Vicodin is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. As a prescription substance used within the regulated medical community, the drug may seem less dangerous than “street drugs,” but long-term use of the prescription opiate can lead to a number of health issues, according to The Partnership at Drugfree.org, including:
- A decrease in hormone production
- Severe lethargy
- Sleep apnea
- Hyperalgesia – a condition in which patients feel greater pain in the body, instead of less pain
All addicts seeking to detox from their substances of choice face the same concerns about the potential pain and even the emotional distress that might come from the detox process. Since Vicodin keeps pain in check, if you want to stop using and get the drug cleared out of your system, you know you can expect to feel some discomfort as the aches and pains that the Vicodin is keeping at bay come creeping back in.
Vicodin detox doesn’t have to be riddled by pain, though. By taking the right steps in the rehabilitation process and detoxing under the supervision of a qualified rehabilitation team, you can avoid much of the pain associated with detoxing from prescription painkillers and ensure successful drug rehabilitation the first time.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Vicodin, also known as hydrocodone, is an opiate, and, according to Harvard Medical School, opiates are the category of substances with the second highest abuse rates after alcohol. Drugs in this vein are especially difficult to stop using, due to their many “positive” effects on the body and the psyche. Along with ridding the body of pain, Vicodin also lowers anxiety, and, according to Harvard, produces euphoria at higher dosages.
Since opiates like Vicodin regulate pain receptors, physical pain is the most common withdrawal symptom that addicts can expect during the detox process, though that pain may manifest in multiple different symptoms that come in two waves – early symptoms and late symptoms. The early symptoms begin within 12 to 30 hours after last exposure to the substance, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and are then followed by the late symptoms as the early symptoms begin to subside.
Early symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal include:
- Muscle pain
- Anxiety and agitation
- Excess tearing
- Runny nose
Late symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal include:
- Nausea, abdominal cramping and vomiting
- Goose bumps
- Dilated pupils
Detoxing on Your Own from Vicodin
Over time, opiates like Vicodin create a tolerance that decreases the effectiveness of endorphins, the natural opiates of the body. This means the same rush of endorphins that your body produces when you are stressed or in physical pain will have little effect. This makes detoxing from Vicodin an especially frightening prospect for many users.
When detoxing from Vicodin, you can expect to experience severe physical pain. This makes attempting to detox on your own extremely difficult, as you will feel this pain fully with nothing to counteract it. If you have developed an addiction to Vicodin, pain is probably not something you handle well, and even if it is, opiate withdrawal involves a level of pain you will not be used to experiencing. While it is certainly possible to endure detoxing on your own, the constant pain causes many people to give up before the detoxification process is complete, canceling out their efforts and resetting the entire process.
Since the detoxification process from Vicodin also involves nausea and vomiting, you will not feel like eating or drinking anything, and may not be able to keep the food or drink you do consume in your stomach. This makes the risk of dehydration very high when you are in the midst of detoxing from opiates like Vicodin. Not only will dehydration make an uncomfortable detox process even more uncomfortable, if you get dehydrated enough, it can become life-threatening.
Attempting to detox on your own is a risky decision that puts your health at risk and forces you to endure a level of pain that is unnecessary. Choosing to detox under supervised conditions, with medical aid, minimizes pain and risk.
Inpatient Vicodin Detox in a Rehab Setting
When you seek inpatient treatment for Vicodin addiction at Cliffside Malibu, it is our goal to make the detox process as quick and painless as possible. Our detox process is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, our physicians work with you one-on-one to create a personalized treatment regimen that will take into account all substances you are using, whether it is solely Vicodin or a combination of drugs from which you want to detox, how long you have been using and how much of each substance you use.
Vicodin shares commonalities with many other addictive substances, and slowly lowering the amount of a substance you take can be the key to successful detoxification and rehab. With that in mind, your detox process may involve the use of short-term, highly-controlled doses of an opiate to help you slowly ween off Vicodin, which can help control symptoms. Other medications may be administered to help control the more unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal, including the muscle aches, nausea and vomiting.
For more severe cases of addiction, you may be given anesthetics to put you out for a short time, which allows you to “sleep off” the worst period of the detox process. This keeps withdrawal symptoms at an absolute minimum, decreasing pain and increasing the chances of successful detoxification.
Vicodin is highly-addictive and can be one of the most difficult drugs to quit using due to its ability to reduce pain and relax you. The sooner you stop using Vicodin after you begin to develop an addiction to the substance, the easier it is to quit and the less damage will be done to your body. The detox process is just the first step in eliminating your addiction, and we want to make sure that it is comfortable enough that you will take the next steps in your rehabilitation in order live a long, happy life free of addiction.