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Choosing the Top Exclusive Vicodin Addiction Rehab

Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone (a synthetic narcotic) and acetaminophen (a commonly used analgesic), which is prescribed to treat severe pain such as that resulting from a surgery or grave injury. The combination of ingredients is much more powerful and dangerous than either substance taken alone.

Vicodin works in two ways; it blocks the neurological pathways that allow the sensation of pain, and it enhances the action of dopamine, the body’s primary neurotransmitter, which triggers pleasure receptors and causes euphoria. Vicodin is chemically related to the drug heroin, and its addictive qualities are so strong that users can develop a dependency in as little as a week.

As is often the case with prescribed drugs, Vicodin addicts fall into two categories: those who have become addicted accidentally after using the drug for its prescribed purpose, and those who deliberately abuse it as a recreational drug. “Accidental addicts” may have initially been prescribed the drug for severe pain (following surgery, for instance) but continued to use it to relieve chronic but less severe conditions such as migraine headaches or back pain. If you believe you may fall into one of these categories, learn about the signs and symptoms.

Signs of Vicodin Addiction

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Vicodin Addiction

If you think Vicodin addiction can’t happen to you or to someone you love, think again. Prescription drug abuse and addiction has been increasing rapidly over the past few decades in all age groups, and Vicodin is among the most often abused. While some people deliberately exploit the drug for recreational use, a great many become “accidental addicts” who used the drug legitimately, as prescribed by a doctor for severe pain, but then began to use it more frequently or in higher doses than prescribed. Because the original use was medically authorized and the drug is widely available through legal means, denial is a serious problem among these addicts.

If you are using Vicodin for whatever reason, it is important to keep an eye out for symptoms and signs of addiction.

Behavioral

There are both physical and behavioral signs of Vicodin addiction. Among the behavioral signs that indicate a problem are the following.

  • Continued use of the drug after the initial cause has stopped. Often, people start using the drug for severe pain such as that which occurs following surgery, but then continue to use it to treat less serious problems such as migraine headaches or back pain.
  • Increased dosage of the drug. Because the body becomes tolerant of the drug very quickly, patients often feel they have to escalate use beyond what was prescribed in order to get the same effects.
  • “Doctor shopping.” If the original prescribing physician becomes reluctant to refill a prescription, patients may go to other doctors or hospital emergency rooms to try to get more. If that fails, they may even turn to illegal sources on the street or through the Internet.
  • Secretive behavior. Addicts may try to disguise how much of the drug they are taking. This is often combined with denial, as the addict rationalizes continued use of Vicodin.
  • Mood swings. Anxiety, panic and agitation often accompany misuse of the drug. In later stages, paranoia and even hallucinations can exacerbate this problem.
  • Financial difficulties. The need to obtain ever-increasing amounts of the drug can lead to financial resources being drained to feed the habit.
  • Difficulties with concentration and focus. This can lead to problems on the job, at home or at school.
  • Withdrawal. As the addict’s life begins to revolve more and more around obtaining and taking the drug, he or she may withdraw from usual activities and relationships.

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

No matter how you got addicted, the symptoms of withdrawal appear quickly when the dosage of the drug is decreased or stopped abruptly. They include:
  • Return of pain, often worse than before
  • Diarrhea, vomiting and nausea
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Cold sweats
  • Tremors
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Seizures or convulsions

Treatment of Vicodin Addiction

Because withdrawal is so difficult, trying to cure the addiction without medical assistance often ends in relapse. The most effective way to treat a narcotic addiction is through residential rehab.

The first step will be a medically supervised detoxification process, which will gradually remove the drug from your system. Detox is often aided by a synthetic opiate called Suboxone, which replaces the Vicodin and alleviates withdrawal symptoms.

The second stage of treatment is a course of intensive therapy, which usually lasts several weeks. During this time, the patient will explore the issues that led to his or her dependency and be given alternative ways to handle those issues. Patients who are subject to chronic pain will be taught pain management techniques such as biofeedback, self-hypnosis and meditation. Managing pain, however, is only part of the treatment. Emotional and psychological issues are also likely to exist and will be addressed during individual or group therapy sessions.

Once the course of therapy has improved the situation enough that the patient can leave the facility, aftercare becomes the third step. This may include a continued use of medication, outpatient therapy, or attendance at Narcotics Anonymous or another support group. As with many other addictions, the patient will need to remain alert to the possibility of relapse and must continue with aftercare for as long as needed.
Vicodin abuse is dangerous. Studies cite Vicodin as among the top 10 illicit substances leading to drug-related fatalities. The drug is particularly likely to lead to death or serious injury when combined with other substances, especially alcohol. If you or someone you love is showing signs of dependency on Vicodin or another prescription painkiller, don’t wait. Get help immediately.