Signs & Symptoms of Vicodin Addiction

Bayside Marin is a premier rehabilitation center dedicated to the treatment of Vicodin addiction in California. Bayside Marin blends evidence-based treatments with alternative, holistic modalities to comprehensively treat all aspects of our client’s life.

Understanding Vicodin

Learn about Vicodin and substance abuse

Classified as an opioid, Vicodin is a prescription pain medication that consists of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. When prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, this medication is extremely effective for those who require it. However, when a person consumes this medication outside of the recommendations set forth by his or her doctor, that individual is abusing Vicodin. Furthermore, when a person consumes Vicodin for the purposes of getting high, that individual is also abusing this painkiller.

Vicodin is an addictive substance that can lead a person down the path of addiction if the abuse of this medication is ongoing. Should an individual regularly abuse Vicodin, tolerance will likely develop, causing that individual to require more of this substance in order to achieve the desired effect. If a person abruptly stops using this medication after prolonged abuse of it has occurred, withdrawal symptoms will likely set in and cause that individual to resume his or her use of Vicodin. Since an addiction to Vicodin can be fatal if, for example, an overdose occurs or if a person’s abuse of this medication causes irrevocable health concerns as a result, treatment is often needed in order to combat a chemical dependency concern of this kind. Fortunately, treatment for an addiction to Vicodin is available.


Vicodin addiction statistics

In the United States, Vicodin is one of the most commonly prescribed and abused painkillers available. It has been cited in the past that nearly 140 million prescriptions for this medication were written within one year, of which has contributed to the increasing rate of Vicodin addictions in recent years. Additionally, the high rate of Vicodin addictions reported is partly caused by the lack of regulation prior to recent restrictions on refilling this prescription in order to prevent abuse.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Vicodin addiction

The root causes for why a person develops an addition to Vicodin can be vast. Researchers, however, believe that the main causes lay in the following, in addition to the listed risk factors:

Genetic: Researchers and professionals in the field of addiction have long believed that there is a strong link between a person’s genes and the vulnerability to developing an addiction to substances, such as Vicodin. In fact, recent research has found that there are certain genes that can be passed along from one’s biological parents that ultimately make an individual more susceptible to abusing and/or becoming addicted to substances.

Environmental: It is very possible for a person’s environment to play a role in the development of a Vicodin addiction. For instance, if an individual is raised by others who abuse substances openly, there is an increased risk for that person to also engage in substance-abusing behaviors at some point in life as well. Additionally, if an individual is able to easily acquire this prescription medication, there is a high risk for using, abusing, and becoming addicted to this painkiller. Lastly, if an individual is injured and requires pain medication for his or her injury, Vicodin could be prescribed, which may end up developing into an addiction if a person is not properly supervised by a physician while taking the medication.

Risk Factors:

  • Suffering from a pain condition
  • Experiencing an injury that elicited a prescription for Vicodin from one’s doctor
  • Undergoing surgery
  • Easy access to Vicodin
  • Having a traumatic past
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Exposure to substance abuse

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction

Those who abuse Vicodin often go to great lengths to conceal their addiction from those closest to them. Because of this, it may not always be apparent that an individual is abusing this pain medication. To know for sure if a loved one is abusing Vicodin, it is important to note the presence of the following signs and symptoms of Vicodin abuse:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Isolating oneself
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Hiding Vicodin
  • Possessing numerous prescriptions for Vicodin
  • Making multiple visits to various doctors in order to acquire Vicodin
  • Lying about pain in order to get more Vicodin from one’s doctor
  • Stealing Vicodin or money for this medication from loved ones

Physical symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Ringing in one’s ears
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headaches

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory impairment
  • Poor concentration
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Dissociation
  • Confusion

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Paranoid feelings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Drastic shifts in mood


Effects of Vicodin addiction

A long-standing addiction to Vicodin can result in a number of harmful and life-altering effects. Carrying the potential to impact others in the abuser’s life, the following effects are likely to occur should an individual fail to seek treatment for his or her Vicodin addiction:

  • Job loss
  • Financial strife
  • Increased conflict within interpersonal relationships
  • Interaction with the legal system
  • Social isolation
  • Experiencing the onset of mental illness symptoms
  • Jaundice
  • Liver damage, which could lead to liver failure
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Frequent headaches
  • Hindered occupational performance
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide attempts

Co-Occurring Disorders

Vicodin addiction and co-occurring disorders

Since Vicodin is commonly prescribed to treat pain, it can be said that many abusers of this medication have a history of suffering from some type of pain condition or an injury that elicited a prescription for Vicodin. Additionally, it is common for abusers of Vicodin to suffer from mental health concerns while also struggling with this type of chemical dependency problem. Below are examples of the mental health conditions that are known to afflict people who abuse or are addicted to Vicodin:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal and overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal: If a person is a regular abuser of Vicodin, it is highly probable that he or she will experience a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms as the effects of this medication begin to wear off. These effects are known as withdrawal symptoms and can manifest in the following ways:

  • Fluctuations in body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Lethargy
  • Intense cravings for Vicodin
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches and pains

Effects of Vicodin overdose: Ongoing abuse of Vicodin can result in physical tolerance for this pain medication. When tolerance develops, it is likely that an individual will need to take more and more Vicodin in order to experience the desired effects. A potential effect of tolerance is the risk for overdose. Overdose occurs when an individual consumes a substance to a degree that his or her body is unable to process it in an effective way. The following effects are examples of what can occur if a person overdoses on Vicodin; effects that often warrant medical intervention:

  • Vomiting
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Cessation of breathing
  • Liver failure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma
  • Profuse sweating
  • Clammy skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Nausea

I can't thank Bayside and its staff enough for helping me shake my Vicodin addiction.

– Anonymous Client
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