Vicodin Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Understanding Vicodin Abuse

Learn About Vicodin Addiction

Vicodin is a prescription painkiller that is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. While acetaminophen is not addictive, when it is combined with hydrocodone (a narcotic pain medication), it becomes more potent and the effects of it can be addictive.

Vicodin works to alleviate moderate to severe chronic or acute physical pain in those who are afflicted with such issues. As it works as a central nervous system depressant, this substance affects individuals by diminishing their ability to experience pain all while triggering the onset of feelings of relaxation, contentment, and wellbeing. In many instances, Vicodin can also cause an individual to become detached from their surroundings. Since the effects of Vicodin can be so pleasurable, many people abuse it in larger doses than prescribed. In addition, there are individuals who do not have a prescription for this medication, but abuse it for the effects that it can produce, even if that means they have to use it illegally. Sadly, regardless of if an individual is consuming Vicodin for medical purposes or recreationally, it is a substance that can cause both tolerance and addiction to develop quickly. As soon as individuals have started abusing this drug, it can cause serious detriments to all areas of their life. In most cases, this means Vicodin use disorder has developed and help should be sought immediately.


Vicodin Addiction Statistics

Vicodin is one of the most frequently prescribed pain medications within the country, as roughly 139 million prescriptions for this drug were written in 2010, according to the National Centers for Biotechnology Information. The frequency in which Vicodin is distributed relates directly with the prevalence of its abuse, which is believed to have quadrupled over the past ten years.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Vicodin Addiction

The causes and risk factors that can add to the development of Vicodin use disorder can include:

Genetic: Hereditary influences are believed to play a major part in determining if an individual is susceptible to develop Vicodin use disorder. When individuals have a family background of opioid abuse and addiction, they are more vulnerable to develop similar addiction related struggles than those who do not have this family history. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the presence of specific personality traits (including novelty seeking and impulsivity) can have an impact on an individual’s decision to begin abusing substances such as Vicodin.

Risk Factors:

  • Having easy access to obtaining Vicodin
  • Suffering from a condition that warrants the prescribing of Vicodin
  • Being in an environment where Vicodin or other substances are used
  • Having an impulsive temperament
  • Having a novelty-seeking personality
  • Family history of other types of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Family history of Vicodin abuse or addiction
  • Personal history of abusing other substances

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Vicodin Addiction

When individuals are abusing a substance like Vicodin, the symptoms they will exhibit will vary based on a number of things. Some examples of the potential signs and symptoms that an individual who is abusing Vicodin might display can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Using Vicodin in dangerous situations, such as driving while high
  • Slurred speech
  • No longer engaging in activities or hobbies that were once considered important or significant
  • No longer taking care of responsibilities at home
  • No longer performing to the expected standard at work or school
  • No longer spending time with friends and family members
  • Compulsive, prolonged use of Vicodin, despite attempts to stop
  • Frequent absences from work or school
  • Visiting multiple doctors so that multiple Vicodin prescriptions can be obtained

Physical symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Drowsiness
  • Constricted pupils

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Overwhelming cravings for Vicodin
  • Attention difficulties
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Memory disturbances
  • Impaired judgment

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Dysregulation of mood
  • Feelings of euphoria followed by a state of apathy
  • No longer finding interest in things once interested in
  • Depression


Effects of Vicodin Addiction

The continual abuse of Vicodin can cause individuals to become more likely to battle with a variety of different effects in all areas of their lives. Some of these effects can include:

  • Onset of new, or worsening of current, mental illness symptoms
  • Impaired visual acuity
  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Liver damage
  • Decreased gastrointestinal activity
  • Suicidal behaviors
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Destroyed marriages or partnerships
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Decline in academic performance, possibly resulting in academic failure, suspension, or expulsion
  • Decline in occupational performance, possibly resulting in demotion, job loss, or chronic unemployment
  • Financial turmoil
  • Anoxia, or suffering from an oxygen deficiency in the body’s tissues

Co-Occurring Disorders

Vicodin Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

Those who struggle with the continuous desire to abuse opioids such as Vicodin might be at an increased risk for battling with symptoms of other mental health illnesses simultaneously. Some of the many disorders that have been known to co-occur with Vicodin abuse can include:

  • Tobacco use disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Stimulant use disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Know the Effects of Vicodin Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal: When Vicodin is consumed continuously and then abruptly stopped, an individual will likely go through withdrawal. This period occurs as individuals’ bodies work to adjust to the lack of Vicodin in their systems. Vicodin withdrawal can be painful and can include the following effects:

  • Dysphoric mood
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Muscle aching
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic flowing of tears
  • Yawning

Effects of Vicodin overdose: Consuming more Vicodin that an individual’s body can metabolize can lead to an overdose. Since Vicodin is a substance that causes dependence to develop, those who constantly use must increase the amount of Vicodin they are taking to obtain the same desired effects. When they increase their dosage, they become more likely to overdose. If an overdose occurs, it should be treated as a medical emergency and treatment should be immediately obtained. Symptoms of a Vicodin overdose can include:

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Seizures
  • Labored breathing
  • Alterations in speech patterns
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Headaches