Not only is Vicodin the most prescribed opioid in the U.S., but it also combines two drugs that can make it even more toxic than other opioids: hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a narcotic and acetaminophen is a pain reliever. Because acetaminophen is an ingredient in over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol, sometimes people think it’s harmless. But taking too much acetaminophen can cause severe liver damage and even death. So, when someone abuses Vicodin, not only are they experiencing the dangerous effects of opioid abuse, they are also causing serious damage to their liver. If you’re struggling with an addiction to Vicodin, learn more below about Vicodin withdrawal symptoms and the importance of getting professional help.
Luckily, Vicodin withdrawal symptoms usually aren’t life-threatening, but they can be very uncomfortable.
Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal include:
Vicodin withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe. They usually begin between six to 12 hours after last using the drug and peak within about one to three days. Withdrawal symptoms start to subside after about a week, but they can last about a month.
Early Vicodin withdrawal symptoms may include:
As Vicodin withdrawal continues, later symptoms may include:
Emotional side effects and cravings may last longer than a month. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) due to Vicodin may include:
Opioid withdrawal can be very difficult and uncomfortable. Because of this, it’s best to get professional medical support to help you detox rather than trying to quit Vicodin “cold turkey.”
A professional, medically-assisted detox program ensures that you are carefully monitored in a safe environment while your body goes through the difficult, and sometimes painful, detoxification process as it eliminates the physical need for the drug.
The doctors and nurses on your medical team can administer medications such as buprenorphine or naltrexone to help relieve the cravings. They will also make sure your body has enough vitamins, fluids, and electrolytes. Professional mental and emotional support will also be part of your therapy during this challenging time to help make the withdrawal process successful.
There are different stages of Vicodin addiction treatment but following a full continuum of treatment is the most comprehensive approach. It also provides you with the best chance of recovery. Following a full continuum of treatment begins with the highest and most intense level of care during the detox phase and then progresses through less intense levels of treatment. Stages of opioid addiction treatment include:
During the first stage of opioid withdrawal treatment, the goal is medical stabilization. This stage will last about three to seven days, depending on the severity of your addiction. Your medical team, which includes doctors, nurses, and support staff, will give you a complete medical assessment to determine your level of addiction and any additional medical needs you may have. The assessment will include a medical exam and urine or blood tests to screen for drugs. Depending on these results, your physician may also require additional testing such as: additional blood tests, including a CBC (complete blood count), chest X-ray, ECG (electrocardiogram), and testing for other diseases.
Once the doctor has these test results, a detox plan will be created for you. Then, under the care of your medical team, you will begin the detox process. Detoxing includes a combination of detox drugs, such as methadone, buprenorphine, clonidine, and naltrexone. During this time, you will be under 24-hour supervision.
Your treatment plan will also include emotional support as you begin addiction therapy because many people also experience anxiety, depression, and other emotional and psychological challenges as they detox.
After completing the detox phase of treatment, the next stage is to continue treatment in either an inpatient or residential, facility or as an outpatient, depending on the severity of your addiction.
During a residential treatment stay, you can focus solely on your psychological and emotional recovery. You’ll live full-time at the residential treatment center while undergoing a supportive, rigorous, and structured treatment program at least five days a week. This program will address your emotional and mental health needs to help you begin the process of returning to your life outside the treatment center. Your goal will be to learn positive life skills, coping mechanisms, and techniques to help prevent relapse. These skills will help better prepare you for long-term recovery.
Each stage of the full continuum of treatment slowly moves you back to life outside the rehab facility while helping you build the skills and resources you need to cope and avoid relapsing. The intensive outpatient stage (IOP) allows you to either move back home or possibly into a “sober home,” which is a facility that provides a more structured lifestyle for those newly recovering from substance use. Your therapy sessions at this stage won’t be as frequent. However, you will still attend intensive therapy sessions and continue with medication management if needed. This stage of treatment will help you continue to be accountable for your recovery. It will also include periodic weekly testing.
The outpatient stage of opioid recovery usually lasts several months and helps you regain responsibility for your life as you continue to adjust to being back at home. You will have much more independence at this stage and typically will only attend therapy sessions for about an hour each week. You will also be required to participate in random drug testing to help you stay on track with your recovery.
Ready to get Help?
Talk to a treatment expert
After you complete the treatment program, you will have the opportunity to join other treatment center graduates during weekly support groups and social events. These opportunities to meet other program alumni can help you develop new friendships and build social support as part of your goal for long-term success.
If you’re ready to detox from Vicodin, the staff at Ocean Breeze Recovery can provide the guidance and support you need to start your recovery. Contact our admissions specialists for free and confidential help. They can answer any questions you may have so that you know what to expect from our evidence-based services. After you speak with a specialist, you will feel prepared to make an informed decision about your plans for treatment.
Our specialists can also check with your private health insurance to see if your treatment costs will be fully covered. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Call us today at 844-554-9279 and let us help you get started on your journey to recovery.
Bloomberg Law. (2019, July 2) Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences News. Vicodin Tops Most-Prescribed Drug Lists as Opioid Fight Moves On. Lee, J. Retrieved from https://news.bloomberglaw.com/pharma-and-life-sciences/opioids-popularity-not-hampered-by-crackdown-on-prescribing-2
Mayo Clinic. (2020, July 1) Hydrocodone And Acetaminophen (Oral Route). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/hydrocodone-and-acetaminophen-oral-route/description/drg-20074089
healthline. (2019, January 8) Symptoms of Vicodin Withdrawal. Roland, James. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-vicodin-withdrawal
Psychology Today. (2015, May 26) Detoxing After Detox: The Perils of Post-Acute Withdrawal. Mager, D. MSW Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/some-assembly-required/201505/detoxing-after-detox-the-perils-post-acute-withdrawal
Mayo Clinic. (2018, January 10) Tapering off Opioids: When and How. Mayo Clinic Staff Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/tapering-off-opioids-when-and-how/art-20386036