In 2009, a study estimated that nearly 6 million Americans were using prescription drugs in a fashion that was not consistent with their doctor's orders. In other words, nearly 6 million people were using prescription drugs in an illegal or ill advised fashion. Of these 6 million people, over half of them were abusing prescription painkillers. The most common prescription painkiller on the market and the one that is abused the most is Vicodin. Vicodin, or hydrocodone, is a common narcotic pain reliever that generally is available only by prescription. In prescription form it is combined with acetaminophen. Many individuals take Vicodin to treat pain of various sorts, but prescriptions are usually given for short-term use because hydrocodone is addictive. Moreover, after a while people build a tolerance to the medication and need to take more of it for it to remain effective. It is possible for people using Vicodin regularly to become addicted and suffer withdrawal when they stop taking the medication. Vicodin withdrawal is the body's response when people stop taking the medication if they are addicted to it.
When many individuals start taking Vicodin, it is usually as prescribed, to get through the pain caused by a surgery, accident or traumatic event. However, Vicodin addiction is exceedingly common and can start if you alter your prescription in any way or begin to supplement as a physical tolerance develops. Once this physical tolerance develops, it is exceedingly difficult to stop taking Vicodin as the withdrawal symptoms that usually ensue can be overwhelming to say the least, and experts believe that the best setting to successfully withdraw from the drug be in a drug rehab center.
Withdrawal from Vicodin usually lasts three to four days and may include the following symptoms:
One of the big problems with hydrocodone abuse is that the medication is usually combined with acetaminophen. This means that taking more of the recommended dose can significantly increase risk of liver damage. In addition to the above symptoms from Vicodin withdrawal, people withdrawing quickly may have an increase in pain levels from injuries that caused use of the drug. Individual addicted to Vicodin may feel like the withdrawal is just too hard to bear, and resume the abuse of the drug to stave off these symptoms. For this reason alone, the best chance of success in the case of withdrawal from Vicodin is in drug treatment program. Emotional withdrawal from hydrocodone is just as significant and people may initially feel devastated and empty without the drug. Like many other addictions, hydrocodone addiction is both physical and emotional. When people stop taking Vicodin, they need to deal with the emotional side of addiction too, and this is usually best accomplished through treatment at a rehab center.
When people choose to stop taking hydrocodone, they should be aware that Vicodin withdrawal is not usually life-threatening. For long-term users, it may be absolutely necessary to withdraw from Vicodin in a professional setting with the support of follow up treatment. Some people may prefer this because being in the treatment center helps protect them from seeking more hydrocodone to take, and because of the support available to help to address the emotional aspects of Vicodin withdrawal and addiction. Hydrocodone by nature creates dependency, and not all people who are addicted have abused it. It is common to become physically dependent on the drug, even when being taken exactly as directed for pain relief. Most individuals who use the drug over a period exceeding two weeks to two months may expect some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when ending use.
However, individuals who have abused hydrocodone in large amounts for an extended period of time may have a harder and longer withdrawal. These individuals would have a much greater chance of being successful in the context of a long term residential treatment center. Recovery from Vicodin addiction is possible; many people do so every day in drug rehabs across the country. Withdrawal from Vicodin addiction, no doubt is tough, but it is a lot easier than remaining addicted to this powerful drug.