What Is Vicodin?Vicodin is a narcotic pain medication prescribed by dentists and doctors to treat moderate to severe pain.
Vicodin has the potential for abuse and addiction and should be taken with caution, especially by those with a history of substance abuse.
Is Vicodin Addictive? How Addictive is Vicodin?
Vicodin can be habit-forming, both physically and psychologically, and a person taking it over a long period may experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping use. Users can also develop a tolerance to Vicodin, requiring them to steadily increase their dosage in order to experience the same pain relieving properties.
The euphoria produced by Vicodin very strongly mediates addictive responses to its use.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 3 out of 4 pharmaceutical overdose deaths involved narcotic pain medications such as Vicodin.
What are the Signs of Addiction?
You may have an increased vulnerability to addiction because of genetic or hereditary predispositions. Therefore, if you have a family history of addiction or you have been addicted to other drugs, you may be prone to developing an addiction to Vicodin as well.
If this is the case, you must monitor yourself closely to observe signs of problematic use. If you are experiencing obsessive thoughts about using Vicodin along with a compulsion to experience its effects, you may be suffering from an addiction.
Other symptoms that indicate a pattern of problematic Vicodin use include:
- Continued use of Vicodin despite serious adverse consequences to health, occupation and close relationships.
- Withdrawal symptoms from stopping the use of Vicodin.
- Cravings for the drug.
- Engaging in drug-seeking behavior--such as lying about pain and/or visiting multiple doctors in an attempt to get more Vicodin.
Am I Addicted to Vicodin?
The best way to see whether you have developed an addiction to Vicodin is to stop taking it. If you notice the development of withdrawal symptoms, that are too difficult to bear and cause you to go back to using Vicodin, you are likely already experiencing a chemical dependency or opiate addiction.
Some signs and symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal may include:
- Sweating and chills.
- Nausea or other GI disturbances.
- Body aches.
It is important to be completely honest with yourself because denial can make even the most critical signs seem mundane. Make sure to watch out for the following types of signs that indicate you likely have a problem with Vicodin.
If using the same amount of Vicodin does not produce the same pain relief, your tolerance has increased which increases your risk for addiction.
Addiction affects the people around you, so if you notice those close to you are unhappy with your condition, or you're arguing incessantly with a spouse over your Vicodin use, you may be addicted.
If you spend a good portion of your day contemplating your next dose, or if you've been seeing multiple doctors to obtain more Vicodin, it is time to seek help for addiction.
How to Encourage Someone to Get Treatment
Addiction to Vicodin is serious, can lead to the use of other drugs and can be life-threatening in severe cases. If you suspect a loved one has become addicted to Vicodin, share your concerns and ask them if they are having trouble using Vicodin. Often, simply using a compassionate tone and showing sincere concern can get your loved one motivated to be truthful about their addiction and seek help.
It is possible your loved one wants to quit but does not know how or is afraid to ask for help. Encourage your loved one to talk to their primary care physician/doctor or seek the services of a qualified counselor or therapist as they can provide reliable guidance on treatment options that may be best suited to your loved one's physical and psychological needs.
Sometimes a user may be in denial of their addiction and staging an intervention may help in dealing with denial.
Staging an Intervention
An intervention is a process in which friends and family members meet to encourage a loved one to seek treatment for their addiction. It is important to limit the number of people present at an intervention to those who are supportive of treatment and have been impacted the most by the addiction.
Friends and family members take turns sharing how they have been impacted by their loved one's addiction and what they are willing to do if the addict does not get help. According to Mayo Clinic, a plan for treatment should include clear steps, goals, and guidelines.
Support Groups for Family and Friends of Vicodin Addicts
Social support influences acceptance and success of treatment, while maintaining the environment necessary for an addict to functional positively after treatment is over. Often a friend or family member's life is just as chaotic as the addict's and when the family and friends get healthy, the likelihood of long-term recovery for the addict increases. This is how 12-Step support groups for friends and family members were developed.
The 12-step support-group Nar-Anon is for friends and family members of addicts. The group allows friends and family members to seek recovery through working the twelve steps with a sponsor. They develop a support network of others who have been impacted by a loved one's addiction and can utilize that support whether or not the addict is still using. A non-12-step support group called Parents of Addicted Loved-ones (PAL) provides education and support to parents.
It is clear that regardless of whether the addict decides to seek treatment, friends and family members require support to process their emotions and deal with stress. Addiction has a big impact on those closest to the addict even though they are not the ones using.
Vicodin Addiction Treatment
Recovery from Vicodin is about more than just getting sober; it is about changing behavior and thought processes.
Because withdrawal from Vicodin can be uncomfortable and difficult, users may seek treatment at an inpatient facility or medical detox center. Those who complete detox and do not follow up with some form of treatment or engagement in a program of recovery have the lowest recovery success rate. This is because recovery from Vicodin is about more than just getting sober; it is about changing behavior and thought processes.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is known to be one of the most effective types of therapy when treating Vicodin addiction. Through the use of CBT, users learn coping skills to deal with cravings and life stressors without returning to Vicodin use. CBT can also help patients use attention diversion techniques to reduce negative affect from pain and change activity to control pain in a better way.
Combining CBT with relapse prevention (RP) helps users identify situations in which they are most vulnerable to drug use. A relapse prevention program can also help people make improvements in several areas, including:
- Their relationships.
- Financial arrangements.
- Employment education.
- Any other area that was badly affected due to their addiction.
Another important step that can be both empowering and rewarding for someone in recovery is to call a prescribing doctor to inform them of the addiction and request they no longer prescribe narcotics. If the patient was buying Vicodin illegally, deleting contacts and changing their phone number can serve as a positive reinforcement and increase the desire for complete recovery.
Finding the Best Vicodin Treatment
Trying to find treatment for Vicodin addiction can be overwhelming but you can start by asking your doctor for suggestions. If you want or need additional help, call xxx-xxx-xxxx to speak with someone right now on a confidential basis who can inform you about your treatment and recovery options.
Often, programs that cater specifically to opiate or prescription painkiller addiction treatment will be most effective for Vicodin addiction. You can find out about what medications the center uses to manage withdrawal, for example. Many treatment programs will use medications such as Suboxone to ease symptoms during the withdrawal process. Psychological therapy often enhances the effect of medication therapy, so be sure to ask whether adjunct therapies are provided.