Treating a Vicodin Addiction
Vicodin, a powerful blend of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, does a fantastic job treating pain. Its effectiveness doesn’t come without a catch, though. Since it first became available, this medication has accounted for a sizable chunk of drug overdoses. Some are caused by a single dosage, while others happen over the course of an addiction cycle.
Vicodin addiction is usually accompanied by a co-occurring disorder like bipolar, schizophrenia, or another addiction like alcoholism.
For about 14 days after quitting Vicodin, most patients face intense withdrawal symptoms that resemble the flu. These include nausea, diarrhea, muscle pain, chills, and fever. There’s also psychological pain; cravings may cause or be intensified by depression, anxiety, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. This period is referred to as the acute withdrawal stage. Some say it’s the hardest part of recovery.
If you’ve been abusing Vicodin, and you’re ready to quit, don’t try to handle acute withdrawal on your own. The first thing you should do is meet with your physician to discuss your concerns. Cold-turkey might not even be necessary if he or she believes a tapering plan can suffice. If the addiction is serious enough to warrant detox, you’ll be referred to a medical detoxification clinic to make sure you get through the process safe and sound.
Most of the time, Vicodin withdrawal is safe. Seizures are a potential risk factor, as are the behavioral issues that arise, but again, these risks should be minimal because you should be detoxing at a medical detox center. The staff there won’t allow your withdrawal be the end of you.
Like any opiate medication, Vicodin alters the central nervous system in some big ways. It can take weeks, months, or even years for brain chemistry to return to normal following a period of Vicodin abuse.
Depending on your dosage, your frequency of use, and several other factors, you may experience mood issues for some time. If these aren’t addressed and corrected, they’ll likely drive you to use again, at which point you’ll have to start all over. That’s what rehab is for. Now that your body is cleared of the poisons, you’re ready to rewire your brain so that you don’t crave them anymore.
As long as you take good care of yourself throughout your recovery, with adequate sleep, diet, and mental stimulation, your serotonin production and physical well-being will eventually return to normal, and your Vicodin cravings will dissipate a little bit more each and every day.