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Effects of Vicodin Abuse

Vicodin is one of the most widely prescribed drugs used to relieve moderate to severe pain. A combination of hydrocodone bitrate (a synthetic codeine) and acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), Vicodin is usually found in tablet form and is taken on an as-needed, short-term basis as prescribed by one's doctor. This medication works by interacting with receptors in the brain and the spinal cord, essentially halting nerve impulses that indicate pain throughout the body. Once this communication ceases, the user experiences an euphoric feeling, which relaxes the body and relieves pain.

There are many dangerous effects that can occur when an individual is abusing Vicodin. Vicodin is an effective pain reliever when used properly as per doctor's prescription. But careless or deliberate abuse of Vicodin can result in dangerous consequences. Some of the common short term side effects of Vicodin abuse include dizziness, light-headedness, constipation, vomiting, nausea, or drowsiness.

Vicodin abuse has the potential to cause much more dangerous effects such as:
  • Liver damage or failure-As discussed above, Vicodin contains Acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can cause liver damage or failure if used for longer periods of time. In rare cases, it becomes necessary for the individual abusing Vicodin to have a liver transplant. According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA), toxic doses of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Vicodin is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
  • Jaundice-One of the major dangers of Vicodin abuse includes jaundice. Jaundice causes a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, whites of the eyes, and other mucous membranes caused by increased levels of bilirubin in the blood. Jaundice can cause pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. If neglected, it can lead to death.
  • Shallow breathing and slow heart beat-Vicodin abuse has many negative effects on the respiratory system of the abuser. Some side effects of abusing this drug include shallow breathing and slow heartbeat. Taking a large single dose of this harmful drug can also lead to death as it acts directly on the brain stem respiratory center.
  • Fainting-Vicodin is a powerful narcotic pain relieving medication. Vicodin abuse slows the heart and weakens the pumping action of the heart of the abuser and may precipitate fainting.
  • Seizures-One of the dangerous effects of Vicodin abuse includes seizures or convulsions. Since Vicodin binds with receptors in the brain and spinal cord, it may sometimes trigger abnormal excessive neuronal activity causing seizures or fits.
  • Altered mental status-Vicodin acts on the central nervous system as any other illicit drug. It alters mental status resulting in dizziness, light-headedness, mental clouding, lethargy, anxiety, fear, dysphoria, psychic dependence, mood changes etc.
  • Problems with urination-Vicodin abuse poses dangers to urinary system .Vicodin abusers suffer from problems with urination, typically described to be a burning or stinging sensation while urinating.
  • Confusion and fear-Vicodin impacts the parts of the brain that controls thought, memory, and language causing severe confusion. Other side effects of Vicodin may include hallucinations, changes in behavior, isolation, fear, and unusual thoughts. If combined with some other drugs or alcohol, it can produce compounding dangerous effects. Along with confusion, it can cause sedation and impact mental and physical functioning of the individual abusing Vicodin.

Vicodin abuse and addiction is a serious issue like any other illicit drug abuse and should not be taken lightly. Lack of awareness or attention to Vicodin abuse can lead to serious negative effects, which can lead to death. Apart from the above mentioned physical and mental effects of Vicodin abuse, it can also lead to addiction. When a person becomes addicted to Vicodin, soon to follow is the deterioration in personal relationships, employment and financial status of the abuser.

Are you or someone you love struggling with a drug problem that's spiraled out of control? If so, you may feel isolated, helpless, or ashamed. Or perhaps you're worried about a friend or family member's drug use. In either case, you're not alone. Drug abuse including Vicodin addiction is a problem that many people face. The good news is that you or your loved one can get better. There is hope - no matter how bad the substance abuse problem, recovery can happen if you reach out for help. One thing is guaranteed, the problem will only get worse if you don't.

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