Vicodin Addiction & Abuse

Understanding Vicodin, Its Effects, and Signs of Abuse

Vicodin is one of the most prevalent prescribed pain-relievers in the United States. Many fail to understand that Vicodin is not a unique substance, but a combination of two pre-existing medications. Despite having such a high administration rate, there are detrimental effects that accompany prolonged abuse of the drug.

Vicodin is an immensely addictive medication with a shockingly low threshold for overdose. Its widespread availability makes it conducive for reliance formation. It is essential to understand the properties of Vicodin, as well as the consequences of its abuse, so you can begin to fight the addiction inflicting you or your loved one.

Basic Characteristics and Applications

Vicodin is the product of combining hydrocodone and paracetamol. It is this blending that gives the drug its technical name, hydrocodone/paracetamol. Vicodin is also widely referred to as hydrocodone/acetaminophen, due to the near-synonymous nature of the second two words. Check out our in-depth resource for more information about hydrocodone addiction.

With hydrocodone having such prominence in the Vicodin recipe, the foundation of the drug traces back to the latex of the opium poppy plant. It is this origination that gives the substance such strong pain-relieving abilities.

Regardless of its beneficiary effects, you must never forget that Vicodin is an addictive opiate. It has one of the highest abuse and overdose rates of any pain reliever in the market. The mainstream media doesn’t shy away from depicting these negative attributes. Vicodin plays a central role in the plot of hit television series House, as well as well as in the discography of rap artists Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.

Methods of Consumption

Unlike most opiates, Vicodin can only be consumed orally. This limitation surprisingly doesn’t inhibit the drug’s variety. While primarily prescribed as a pill/tablet, the drug is also consumable as a medicinal elixir and water-dissolvable solution.

Vicodin is available in multiple strength levels correlating with the severity of the pain in question. As it is disturbingly easy to overdose on the drug, you should only ingest high-strength versions in extreme circumstances.


As discussed prior, one of the main ingredients in Vicodin is hydrocodone. Therefore, while the drug doesn’t have a rich history on its own, its primary ingredient does.

In 1920, hydrocodone was created and first synthesized by German scientists Carl Mannich and Helene Löwenheim. It was not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until 1943.

The progression of the 20th century saw the rapid spread of hydrocodone administration across the Nation. It was during this boom that the drug was combined with paracetamol to create the first Vicodin.

The history of Vicodin remained relatively static until 2009 when the FDA voted to remove the drug from the pharmaceutical market. Fueling this decision was a rapid increase in addiction and abuse at the dawn of the new millennium. Regardless, the verdict was abandoned in favor of decreasing acetaminophen portions and including packaging warnings.

In 2014, the government changed the legal status of hydrocodone from Schedule III to II. This new status still permitted medical prescription and administration but signified the drug’s high probability of developing addiction in users. Due to the quantity of hydrocodone present in Vicodin, this status change applied to both. Hydrocodone and Vicodin remain Schedule II substances to this day.

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Side Effects

Despite its widespread success as a pain reliever, Vicodin is not without flaws, namely side-effects. Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, and headaches scratch the surface of the drug’s unintended repercussions.

As for side-effects, these symptoms are by no means guaranteed. However, if you develop an addiction to the drug (and subsequently undergo withdrawal), these effects are practically guaranteed.

Addiction, Withdrawal and Overdose

Although the mainstream media depicts the dangers of Vicodin abuse, this effort is nowhere near enough. Medical professionals and potential users alike should never overlook the devastatingly addictive properties of the substance. Since Vicodin is an opiate, once your body develops a reliance, it loses the ability to function properly without it.

Gaps between Vicodin use see the emergence of devastating withdrawal symptoms. Nearly all of the previously discussed side-effects make a return, but with a robust increase in intensity. These veterans come packed with new, but equally harsh symptoms, including slowed heartbeat, constipation, blurred vision, and even seizures.

Vicodin addiction will destroy your social life. You will inadvertently harm your friends and family in your desperate search for your next dose. Your relationships will become unmaintainable as you begin to re-center your life around combating withdrawal. You take up an alienating and isolationist lifestyle, leaving you distance from your loved ones and prone to depression. Administration of Vicodin should always be facilitated and monitored by a medical professional, and never conducted recreationally.

If you or your loved one feel trapped by Vicodin addiction, you may feel helpless or alone. Riverside Recovery of Tampa’s primary goal is to ease you out of addiction and back into functioning society. Our state-of-the-art resources and experienced staff will provide you with a rejuvenating path to self-discovery. For more information, we encourage you to call (833) 875-7701. Don’t let a reliance on Vicodin control your life; contact Riverside Recovery today.

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Our experienced, compassionate admissions staff at Riverside Recovery of Tampa will guide you through every step of the admissions process. Many of them have gone through recovery themselves or are experienced in the mental health and substance abuse field. From your initial contact with our center, to your intake assessment, the admissions staff will bring you through our doors and on your way to recovery.