The Most Common Vicodin Addiction Symptoms
Opioid abuse has become prevalent in America, with Vicodin being among the most abused opioids on the market. It’s relatively easy for a person to develop an addiction to Vicodin, and once they do, it will be a hard one to kick.
When someone does develop a Vicodin addiction, many physical and psychological symptoms may come along with it. But first, it helps to understand how someone becomes addicted to the drug in the first place.
How Vicodin Users Become Addicted
Despite regulations being placed upon the drug, Vicodin remains one of the most popular pain relievers for doctors to prescribe to patients for the treatment of pain management. Unfortunately, because of the strong, euphoric high Vicodin produces, it is also very popular among recreational drug users.
A mix of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, Vicodin is a very easy substance to develop an addiction to. In fact, even those who use the drug exactly as prescribed are at risk for developing an addiction.
The process of developing a painkiller addiction begins with building a tolerance to the drug. Over time, as a person uses Vicodin, they will build a tolerance. When this happens, their current dosage will no longer give them the effects they desire and are used to feeling. This will lead the user upping their dosage or taking the drug more frequently.
Eventually, they will build a tolerance to their new, higher or more frequent dosage, and begin to take more, and so on. There is no dosage or level of frequency that your body cannot build a tolerance to, making Vicodin addiction very dangerous. Addicts will need to keep taking more Vicodin to feel normal. At this point, they have become dependent upon the drug. When a person is dependent on a drug like Vicodin, it will consume their life, and make everything else less important.
Vicodin dependence and addiction can happen to anyone who uses the drug over a period of time but is most likely in those who abuse the drug, especially those who are taking it improperly, by crushing up the pills and snorting or injecting.
When an addiction takes over, it can have damaging Vicodin long term side effects on a person’s life. They might alienate friends and family or completely isolate themselves. Their work or school performance could suffer to the point that they lose their job or drop out. They might get into financial trouble and resort to stealing to acquire the drug. And they are always at risk of an overdose or turning to another drug like heroin.
Vicodin is a dangerous cycle that could cause lasting damage to your health, your relationships, and could even cost you your life. Vicodin addiction symptoms can develop soon after a person starts taking abusing Vicodin on a regular basis. The drug will start to become less effective as their tolerance builds, and symptoms will manifest physically and psychologically as well as in their personal lives. Before things get too paid, pay attention to these symptoms that may point to a Vicodin addiction.
One of the first symptoms that can be noticed by other people is nodding out. When a person is addicted to an opioid like Vicodin, they will often appear to be in a daze. The person may nod out regularly, often during a conversation or when they are trying to focus on something. If you bring it up and they are defensive and snap back at you, saying they are just tired, this is often a key sign that they might have an addiction and need help.
An Obsession with Vicodin and Acquiring More
Because of their built-up tolerance to the drug, addicts will constantly crave more Vicodin. To maintain their high and avoid the symptoms that come with Vicodin withdrawal, an addict will become obsessed with the drug and always need to have a steady supply. They may begin taking Vicodin for other reasons, such as if they are feeling stressed. Maintaining a supply of the drug will become the main driving force in an addict’s life.
The longer they have been taking the drug, the more of it they will require. At first, this could be relatively easy (and legal), but eventually, addicts will go to extremes to obtain more Vicodin. This may include a behavior called “doctor shopping,” in which the addict will go to other doctors to acquire more prescriptions of the drug. They may also write fraudulent prescriptions or purchase Vicodin off the street, which can be dangerous, as you can’t be sure what you are really getting. This may lead to using other drugs, either accidentally or on purpose, just to get a high.
They may also steal from other people who have prescriptions for the drug, or if they get into a bad financial situation, steal money or valuables from friends and family to acquire more. Their addiction and obsession with getting more Vicodin will make them do anything they have to do to get the drug, no matter who they may hurt in the process.
Paired with the addict’s obsession with attaining more Vicodin, the other responsibilities in their life will become less important. Anything else that was once important will come in a distant second place to keeping a constant supply of Vicodin. The drug will become all an addict thinks they need, and their relationships, work or school performance, and more will suffer from the neglect.
Effects To An Addict’s Personal And Professional Life
An addict’s Vicodin addiction behavior will eventually start to cause problems with their relationships. They will alienate family and friends, and may even begin to hang out with a completely new group of people, generally those that they get high with. Their need for more of the drug may cause them to steal from those they love, and say or do things that may cause severe damage to their relationships.
Other addicts may completely isolate themselves from other people, as social situations will become more difficult for them.They will stop no longer engage in their social groups, will be likely to quit sports teams or clubs, and completely close themselves off. Their only interaction will be with the drugs.
