Vicodin withdrawal can be excruciating, but thanks to modern science, medicine can help.
Vicodin addiction can take a serious toll on your relationships, health, finances, and legal status. Ending any addiction almost always requires professional help, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That’s particularly true with Vicodin and other opioid painkillers, especially when you’ve become dependent and experience Vicodin withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using on your own. But Vicodin addiction withdrawal doesn’t have to put a wrench in your recovery. A high-quality treatment program can help you end your addiction and dependence without the misery of withdrawal.
How Dependence Develops
Addiction and dependence aren’t the same thing, although they usually co-occur. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug use despite the negative consequences. Dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that set in when you quit drugs cold-turkey.
Dependence occurs because when you heavily abuse Vicodin, your brain compensates by changing its chemical function. This leads to tolerance, which means that you need larger and larger doses to get the same effects that smaller doses once produced. But as you keep using larger doses, the brain continues to change the way it functions in an attempt to normalize. But at some point, brain function may shift, and it will begin to function more comfortably when Vicodin is present than when it’s not. When you stop using, normal chemical function rebounds, and this produces physical withdrawal symptoms.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Not everyone who’s dependent on Vicodin will experience all of the possible Vicodin withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks or longer. The severity of Vicodin addiction withdrawal depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the addiction, how much Vicodin is in the system at the time of detox, and your general state of physical and mental health.
Symptoms associated with Vicodin withdrawal include:
- Pinpoint pupils.
- Runny nose.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Most people who try to withdraw from Vicodin on their own will quickly turn back to the drug very quickly just to end the discomfort. That’s why medical detox or medication-assisted treatment is essential for ending dependence and successfully treating the addiction.
Vicodin Addiction Treatment Options
A high-quality addiction treatment program will offer medical detox and medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, to end the dependence and help improve the chances of successful recovery from the addiction. Choosing between these Vicodin addiction treatment options is a matter of personal preference, but experts cite MAT as offering the best outcomes.
Medical detox ends the physical dependence on Vicodin and reduces the intensity of Vicodin withdrawal. Medical detox is supervised by medical and mental health professionals who administer a variety of medications as needed to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and shorten the time it takes to detox. Once medical detox is complete, your brain will no longer be dependent on Vicodin.
However, intense cravings and some cognitive difficulties can persist for months or even years after quitting Vicodin. That’s why medication-assisted treatment is recommended for opioid addiction.
MAT involves taking medication for the long-term to reduce the chances of relapse. Three medications have been approved by the FDA to treat opioid addiction.
Methadone prevents withdrawal from occurring, and it blocks the effects of other opioids. It’s only available through a specialized clinic that participants must visit each day.
Buprenorphine also prevents withdrawal from setting in and blocks the effects of other opioids, but unlike methadone, it has a ceiling effect, so taking larger doses won’t produce more pronounced effects. Therefore, it’s available as a prescription that you can take at home.
Naltrexone reduces opioid cravings and blocks the effects of other opioids. Naltrexone can only be taken once all traces of opioids are out of the body, which means that before taking it, you must go through medical detox.
Addiction Treatment is Essential After Detox or MAT
Once detox is complete or you’re set up with medication-assisted treatment, it’s time to treat the addiction. Detox and MAT only treat the dependence on Vicodin and do very little to address the addiction, which is far more complex and requires intensive therapies that help individuals re-wire their brain and learn essential coping skills for dealing with stress, negative emotions, and other triggers for relapse.
Studies show that the relapse rate for people who only undergo medical detox and not addiction treatment is over 90 percent. If you’re addicted to Vicodin, choose a high quality, holistic treatment program that offers medical detox or MAT to reduce symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal along with a variety of therapies to end the addiction once and for all.
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.