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Overview of Vicodin detox

In years past, people who habitually abused mind-altering substances were considered to merely be bad people. We would eventually come to realize that habitual substance abuse, or addiction, is actually a disease rather than a moral failing and lack of self-control. It’s fortunate that we would acquire a more enlightened understanding of addiction with the growing array of substances available today that are potentially addictive. In recent years, pharmaceuticals like Vicodin have become a major problem, sparking major addiction spikes and leading to other forms of addiction as well. There are a number of effective treatment options for those who suffer from addiction, but methods of treatment depend on the substance to which the person is addicted.

Vicodin is one of several brand names of a drug that contains hydrocodone. In the case of Vicodin, the drug consists of a mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Like many other painkillers, the hydrocodone contained in Vicodin was first created by a pharmaceutical company in Germany in 1920. In creating hydrocodone — which essentially involves modifying codeine on a molecular level — the hope was that the adverse effects of codeine would be mitigated without losing the drug’s therapeutic value. However, the process ended up creating an entirely different substance, the hydrocodone that’s still in widespread use today.

By the 1930s, sufficient testing had been conducted on hydrocodone for us to learn that despite it being much less powerful that other opioid alternatives, hydrocodone was still a substance with a high potential for addiction. However, it wasn’t until 1971 that hydrocodone became a schedule II narcotic. In 1978, Knoll — the same German pharmaceutical company that first developed hydrocodone — introduced Vicodin, which was a formula containing both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. For five years, Knoll’s Vicodin remained the only form of the drug that was available; but eventually there would be generic forms of Vicodin available, increasing its affordability and accessibility.

The first major spike in Vicodin-related emergency room visits was noted in 2002, closely following the advent of OxyContin and the pharmaceutical painkiller craze that would devastate the entire U.S. By 2006, there were more than 160 million prescriptions written for Vicodin and other drugs containing hydrocodone each year. Vicodin remains a very problematic substance due to its widespread use and abuse, making it crucial to offer a number of effective Vicodin addiction treatment options. But before a person can overcome an addiction to Vicodin, it’s necessary to complete a Vicodin detox.

Click below for detailed Opiate detox guides

How Detoxing From Vicodin works

Before we can discuss Vicodin addiction, it’s necessary to have an understanding of what Vicodin is, its effects, and why it’s so addictive. We likened the effects of Vicodin to those of a depressant such as alcohol and marijuana, but the more specific class of drugs to which Vicodin belongs is called opioids. Opioids, which refers to drugs that are opium-like in their effects, are considered one of the most highly addictive and dangerous substances that exist. One of the biggest problems with Vicodin — as well as with opioids in general — is that people underestimate how highly addictive and powerful they are because their effects aren’t as overtly euphoric as more powerful opioids like OxyContin. This means that people who abuse Vicodin are likely to either abuse the drug at extremely high doses or simultaneously with other drugs, which is called polydrug use.

The basic function of a opioid like Vicodin is to help a person deal with moderate pain. This has proven to be most useful in the treatment of conditions that involve chronic pain, aftercare for surgical procedures, and injuries. Vicodin achieves its effects by altering the brain’s neurochemistry. In particular, Vicodin increases the production and activity of neurotransmitters such a dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, each of which play important roles in neurological functions related to behavior reinforcement, learning, rewards, and memory among others. However, since Vicodin triggers an unnatural surge in neurochemicals that result in pleasurable, rewarding, reinforcing feelings, it causes the brain to become dependent by decreasing its own natural production of these neurotransmitters and as a result, the brain comes to rely on the Vicodin as the primary or even the sole source of those neurochemicals. When deprived of Vicodin, the individual will experience a deficit of those neurochemicals, resulting in the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms and making Vicodin detoxification treatment a necessary precursor to actual addiction treatment for recovery.

WHAT DOES THE Vicodin DETOX PROCESS LOOK LIKE?

Chemical dependence doesn’t develop overnight. Sensationalists have often portrayed addiction as being a disease that develops extremely quickly once a person begins abusing or regularly using a mind-altering, chemical substance, but it actually takes a certain amount of time. Typically, physical dependence develops over a period of a few weeks to a month, but with heavier and significantly more frequent use the addiction could happen much sooner. With opioids, physical addiction is extremely intense due to the effects that habitual opioid abuse has on the brain and, more importantly, the implications of Vicodin withdrawal.

