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.
Signs of Vicodin Addiction
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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.
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.
One common physical sign of addiction is increasing pain as the body gets used to the drug. Night sweats, insomnia, constipation, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, skin rashes and nausea may develop, and these will worsen if the dosage is reduced. Long-term effects of addiction may include liver damage, heart problems and loss of brain cells, creating confusion and cognitive difficulties. Combining Vicodin with other substances such as alcohol can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal.
These signs and symptoms of addiction will never go away by themselves. Because withdrawal is very uncomfortable and can even cause serious damage, attempts to stop using Vicodin often end in relapse. Generally speaking, the best course of treatment is at a residential facility, where medically supervised detox can be followed by a course of intensive therapy and education on coping techniques.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
- Return of pain, often worse than before
- Diarrhea, vomiting and nausea
- Panic attacks
- Cold sweats
- Flu-like symptoms
- Seizures or convulsions
Treatment of Vicodin Addiction
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.