Vicodin Addiction: Effects, Withdrawal, and Treatment

Vicodin is a prescription medication containing the opioid hydrocodone, which has a high potential for misuse and addiction.1 Although the brand name Vicodin has been discontinued, generic versions are available, and counterfeit Vicodin pills may still be sold on the illicit drug market.2 Keep reading to learn more about Vicodin, Vicodin effects, the dangers of misuse, Vicodin overdose, signs of Vicodin addiction, and how to seek Vicodin addiction treatment.

What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is an opioid painkiller that contains a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.1 The brand name Vicodin has been discontinued, but generic equivalents may still be prescribed. Hydrocodone and medications that contain hydrocodone, have a risk of misuse, dependence, overdose, and addiction.1-3 Doctors prescribe Vicodin to people suffering from moderate to moderately severe pain.1

Effects of Vicodin

Vicodin can produce a variety of effects, which can range from mild to severe.1 Common Vicodin side-effects include:1

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness.
  • Sedation.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

Dangers of Vicodin Misuse

Along with its therapeutic uses, hydrocodone is sometimes misused for its reinforcing opioid effects—which include feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Misuse of Vicodin increases the risk of overdose and addiction, a long-term a chronic disease characterized by compulsive substance use despite negative consequences.1,5

The risk of overdose is significantly increased  if people use hydrocodone with other substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other opioids.1,3,4

  • When misused by pregnant women, there is a risk of low birth weight and neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Since Vicodin also contains acetaminophen, misuse at high doses can result in liver damage from acetaminophen toxicity.

Vicodin Overdose Symptoms

One of the most serious dangers of Vicodin misuse is overdose, which can be deadly.1  An overdose means that a person has taken enough of a substance to cause potentially life-threatening symptoms or death.5 An overdose is a medical emergency, and requires immediate medical attention.5

Vicodin overdose symptoms include:1,6

  • Cold and clammy skin.
  • Pinpoint pupils.
  • Loss of consciousness or difficulty remaining conscious.
  • Slowed, shallow, or stopped breathing.
  • Limp muscles.
  • Choking or gurgling noises.

If you suspect that someone is overdosing, you should call 911 right away, and then follow these steps:6

  • Administer naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote medication that can restore breathing.
  • Try to keep the person awake and breathing.
  • Lay them on their side to help prevent choking.
  • Remain with the person until medical help arrives.

Signs of Vicodin Addiction

Repeated Vicodin misuse carries a significant risk of addiction, which is diagnosed as an opioid use disorder (OUD).1,5,7 Doctors and other professionals use certain criteria to diagnose OUD.7 While only a qualified medical or mental health professional can diagnose OUD, knowing the signs can help you understand when it’s time for you or another person to seek help.7

The diagnostic criteria for OUD include:Someone is diagnosed with an opioid use disorder if 2 or more of the following criteria are present in a 12-month period.

  • Taking opioids in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control opioid use.
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the opioid, use the opioid, or recover from its effects.
  • Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use opioids.
  • Recurrent opioid use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Continued opioid use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of opioids.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of opioid use.
  • Recurrent opioid use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  • Continued opioid use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
  • Tolerance, meaning people require higher amounts of the drug  to experience previous effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when the person stops or significantly reduces their opioid use.

Vicodin Withdrawal & Detox

Vicodin withdrawal does not typically result in life-threatening symptoms and is very rarely fatal, but it can be intensely uncomfortable and difficult to get through on your own.8 Entering medical detox can help people manage Vicodin withdrawal symptoms as safely and comfortably as possible, and can also be a point of entry for longer-term treatment which can pave the way for sustained recovery.9

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

People who are dependent on Vicodin may experience withdrawal symptoms when they cut down their dosage or stop using the drug.5 Withdrawal symptoms can include:7

  • Dysphoric (low) mood.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Teary eyes or runny nose.
  • Dilated pupils, goosebumps, or sweating.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Excessive yawning.
  • Fever.
  • Insomnia.

Vicodin Addiction Treatment in Las Vegas, NV

If you or someone you care about are struggling with Vicodin or hydrocodone addiction, you should know that treatment can help people regain control and resume healthier and more productive lives.9 Desert Hope, our inpatient rehab in Las Vegas, offers various types of addiction treatment and different types of rehab care to suit all needs.

You can get admitted today by calling our helpline at to speak to one of our admissions navigators. We can also answer any questions you may have about rehab and treatment. Our helpline is free, confidential, and available 24/7.

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