Here’s how physical dependence on Vicodin occurs: The abuse of Vicodin for an extended period of time causes a person’s brain to have consistently high levels of feel-good neurochemicals that make the individual want to maintain those levels with continued Vicodin abuse. Since these neurochemicals can also bond with opioid receptors in the brain to eradicate any feelings of pain, the individual will feel euphoric the majority of the time since he or she continuously has large amounts of Vicodin in his or her system. However, when deprived of Vicodin — either because the drug is unavailable or because the individual is unable to pay for more of the drug — the addict will experience Vicodin withdrawals. Withdrawals occur because the brain has become reliant on Vicodin as the primary or sole source of important neurochemicals, producing very little of them on its own. When without Vicodin, the brain is essentially deprived of neurochemicals, which triggers a number of withdrawal symptoms that are essentially the polar opposite of Vicodin intoxication. In order for a Vicodin addict to break his or her physical dependence on Vicodin, the individual must complete a Vicodin detox treatment program, helping the brain return to its naturally-functioning state.

Although alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal are considered the most dangerous, opioid withdrawal is often considered one of the most unpleasant forms of withdrawal. Since Vicodin and other opioids cause pain relief, feelings of euphoria and pleasure, and a neurochemical spike, being deprived of Vicodin after the body has become dependent on the drug results in a number of pronounced unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms. Since opioid drugs have depressant-like effects, the addict finds it difficult to relax and experiences severe insomnia as well as an increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and possibly even palpitations. The individual will experience hot flashes intermittent with cold chills while also suffering from nausea and abdominal cramps that may or may not lead to diarrhea or vomiting. It’s also common for people experiencing Vicodin withdrawal to experience tremors through their bodies. In terms of their states of mind, Vicodin withdrawal usually precipitates depression, anxiety, and agitation.

Vicodin Detox Withdrawals

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Although alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal are considered the most dangerous, opioid withdrawal is often considered one of the most unpleasant forms of withdrawal. Since Vicodin and other opioids cause pain relief, feelings of euphoria and pleasure, and a neurochemical spike, being deprived of Vicodin after the body has become dependent on the drug results in a number of pronounced unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms. Since opioid drugs have depressant-like effects, the addict finds it difficult to relax and experiences severe insomnia as well as an increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and possibly even palpitations. The individual will experience hot flashes intermittent with cold chills while also suffering from nausea and abdominal cramps that may or may not lead to diarrhea or vomiting. It’s also common for people experiencing Vicodin withdrawal to experience tremors through their bodies. In terms of their states of mind, Vicodin withdrawal usually precipitates depression, anxiety, and agitation.

List of Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Severe insomnia
  • Irregular heart rate and/or palpitations
  • Physical discomfort in joints and muscles
  • Intermittent hot flashes and cold chills
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Tremors and shaking throughout body
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating

Can you detox from Vicodin at home?

According to surveys, only about one in ten addicts are receiving treatment today with the remaining 90 percent of addicts on track to remain in active addiction until the disease kills them. One of the most common reasons why addicts are reluctant to seek recovery is due to the fear that most of them have of withdrawal. In short, many addicts believe that overcoming addiction will require them to suffer through an initial period of intense, painful withdrawal before they have any chance of getting sober. Unfortunately, virtually all addicts have experienced withdrawal symptoms at their full intensity during the times when they’re unable to find or get drugs, but withdrawal symptoms aren’t a requirement of recovery. In fact, one of the primary purposes of Vicodin detox — and all other forms of detox for that matter — is to afford addicts with a way to break their physical dependence on a chemical substance while receiving treatments that mitigate the intensity of withdrawal, keeping them relaxed and comfortable during the process rather than forcing them to experience any pain.

But the most important benefit of detox treatment, and the reason why addicts are so often discouraged from attempting to detox at home, is because detox programs can offer continuous, round-the-clock medical supervision, which is to ensure that no patient’s withdrawal symptoms become so severe as to become painful and/or life-threatening. In short, detox treatment makes detoxification less unpleasant and extremely safe.

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How long does it take to detox from Vicodin

Everyone recovers at their own pace. The speed at which a person recovers depends on a number of factors, including the substance to which he or she is addicted, the length of time spent in active addiction, whether there have been previous attempts at recovery, and so on. Symptoms typically set in within eight to twelve hours of Vicodin working its way out of a user’s system, peaking after about three days and requiring seven to ten days to subside. In total, the most severe Vicodin withdrawal symptoms last as much as two to three weeks with the possibility of there being post-acute withdrawal symptoms that last for several more months.

  • Vicodin is often referred to as “America’s favorite pill”.
  • In 2014, almost 200,000 pounds of pure hydrocodone — the active ingredient in Vicodin — were produced.
  • In 2014, the FDA brought Vicodin and all other drugs containing hydrocodone up to Schedule II from Schedule III, meaning the drug is even more highly regulated now.
  • Up to 1990, Vicodin was a Schedule V drug, which meant it could be purchased without a prescription in most states.
  • Many scientists and researchers refer to hydrocodone as “VI” for short. It may seem like they’re simply reducing the name of the drug down to its first two letters of Vicodin, but it’s actually because hydrocodone is six times stronger than codeine.