Vicodin withdrawal can be excruciating, but there are ways to get through it more comfortably and safely.
The first step in ending an addiction to Vicodin is addressing the physical dependence on the drug. Vicodin withdrawal can quickly send someone right back to using if only to end the uncomfortable symptoms, which is why detoxing from Vicodin with professional help is essential for success.
What is Vicodin Withdrawal?
When you heavily abuse any psychoactive substance, from alcohol to nicotine to meth, your brain changes the way it functions in order to compensate for the presence of the drug in an attempt to keep operating as normally as possible. These brain changes result in tolerance, which means you need increasingly larger doses of Vicodin to get the desired effects. But as you use larger doses, your brain continues to change the way it functions, until it reaches a tipping point at which it now begins to function more comfortably when Vicodin is present.
Once this occurs, you’ve developed a dependence. Then, when you stop using Vicodin, normal brain function rebounds, and this causes Vicodin withdrawal symptoms to set in.
What to Expect During Vicodin Withdrawal
Vicodin dependence can be treated in two ways: Medical detox and medication-assisted treatment.
Medical detox is supervised by mental health and medical personnel who administer a variety of medications as needed to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms, which may include:
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense cravings for Vicodin
During medical detox, Vicodin is withheld so that all traces can leave your body and your brain function can begin to return to normal. Withdrawal symptoms can be mild or severe, and they can last from five days to several weeks, depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the dependence. Cravings can last far longer and are an important factor in relapse.
Medication-assisted treatment involves taking medications that reduce cravings, block the effects of opioids, and help to normalize brain function. This method of treatment has been shown to offer better outcomes than medical detox when it comes to opioid dependence.
Medication-assisted treatment prevents withdrawal from setting in, and it keeps cravings at bay so that you can focus your attention on addressing the addiction instead of trying to cope with cravings and wonky brain function.
Detox and Medication-Assisted Treatment Are Not Addiction Treatment
Dependence and addiction are not the same thing. While dependence is characterized by a physical need for a drug in order to stave off withdrawal, Vicodin addiction symptoms include compulsive drug use despite the negative consequences it causes. If you’re addicted, chances are, you won’t be able to stop using for the long-term without professional help. This is due to a number of reasons:
- Addiction almost always has underlying issues, such as trauma and stress, and addressing these is central to successful recovery.
- Addiction is the result of physical and chemical changes in the brain that affect thought and behavior patterns, and re-learning healthy ways of thinking and behaving is crucial for ending the addiction.
- Learning to effectively cope with stress, cravings, and other triggers is a major focus in treatment, and it’s essential for successful recovery.
- Co-occurring mental illnesses like anxiety and depression must be addressed in order to successfully treat the addiction.
- Ending your drug abuse requires learning to have fun and relax without Vicodin and finding purpose and meaning in a life without drugs.
If you experience Vicodin addiction symptoms, detox alone most likely won’t be enough to help you get off Vicodin for good.
Vicodin Addiction Side Effects
Vicodin addiction side effects can be devastating and include physical and mental health problems, relationship issues, and legal and financial troubles. Addiction takes a major toll on every aspect of your life, and addiction treatment is designed to help you restore your life on many fronts.
A high quality treatment program will take a holistic approach to treatment that involves a variety of traditional and complementary therapies. Treatment helps you end the addiction and improves your quality of life, sense of happiness, and wellbeing.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.