The Leading Expert in Treatment for Alcohol and Substance Abuse
and Founder of The Hills Treatment Center
Vicodin Addiction

In 2007, nearly seven million deaths from prescription drug abuse were recorded in the U.S. According to a recent study, 53% of patients in rehabs across the country were chemically dependent on Vicodin. Another study done in 2009 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that 16 million Americans age 12 and older had taken a prescription pain reliever for nonmedical purposes at least once. According to the Food and Drug Administration, addiction is characterized by compulsive use, use for non-medical purposes and continued use despite harm or risk of harm.

Alcoholism is the largest predictor of narcotic abuse especially in the case of Vicodin. Vicodin (also known as Hydrocodone, Norcos or Vicoprofen) can come in the form of a capsule, tablets or syrup and is generally prescribed to patients for chronic head and neck pain. Street names for Vicodin include vikes or hydros. Hydrocodone has similar characteristics to the opiate morphine. Chemical dependency to this opiate pain reliever can occur quickly, even if taken as directed

Vicodin is a semisynthetic narcotic that affects the central nervous system.

Common Side Effects of Vicodin May Include:

  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Relaxation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Change in physical activity
  • Mild anxiety and fear.


Depending on the amount taken,Vicodin can depress breathing. If combined with other medications that cause drowsiness or with alcohol, heart rate and respiration can slow down dangerously.

Abruptly stopping Vicodin use will result in withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal without medical supervision in not recommended as the experience can be extremely painful and can lead to relapse. Relapse is common because the addict knows that if they ingest more Vicodin, the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms will dissipate. Undergoing medical detoxification ensures a less painful withdrawal process. Withdrawal normally happens between six to twelve hours and the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the degree of the addiction.

Signs of Vicodin Withdrawal May Include
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes
  • Involuntary leg movements
  • Watery eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Panic
  • Chills


A process of gradual weaning off Vicodin is optimal and less traumatic to the user's physical and emotional health. Recommended treatment for moderate to severe addiction usually is through an in-patient detox in a hospital or rehab setting.

Drug treatment has been noted to be very successful in Vicodin addiction treatment. While in a treatment center, addicts have the ability to learn about addiction while participating in various therapies that help the individual discover the root of the addiction. Support forums or meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are paramount for recovering drug addicts. In order to properly handle the psychological aspects of the addiction, intensegroup or individual therapy is helpful to further address the possibilities of a relapse and provide strategies for dealing with one if it occurs.

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