Vicodin, a combination of hydrocodone and paracetamol, also known as Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Lortab, Lorcet, and Norco, was in 2013 the most frequently sold opiate medication in the US, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Almost five million people over the age of 12 and nearly ten percent of American high school kids abused Vicodin.
Vicodin is a combination of two ingredients: the opioid hydrocodone and the analgesic acetaminophen. It is used to reduce moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is an opiate drug with a similar effect as morphine and heroin. Acetaminophen is an antipyretic – it reduces fever and pain to a small extent and boosts the effects of hydrocodone. When an opiate enters the body, it connects to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other systems. Hydrocodone in Vicodin binds to the receptors known as mu-opioid receptors that block pain signals on their way to the brain.
Once absorbed, Vicodin has several effects:
- Lowers feeling of pain;
- Causes a sense of euphoria, calm, and relaxation.
Hydrocodone recreational use has hugely increased in recent years due to its opioid effects. People are using Vicodin even if they never needed it for controlling chronic pain but purely for its effect as an opioid. Many people assume that because Vicodin is a prescription drug, it is less dangerous and addictive than illegal drugs such as heroin. They crave the feeling of euphoria, sense of calmness, and content, and to achieve it take increased doses of Vicodin.
In October 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration rescheduled Vicodin and other drugs combined with hydrocodone from schedule III to schedule II due to high risk for misuse and abuse.
The abuse of Vicodin has a range of side effects, some severe. These severe side effects are one of the reasons many people abusing Vicodin have such a hard time deciding to detox from the drug or to quit altogether.
Common side effects of using Vicodin are:
Serious side effects can include:
- decreased rate of breathing low blood pressure
- serotonin syndrome
- severe allergic reactions
- liver failure
- Impaired judgment
- Profound drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
In the long-term, people abusing Vicodin start overlooking the adverse side effects, only focusing on the pleasant, desirable effects. As they continue using Vicodin, they develop tolerance, meaning they need increased quantity, higher and more frequent doses of Vicodin to achieve the same results – pain relief and/or euphoria and to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. This tolerance leads to the increased continuously need for the drug, Vicodin dependence, and addiction.
Addiction and dependency are the result of neuroadaptation. Neuroadaptation is the ability to create chemical responses to adapt to the presence of the introduced active substance and to continue to function normally. As the body exposed to the outside substance, it starts to self-regulate to maintain balance. This chemical response is automatic. As it is continuously exposed to the introduced substance, the body becomes dependent on it, and this new balance becomes the new normal. If the substance, such as opioid, is denied, as when a person goes to a detox or stops taking the drug, the body reacts with symptoms we know as withdrawal syndrome.
The natural production of endorphin in the pituitary gland is triggered by internal and external stimuli – stress, pain, and many other activities. Endorphins lower the feeling of pain and create a sense of well-being. External opioids, such as Vicodin, activate the opioid receptors and suppressing the natural production of endorphins. The more opioid introduced into the body, the more endorphin/opioid receptors are created. This becomes a never-ending cycle: the more receptors are created, the more opioids a person needs to satisfy this neuro-biochemical demand. A person has developed the dependence on the opioid.
Vicodin withdrawal symptoms
People dependent on Vicodin cannot stop using it even when they are aware of the consequences. The symptoms of the withdrawal are very unpleasant, physically, and psychologically.
- Pain throughout the body
- Discomfort and restlessness
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor appetite
- Cold sweats
Detox from Vicodin
Traditional opioid detox and rehab centers focus on treating symptoms and painful effects of detox. Tapering off of the drug, such as Vicodin, is a common part of the therapy. The whole process can be long and painful. What is more important is that the “effects” those detox processes are not long-lasting because the detox and consequent rehab do not treat the underlying physical causes of dependence and addiction.
Dr. Waismann has identified the physical, biological roots of the dependence on opioids in the ’90s. His ANR (or Accelerated Neuro-Regulation) works by assessing each patient’s endorphin-receptor balance. Using that assessment, ANR brings each patient to his or her optimal chemical balance, enabling them to continue their lives free of opioid dependence. So far, ANR is the only treatment that addresses the biological roots of opioid dependence.
Fast & Rapid Vicodin detox
Dr. Waismann developed the Rapid Detox concept in the 90s. Although the idea was very successful at the time, he soon realized that Rapid Detox could not correct the critical issue – the chemical imbalance. But, because of Dr. Waismann’s initial success, the Rapid Detox was widely adopted by others and implemented in many detox and rehab centers. They were performing the treatment without sufficient medical experience, information or knowledge. As a result, Rapid Detox had, in general, yielded poor results and, at times, serious complications. One of the reasons Rapid Detox was not effective was in part because of the inappropriate use of Naltrexone, commonly used opiate antagonist. Naltrexone was and still is, used in the wrong doses and for the wrong reasons, with minimal regard for each individual patient, that can be extremely dangerous to the patient.