Addicts also will frequently neglect their responsibilities at work or with school. They may often be late or call out sick.Some may even completely drop out of school or get fired from their jobs. This will take a toll on the financial stability as well.
Since their growing tolerance and addiction will make them need more of the drug, the habit will get more and more expensive. And if their addiction caused them to lose their jobs, they won’t have a constant supply of funds to get more. Addicts will often get more Vicodin rather than paying their bills. Their addiction can put them in a dire financial situation.
Nausea and Vomiting
Vicodin addiction also can often make an addict physically ill. The user may have a fairly constant upset stomach and may vomit rather often, especially if they are experiencing withdrawal between doses. Avoiding these symptoms are what causes the addicts to keep taking more.
Vicodin addicts will often sweat, seemingly for no reason.
A Vicodin addict will often talk with slurred speech. The drug will slow their brain activity and make normal conversation rather difficult. The slurred speech should be easy to notice and is another classic symptom of Vicodin abuse.
The effects of Vicodin will slow addict’s reflexes as well. The drug slows down their cognition and will make them overall lethargic, with slowed reflexes being a noticeable part.
Lethargy And Weakness
Because of the effect Vicodin has on the brain and heart, addicts will become very lethargic. Vicodin abuse will slow the heart rate, which makes a user often seem almost comatose. They will be lightheaded, dizzy, and weak, and not want to participate in anything physical.
Vicodin, like all other drugs, is processed and broken down by the liver. Vicodin abuse can cause great harm to your liver because of its high acetaminophen content. When an addict’s liver is becoming damaged, it might not be immediately noticeable and may seem like the flu or simple abdominal pain, but it can be quite serious, and even lead to liver failure.
Liver damage can manifest physically as jaundice or a yellowing of the skin and eyes. Those who abuse Vicodin with alcohol are at the highest risk for liver damage.
A Vicodin addiction can cause severe constipation, which can be extremely uncomfortable and lead to other issues. Laxatives may be required to pass bowel movements for long after the person stops using the drug. Addicts may also have damage to their anus and sphincter. Digestive issues can also lead to nausea, bloating, vomiting, and further constipation.
Slowed Heart Rate
Vicodin addiction will slow an addict’s heart rate. The effect on the heart can be extremely dangerous because if it slows too much, the person could die. This is why taking high doses of Vicodin can be extremely dangerous. Vicodin causes the slowed heart rate because it interrupts the electrical impulses that coordinate your heartbeats.
Vicodin abuse will also slow an addict’s breathing. Respiratory depression actually may last long after an addict stops using the drug, causing them to breathe much more slowly than they did previously. An addict may often become out of breath after routine activities like going up or down stairs.
Vicodin addicts often will seem to be in a general sort of fog, unable to focus on conversations or thoughts and have great difficulty engaging in conversation. They will be in a general state of confusion due to the effects the drug is having on their brain.
Vicodin addicts will have great difficulties with their memory. They may not remember things they used to or seem to be able to form new memories. They also often won’t remember things they did while they were high. Vicodin long-term effects include lasting, irrevocable damage to an addict’s memory.
Seizures or Convulsions
Vicodin abuse can also cause an addict to have a seizure or convulsions. These can be dangerous symptoms that may seem to pop up out of nowhere but can occur because of the chemical imbalances Vicodin causes in the brain. A seizure can sometimes cause other dangerous side effects.
Vicodin addicts may become quite anxious, even those who are normally very easy-going. They will often seem tense or nervous, most likely worrying about where they are going to get their next dose. It will be minor at first, but can grow to an anxiety disorder as their addiction progresses.
The effects of Vicodin can also cause massive mood swings, because of their euphoric high and plummeting low as they come down off the drug. Addicts can go from cheerful to depressed in a matter of hours. Some may even become aggressive, especially if they are questioned about their drug use. This is a clear sign of addiction.
The fear of getting caught or of running out of Vicodin can lead to intense paranoia. Addicts will often become very secretive as they try to hide their addiction.
Withdrawal is the process that occurs when a person stops taking a drug. Unfortunately, the symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal can be quite severe, depending on the duration and level of a person’s drug abuse. Withdrawal will set in after the effects of Vicodin wear off if the user does not take another dose of the drug.
Common symptoms associated with withdrawal include:
- Bone and muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Flu-like symptoms: including a runny nose, sweating, chills, fever
For those closest to the addict, seeing the destruction in the addict’s life and the lives of those around them that meth abuse is causing can be extremely difficult. It is important to remember that the sooner you can recognize the symptoms of Vicodin addiction and encourage your loved one to seek help, the better their chances of a successful recovery will be.
Luminance Recovery is a rehab in Orange County that can help you or a loved one overcome Vicodin addiction. Call us today to learn about our holistic approach to addiction treatment.
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