Vicodin is an extremely powerful opioid that is widely prescribed for severe pain. It is a combination of synthetic hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The influence of Vicodin on the human brain and nervous system is very strong. In fact, some people do not realize that they are forming a dependence on the drug until they try to stop using it. For this reason, Vicodin was reclassified as a controlled Type II pharmaceutical in 2011.
When Vicodin is used according to the strict guidelines of a proper prescription, most people will not develop a problem with withdrawal symptoms. It is very likely that prolonged use will result in progressively higher tolerance levels in the body. When this happens, acute withdrawal symptoms can occur. These symptoms often have physical and psychological elements. It is sometimes necessary for a person to enter a clinical treatment program in order to completely break their dependence on Vicodin.
The Phases of Breaking a Vicodin Addiction
When someone is addicted to a drug like Vicodin, their body viciously craves the euphoria that it creates. It only takes about eight hours for the drug to leave the body, so these cravings are present around the clock. The problem is, larger amounts of the drug are constantly needed in order to achieve the same feelings. If a person stops cold turkey, their body can react violently. It is rare for someone highly addicted to Vicodin to successfully stop using it on their own.
This is when an inpatient or outpatient treatment plan is needed. People who are lightly and moderately addicted can have success with outpatient treatment. Usually, a close family network is needed to monitor behaviors and report withdrawal emergencies. On the other hand, fully addicted people will require the monitoring by medical professionals that great inpatient treatment facilities provide.
Inpatient Vicodin treatment happens in stages. A typical plan might look like the following.
- Evaluation of the patient for dependence severity and other underlying health conditions
- Initial detoxification with medical professionals monitoring withdrawal symptoms
- Careful administration of any needed substitution drugs to ease harsh withdrawal
- Prolonged detox period to return the body back to normal function
- Daily counseling to address rehab maintenance and other physical and psychological issues
- Post-treatment follow-up sessions to prevent relapse
The third item from the list above is very crucial to many inpatient treatment plans. It is often necessary for a person to be given another drug that prevents the body from absorbing Vicodin. One of the most common substances used is Nalozone. Nalozone is also known as Narcan.
Nalozone creates the same responses in the body as Vicodin, but it happens more quickly. It binds to the receptors in the brain and nervous system, and it shuts them down. In short, the brain and body believe they are receiving Vicodin, but no damage is being done. This technique of weaning someone away from their addiction requires precision and careful monitoring.
Prolonged Vicodin use can also cause degrees of liver toxicity. This secondary health issue must also be addressed during detoxification. It can make many other withdrawal symptoms worse. Patients are often given a cocktail of treatment prescriptions in order for them to suddenly handle functioning without opioids in their system. In turn, a post-treatment maintenance program can include help for stopping the need for these prescriptions.
What is a Typical Vicodin Treatment Plan Timeline?
It takes about eight hours for Vicodin to leave the body. Since its half-life is about four hours, withdrawal symptoms can start quickly after detox starts. The most severe withdrawal symptoms normally subside within four days.
After this period, underlying problems can begin. These include physical troubles like headaches, muscle aches, tremors, fever, and insomnia. Psychological problems can also start. Anxiety, panic, and depression often follow physical withdrawal periods. It can take several weeks for patients to overcome these problems.
When someone goes through a Vicodin treatment plan, they might discover that the propensity for relapse stays with them. This seems harsh, but an addiction can radically and permanently alter the way the brain functions. Maintenance periods can be extensive, and some recovered patients battle the threat of relapse for life.
If you are battling a Vicodin addiction, you might be struggling with the fear of starting a treatment program. While going through withdrawals is not fun, the ravages of continuing your addiction should be a greater concern. When you are ready to regain your life, we are here to help. Call our office today at 833-846-5669, and discover what treatment options are the best for you.