Long Term Effects of Vicodin: Its Risks and Addiction Treatment

October 22, 2021

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is a chronic disease. One of the major characteristics of this disease is drug-seeking behavior and dependence. Many people may misunderstand why some tend to become addicted to drugs.

Unfortunately, many people perceive others who suffer from drug addiction as people who lack the moral fortitude to battle against addiction. However, addiction is a chronic and complex disease that requires more than just sheer will and good intentions to quit. 

Repeated drug use can lead to changes within one’s brain that cause negative effects such as the inability to resist the urge to seek and take drugs, brain fog, hallucinations, anxiety, among others. Long term effects of Vicodin, OxyContin, Xanax, and other commonly abused drugs have to be studied and considered carefully since one can relapse from drug use and addiction. The changes that occur in one’s brain can be too persistent or drastic that people who are recovering may have even more risk of returning to drug-seeking behavior.

What Is Vicodin?

Hydrocodone is an opioid that is widely used as a painkiller particularly for the treatment of acute or chronic pain. It is a semisynthetic opioid taken orally and in combination with acetaminophen such as in more popularly known drugs such as Vicodin is used as a painkiller. Meanwhile, hydrocodone, when in combination with antihistamines, is a cough treatment.

Vicodin is an example of a Hydrocodone combination product since it is a mixture of Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen which is a prescription tablet for the relief of moderate to severe pain.

Vicodin is a tablet and takes effect within an hour. It is very effective in alleviating one’s pain. However, since it creates a euphoric state in one’s mind, it becomes habit-forming and may introduce the risk of addiction and dependence.

long term effects of vicodin

Long Term Effects of Vicodin

One of the long term effects of Vicodin is dependence as this drug may be habit-forming. The drug creates a euphoric state of mind or a certain “high” to a person. It also overwhelms the receptors and stops the pain messages from being sent back to the brain. Dopamine then floods into the brain creating a certain Vicodin dependency from its users. Unfortunately, with time, the body craves euphoria and feelings of sedation and can no longer function without the drug.

Heavy use of the Hydrocodone combination product may lead to high tolerance to the drug and therefore increase the risk of overdose. Some of the consequences of prolonged use of Vicodin are the following:

  • Liver failure and kidney damage
  • Chronic constipation and difficulty in urinating
  • Respiratory depression
  • Low heart rates
  • Rashes and itching
  • Extreme dependency on the drug

Apart from the aforesaid physical side effects of misuse of Vicodin, psychological side effects may also be present such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Difficulty in thinking
  • Mental or brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of control

What Are The Risks Of Taking Vicodin?

At present, the restrictions surrounding the use of this controlled substance have been tighter due to potential Vicodin abuse. The Drug Enforcement Agency has decided to create stricter regulations and guidelines to protect citizens from Vicodin misuse. Apart from Vicodin addictionone of the long-term effects of Vicodin is liver damage or liver failure.

Hydrocodone combination drugs such as Vicodin are composed of both Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen and the latter is one of the reasons for liver failure in individuals who take in doses of Acetaminophen that go beyond 4,000 mg or more in a day.

Apart from the risks of addiction as well as liver damage due to Vicodin misuse and abuse, this drug may also cause drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and negative mental effects such as anxiety and depression.

Vicodin Addiction Signs And Symptoms

Vicodin Addiction Signs And Symptoms

Vicodin addiction may be hard to recognize. Some people dependent on the combination drug develop a certain tolerance and dependence on it. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has identified certain symptoms of those with an addiction. The criteria include:

  • Taking of Vicodin in larger does than what is prescribed by physicians
  • Having the urge to stop taking Vicodin however having difficulties doing so
  • Potent cravings to use or take Vicodin
  • Disregarding responsibilities in the home and at work
  • Eagerness and intense efforts to find ways to get Vicodin prescriptions or access to the drug
  • Spending too much money or loss of personal property due to inexplicable reasons
  • Becoming more emotionally distant from loved ones
  • Disinterest in hobbies or activities previously enjoyed
  • Becoming defensive when the topic of drug use is mentioned

Vicodin Addiction Treatment

Take hydrocodone combination drugs with doctor’s direction and only to the amount or dosage prescribed. Otherwise, taking more may lead to drug dependence, tolerance, and other serious or life-threatening problems.

There are various substance abuse treatment therapy programs available to help you or your loved ones in the quest of battling Vicodin addiction. Yes, these drugs may be necessary to relieve acute or chronic pain. However, when there is abuse and overuse, the problem arises.

Addiction treatment therapy is one of the ways to treat withdrawal symptoms or drug dependence since these medical practitioners are well-trained and equipped to help patients deal with severe symptoms and discomfort. Prescription drug detox may be uncomfortable but, with the help of professionals, you can get rid of your Vicodin dependence and steer yourself towards sobriety.

Apart from drug detox, addiction professionals from reputable rehabilitation clinics can help not just through physical and medical assistance but emotional and psychological intervention as well. Vicodin addiction may happen to anyone and along with it is the stigma. If you are seeking treatment, you need to first acknowledge that help is needed.

Drug Recovery Help

The use of Vicodin and other painkilling drugs may be necessary to deal with acute or chronic pain in the body. However, taking more than what is prescribed may lead to Vicodin addiction and substance abuse. Avoid this at all costs. Prolonged and heavy drug use may result to long term effects of Vicodin like dependence and worse, overdose.

Since addiction to combination drugs is a complex disease, what is necessary is the intention to quit. Addiction treatment therapy and correct physical, mental, and psychological intervention are also taken into account to treat withdrawal symptoms.

Here in Buena Vista Recovery, we make sure your journey is comfortable and pleasant. Give us a call today at 800-922-0095 or visit our locations to start your treatment and begin living a healthier life again.

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