Vicodin is the brand name of a prescription medication that combines the opioid narcotic painkiller hydrocodone with a less powerful painkiller called acetaminophen. Doctors commonly prescribe this medication for people dealing with the effects of moderate or severe levels of pain. Unfortunately, hydrocodone use comes with substantial risks for drug abuse, and significant numbers of Vicodin abusers develop the symptoms of drug addiction. Doctors can diagnose Vicodin abuse or addiction under the heading of a condition called opioid use disorder. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Scottsdale Recovery Advisor at 888-478-0036.
Hydrocodone is made from a chemical formula based on natural substances found in opium plants. When used under proper supervision, its narcotic effects alter normal function in the brain and produce a euphoric state of pleasure, as well as disruption of the brain’s normal ability to send or receive pain signals. This pain-disrupting capacity accounts for the usefulness of hydrocodone in pain management. Pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. do not produce medications that only contain hydrocodone; instead, the painkiller always comes in combination with some sort of secondary ingredient. In the case of Vicodin, the secondary ingredient is acetaminophen, a weaker pain reliever that serves its purpose by boosting the effects of hydrocodone. Vicodin comes in tablet form.
It’s not possible to separate the euphoria-producing effects of Vicodin from the medication’s pain-relieving effects. In some cases, prescription users of Vicodin start abusing it in an attempt to experience its euphoric impact again and again over time. Some prescription users of Vicodin also start abusing the medication in an effort to access more of the medication’s painkilling effects. In addition, some people who don’t have a Vicodin prescription begin taking the medication strictly for recreational purposes.
In all of these situations, repeated exposure to Vicodin can trigger long-term changes in the brain’s chemical mixture. In turn, these changes are a necessary prerequisite for the establishment of Vicodin dependence. Addiction to the medication sets in when a dependent individual develops strong cravings for its continued use, starts to build up tolerance to its effects, develops withdrawal symptoms when brain levels of the medication run low, can’t control his or her level of Vicodin intake and develops a pattern of Vicodin-oriented behavior that remains in effect even when it causes serious disruptions to everyday routines and obligations.
Doctors in the U.S. don’t diagnose Vicodin addiction as a separate issue. Instead, they diagnose opioid use disorder, a condition that includes all forms of opioid drug and medication abuse, as well as all forms of opioid drug and medication addiction. A person who receives an opioid use disorder diagnosis has at least two symptoms that indicate the presence of an impairing level of abuse and/or addiction. An individual severely impacted by the disorder can have as many as 11 abuse- and/or addiction-related symptoms. When diagnosing their patients, doctors take steps to properly identify mild, moderate and severe cases. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Scottsdale Recovery Advisor at 888-478-0036.
Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Treatment of Vicodin addiction and other forms of opioid addiction commonly includes both medications to help a person overcome abusive patterns of opioid intake and behavioral counseling or psychotherapy. Potential medication options include naltrexone (a substance that blocks the brain effects of opioids) and buprenorphine (a fairly weak opioid substance that acts as a temporary replacement for Vicodin in order to help people in recovery avoid the strain of opioid withdrawal). Buprenorphine is best used as a short-term alternative rather than a long-term maintenance drug.