Withdrawal Treatment in Vicodin Rehab
Hydrocodone and oxycodone are drugs that are commonly prescribed for the treatment of extreme pain. Hydrocodone and oxycodone belong to a class of narcotic medications called opiates. These medications are synthetic or man-made with the intent of achieving the same results/benefits as the natural compounds found in opium.
Hydrocodone and oxycodone are typically present in the formulations for prescription painkillers. The most common painkillers that include these two ingredients are named:
- Vicodin ES
*It is important to note, that these medicines are often combined with the non-narcotic medicine, acetaminophen (Tylenol).
When following the prescribed dosage as ordered, some side effects may occur. These side effects are listed as drowsiness, confusion or dazed state, nausea, and possible constipation and are commonly experienced along with the pain relief.
Not following the prescribed dosage can cause serious problems and may also lead to habit forming behaviors that will also complicate matters. When too much of these medications are taken, symptoms become much more serious.
- Extreme sleepiness- ranging from struggling to stay awake to unconsciousness
- Breathing problems-slowed, shallow, possible cessation altogether
- Small pupils-“pinpoint pupils” used to help identify a hydrocodone/oxycodone overdose
Hydrocodone and oxycodone overdose occurs when the prescribed dosage is increased without a physician’s consent. The patient may intentionally or accidentally take too much medicine containing these ingredients. Accidentally taking too much of the medicine is usually due to a lack of relief from the pain experienced. A person may intentionally take too much of this medication in an effort to get “high” or intoxicated, or it may be done to try to hurt oneself.
According to The National Institute of Health, it is believed that approximately 9% of the population will misuse opiates at some point in their lives. This includes illegal drugs like heroin as well as prescription pain medications such as Vicodin. Drugs such as Vicodin and other opiates can cause physical dependence if taken regularly for too long of a period, or if abused. Keeping a strict eye on the possibility of dependence is always a good idea when taking these types of medications. Dependence means that a person feels a “Need” for the drug regardless of whether actual symptoms of need are present. Over time, greater amounts of the drug will become necessary to produce the desired effect. This is called drug tolerance. The amount of time it takes to develop a physical dependency varies from person to person.
When the person stops taking the drugs, the withdrawal symptoms begin. Withdrawal from opiates can occur whenever any chronic use is discontinued or reduced. Some have even reported experiencing withdraw from opiates after being given prescriptions for opiates and simply following the recommended dosage. In these cases, the patient seemingly became dependent without realizing what was happening to them. Patients often report flu-like symptoms and do not recognize the symptoms as being those associated with withdrawal.
Early symptoms of withdrawal are listed by the NIH as:
- Excessive tearing
- Mild to severe muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Excessive sweating
More troubling symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Abdominal cramping accompanied by diarrhea
- Dilated pupils
- Goose bumps and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
Withdrawal from Vicodin and other opioids, while not life-threatening, has symptoms that can have agonizing effects and wreak havoc on the body’s basic functions. Symptoms can range in their onset and are usually reported to begin within the first 24 hours of stopping the Vicodin. Diagnosis of withdrawal is possible after a physician conducts certain testing/screening and reviews the results. Urine and blood testing in particular will help to confirm whether levels of opiates that are present may be adequate to diagnose withdrawal. If the doctor suspects any co-occurring medical issues, further testing may be ordered.
Treatment for withdrawal usually begins with testing and treating symptoms that are severe in nature. Typical models of treatment have supportive care and pharmacological treatment as their main avenues for help.
The NIH lists these medications as commonly used for withdrawal assistance:
- Clonidine ranks as the most commonly used medication. Its focus is to reduce the most prevalent symptoms of withdrawal such as muscle aches, cramping, excessive sweating, and runny nose, anxiety, and agitation.
- Symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting are treated individually with other medications developed specifically for those symptoms.
- Buprenorphine has been shown to shorten the length of detoxification and is often used in maintenance methods that have a longer duration.
There are drug treatment programs that offer treatments for opiate withdrawal that place the addict under anesthesia during the time period expected for their individual to withdrawal. These types of programs claim to expedite the return of the body’s normal function by putting the patient in an anesthetized state, which reduces their consciousness of the withdrawal. These methods use anesthesia nd opiate blockers. Evidential proof in favor of these programs actually reducing the time spent in withdrawal does not seem to exist. In some cases, these methods may reduce the intensity of symptoms, however, there have been several deaths associated with such procedures. The deaths documented occurred at least in part because of vomiting, which significantly increases death risk while a patient is unconscious. It is for this reason, states the NIH, that many specialists agree that the risks of this procedure significantly outweigh the potential for benefit.
One of the largest hurdles that Vicodin abusers face after drug detox, is the reoccurrence of drug use and prior risky behavior. Most opiate overdose deaths have been shown to occur in persons who have just gone through withdrawal or detox. Withdrawal reduces the person’s tolerance to the drug, and this can cause the person to unwittingly overdose on an amount that is not nearly what they were used to before detox.
Extended support treatment is recommended for most persons following withdrawal. SMART Recovery or Narcotics Anonymous, are some of the self-help resources recommended by treatment facilities. These groups can help a recovering addict by facilitating group counseling and helping to locate appropriate avenues for intensive treatments and one-on-one counseling as well.
Depression as well as other mental illnesses often are underlying issues for addicts. Appropriate treatment of such disorders can reduce the risk of relapse. Contrary to past belief, antidepressant medications can be administered to an individual in recovery that may display or suffer from symptoms of depression. As each addict is an individual, so is their addiction. These are definitely points to be noted by the addict and those who will administer treatment, when deciding on the path of action for treatment methods and goals.