After an intense surgery or injury, many doctors may prescribe a narcotic painkiller known as Vicodin. Vicodin has a high likelihood of being misused. Misusers can quickly become dependent on it, paving the way for an addiction to develop. If an individual feels as if the use of Vicodin is essential to function during everyday life, then it is possible that an addiction has developed. Although Vicodin has a legitimate medical purpose, the prescription narcotic is a danger to those who may take it simply for the euphoric high the drug can provide.

What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a brand-name prescription narcotic. The main ingredient in the painkiller is hydrocodone, a semi-synthetic opioid. Vicodin is prescribed for severe or chronic pain management. Considering Vicodin is one of the most addictive painkillers, the risk of an addiction developing is high. The pharmaceutical company, Knoll, first released Vicodin as a brand-name narcotic in 1978. However, hydrocodone, the main ingredient in Vicodin, was first discovered in the 1920s. Since hydrocodone has been circulating for nearly a century, people have learned that mixing it with other drugs, such as acetaminophen, can increase the strength and the effects of the drug.

While it may be called Vicodin or be given in a generic form when prescribed by the proper medical professionals, there are many other names for the narcotic when it is distributed illegally. Drug dealers and abusers use slang terms for Vicodin to stay under the radar. Street names for Vicodin include:

  • 357s
  • Fluff
  • Hydros
  • Idiot Pills
  • Lorris
  • Norco
  • Scratch
  • Tabs
  • Vicos
  • Vics
  • Vikes
  • Watsons

Related Topic: Street Names for Drugs

Vicodin also became very popular within Hollywood, giving individuals more of an incentive to try out the drug since they knew that celebrities utilized it. Fortunately, many members of the Hollywood elite chose to come forward with their struggles to give a proper warning regarding the dangers of a Vicodin addiction.

Kelly Osbourne is one of the most well-known celebrities to share her story, largely because she wrote a book about her battle with Vicodin. Osbourne wrote in her book, Fierce, that the Vicodin addiction started with a simple prescription. As her tolerance level rose, she was consuming up to 50 pills of Vicodin a day. Her friends and parents quickly noticed her symptoms — drowsiness and nodding off, most notably. Eventually, she pursued Vicodin addiction rehab and received the necessary treatment to begin a life of sobriety.

The Recovery Village can give people the opportunity to treat a Vicodin addiction immediately when symptoms appear. Just like Osbourne, the proper treatment tools can make all the difference when it comes to obtaining a drug-free life.

What Does Vicodin Look Like?

Vicodin can vary in appearances, and it varies in the way that they are used. When prescribed from a medical professional, the drug comes in the form of a tablet. The pill has a perforated line down the back of the pill to make it easier to split in half if a full dosage is not needed. The pills usually have an imprint of which kind of Vicodin it is embedded on it, as well as the amount of milligrams of hydrocodone and acetaminophens that are in the pill itself. The pill is usually formed in the shape of an oval and is mostly white. However, there are some instances where the pill can have a tint of blue or yellow, depending on the brand of Vicodin that has been prescribed.

Vicodin can also be crushed into a powder. Individuals who choose to utilize the drug illegally usually crush it themselves. Rather than be taken orally, the powder is snorted into the body by the user. Doing this allows the Vicodin to permeate the system in a short amount of time compared to being swallowed, but it also puts individuals at a higher risk of experiencing harm and powerful side effects.

What is Vicodin Used For?

Vicodin is a prescription painkiller that is intended for those suffering from chronic pain or recovering from an intense surgery. The medication is prescribed by medical professionals to help alleviate the pain being experienced to make the patient more comfortable. When used correctly, the medication can calm the discomfort that a patient feels.

While addiction can occur from building up a tolerance to the drug, individuals who are misusing it tend to take the powerful medication to alleviate the smallest of symptoms, such as a headache. The user begins to rely on the medication for that sense of relief and tranquilization that follows the slightest discomfort.

However, people who are not using Vicodin to lessen pain tend to use the drug recreationally to obtain a euphoric high. With these recreational users, since there is no medical need to take the drug, the tolerance level is aimed toward achieving a certain level of euphoria.

Is Vicodin an Opioid?

