Vicodin is a painkiller, and it’s one of the most abused prescription painkillers in America. Sadly, the abuse of prescription painkillers has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, close to half of the nation’s 38,329 drug overdose deaths in 2010 involved painkillers. These narcotics now kill more adults than heroin and cocaine combined.

Vicodin is an opioid, like other painkillers. However, of the types of painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, Vicodin includes hydrocodone and acetaminophen.  Acetaminophen is commonly found in Tylenol. Yet, it’s the hydrocodone that carries the potential for addiction. If you’ve had surgery or needed to take painkillers for any reason, then you’ve likely taken opioids, and perhaps you’ve taken Vicodin.

Research has revealed that when Vicodin is taken according to the precise way it has been prescribed, it is a safe drug. When a patient takes them according to a doctor’s direction, Vicodin will relieve pain and rarely cause an addiction. However, when Vicodin is not taken according to direction, when this drug is abused in any way, that is when they become addictive.

Sadly, addictions to opioids are easy to develop, especially after someone has been using tobacco, alcohol, and/or marijuana on a regular basis. Although there are strict regulations on powerful drugs in order to prevent harm, abuse, and addiction, the abuse of Vicodin continues to happen regardless.

For this reason, many people are angry about the recent approval of a new and strong drug, Zohydro ER. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug, an even more powerful prescription painkiller, and a long-lasting form of hydrocodone. One of the two short-acting form of hydrocodone is Vicodin, already the most prescribed and the most abused drug in the country.

In March of this year, the governor of Massachusetts attempted to ban the drug considering it lethal, but a month later, the manufacturer of Zohydro ER, a company called Zogenix of San Diego, took legal proceedings. A federal judge denied the ban and the case is pending further legal action. Meanwhile, other states are taking action to restrict the use of this powerful painkiller as well as ask the FDA to reconsider its approval.

As you can imagine, Vicodin is highly addictive, and has effects on the human brain that are similar to heroin, which is also an opioid.  However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the abuse of prescription drugs such as Vicodin led to roughly 11,000 unintentional deaths in 2008, as opposed to around 2,000 unintentional deaths as a result of heroin overdoses. The easy accessibility to Vicodin, combined with its intensely addictive properties, make it incredibly dangerous for those who experience it. It’s common for someone who has experienced a serious injury to be prescribed Vicodin to help relieve the pain. If taken according to direction, addictions rarely develop. However, when an individual strays from a physician’s orders, it’s easy to develop an addiction to Vicodin.

An addiction to Vicodin might be evident if you see the following signs:

-Developing a tolerance for the drug, meaning that your body is adjusting to the drug and requires more of it to sustain the same highs over time.
-Inability to focus
-Severe mood swings
-Nausea
-Vomiting
-Preoccupation with using the drug. After using Vicodin regularly and as an addiction develops, the high will create preoccupations and thinking patterns that have to do with the next Vicodin use.
-Denial that there is a problem or that there is an addiction

Treatment of a Vicodin addiction must include a withdrawal process. Although it might not be easy for some individuals, depending on the intensity of the addiction, it can be life-saving. Following the withdrawal process and medical detoxification, there will be a period of close monitoring in order to ensure sobriety. This includes spending time with others who are in their early recovery process. It means focusing on health, healing, and staying sober. Frequently, this might mean residing at a treatment center or a sober living home.

Healing from a Vicodin addiction is possible. With support from doctors, mental health professionals, as well as family and friends, you can restore your physical, psychological, and spiritual well being.

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