As a hydrocodone-based pain medication, Vicodin is highly addictive. If you abruptly stop taking it after becoming dependent on it, you’ll inevitably experience Vicodin withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can often be so painful and intense that some people feel like they have no other option but to continue taking the drug just to avoid them.
However, you shouldn’t let the fear of Vicodin withdrawal hold you back. Recovery is possible, but you should never attempt to detox from Vicodin on your own. Getting proper medical help is vital to reclaiming your life from any opioid, including Vicodin.
What Is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a combination pain reliever prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain that cannot be treated with non-opioid medication. It contains two active ingredients:
- Hydrocodone, a potent semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine or codeine
- Acetaminophen, an over-the-counter medication used to treat pain and fever
As a brand-name painkiller, Vicodin® comes in the form of tablets, whereas the generic version of this medication is also available as a liquid. Some other brand names for this drug combination include:
Once consumed, Vicodin binds to opioid receptors located in the central nervous system (CNS). Doing so prevents the brain from receiving pain signals, alleviating the sensation of pain and discomfort.
Besides pain relief, Vicodin can also induce a state of euphoria by stimulating dopamine release, which increases the drug’s potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Due to their habit-forming properties, hydrocodone combination products, including Vicodin, were rescheduled from Schedule III controlled substances to Schedule II in 2014.
Taking this medication strictly as prescribed by a doctor minimizes the risk of opioid addiction, though it doesn’t eliminate it. Long-term use of Vicodin is associated with a higher risk of addiction, which is why it is usually prescribed for acute pain treatment.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Experiencing uncomfortable Vicodin withdrawal symptoms after stopping or reducing medication use is one of the key symptoms of Vicodin addiction and dependence.
Regular consumption of Vicodin desensitizes your body to the drug by stimulating the production of opioid receptors, resulting in an increased tolerance to the medication. In other words, your usual dose may no longer produce the same effects as before once you build up tolerance to Vicodin.
Tolerance is a sign of a physical dependence on opioids, which means your body requires them to maintain normal function. If you don’t take the drug or reduce its dosage, your body will experience physical and psychological Vicodin withdrawal symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your dependence, opioid withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and may be life-threatening. Quitting Vicodin “cold turkey” may cause particularly intense withdrawal symptoms, increasing the risk of relapse and a potentially lethal opioid overdose.
The most common Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are:
- Excessive yawning
- Muscle aches
- Pupil dilation
- Rapid breathing
- Reduced appetite
- Runny nose
- Stomach cramps
- Vicodin cravings
- Watery eyes
Vicodin Withdrawal Timeline
The Vicodin withdrawal timeline depends on various individual factors, including your Vicodin use (e.g., how long you’ve been taking the drug), age, metabolism, and liver condition.
Here’s what the typical Vicodin withdrawal timeline looks like:
You can expect to experience the first Vicodin withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours after taking the last dose. These symptoms are usually mild and feel similar to the flu.
The most common early symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal are:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Vicodin withdrawal symptoms tend to peak in severity within the first three days after the last use. At this point, early symptoms become more intense, and you may also experience:
- Sleep disturbances
- Stomach cramps
After reaching their peak, acute Vicodin withdrawal symptoms begin to subside and usually dissipate within a week.
However, while physical symptoms improve, you may still struggle with intense psychological symptoms, such as cravings and depression. This may leave you vulnerable to relapse, which is why it’s in your best interest to seek professional Vicodin withdrawal treatment.
Vicodin Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Vicodin post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is marked by protracted withdrawal symptoms after quitting the drug.
While the timeline for Vicodin withdrawal will last around a week in most cases, some people will experience PAWS, which can last multiple years, in some cases.
Post-acute Vicodin withdrawal symptoms include:
- Attention deficit
- Sleeping problems
- Mood swings
- Mental illness, such as depression or bipolar disorder
PAWS can also have physical symptoms, though these are less common.
Whether you’re suffering from ongoing physical or psychological symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal, it’s crucial to seek medical help. PAWS can lead to not only a diminished quality of life but also relapse, overdose, and even death.
How to Manage Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
Seeking help for Vicodin withdrawal is critical to managing these symptoms safely and effectively.
Given that it’s a potentially life-threatening condition, you should never take Vicodin withdrawal lightly or attempt to go through it without medical supervision. Your doctor can help you taper off Vicodin to reduce the severity and duration of your withdrawal symptoms.
Vicodin withdrawal looks different for everyone, and some people may find home remedies helpful in managing their symptoms. However, others may suffer from distressing symptoms that cannot be treated with over-the-counter medication or may even require urgent medical attention, such as severe vomiting or diarrhea that could lead to potentially fatal dehydration.
Unfortunately, many people relapse because they can’t find a way to soothe their pain and discomfort without resuming opioid use. Given that not taking Vicodin reduces your opioid tolerance, this is extremely dangerous and may lead to a fatal overdose.
The bottom line is that you should always work with your doctor or seek professional treatment to detox from Vicodin safely and make a long-term recovery from opioid addiction. However, it’s important to note that Vicodin withdrawal treatments vary in terms of quality, safety, and effectiveness.
Risks and Dangers of Taking Vicodin
Anyone taking Vicodin is exposed to the risk of becoming addicted to this drug due to its high potential for abuse and addiction.
In fact, the findings of the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveal that nearly 47% of prescription painkiller misusers above the age of 12 abused hydrocodone specifically. As such, it was the most commonly misused opioid in 2021.
Besides opioid addiction, Vicodin use—and especially misuse—increases the risk of liver damage since this medication contains acetaminophen. This risk may become even higher if you take Vicodin with alcohol, which also increases the likelihood of experiencing a potentially lethal overdose.