Vicodin is a combination of acetaminophen (an NSAID) and hydrocodone (an opioid). Hydrocodone works via agonism of mu-opioid receptors, while acetaminophen works via COX-3 inhibition. Both affect the CNS and both reduce the experience of pain.

It’s possible that an opioid addiction can form from the intake of Vicodin. This kind of substance misuse centers around the dependency on prescription painkillers to function. Other kinds of opioids that people can develop addictions to are:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • OxyContin
  • Dilaudid
  • Lortab
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone

As well as treating addiction to Vicodin, The Recovery Village also offers individualized treatment plans to help people manage addictions to opioids.

Vicodin Addiction

Those who struggle with an addiction to Vicodin may not notice their symptoms at first, as the euphoric high and their level of relaxation can mask their symptoms. As the tolerance for Vicodin grows, so do the addiction symptoms. Someone struggling with an addiction to Vicodin can experience emotional symptoms like anxiety, irritability or mood swings. Physical symptoms that can be experienced include:

  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Small pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness

When an addiction to Vicodin forms, it is highly recommended to seek help from an accredited facility or work with a medical professional. Most people believe that they can ease themselves off of the drug on their own, but this is not the safest way to clear the body of the drug.

Some people believe that if they can stop the drug usage altogether that the addiction will fade away. This practice is not recommended by physicians and therapists for a number of reasons. When quitting the use of Vicodin suddenly, the body goes through withdrawal and experiences forceful and uncomfortable side effects rather quickly. Quitting cold turkey is also not guaranteed to be successful and increases the chance of setbacks occurring.

If someone chooses to treat their addiction, working with medical professionals will give them the chance to analyze the patient’s specific situation to determine the best way to wean them off the drug. This method is known as tapering. During this process, doctors will decrease the amount of Vicodin taken weekly to ease the body off of the drug. Tapering is typically the safest method used to detox from drugs.

Vicodin Dosage

The proper dosage of Vicodin that should be taken depends on the individual situation of each patient. It also varies depending on the kind of Vicodin that is taken, such as:

  • Vicodin (5/300): one or two tablets every 4–6 hours, not to exceed eight tablets.
  • Vicodin ES (7.5/300): one tablet every 4–6 hours, not to exceed six tablets.
  • Vicodin HP (10/300): one tablet every 4–6 hours, not to exceed six tablets.

The dosage and strength prescribed by a doctor depends on the severity of the experienced pain. However, when individuals become addicted to Vicodin, the body and brain begin to crave excessive amounts of the higher dosages to experience a similar high that other opioids can provide, such as heroin.

The dosage of Vicodin that has been consumed within a person’s body will also determine the severity of the addiction, as well as the kind of detox a person will go through. A person who has taken a small amount of the drug for a few months will not have as intense side effects and withdrawal symptoms as someone who has been misusing the drug for a year. An example of the kind of withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced depending on the severity of the addiction include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Chills
  • Tremors
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hostility

Knowing the kinds of symptoms that can be experienced is another reason why seeking professional help will be most beneficial to the recovery process.

It’s important to keep in mind that each person has a different chemical makeup, thus varying the kinds of results and reactions each person will have to Vicodin. It’s also important to not compare one person’s situation to another. Recovery is not a race or a competition. Receiving help is something to be proud of, rather than something to be rushed.

At The Recovery Village, patients can work one-on-one with a treatment team to determine the best route of action to assist them the most efficiently. During a thorough and detailed detoxification process, doctors and therapists evaluate the severity of the addiction and establish a plan to rid the body of the drug in the safest possible way. Withdrawal symptoms for each person will vary, but doctors can prescribe medication to ease the severity of those symptoms.

Once a successful detox is complete, patients may be recommended for one of the unique treatment programs at The Recovery Village. Such treatment plans can include inpatient, outpatient, intensive inpatient, or partial hospitalization programs. Treatment plans can include one-on-one therapy, group therapy and recreational therapy.

If attending a treatment center offered by The Recovery Village is not an option, try looking through our online facility locator to find a center closest to you. Distance should not stand in the way of a drug-free life.

The Recovery Village has locations nationwide to help assist those struggling with a Vicodin addiction or any other kind of substance use disorder. Start your recovery process and call today.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.