Friday, February 8, 2008
Vicodin addiction first made big news in 1996, when National Football League quarterback Brett Favre announced he was addicted to the prescription pain pill and entered a rehabilitation program. Today, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that roughly 20% of the United States population over the age of 12 has used prescription medications for non-prescription purposes. Vicodin is one of the leading prescription drugs that are abused.
Vicodin is an opiod drug (also known as a narcotic) that dulls pain and gives a feeling of euphoria when used. Commonly prescribed for moderate pain, Vicodin is a combination of acetaminophen (often sold under the brand name Tylenol) and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen stops the production of prostaglandins, which cause the feeling of pain in the body. Hydrocodone binds to pain receptors and reduces the sensation of pain. Hydrocodone is the habit-forming part of the drug mix in Vicodin.
Vicodin attaches to specific receptors in the brain, spinal chord, and gastrointestinal tract. When used as prescribed, it can be a powerful pain reducer for those with back pain, pain after car accidents, surgery-related pain, and athletic injuries. But, Vicodin addiction can occur after just one to four weeks when not used properly. If used for a long period of time, higher doses will be needed to create the initial desired effect and physical dependence becomes an issue.
Regular, intended use of Vicodin comes with the following precautions:
* Do not take alcohol when using Vicodin.
* To avoid potential liver damage, be careful how many acetaminophen products you use while taking Vicodin.
* Do not operate vehicles or machinery when using Vicodin.
* People allergic to codeine and hydrocodone should not take Vicodin.
* Vicodin has drug interactions with MAO inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants.
Common side effects of regular Vicodin use include:
* Nausea, vomiting, or constipation
When taken in large doses, respiratory depression may also occur.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
Both psychological and physical signs present themselves when a patient becomes addicted to Vicodin. Most addicts begin using medication like Vicodin without a prescription, for example as a recreational drug. Less commonly, addiction develops in a patient who was prescribed the medication for a legitimate reason. Some heroin addicts have found Vicodin a cheaper substitute. Warning signs of a Vicodin addiction are:
* Using more pills at intervals that are closer together than recommended by your doctor
* Shopping for new doctors to refill prescriptions more rapidly
* Stealing prescription pads or product from pharmacies
* Purchasing Vicodin pills from an Internet pharmacy
* Feeling guilty about taking too many pills
* Hiding the number of prescriptions that are refilled
* Denying there is a problem
Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
Treatment for Vicodin addiction is similar to other drug treatments. Detoxification in a medically supervised setting may be needed. Withdrawal symptoms from Vicodin include muscle or bone pain, vomiting, cold flashes, loss of appetite, insomnia, watery eyes, and runny nose.
Once detox has taken place, it is imperative that follow-up treatment occurs. Detox is not considered adequate treatment in and of itself. Therapy can be helpful to those with Vicodin addictions. Behavioral counseling has also been found to be an effective form of therapy for addicts.
Additionally, medications like methadone or buprenorphine may be given to patients during the treatment process. Use of medications depends on the circumstances of each recovering addict. Medications should only be used under close medical supervision.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step in getting treatment. Vicodin addictions can ruin lives, relationships, financial situations, and business relations. When taken in large enough doses, Vicodin can even cause death.
Initial Author: Amy Hoover
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