Vicodin withdrawal is on the rise. According to the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, among the Caucasian population between 2008 and 2011, the number of people admitting to a heroin addiction rose seventy-five per cent. Increased prescription drug abuse is one factor in this rise. In other words, if you frequently take Vicodin, you prime your brain to respond equally to other drugs like heroin. With time, your brain cells might become altered enough, so you need to switch from Vicodin to heroin.
The good news is that you can break free. Your recovery will begin with withdrawal from Vicodin.
Vicodin and Addiction?
Vicodin is a prescription pain reliever that operates by altering your perception of pain as well as your emotional reaction to it. It is a mixture of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. In some people, hydrocodone will make you feel lightheaded and euphoric while reducing the pain response. Vicodin’s propensity for abuse and addiction stems from these emotions making Vicodin withdrawal hard.
Like any opioid pain reliever, Vicodin can be addictive, and some patients develop a resistance to it. This means that the person takes higher doses of Vicodin or does so compulsively and cannot stop. When people become physically dependent on a drug, they will experience Vicodin withdrawal symptoms if they avoid taking it. Unlike other prescription pain relievers, Vicodin can be particularly harmful to the liver.
Many people have been shown to have severe allergic reactions and liver damage after taking large acetaminophen doses. Some people who take more than 325 mg of acetaminophen regularly often ended up in the emergency department due to overdose. In 2011, the FDA updated its recommendations on acetaminophen products, especially the amount of acetaminophen that can be included in prescription painkillers such as Percocet (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone). The dosage limit was set at 325 mg, but people who take these painkillers should be careful of acetaminophen in over-the-counter cold and flu drugs to avoid overdosing and Vicodin withdrawal symptoms.
Vicodin abusers can experience anxiety and confusion. Seizures and convulsions may occur, as well as a slowed heartbeat. Vicodin addiction, and sometimes Vicodin withdrawal, can put you in a coma or even kill you. Despite this, Vicodin abuse can be difficult to resolve due to withdrawal symptoms. Even if you use Vicodin correctly, you can experience Vicodin withdrawal symptoms.
Basics of Vicodin Withdrawal
With your addiction progressing, your brain became accustomed to receiving Vicodin almost constantly, and that drug exposure altered their behaviour. Vicodin withdrawal is designed to restore normal, non-Vicodin-like cellular action in those cells.
Cells going through Vicodin withdrawal will have the opportunity to look back on how they behaved before becoming dependent. There can sometimes be unpleasant side effects to this adjustment. You may feel sick with the flu for a week or so, even if the symptoms last a few days.
In addition to these physical signs during Vicodin withdrawal, you might experience intense, overwhelming cravings for Vicodin. Thinking about the drug might keep you awake from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep at night. The brain cells that are altered cause the craving and their calls make it hard to resist.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are close to those experienced when taking other prescription pain relievers. Withdrawal signs include the following:
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and confusion are examples of psychological changes.
- Changes in appetite, such as an increased desire for the drug and a decreased sense of hunger
- Tremors, dilated eyes, nausea and vomiting, sweating, diarrhoea, salivation, shivering or goosebumps, fast breathing, and muscle aches or cramps are all physical symptoms.
- Disturbances in sleep, such as restlessness, insomnia, or fatigue
- A runny nose, fever, sweating, chills, and nasal congestion are all signs of a cold.
The time it takes for Vicodin withdrawal symptoms to appear varies by person. Vicodin withdrawal can cause symptoms in both long and short-term users.
If you’re given Vicodin in the hospital after surgery, for example, you can only use it for a brief period but still experience symptoms. You may mistakenly believe you have the flu while your body reacts to your short-term Vicodin use.
Timeline for Withdrawal
The average time it takes for Vicodin withdrawal symptoms to go away or substantially diminish is 7-10 days. However, some symptoms, especially psychological symptoms, can last for weeks or months in some cases. Like many other opioid addictions, Cravings for Vicodin can strike years after a person has stopped taking it. Vicodin has a half-life of about four hours, but it takes about eight hours for the medication to leave the body entirely. Vicodin Withdrawal symptoms begin as soon as the drug leaves the body. Vicodin withdrawal can be a very personal experience. Although the worst Vicodin withdrawal symptoms should subside in 1-2 weeks, it’s difficult to predict how long it will take for each person.