Also, Vicodin use can lead to various side effects, such as:
- Blurry vision
- Dry mouth
Inform your doctor if you experience any side effects while taking this medication and use it as prescribed to minimize the risk of Vicodin abuse, addiction, and overdose.
You should also avoid driving, operating heavy machinery, etc., while taking Vicodin, as opioids can affect your cognitive and motor function.
How to Detox From Vicodin
You should seek medical help to detox from Vicodin safely.
Vicodin detox is the process of cleansing the drug out of your system, which can be achieved in different ways.
For instance, Vicodin rapid detox is an anesthesia-assisted medical treatment that eliminates the drug from the body within a matter of days with the help of opioid antagonist drugs, such as naloxone.
However, Vicodin detox treatments only rid your body of opioids; they don’t repair the brain imbalances resulting from opioid use. They are outdated and ineffective in treating opioid addiction, so it’s not unusual for patients to relapse after Vicodin detox.
Meanwhile, Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is a comprehensive opioid addiction treatment designed to restore your brain to its original state before addiction. In doing so, it eliminates withdrawal symptoms and negates the risk of relapse.
Vicodin Rapid Detox vs. ANR Treatment
Unlike Vicodin rapid detox, the ANR treatment targets the neurobiological causes of Vicodin addiction instead of simply clearing the drug out of your body. As such, ANR is highly effective in healing opioid addiction.
Vicodin rapid detox isn’t effective in terms of long-term recovery, as it doesn’t treat the root cause of Vicodin addiction. Moreover, since it doesn’t eliminate cravings but only reduces opioid tolerance, this treatment can be outright dangerous and potentially fatal, leading to relapse, overdose, and even death.
In contrast, the ANR treatment eliminates Vicodin withdrawal symptoms, including cravings. It is also personalized to every patient’s individual needs and medical history. Because of this, it is safe and suitable even for those with complex medical conditions.
Here are other differences between Vicodin rapid detox and the ANR treatment:
ANR Opioid Treatment for Vicodin Addiction
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is the most innovative and the only opioid dependency treatment that brings the endorphin-receptor imbalance back to normal levels.
While rapid detox focuses on counteracting the effects of withdrawal, the ANR treatment attacks the problem at its core by targeting the physiologic mechanism behind Vicodin dependency.
The process of ANR treatment involves heavy sedation and the initiation of Vicodin withdrawal. While most other opioid dependency treatments stop here, ANR goes a step further, restoring your opioid and endorphin-receptor systems to their original state before addiction.
As a result, ANR detox allows you to recover from Vicodin dependency in a matter of days and return to your daily life without fear of further symptoms or the risk of relapse!
For your convenience, you can find ANR centers around the world, including:
- DeSoto Memorial Hospital, Arcadia, Florida
- ANR Europe Thun, Switzerland
- Innovate Intelligent Place, Goiânia, Brazil
- New Vision University Hospital, Tbilisi, Georgia
Ready to take the first step toward an opioid-free life? Contact us today for a free consultation!
If you plan to stop taking Vicodin, seek medical help. Not only can it facilitate the recovery process, but it can also save your life.
Now, let’s go over the key points we covered in this article:
- Vicodin is a highly addictive painkiller made up of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
- Some common Vicodin withdrawal symptoms include nausea, chills, muscle aches, and opioid cravings.
- Vicodin withdrawal typically lasts around a week, but some people struggle with it for months and even years after the last dose.
Vicodin Withdrawal & Detox FAQ
Yes, Vicodin is an opioid medication with a high potential for addiction, so it can only be legally obtained by prescription and should always be taken as directed. Unfortunately, some people addicted to Vicodin turn to illicit street drugs if they can no longer acquire it legally.
The onset of Vicodin withdrawal begins within 24 hours after the last dose, usually with flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, fever, chills, and watery eyes. Vicodin withdrawal symptoms start to subside after reaching their peak, typically within the first three days of taking the last dose.
Typically, Vicodin withdrawal symptoms last about a week. However, some people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which can last several weeks, months, or even years. The Vicodin withdrawal timeline depends on the nature of your drug use and other individual factors. The recovery period lasts only a few days at an ANR treatment center.
You should never mix alcohol and Vicodin, as this combination can be extremely dangerous and have dire effects on your health. Not only can it cause physical issues such as liver failure/damage and respiratory depression, but it also increases the risk of an opioid overdose and death.
Yes, Vicodin is an opioid painkiller consisting of acetaminophen (paracetamol) and hydrocodone, a prescription opioid. It is frequently prescribed by physicians throughout the US to treat pain. Its application can range from easing severe joint pain to relief from common symptoms of diseases (such as pain associated with cancer).
Some common signs of opioid use disorder (OUD) include opioid abuse (e.g., taking opioids in larger quantities or more frequently than prescribed), cravings, and ongoing opioid use despite negative consequences, such as experiencing problems at work or at home due to opioid use.
It’s illegal to take Vicodin without a prescription, as it is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Taking opioids prescribed to someone else is a form of opioid misuse and can be very dangerous.
Taking Vicodin for a prolonged time and misusing it can negatively affect your mental health. Not only can it exacerbate pre-existing mental health problems, but it can also cause anxiety and depression once the drug’s euphoric effects begin to wear off or when you attempt to quit the medication.
To detox from Vicodin safely, seek professional help for Vicodin withdrawal and addiction. Quitting opioids on your own is dangerous and often leads to relapse. To avoid dealing with Vicodin withdrawal symptoms, consider undergoing Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR). This revolutionary treatment can help you overcome opioid addiction in just a few days.