Vicodin is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. Vicodin is a painkiller made with a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. It is widely prescribed by doctors for the relief of moderate to severe pain.
According to a report submitted by National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2008, almost 28,000 individuals in the United States are engaged in the use of Vicodin, for some or the other reason, mostly recreational use.
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Hydrocodone used to make Vicodin is a strong opioid painkiller, while acetaminophen is a mild non-steroid painkiller. Hydrocodone is the addictive substance in Vicodin, and acetaminophen is a dangerous one as taking more than the recommended doses can cause liver damage.
Vicodin works by blocking the pain receptors in brain. It not only relieves pain, but also gives the feeling of relaxation and euphoria. This is the reason patients often become addicted to the medication. With prolonged use, the individual develops tolerance; require higher doses of the drug to achieve the same feeling.
Signs and Symptoms of Vicodin Use or Abuse
Individuals who take Vicodin feel an instant rush of euphoria and relaxation. They get relief from any pain as the drug blocks pain receptors in brain. Over time, regular users tend to develop tolerance for the drug, which require them to take an increased amount to achieve the same results. The symptoms of Vicodin addiction can vary on various individual factors. Some common signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction and drug abuse include:
- Obsession with obtaining more Vicodin
- Severe mood swings
- Memory problems
- Inability to focus
Behavioral Symptoms of Vicodin Abuse
- Doctor shopping
- Lying, stealing, dishonest behavior
- Going through the prescriptions too quickly
- Reporting of lost prescription
- Secluded behavior
Physical Symptoms of Vicodin Use
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slow heartbeat
- Ringing in the ears
- Constricted pupils
When a person consumes too much of Vicodin, his heart rate slows down rapidly, his skin becomes clammy, and he may even go into coma. Similar to other opiates, Vicodin also makes an individual drowsy.
Vicodin abusers are often seen turning to fraudulent means to procure higher doses of the drug. Since they focus so much on their Vicodin addiction, other things in their life tend to take a back seat, affecting their professional priorities, financial situations and personal relationships.
Effects of Vicodin Addiction
It doesn’t require an individual to take too much of Vicodin. Even moderate use for a prolonged period of time can cause a number of short term and long term effects. Even casual users may experience the following effects:
- Upset stomach
When taken for prolonged period time, Vicodin tends to cause long term effects such as:
- Liver damage
- Liver failure
- Urinary system issues
- Decreased heart rate
- Saggy skin
Vicodin is a central nervous system depressant that naturally decreases the rate of respiration and heart. The Vicodin addiction can be deadly in case of overdose, especially if it is being taken in combination with other central nervous depressant such as alcohol.
Consuming too much Vicodin can drastically slow down the heart rate to the point of death. The longer an individual abuses the drug, the more negative effects he is likely to obtain. Individuals with Vicodin addiction tend to have problems with social relationships, negative medical issues, and issues with work.
Statistics Of Vicodin Addiction
While the use of many forms of drug addiction has lowered in the last decade, prescription opiate abuse remains on the rise. Hydrocodone addiction is one of the most notorious kinds of addictions worldwide. With relatively easy access, the abuse rate of this medication has increased four times in the past 10 years.
Vicodin abuse usually occurs at younger age for many addicted people, resulting in high levels of non-medical use, as well as illicit Vicodin procurement. It is estimated that about 2 million individuals in the United States alone suffer from Vicodin addiction.
Estimates also suggest over 10% of the addicted population comprises of teenagers. According to a survey conducted in the year 2008 by the University of Michigan, about 9 in 10 teengaers use prescription painkiller before their senior year in high school.