Vicodin Addiction Symptoms & Warning Signs

Understanding Vicodin Abuse & Addiction

Learn more about Vicodin abuse & addiction

Vicodin is an opioid-based prescription painkiller that is a blend of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is not an addictive substance, however, when it is combined with hydrocodone, it becomes stronger in its effects, making it more addictive to those who abuse this medication.

Vicodin is, without a doubt, highly beneficial to those who suffer from moderate to severe chronic or acute physical pain. Working as a central nervous system depressant, Vicodin does its part by numbing one’s ability to feel pain while triggering an onset of feelings of relaxation, contentment, and wellbeing. In many instances, it can also cause one to feel detached from his or her surroundings. Because of these effects, many people find that they start using this medication outside of the prescribed parameters by taking more at a time or using it more frequently. In addition, those who are not prescribed Vicodin can be attracted to these effects, thus seeking it out by any means necessary. Sadly, regardless of the reasons why one starts to abuse Vicodin, the act of doing so can cause tolerance and addiction to develop rather quickly. As soon as one has started abusing this substance in a way that it begins impacting their functionality, a Vicodin use disorder has likely developed. Luckily, treatment for Vicodin abuse is available.


Statistics on Vicodin abuse & addiction

Vicodin is one of the most frequently prescribed pain medications in the United States, with roughly 139 million prescriptions written for this medication in 2010 alone, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The frequency that Vicodin is distributed directly relates to the prevalence of its abuse in those of all ages, which has reportedly increased four-fold within the past ten years.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Vicodin abuse & addiction

Below are the causes and risk factors that can add to the onset of Vicodin use disorder:

Genetic: Hereditary influences can play a major role in determining one’s likelihood of developing Vicodin use disorder. When an individual has a family history of opioid abuse and/or addiction, he or she is predisposed to developing similar substance abuse related challenges than those who do not share this background. In addition, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that specific personality traits, including impulsivity and novelty seeking, are genetic and can have an impact on the development of this disorder.

Risk Factors:

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

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Vicodin abuse & addiction

When a Vicodin abuse problem is present, the symptoms that one will display will vary. Some of the many signs and symptoms that one might exhibit when struggling with Vicodin use disorder can include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

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

Physical symptoms:

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

Cognitive symptoms:

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

Psychosocial symptoms:

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


Effects of Vicodin abuse & addiction

The continued abuse of Vicodin can cause individuals to become susceptible to developing a number of negative effects throughout all areas of their lives. Some of these effects can include:

  • Impaired visual acuity
  • Onset of new, or worsening of current, mental illness symptoms
  • Liver damage
  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Suicidal behaviors
  • Decreased gastrointestinal activity
  • Destroyed marriages or partnerships
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • 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
  • Suicidal ideation

Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal and overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal: When an individual suddenly stops his or her abuse of Vicodin, he or she will likely experience painful symptoms of withdrawal. Vicodin withdrawal can be highly uncomfortable and can include the following symptoms:

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

Effects of Vicodin overdose: Consuming more Vicodin than one’s body can metabolize will cause an overdose. Vicodin often causes individuals to keep increasing the amount they are consuming in order achieve the desired effects. The more Vicodin that an individual consumes, the more likely an overdose becomes. If an overdose occurs, immediate medical treatment should be obtained to prevent death. Signs of a Vicodin overdose can include:

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