Vicodin Withdrawal

Vicodin contains hydrocodone, a powerful semi-synthetic opiate.

Whether for recreational purpose or for medical reasons, the regular use of hydrocodone causes changes in the way the brain handles opiates. Over time, regular hydrocodone users develop an opiate tolerance, and need increasingly greater doses of the medication to feel the same effects. Once opiate-tolerant, a person who tries to suddenly stop taking hydrocodone will experience opiate withdrawal symptoms.

If you have experienced and increased tolerance for Vicodin, then you are at increased risk for suffering from withdrawal symptoms if you try to suddenly stop using the medication.

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

Once they have become physically dependent on Vicodin, users experience the beginnings of withdrawal symptoms within six to 24 hours following their last dose.

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Runny nose and other flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability
  • Chills
  • Drug cravings
  • Increased pain

Withdrawal symptoms peak within 72 hours of the last dose and typically last for four or five days. Secondary withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, lethargy, and depression, can last for months with varying degrees of intensity.

Pain patients who are using Vicodin legitimately for its analgesic effects can find the increased sensitivity to pain during the withdrawal period very tough.

Vicodin Withdrawal Treatments

There is little reason to endure a full intensity Vicodin withdrawal. Common strategies for minimizing withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • A slow tapering of the daily dosage.
  • A medically supervised detox period, with medications given to ease symptoms (usually done on an inpatient basis, but sometimes ambulatory)
  • Medication management with a substitution opiate, such as buprenorphine (Suboxone) or methadone.

Patients who are physically dependent on Vicodin but not psychologically addicted to the medication can often, with a doctor's guidance, simply taper their usage over time in order to avoid most of the pains of withdrawal.

Vicodin addicts tend to have more difficulty completing a successful drug-tapering regimen, and tend to need addiction treatment of some variety.

There is no need to suffer the pains of a sudden and full Vicodin withdrawal. Talk to your doctor honestly and openly about the way you use the medication and discuss how to break free.

To learn about Vicodin detox and addition treatment programs in your area, or to make an appointment for a consultation with an addiction doctor, call the National Resource Center at 888-4741-0431.

If you are struggling to overcome an addiction to Vicodin, know that you can get better -- and you don’t have to do it alone.

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