While Rapid Detox is still widely promoted and offered in a range of detox and rehab clinics, for the last 25 years, Dr. Waismann has stopped using rapid detox and replaced it by ANR.
Vicodin withdrawal timeline
Since Vicodin’s half-life is about four hours, the drug leaves the body entirely after about eight hours. Once the drug starts leaving the body, withdrawal symptoms start. Without any medical intervention, the average timeline for Vicodin withdrawal symptoms to stop or get significantly better is 7-10 days. In some cases, some of the symptoms can last for weeks or months.
Even after undergoing detox, cravings for Vicodin may happen years after a person has stopped taking the drug. This is where the difference between the traditional detox system and ANR starts. ANR deals with detox and the dependency, making a patient free of the withdrawal symptoms in a day and a half, at the same making him or her free of the addiction. Once the therapy is over, the person is free to return to his or her normal life.
Vicodin addiction treatment
Dr. Waismann’s Accelerated Neuro-Regulation treats the Vicodin withdrawal symptoms and reverses opioid dependency during the same process. ANR addresses the fundamental neuro-pathophysiologic imbalance caused by Vicodin dependency, addressing the mental effects caused by the physical disease that is addiction.
The goal of the ANR therapy is to return the chemical system into balance. This is achieved by forcing the central nervous system to decrease receptor production in order to allow the body to resume its own natural endorphin production, at the same time enabling the metabolization and elimination of introduced opioids. A patient undergoes physical withdrawal while under sedation. Simultaneously, the process of accelerated neuro-regulation starts. That means that endorphin receptors are regulated, and their production is brought to their “pre-addiction” state.
Vicodin rehab near you
The ANR treatment in the US is performed at Landmark Hospital, an ultra-modern facility in Naples, Florida. The construction of the 50-bed critical care hospital was finished in 2015. It is equipped with ICU facilities adapted for the ANR procedure, with access to all the relevant medical equipment that might be required for the treatment of even the most complex conditions.
ANR Europe is located in Thun, Switzerland. Work is underway to establish a state-of-the-art facility and train a medical team on the ANR procedure. The idyllic town of Thun is located at the confluence of the Aare River and the Lake Thun, 19 miles south of Bern.
ANR Clinic- Georgia is located at the New Vision University Hospital in Tbilisi, Georgia. ANR, Georgia, is working in one of the best University Hospitals in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The local team of medical professionals has been extensively trained and supervised by Dr. Waismann.
As the number of facilities that offer Vicodin withdrawal services around the world grows, it is essential to remember that these facilities offer the treatment that is not only extremely fast and highly efficient. It offers not only the relief from the withdrawal symptoms but a permanent freedom from the Vicodin dependency. One short stay at the facility ensures that each patient can return to their healthy lives.
Vicodin rehab facility
The ANR treatment protocol in the US is conducted at the Landmark Hospital of Southwest Florida, using 25 years of Dr. Waismann’s extensive clinical and academic research. The Vicodin addiction treatment lasts 24-36-hours. During the procedure, the patient is sedated for four to five hours, depending on the level of their Vicodin dependency, patient’s general health, and other issues. The procedure is conducted and monitored by an experienced team of medical professionals: a board-certified anesthesiologist who has extensive experience with critical care, an internist, and an intensive care nurse. The team is using critical care equipment to continuously monitor the patient’s real-time vitals. A patient receives intravenously several medications that control the pain and other symptoms of the withdrawal, balance the neuro-endorphin pathway, and consequently eliminate any future cravings for Vicodin and the Vicodin dependency.
The protocol is designed in such a way that patients do not suffer from any pain during the withdrawal, and at the end of the procedure, as their endorphin imbalance is stabilized, they are free from the Vicodin cravings and dependency.
ANR is still the only procedure that treats the roots of opioid dependency, using modern medical research, extensive experience, and the awareness that the individual endorphin-receptor evaluation is crucial for the success of the Vicodin withdrawal symptoms and addiction treatment. ANR is fast, efficient, involves minimal discomfort and a short stay at the advanced medical facility, allowing patients to return to their normal lives free of addiction to Vicodin.
Accelerated Neuro-regulation. https://anrclinic.com/. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
“Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen – FDA prescribing information.” Drugs.com. Retrieved 29 March 2020
Symptoms of Vicodin Withdrawal. Healthline.https://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-vicodin-withdrawal. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment
Thomas R. Kosten, Thomas R., and Tony P. George, Tony P. The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment. Sci Pract Perspect. 2002 Jul; 1(1): 13–20.
“Vicodin Prescribing Information for Health Care Professionals.” www.vicodin.com. Retrieved 29 March 2020
Vicodin Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/withdrawal-timelines-treatments/vicodin. Retrieved 29 March 2020.