Causes & Symptoms of Vicodin Addiction

Since 1957, Azure Acres Treatment Center has given hope to individuals struggling with Vicodin addiction and its lasting effects. Azure Acres provides residents high-quality alcohol and drug abuse treatment near Santa Rosa, California.

Understanding Vicodin

Learn about Vicodin and substance abuse

Vicodin is an opioid painkiller that is comprised of both acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen is not addictive on its own, however, when it is mixed with hydrocodone, which is a narcotic, it becomes strong and its effects attract many.

Vicodin is effective in alleviating moderate to severe chronic or acute physical pain. Working as a central nervous system depressant, Vicodin affects users by diminishing their ability to feel pain while triggering the onset of feelings of relaxation, contentment, and wellbeing. In some aspects, the use of this painkiller can cause one to feel detached from his or her surroundings. Since Vicodin can bring about a number of pleasant effects, many individuals find that they start using it higher doses and more frequently than originally intended. Also, individuals who do not have a prescription for Vicodin might also use it to obtain the same euphoric effects it produces, causing them to use this substance illegally. Sadly, regardless of whether an individual is consuming Vicodin for a medical purpose or not, it is a medication that can cause tolerance to build and addiction to develop. As soon as a Vicodin addiction kicks in, it can be challenging for individuals to function appropriately, which is often a sign that Vicodin use disorder is present. Fortunately, there are treatment options available for Vicodin addictions.


Vicodin addiction statistics

Nearly 139 prescriptions for Vicodin (which is one of the most common painkillers prescribed in the U.S.) were filled in 2010 alone, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The rate that this medication is being filled directly correlates with the amount of Vicodin abuse that is going on, as within the past ten years, Vicodin abuse has quadrupled.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Vicodin addiction

The causes and risk factors that can add to the development of Vicodin use disorder can be further explained below:

Genetic: Genetics can play a major role in determining an individual’s chances of developing Vicodin use disorder. For example, individuals who have family members who struggle with opioid abuse and addiction are more likely to share the same issues than are those who do not have this family background. In addition, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that the presence of specific personality traits, such as impulsivity or novelty-seeking behavior, is genetic and can determine an individual’s likelihood of abusing substances like Vicodin.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of Vicodin abuse or addiction
  • Personal history of abusing other substances
  • Having a novelty-seeking personality
  • Having an impulsive temperament
  • Family history of other types of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Having easy access to obtaining Vicodin
  • Suffering from a condition that warrants the prescribing of Vicodin
  • Being in an environment where Vicodin or other substances are used

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction

When individuals are abusing a substance like Vicodin, the symptoms that they will exhibit will vary. Some examples of the signs and symptoms that one might display when abusing Vicodin can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Frequent absences from work
  • Visiting multiple doctors so that multiple Vicodin prescriptions can be obtained
  • Compulsive, prolonged use of Vicodin, despite attempts to stop
  • Slurred speech
  • Using Vicodin in dangerous situations, such as driving while high
  • No longer taking care of responsibilities at home
  • No longer engaging in activities or hobbies that were once considered important or significant
  • Slurred speech

Physical symptoms:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  • Insomnia

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Attention difficulties
  • Memory disturbances
  • Overwhelming cravings for Vicodin
  • Suicidal ideation

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • No longer finding interest in things once interested in
  • Feelings of euphoria followed by a state of apathy
  • Dysregulation of mood
  • Depression


Effects of Vicodin addiction

The constant abuse of Vicodin can cause individuals to go through a wide variety of negative effects in all areas of their lives. Some of these effects can include, however are not limited to, the following:

  • Financial turmoil
  • Anoxia, or suffering from an oxygen deficiency in the body’s tissues
  • Impaired visual acuity
  • Onset of new, or worsening of current, mental illness symptoms
  • Liver damage
  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Decline in occupational performance, possibly resulting in demotion, job loss, or chronic unemployment
  • Destroyed marriages or partnerships
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Suicidal behaviors
  • Decreased gastrointestinal activity
  • Suicidal ideation

Co-Occurring Disorders

Vicodin addiction and co-occurring disorders

Those who battle with the desire to keep abusing opioids like Vicodin are at risk for also battling symptoms of other mental illnesses at the same time. Some of the most common mental health conditions that often occur simultaneously with Vicodin use disorder can include:

  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Tobacco use disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Major depressive disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal and overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal: When an individual consumes Vicodin so frequently and then abruptly stops his or her use, withdrawal will likely occur. This period, which happens as an individual’s body is attempting to adjust to the lack of Vicodin within the system, can be very painful, and can include some of the following effects:

  • Muscle aching
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic flowing of tears
  • Yawning
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Dysphoric mood

Effects of Vicodin overdose: Consuming more Vicodin that one’s body can process can bring about an overdose. Since Vicodin causes dependence to develop, those who abuse this substance must keep increasing the amount they are consuming to achieve the desired effects. With this increase comes a greater risk for overdose. If an overdose happens, one should obtain immediate medical attention to avoid fatalities. Some signs that one might display when overdosing on Vicodin can include:

  • Alterations in speech patterns
  • Labored breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Take a free online Assessment

An assessment is an important first step toward treatment of and recovery from addiction.

My addiction to prescription drugs was very out of hand before going to Azure Acres. I am so grateful to all of the staff that has helped me through my recovery.

– Former Patient