For most people, Vicodin represents much-needed relief from the pain and discomfort associated with illness, injury or recovery from surgery. These individuals are prescribed Vicodin (or its generic equivalent “Hydrocodone”) by a physician, and then use it until their pain has subsided. When the medication is gone, the discomfort usually is as well.
There are, however, a number of people who do not use Vicodin as directed by a doctor. For them, this opiate-based killer becomes the focal point of their lives. They will do almost anything to obtain more of the drug, and often see their health, relationships and finances fall into disrepair as a result.
How does this happen? What are the root causes of Vicodin addiction that lead many down such a destructive path? And finally, what can be done to prevent it?
To answer these questions, it is important to examine the most common reasons why individuals develop an addiction to Vicodin.
The Most Common Paths to Vicodin Addiction
Scenario #1 – Vicodin is prescribed for pain
The most common way that individuals become addicted to Vicodin actually begins with the best of intentions: a doctor trying to help her patient cope with pain. Perhaps the individual was in a car accident, or had a particularly difficult root canal. Either way, the Vicodin works wonders for the individual, who discovers that, not only does the Vicodin relieve pain, but also provides a “kick” – a euphoric effect that makes them feel good all over.
Soon, the pain is gone, but the pull of that euphoria remains. The individual will continue to use Vicodin to get high – even going so far as to lie to their doctor about the pain status in order to get more of the drug.
What you can do in order to prevent this scenario: If you are still taking Vicodin after the pain has subsided, it is important to contact a healthcare professional right away. At this stage, the problem is still in its infancy and can be treated with counseling. If the problem is allowed to continue, the individual will begin to develop a tolerance to the drug, and may even begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms that make relapse a constant threat.
Scenario #2 – Vicodin is taken from a prescription cabinet
This is the scenario that unfortunately provides the most common gateway for teenagers and adolescents who begin experimenting with Vicodin. Word of mouth spreads fast among teenagers – and if one begins experiencing the euphoric effects of the drug, chances are that other kids in that social circle will soon learn about it as well. Soon, parents and grandparents are seeing their medicine cabinets raided – as kids steal the medication and hope that it goes unnoticed.
What you can do in order to prevent this scenario: Access is the biggest problem here. As a result, parents are urged to throw away old, unused medications, or place current prescription drugs under lock and key.
Scenario #3 – Vicodin as a substitute for another drug
One of the most common misconceptions about Vicodin is that, because it is technically legal and often prescribed a doctor, that it is safe. But when Vicodin is misused or abused, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, so powerful is this opiate-based drug that many heroin users will turn to Vicodin when they are unable to get their next fix. Heroin addiction and Vicodin addiction are similar in many ways – both conditions feature the development of a strong tolerance to the drug (meaning it takes more and more to get high) and highly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when not present in the system.
What you can do in order to prevent this scenario: Drug rehab is strongly recommended for all individuals who are unable to stop using Heroin or Vicodin.
The 10 Signs That Someone may be Addicted to Vicodin
There are a series of tell-tale signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction that everyone should know. Recognizing these signs in a friend or loved one can mean the difference between finding life-saving drug rehab treatment and allowing them to fall deeper into the cycle of addiction:
- Mood swings – going from feelings of euphoria and positivity to despair and depression
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor performance at work or school
- Stealing or borrowing money to support the habit
- Stealing drugs from the medicine cabinets of friends and family members
- “Doctor Shopping” – going to different physicians and feigning injuries or illness to obtain more Vicodin
- Withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug
- Reckless behavior – such as driving while under the influence of Vicodin
- Secretive behavior
- Financial problems – such as running up credit card bills to purchase Vicodin from illicitInternet-based pharmacies.
What You Can do to Help?
If you believe that someone you love has developed an addiction to Vicodin, they need your help. If you have identified any of the signs and symptoms above, it may be time to hold an intervention. A drug intervention is a meeting where loved ones, friend or co-workers meet with the individual to help them see that they have a problem with Vicodin.
These drug interventions should always be done in conjunction with a professional interventionist. The professionals can help in many ways, including:
- Making sure that the intervention is held in a safe place
- Keeping the intervention “on point” in terms of tone and subject matter
- Helping get the individual from the intervention directly into a drug rehab program
A drug rehab program is the place where Vicodin addicts come to heal and build strength. These programs help individuals overcome their physical and psychological addiction to Vicodin through a series of programs and processes, including:
- Vicodin detox. The first step towards recovery is allowing all the opiate toxins associated with Vicodin use to leave the body. This detoxification process helps the individual overcome their physical addiction to Vicodin – and paves the way from the remainder of the drug rehab program.
- Vicodin addiction counseling. Group and individual counseling sessions help the individual assess the root causes of their addiction, as well as gain an understanding of the triggers that lead them to use Vicodin. Vicodin addiction has a strong psychological component, and counseling is the means by which this is addressed.
- Vicodin addiction aftercare. When an individual re-enters the real world after drug rehab they are faced with a number of challenges. How do they avoid temptation? What should they do if they relapse? Answers to these questions can be in aftercare programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, or follow-up counseling. It is here that the recovering addict can get a “tune up” as well as the support they need to continue the process they made during rehab.
Michael’s House is a residential drug treatment center that has helped hundreds of individuals overcome their addiction to Vicodin. Located in beautiful Palm Springs, California, Michael’s House specializes in “whole body” treatment that enhances the mind, body and spirit. Contact Michael’s House today for more information.