Vicodin Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms

Vicodin Abuse: Effects, Signs & SymptomsVicodin addiction is a very serious condition that can lead to significant complications, including the risk of a fatal overdose. It is a combination of prescription painkillers: the opioid hydrocodone and the over-the-counter drug acetaminophen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hydrocodone is one of the most common prescription opioid drugs involved in deaths from overdose.1 If you or someone you care about is struggling with misusing Vicodin, it is crucial to get help before the worst happens.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Vicodin Abuse

If you know someone who is misusing Vicodin, which means using it without a prescription or using larger doses or more frequent doses than recommended with a prescription, he or she could already be addicted but is at least at risk for developing a dangerous opioid use disorder. One important sign to watch for is that someone is getting high on Vicodin regularly. Signs of misuse of an opioid include:2

  • Disorientation, confusion
  • Lack of awareness of surroundings
  • A sense of euphoria and excessive happiness
  • Drowsiness, tiredness, sleeping a lot
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings, anxiety, aggression, depression
  • Constipation
  • Small pupil size

Signs of Addiction

Any misuse of Vicodin can be risky and may lead to addiction, but there are more specific behavioral signs that you or someone you know has developed an opioid use disorder. Two or more of these symptoms could indicate you have at least a mild addiction to Vicodin:3

  • You have lost control over your ability to limit use of Vicodin, and you regularly use more of it than you meant to.
  • When you try to stop or use less, you are not successful.
  • A significant amount of your time is spent using, acquiring, or recovering from Vicodin.
  • Because of all the time you spend using, your other activities have decreased.
  • It is also causing you to fail to keep up with usual responsibilities.
  • The people who care about you are worried, and despite your drug use causing problems in those relationships, you continue.
  • You experience cravings for Vicodin when not using it.
  • Often you use Vicodin in situations that put you at risk.
  • You keep using the drug even though it is causing health problems or making existing problems worse.
  • You’ve developed a tolerance to opioids.
  • When you stop using Vicodin you start to go through withdrawal.

Other important signs and symptoms you need to know are those associated with an opioid overdose. Death from an overdose is a risk for first time users and regular users, so be aware of what it looks like and be prepared to get emergency medical help for you or someone exhibiting these signs: Lack of response, loss of consciousness, very shallow breathing, low or weak pulse or heart rate, and clammy and pale skin.4

Reach Out For Help

We provide holistic care and treatment using an individualized approach specifically tailored to your needs. Our holistic care and treatment is based on the best scientific evidence available. Secondly, we help you lead a healthy, substance-free life with adaptive coping and problem-solving skills. Don’t let Vicodin addiction control your life. Our addiction professionals can help you get on a path of recovery, significantly changing your life. Contact us today for more information on our certified staff of professionals, as well as our first-rate facilities.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prescription Opioid Data.
  2. Mayo Clinic. Drug Addiction.
  3. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder Diagnostic Criteria.
  4. National institutes of Health. MedlinePlus. Opioid Abuse and Addiction.
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