Vicodin Abuse Symptoms to Watch Out For
Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Its main use is to treat moderate to severe pain, and it is similar to morphine in its effects. Many people are prescribed Vicodin as a pain reducer, but the medication can be abused, either by those who are prescribed it or by others who merely want its euphoric high. Here are some Vicodin abuse symptoms to watch out for.
According to the DOI, here are some behavioral symptoms that a person abusing Vicodin might exhibit:
- Mood swings
The abuse of Vicodin causes a euphoric feeling. Whether someone has been prescribed the drug or is abusing it without a prescription for this feeling exactly, it is easy to become addicted. Dependence sets in strongly as “both physical and psychological dependence on opiates are known to be high” (DOI).
People will begin to behave differently when abusing Vicodin. The drug may become all that matters to them, and strong feelings of apathy will begin to creep in. Individuals who are abusing Vicodin might come to care very little for important aspects of their lives like work, school, and family. For them, Vicodin will start to become all they believe they need.
Vicodin abuse causes many tell-tale physical symptoms too. They are:
- Constricted pupils
- Slurred speech
- Reflexes becoming slow
- Slowed heart beat
- Slowed breathing
Because Vicodin slows down bodily functions, high doses of the drug affects many different parts of the body. People become fatigued, slur their speech, and are lethargic when they are abusing Vicodin. According to the NLM, heavy Vicodin use can also cause “fuzzy thinking,” lightheadedness, and dizziness.
Those who abuse Vicodin also build up a tolerance to the drug. If a person is taking more and more Vicodin per dose in order to feel the effects of the drug, it is a definite sign of abuse. Making sure you or someone you know is not going off the recommended dosage for Vicodin is important in stopping abuse before it starts.
Another way to tell if someone is abusing Vicodin is to see if withdrawal symptoms set in during the absence of the drug. For example, if you use Vicodin by prescription but experience withdrawal when the prescription runs out, there’s a chance you may have become dependent on the drug. The common symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal are:
- Bone and muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Flu-like symptoms: runny nose, sweating, chills, fever
If you know someone who you believe may be abusing Vicodin and see the presence of many of these symptoms, it is more than likely that the abuse is happening. According to the DOJ, “Hydrocodone [the active ingredient in Vicodin] is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States and is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other licit or illicit opioid.” Even prescription Vicodin can lead to abuse, and the use of Vicodin for its non-medical effects is very prevalent. If someone you know is abusing Vicodin, make sure to seek treatment immediately.