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Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

Vicodin is the commercialized name for the combination of paracetamol and hydrocodone, which affects the central nervous system  and alters your brain functions. Prolonged daily use can develop drug dependence, caused by a decrease in dosage and followed by displays of extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Vicodin clings to opiate receptors located in the brain, which are normally bound by natural neurotransmitters, and blocks the brain’s perception of pain. With long term use, your body slows down the production of those neurotransmitters and causes physical dependence on the drug, which the body begins to need to function properly. Once this new normalcy is established, it will strive to maintain homeostasis.


Tolerance – a naturally occurring condition of the body  after chronic dosage; makes once effective doses ineffective. 

Withdrawal – the response of the body due to fighting to maintain its balance; starts just a few hours after the last intake, (peaks in severity around 72 hours after the last missed dose) and lasts for several weeks. 

Withdrawal symptoms: 

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The first step to ending your addiction is seeking help from a professional. Also, let people closest to you know what is going on. Familial and friendly support is crucial in going through Vicodin withdrawal with success.

Here are some common methods used in combating Vicodin dependence:

Tapered withdrawal: considered to be the safest as well as most recommended method to lower tolerance and decrease withdrawal intensity; typically includes specially designed stopping schedule (created by a medical doctor), and may consist of 2 to 3 weeks of gradually decreasing Vicodin doses (may take longer if needed)

Medical detoxification: reception of 24/7 care at a detox clinic to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible and used to prevent relapse

Medication treatment:  Used to address withdrawal symptoms effectively; some of the medications prescribed may include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Clonidine
  • Naltrexone

Home treatment: requires good health and a strong support system; includes home remedies, massages, OTC (over the counter) medications, and hot baths to help ease symptoms

Supportive withdrawal: allows you to share your personal experience and hear other people’s stories and receive advice on overcoming Vicodin withdrawal. 

At Asana Recovery, the difficulties of recovery are understood through our daily work helping those struggling from addiction. Though there are those who may believe they can make it alone, rehab programs are key in battling dependency. It may not be easy, but you can absolutely do it if supported by the right team. Aftercare and counseling can help you to address the roots of your addiction, while also helping you build structures from which to better handle life without substance abuse.


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