Vicodin is one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers for moderate to severe pain. Its primary ingredient is hydrocodone. In fact, there are other painkillers whose main ingredient is hydrocodone and these include Zohydro ER, Hycodan, and Robidone. While it is a very effective painkiller, hydrocodone remains highly addictive even with short-term use. This is evident in the greater proportion of individuals who are addicted to it compared to other types of opioids.
Mechanism of Action of Hydrocodone
Just like any other opioid, hydrocodone acts on the natural opiate receptors found in the brain and in the spinal cord. Because these receptors are effectively covered by hydrocodone, the transmission of pain impulses is blocked. One can therefore, look at hydrocodone and other opioid analgesics to prevent the transmission of pain signals to the spinal cord and the brain. In essence, the pain is numbed and in its place is euphoria and drowsiness.
Since a great number of these opiate receptors in the brain can be found in the area of the brain that is responsible for the control and/or regulation of the cough reflex. This is the reason why hydrocodone is also indicated in individuals who may have respiratory infections or allergies where the primary symptom is cough. This suppresses the cough reflex.
Why Hydrocodone is Addictive
Hydrocodone acts on the receptors found in the central nervous system. Unfortunately, its effects are not only limited to these parts of the brain and spinal cord. Because the receptors are being given an entirely different kind of cell signaling, the brain interprets this as the new norm. So, the brain also tries to make the necessary adjustments. In the process of adjustment, there comes a point wherein the effects of hydrocodone is no longer felt or is perceived. In such cases, the body goes into withdrawal. To remedy this, the person will have to increase the dose and frequency of hydrocodone to achieve the same effects. It can thus, be said that the person has already developed tolerance for hydrocodone such that he now needs substantially greater amounts of hydrocodone to experience the effects. Over time, it will already be quite difficult to break the cycle because the person has become fully dependent on hydrocodone.
Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction
There are a variety of effects of hydrocodone that can be interpreted as a manifestation of dependence. In many cases, the person may start neglecting his responsibilities either at home or at work. It is also possible that the person will have issues with his interpersonal relationships. Because hydrocodone is a prescription analgesic, the person who is addicted to it will attempt to secure a prescription even if he is not in pain. Other possible signs of hydrocodone dependence include experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever he is unable to consume the drug, a general lack of motivation, and unnecessary financial problems.
On the short term, the person actually benefits from the use of hydrocodone as it is really effective in alleviating pain. Among many individuals, the drug can provide a sense of euphoria. On the long term, however, the effects may already include hearing loss or even liver damage. Regrettably, the most damaging effect of hydrocodone addiction is the mental instability that it creates. This can lead to problems in one’s social relationships as well as in the person’s work productivity.
The withdrawal symptoms associated with hydrocodone addiction include physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. These require the unparalleled supervision of highly qualified hydrocodone addiction professionals. Inclient treatment centers are fully equipped to handle any withdrawal symptoms as they are fully staffed by medical and health care professionals who are fully trained and duly certified to deliver the kind of care the person needs. Typically, a person undergoing hydrocodone withdrawal can exhibit the following signs and symptoms.
- Nausea and omitting
- Severe pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Excessive sweating
- Constant shivering
These may look mild. However, some people simply cannot stand the severity of some of these symptoms. These can make them more prone to drug relapse. This is another reason why it’s best to seek treatment from a quality hydrocodone addiction treatment center.
How Hydrocodone Addiction is Treated
Because hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller, people have this notion that it’s not really dangerous. Many think that abusing hydrocodone is a lot safer than getting addicted to illicit drugs or substances. Regrettably, part of the problem is overprescription by doctors. The Pain Physician Journal published a report saying that Americans account for 99 percent of all hydrocodone users in the world.
Regardless, hydrocodone addiction can be treated or managed systematically by a hydrocodone addiction treatment center that provides evidence-based, quality, safe, and highly comprehensive treatment program. While there are a variety of treatment programs for hydrocodone addicts, the best treatment is provided by inclient facilities.
Inclient addiction treatment facilities provide a very comprehensive approach to the management of the person’s addiction. Medical detoxification is necessary to help prepare the body for the treatment and rehabilitation phase. There are a variety of drugs that have been proven to reverse the effects of opiate addiction as well as mitigate the effects of withdrawal symptoms.
Upon completion of the detox, the person undergoes a highly individualized treatment program that takes into consideration his addiction status and personal preferences. This helps ensure 100 percent participation from the individual to ensure a higher rate of success. He may undergo cognitive behavioral therapies as well as experiential therapies. Also included are group therapy sessions as well as family therapy. The person is generally taught on how to approach and manage his problems in life without necessarily having to use hydrocodone or any other psychoactive substance for that matter.
The inclient hydrocodone addiction treatment center also helps the individual prepare for his continuing care long after completing his treatment and rehabilitation program. This helps guarantee a greater chance of success in attaining an addiction-free future.
If you or someone you love is struggling with hydrocodone addiction, know that help is available. You just have to draw some strength to make the first step towards a life free from addiction.