Vicodin is an opioid that is one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States and one of the most abused. Vicodin, which is prescribed to treat pain, is the brand name for a drug that is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. This drug is highly addictive, even when taken as prescribed, but especially when it’s misused. That’s because of its main ingredient, hydrocodone, which is an opium-derived synthetic substance that mimics the effects of morphine. Hydrocodone targets the brain’s opiate receptors — specifically the mu receptors and kappa receptors in the central nervous system. This leads to pain relief, but also slows breathing, and causes a euphoric high.
Unlike other drugs, most people don’t often take Vicodin to get high. They may accidentally become addicted to the drug if they build up a tolerance it and end up taking more just to feel the same effects. This can lead to people abusing the drug, which puts them at risk of Vicodin addiction.
When people start abusing Vicodin, there are specific symptoms they may show. Some of the effects of Vicodin abuse include:
- Problems with attention and focus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense mood swings
- An overall lack of energy
- Experiencing withdrawal effects when not using the drug
Abusing the drug can lead to Vicodin addiction. Signs of Vicodin addiction include:
- An obsession with obtaining more Vicodin
- Taking Vicodin at random times of the day
- Attempting to obtain multiple prescriptions for Vicodin from different doctors, also known as “doctor shopping”
- Withdrawal effects
Other signs of Vicodin addiction include medical issues, such as liver damage or failure, due to the acetaminophen in the drug. They can also have issues with their urinary system.
The symptoms of Vicodin addiction can derail a person’s entire life, and make it impossible for them to get through their day without the drug. If a person struggles with Vicodin addiction, they will need to seek treatment.