Orange County, CA Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Table of Contents
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a combination medicine; it contains an opioid pain reliever (Hydrocodone Bitartrate) and a non-opioid pain reliever (Acetaminophen). Hydrocodone alters how your body experiences pain by interfering with the pain signals your brain receives from your central nervous system. When Hydrocodone binds with certain receptors in your brain, the experience of pain is decreased. Vicodin, like other opioid-based pain medications such as OxyContin, Norco and Percocet is highly effective at treating pain.
Causes of Vicodin Addiction
Opioid pain medicines are typically prescribed for short-term situations, such as when recovering from surgery, or following a wound or injury. As long as the individual follows the correct schedule for using the drug, typically no serious side-effects will occur. However, even when following regular dosages, the body can build up a tolerance to the drug, as it overcompensates to account for its presence. Thus, the user may begin to crave it between doses, which can lead to taking it in larger quantities, or more frequently than one should.
If the user begins to abuse the drug (by exceeding the regular dosage), then the body must work harder to adapt, and thus it will crave the drug more and more. The user will begin to experience addiction symptoms, and as with many opiates, those symptoms can be quite disruptive. When users cannot quit on their own, or if it becomes unsafe to do so, then they will need the help of a healthcare practitioner with experience in treating people coming off of opiates. Without help, users will continue to abuse the drug, even resorting to illegal means of procuring it.
Vicodin Addiction Signs and Symptoms
Vicodin addiction can present in many ways. Here we list different categories of symptoms. Although not every addict has all of them, often there is enough evidence to raise concern, and to help someone seek help. If you are experiencing a few of these, it may be time to seek help from a mental healthcare provider.
Vicodin Addicts can sometimes experience a profound sense of euphoria, or depression, anxiety, or mood swings.
The behavior of an individual addicted to Vicodin will resemble that of anyone addicted to a potent opioid. Such addicts often neglect their personal appearance, and find it difficult to focus on normal everyday activities, such as work or school. Instead, they obsess over the drug, and ponder how to get more of it, or break their addiction. Despite this, they will lie to cover up how much they use, hoping to avoid suspicion while convincing others to give them more.
As their cravings increase, they lose their inhibitions, even engaging in risky or illegal behavior to get more of the drug. They spend considerable effort to acquire Vicodin, even stealing money from family or friends, forging prescriptions, or scamming doctors to get them to write more of them. They continue to use the drug despite negative consequences, even withdrawing from loved ones, or activities they used to enjoy.
Vicodin causes physical dependence, and can result in drowsiness, constipation, slower breathing, or difficulty urinating. It can also damage the liver or kidneys, or cause bradycardia, a condition in which the heart beats slower than 60bpm. If the addiction persists, it can result in jaundice (liver failure), coma, or death.
Addicts can sometimes feel immortal while using Vicodin, and can experience delusions or hallucinations. They feel this way despite having impaired cognition and judgment, clouded thinking, or paranoia. When not “high”, the addict can feel fear, anxiety, irritability, or agitation.
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Vicodin Overdose Signs: What to Do
Some of the more pronounced symptoms of Vicodin addiction may indicate an overdose. Keep an eye out for the following:
If you see someone exhibiting these signs, dial 9-1-1 immediately. EMTs and other trained first responders have medications and technology that can help someone through an overdose. The sooner you contact them, the more likely they will arrive in time to save the user’s life and minimize the damage to their body.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal from Vicodin is serious, because the body must suddenly learn to recalibrate itself to account for the lack of the drug in the system. The half-life for a drug is the approximate time it takes for the body to expel half of it from the system. For Vicodin, the half-life is four hours, so after about eight hours, the drug is mostly gone. At that point, withdrawal symptoms begin.
The initial symptoms include fluctuations in appetite and mood, with diminished hunger as the body craves the drug. While feeling such varied moods as irritability, anxiety, and confusion, the addict will often experience tremors, shivering and goosebumps, dilated pupils, vomiting, sweating, diarrhea, salivation, rapid breathing, muscle aches and cramps. Sleep patterns will be inconsistent, with insomnia, restlessness, and exhaustion. The addict will also experience many symptoms of the common cold, such as runny nose, fever, chills, and congestion.
These symptoms will persist for 7 to 10 days. At that point, the physical withdrawal symptoms will subside, but cravings can still occur. And psychological symptoms can persist for years. With help, the addict can find remedies for this with the guidance of a trained healthcare professional.
Vicodin Addiction Treatment
The right provider will be able to offer a comprehensive solution for addiction treatment. For the best possible results, treatment should begin with a full evaluation of the individual and their addiction. This evaluation will answer key questions, such as how much Vicodin has been taken and how often, and for how long. After assessing the individual’s health and symptoms, the doctor can proceed with treatment.
When coming off of an opioid, sometimes after a physician assesses the level and frequency of the doses, he or she will gradually reduce them as time passes. With this approach, there is a much lower chance of an acute reaction to withdrawal, and thus the individual will sidestep the more severe symptoms. This approach requires knowledge backed by research, and is best left to a mental healthcare provider who specializes in addiction recovery.
In many cases, addicts benefit immensely from going through the phases of withdrawal in a controlled setting. Through careful observation, professionals can reduce or eliminate the impact of most factors that might contribute to a relapse, most notably access to the drug of choice. As this process winds down, addicts will begin to develop solutions to enable them to remain sober for the rest of their lives.
Psychotherapy is an essential part of recovery. Once an individual has completed the physical withdrawal phase, they must prepare themselves for the possibility of intense psychological symptoms. Addicts must come to understand their triggers, and develop strategies for managing them. This process is not intuitive, and is best aided by the sure hand of an expert in addiction recovery. With the help of the right addiction counselor, the addict stands a much greater chance of an enduring sobriety.
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Meet Dr. B, Orange County’s Expert in Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Getting oneself free from addiction to an opioid is no joke. If you or someone you know is suffering from such a condition, give our office a call. Dr. B specializes in addiction recovery, and has extensive experience treating those coming off of all kinds of medications, including Vicodin. When your life is at stake, you want the very best professional in your corner to ensure success. Don’t leave it to chance. Call us today.