PAWS, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome, is a condition that affects certain people. This state can last weeks or months, during which the person may experience other Vicodin withdrawal symptoms. Detox is difficult to handle mentally because of this challenging illness, and it is difficult to predict when it will stop. PAWS sufferers are better served in inpatient addiction care, where they can receive 24-hour medical monitoring and counselling to help them avoid relapse.
Several variables can influence how long someone experiences Vicodin withdrawal symptoms. These elements include:
Length of Use
Vicodin Withdrawal symptoms will be mild if they arise if the medication was taken as prescribed for a few weeks. Withdrawal would be more severe if a person developed a tolerance for the drug or became addicted to it and took it compulsively for years.
When a person develops a tolerance for Vicodin or some other opioid painkiller, they must take more medication to achieve the same results. Furthermore, the initial prescription may have called for a high dose for a specific medical purpose. When a person starts to detox from Vicodin, Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are usually worse if the body has become used to large amounts of the drug.
When a person has a Vicodin addiction, addiction’s psychological compulsiveness can make Vicodin withdrawal symptoms worse than just tolerance. The person must overcome both the mental and physical need for the medication. Physical symptoms can become more difficult to bear as a result of this.
Method of Stopping Use
When a person attempts to stop some opioid drug, such as Vicodin, cold turkey without assistance, withdrawal symptoms are more serious. To make the process more convenient, medical detox is advised. Replacement drugs such as buprenorphine or methadone can assist with the detox process on a long-term basis in some situations. Any medication’s use is decided on a case-by-case basis. Clients will also benefit significantly from therapeutic support from therapists, nurses, and other staff members during the detox phase.
Help with Withdrawal
You may be in danger of relapsing due to your cravings, even though you are not experiencing as much pain now. A treatment program may help. Buprenorphine and methadone have proven properties that relieve withdrawal symptoms and make sure drug users do not relapse to drug use. This type of medication is published in the Cochrane Library. You will typically be tapered off the drugs progressively during Vicodin withdrawal until you’re taking none at all.
In addition to your Vicodin withdrawal symptoms, you might need help managing physical illnesses. Acetaminophen is also contained in Vicodin, and that drug can lead to severe liver damage, as noted by The New York Times. Drug damage can cause serious liver damage, which might not show any signs until it’s too late. The only way to treat this is by obtaining a liver transplant. The team that works with you during withdrawal can evaluate your liver’s health and give you the treatment you need to stay healthy.
Besides Vicodin Withdrawal Support, Your Vicodin Team Could Also Provide:
- Ease of gastrointestinal distress with healthy, nutritious meals
- Cool baths relieve muscle cramps
- Exercise to help manage mental pain.
- Dark, cool rooms for sleeping
Counselling sessions may also help you understand your withdrawal as normal, healthy, and a fantastic way to begin your healing. Having a clear idea of the process might reduce the likelihood of you quitting too soon.
Avoiding Vicodin Withdrawal
Speak to your doctor if you don’t think your Vicodin medication is effective. Never take more than what the doctor has prescribed. Enable your doctor to change the dose or recommend a different pain reliever if appropriate. If you think you’re getting dependent on the medication, speak to your doctor. They will assist you in preventing the onset of an addiction.
If you quit taking Vicodin unexpectedly, you can experience Vicodin withdrawal symptoms, causing you to reintroduce the medication. Your doctor may encourage you to taper Vicodin or gradually reduce your dose. This will aid in the alleviation of withdrawal symptoms.
Easing Vicodin Withdrawal
There are many services available to assist you in overcoming your Vicodin addiction. They will help to relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor will make suggestions for you. Drugs like buprenorphine can safely and effectively treat Vicodin withdrawal (Subutex). Methadone may also be used for a short period and then gradually tapered off over weeks or months.
These medications are used by doctors to help patients cope with the withdrawal symptoms caused by quitting Vicodin. If you’re ready to talk about Vicodin addiction treatment right now, please call us on 615-490-9376. We can help you find a suitable facility that can help you during Vicodin withdrawal.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.