As human beings, we all experience pain and suffering at some point during our lives. Pain can be physical or mental, and it can be as slight as a paper cut or as damaging as the loss of a loved one. Extremely traumatic events can be especially difficult to cope with naturally, and those who cannot handle the pain tend to search for other ways to lessen it. Many people turn to Vicodin to make everyday living bearable.
Vicodin is a powerful pain reliever that is created from pairing the opioid hydrocodone with the lesser pain reliever acetaminophen. It is typically prescribed by a physician for moderate to severe physical pains resulting from surgery, injury, or a medical condition. Vicodin may also be used to treat immense emotional pain resulting from severe depression, but this is not as common. The active ingredient in Vicodin is hydrocodone because it directly alters brain function and causes the body to feel and respond differently to pain. By blocking pain receptors, hydrocodone decreases felt pain and also causes a feeling of euphoria.
Vicodin is generally taken orally in the form of a pill or solution. Eating food right afterwards is recommended to reduce the potency of the drug and decrease feelings of nausea, sleepiness, disorientation, and other side effects that may be present. It is also a good idea to drink six to eight glasses of water a day when taking Vicodin to avoid constipation. In addition to increasing water intake, it is recommended that users also increase fiber intake.
The dosage of Vicodin is usually dependent on current medical condition and body weight. Those who have serious conditions and weigh more will get larger and stronger doses. Doses are usually modified over time according to the patient’s mental and physical response to Vicodin. It is best to take the pain reliever when pain is first experienced for the greatest effect.
Remember that it is always necessary to follow the instructions on the container to avoid injury and possible death. Never take more than the recommended dosage. When ingested in excessive amounts, acetaminophen can destroy the liver. If Vicodin will be used in conjunction with other medications, consult a physician to ensure that it is safe to do so.
It is normal to experience certain side effects while using Vicodin. While the symptoms reported by users may vary from one person to the next, the following side-effects are most commonly reported:
Serious side effects that are not normal and require immediate medical attention include: fainting, difficulty breathing, painful urination, seizure, intense stomach pain, difficulty waking up, serious rash, blurred vision, jaundice, slowed heart rate, discolored stools, irrational fear, loss of appetite, and unusual thoughts and behaviors.
Like with any drug, it is important to ask a physician whether taking Vicodin is safe. Generally speaking, only individuals with allergies to either hydrocodone or acetaminophen are prohibited from taking Vicodin. However, those who have the following conditions may not be allowed to take the pain reliever:
It can be very dangerous to participate in activities that require fine motor skills while using Vicodin. It is dangerous to drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or engage in rigorous physical activity if drowsiness is present. Failure to do so can result in the serious injury or death of oneself or others.
While the benefits of Vicodin as a pain reliever are obvious, long-term usage of the drug can pose dangers that many people may not realize. According to statistics, almost two million people in the United States are Vicodin addicts, meaning that they’ve developed a chemical dependency on the drug. In fact, the number of Vicodin abusers is now four times greater than it was a decade ago. In 2008, an NSDUH survey revealed that well over 20,000 individuals used Vicodin recreationally without any need for it. About 10% of all teens have tried the drug before high school graduation, suggested a 2008 University of Michigan study.
Vicodin is simple to obtain from a physician as a prescribed pain reliever, and it is also relatively inexpensive compared to other comparable pain relievers on the market. With such easy access to the drug, however, it is possible for users to become addicted to Vicodin primarily because of the hydrocodone in it. Users who become dependent on the drug are those who demand the euphoric rush associated with Vicodin use. Since that feeling of happiness and relaxation is so soothing to individuals who have suffered from so much pain, they want to remain in that state of bliss for as long as possible. That means using the drug consistently so that its effects do not ever wear out. Over time, regular use of Vicodin will decrease its effects on the mind and body because users develop a tolerance to it. Consequently, those users will need to use an increasingly higher dosage of the drug to get the same euphoric feeling they so desire. Many people lose control and find themselves downing 20 to 30 pills a day–an amount that is far in excess of typical dosages.
Overdosing on Vicodin can cause serious bodily harm or death, so it is imperative to keep an eye out for those who have been prescribed the drug to ensure that they aren’t abusing it.
Watch out for the following symptoms as they could be indicators of Vicodin abuse and overdose:
Vicodin addiction, like any other addiction, can take over one’s life. For those who abuse the drug, nothing else matters. They may fail to show up at work, drop out of school, stop attending religious services, ignore their friends, and isolate themselves from society. Gradually, their only goal in life will be to obtain and use Vicodin. When these people can no longer get the drug legally, they will turn to illegal methods of obtaining it. Desperation can cause addicts to steal, rob, manipulate, injure, or even kill for what they want.
Even though drug addicts often hurt those who are closest to them, there is no one that they hurt more than themeselves. According to statistics, Vicodin was mentioned by name as one of the top ten drugs that caused fatalities in 2002 across 18 different US cities. In 2004, over 42,000 individuals were admitted to US emergency rooms for treatment of hydrocodone-related injuries. The AAPCC reported over 24,000 cases in 2007 involving drugs that contained hydrocodone, and 11 of them resulted in death. In 2009, those numbers increased to 27,000 cases and 30 deaths. As you can see, many of these abusers simply wanted to escape from their painful realities, and some of them got exactly what they wanted. All of the pain ended–with death.
It’s clear that Vicodin addiction is a big problem in the US and all over the world. If you know people who are combating addiction, the best course of action might be to have them admitted to a rehabilitation center on an inpatient basis. Why choose inpatient treatment over other options? Here are some reasons that should convince you that inpatient treatment is the best option for severe cases of substance abuse.
Inpatient centers place addicts into very structured programs that have set times for all activities. The activities are all geared towards recovery and leave very little free time for patients during the course of a day. This lack of free time prevents relapse because patients don’t get the opportunity to think about drugs.
Addiction can be very difficult to overcome, so it is necessary for patients to get as much support as possible. Inpatient settings provide patients with counseling, emotional support, and 24/7 supervision. Constant supervision can prevent the most damaged addicts from committing suicide or hurting others.
Contact with the outside world is very limited in an inpatient treatment center. Phone calls and visitors are limited and supervised to keep negative influences at a minimum.
Patients cannot leave an inpatient facility at any time, and they are always being monitored by medical workers. Since they can’t get out, bringing in Vicodin or other drugs from the outside would be extremely difficult.
Interaction with other addicts can help one to realize one’s faults and make a change for the better. Making new friends also gives patients a shoulder to lean on when they need it most.
Eating right is an essential part of recovery since most addicts have little to no appetite or get by on junk foods. Getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals from food is critical for recovery and maintaining good health.
From yoga and tai chi to meditation and massage, patients are offered many different activities to participate in. These activities keep patients entertained while improving both mental and physical health to lead to quicker recovery.
Even after being released from rehab, inpatient centers provide patients with tools that they can use whenever they need help. These tools range from methods to curb cravings to the telephone numbers of other support organizations.
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