can lead an individual to seek out drugs through theft, dealers, or illegal prescriptions. Those who have had an illegal addiction from the beginning will continue to obtain drugs illegally, but may also resort to theft or compromised behaviors in order to acquire drugs. Pharmacy theft is a growing problem in the United States, as prescription drug abuse is on the rise.
Vicodin abusers show typical signs and symptoms of a common opiate abuser. Opiates can slow down one’s heartbeat, and leave an addict clammy and drowsy. A Vicodin abuser may begin to experience confusion, anxiety, and fear. If an addict is coming down from Vicodin, side effects can cause seizures, convulsions and vomiting. Overdoses of Vicodin can lead to death from slowed down heartbeat, and ultimately put a person in a coma. Long term use of Vicodin can lead to liver damage from secondary ingredients within the drug and not from the actual opiate addiction.
The good news is that, an individual who is addicted to Vicodin can recover if they seek out the correct form of treatment. As with all opiate addictions, once a person enters a Vicodin rehab program, the first step will be an intense detox process that must be medically supervised. This withdrawal can have both physical and emotional ramifications, so the process should be monitored. An individual that tries to come down off of an extreme Vicodin addiction on their own will have little chance of success because cravings will be so strong.
Depending on how an individual fell into opiate addiction determines the approach to further care. If an individual truly felt they were taking Vicodin as a medication and not a drug, they may have other issues and residual pain that will need to be addressed. If an addict has chronic pain or illness, this is a secondary factor that will need to be dealt with during treatment. Other therapies or non-addictive medications will have to substitute the Vicodin that an individual once relied on. For an individual who found Vicodin as their drug of choice illegally, working with the addict to change their behavior patterns will be key. Further rehabilitation to help an individual get back on their feet and avoid individuals and places that could lead to drugs can help keep recovering addicts from relapse.
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