Also known by its generic name, hydrocodone, Vicodin is a widely-prescribed drug used for analgesic purposes. Although it is effective for relieving moderate to severe pain, Vicodin is a narcotic drug that is highly addictive.

Short-Term Effects

Vicodin is in the opiate family of drugs and is prescribed by medical professionals for pain relief. Physicians use Vicodin to help their patients comfortably recover from various surgeries or medical procedures. Dentists also prescribe Vicodin to ease the pain associated with many dental procedures. In the short-term, Vicodin is an inexpensive drug and can be very beneficial. For many people, Vicodin not only relieves pain but is accompanied by a slight feeling of euphoria, others report feeling sedated and drowsy. The general good feeling produced by Vicodin may be helpful after surgery, but it also contributes to its propensity for being abused.

Liver Damage

The most often-cited danger of taking Vicodin is the potential for severe liver damage. Vicodin contains acetaminophen which is known to cause liver damage in high doses. However, it’s the insidious nature of Vicodin that can make it deadly. It doesn’t take long for a patient to develop a tolerance to Vicodin. Consequently, increasingly higher doses are necessary to obtain the same painkilling effect. Because users can easily become addicted to Vicodin, they are compelled to take more and more of the drug. As acetaminophen dosages increase so does the inherent risk for severe liver damage or even failure.

Are You Addicted?

The longer you have been taking Vicodin, the more likely you are to become addicted to it. The most noticeable signs of Vicodin addiction are much the same as for other prescription drugs:

  •  Doctor shopping or swapping in order to procure prescriptions
  •  Unusual lethargy
  •  Inability to focus on a task or perform normal activities
  •  Severe mood swings
  •  Withdrawal from family and friends
  •  Breaking the law to get more Vicodin

Vicodin dependency is not always easily recognizable because it happens over time. Unfortunately, Vicodin dependency is a growing problem in this country. But there are effective behavioral and pharmacological treatment protocols that have been used to successfully address the problem.

Vicodin is a powerful, narcotic painkiller that can effectively help people recover from medical procedures. In fact, it is so widely prescribed that many people accidentally become addicted to it through no fault of their own. But it’s the addictive nature of this prescription drug that is one of the biggest problems with taking it. In addition, Vicodin loses its effectiveness rather quickly unless the dosage is progressively increased.  The good news is that treatment is available. If someone that you know is showing signs of Vicodin addiction, contact a treatment facility immediately.