Vicodin Addiction and Abuse
Vicodin is a common, and popular, pain reliever. A hybrid drug, it combines an opioid (hydrocone) and an over-the-counter drug (paracetamol) in a single drug. It is one of the weaker opioids available, and is commonly prescribed for pain that is perceived to be mild or moderate, but which cannot be successfully managed by over-the-counter options.
The drug is commonly prescribed to help manage the pain from injury, operations, and disease. Although a weaker drug, it can still be abused and form an addiction. Indeed, because of its widespread use and relatively easy availability, it is deemed by some to pose a greater risk of abuse and addiction than stronger, but more strictly controlled, opioids.
What is Vicodin abuse and addiction?
For many Vicodin abuse or addiction will start with a legitimate prescription. Because prescription drug abuse is, by definition, taking a drug outside the instructions of the prescription some might start taking a higher dose than required, or more frequently than directed. Because of the availability of Vicodin it has, for some, a sense of acceptability, meaning that many who would never consider themselves as the type to have a drug problem can develop one without realizing.
Like any addictive drug or behavior, an addiction to Vicodin is formed when the brain rewires itself to need the addictive substance to satisfy its addiction centers. In the case of opioid addictions, this is stimulated by the drugs, that, as part of their psychoactive process, will result in the creation of dopamine. The positive psychological effect of Vicodin, therefore, creates the addiction that lasts long after the need for pain relief has gone.
Vicodin is available in several forms, although most commonly as a tablet. Likewise, the drug can be prepared in many ways for abuse, but the most common is take it in its tablet form. And because for many the addiction forms following a legitimate prescription, many do not realize they have developed an addiction until they have had the addiction for some time.
What are the risks of Vicodin abuse and addiction?
Since it is a relatively mild opioid, many of the risks typically associated with opiates are diminished with Vicodin abuse. However, there are still significant risks. Prolonged abuse can result in liver damage, which might be hard to repair, despite the liver’s ability to regenerate. It can also lead to visual problems and, because of its effect in depressing sensations of pain, former addicts can have an increased sensitivity to pain.
While any opioid is dangerous to take in conjunction with other drugs, especially depressants, the positioning of Vicodin means that people will often take it with alcohol, which carries additional risks.
Overdose is possible, and as an opioid the risks include depressed respiration and heart rate, which can have severe effects, including death and brain damage caused by a lack of oxygenated blood reaching the brain.
Addiction, however, is treatable, not least because there are many substitutes for Vicodin that work effectively on the level of pain Vicodin is usually prescribed for.