A report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine shows that about 2 million people in the United States have substance use disorders related to prescription opioids. Vicodin is the country’s most prescribed painkiller. While it is meant to alleviate pain, it can be misused, leading to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. The decision to stop using Vicodin is a massive step in the right direction, but it is not free of obstacles. Withdrawal symptoms accompany detoxing from Vicodin. The process requires absolute willpower, dedication, perseverance, and people in your corner to provide emotional and medical support.
Prolonged Vicodin use makes the body accustomed to it, creating tolerance and dependence. When you suddenly cut back or quit, you will experience uncomfortable psychological and physical side effects. This happens because your body requires time to normalize and to recover. The withdrawal symptoms can be mild, moderate, severe, or very severe, depending on the amount of Vicodin you used and for how long. Most patients who used Vicodin only as prescribed and for therapeutic purposes may not notice that they are going through a withdrawal because they typically experience flu-like symptoms.
Common Vicodin withdrawal side effects include:
- Muscle aches
- Mood swings
- Teary eyes
Individually, these symptoms should not scare you because they are not deadly. However, experiencing all of them at once for a prolonged period causes dehydration and fluid loss. You can avoid harmful detox side effects by going through the process in a reputable addiction treatment facility, such as the Granite Recovery Center. We employ expert clinicians and doctors who provide patients with around-the-clock assistance.
Short-Term Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
These withdrawal symptoms usually appear about 12 hours after taking your last Vicodin dose. These are likely the first signs you will see during detox, but they do not persist long. Common symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite
- Cramping and muscle aches
Although these symptoms can drain you physically, remember that they will not last forever. They typically last for a week, but the process is different for every patient. Symptoms are part of the detoxing process, and going through them puts you a step closer to achieving your recovery goals. If you go through detox at Granite Recovery Center, you will have the staff members’ and doctors’ support. They will attend to you if you feel any mental or physical discomfort, and they will make sure that you are not alone during Vicodin detox and withdrawal.
Long-Term Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
A few symptoms may persist once the initial Vicodin withdrawal effects wear off, varying from one patient to another. Vicodin addiction affects people physically and mentally. While it is easier to spot the physical effects, realize that withdrawal impacts a person’s mental well-being too. Long-term Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are usually the unseen ones. They include:
- Mood Swings
- Difficulty concentrating
Behavioral health counseling can help mitigate these symptoms. It should be done during and after detox. These mental symptoms of Vicodin withdrawals result from co-occurring disorders that existed before addiction or that are spurred from it. The dual-diagnosis approach to treatment is essential because it addresses these problems while also trying to fix the addiction. A trained therapist helps patients manage mental problems.
Timeline of Vicodin Withdrawal
It is difficult to predict the timeline for Vicodin withdrawal because every patient has a unique experience. While it varies for different people, Vicodin clears from the body after eight hours on average. The first withdrawal symptoms will show within 24 hours following the final dose. Intense withdrawal symptoms accompany the initial detox phases. After three days, the person will probably begin to feel better and keep progressing beyond day five. The symptoms typically subside after a week, but it is customary to keep having mild side effects until the one-week mark.
The amount of time a person experiences withdrawal symptoms are influenced by the following:
- Length of use – If a person used Vicodin long enough to develop dependence and tolerance, he or she could go through acute withdrawal symptoms, especially if Vicodin was used compulsively. This patient will also go through withdrawal for a longer time than short-term users. The withdrawal symptoms may be minimal or even none at all if the person used Vicodin only for a few weeks and followed the prescription directions.
- Addiction – The psychological compulsiveness from Vicodin addiction will make withdrawal symptoms more intense. The person will have to overcome the urge to use to achieve complete recovery. This can make the physical symptoms more challenging to endure.
- Dose – Once you develop a Vicodin tolerance, you will need to take more than your usual dose to feel the same effects. Consequently, withdrawal symptoms will feel much worse if your body has grown accustomed to Vicodin.
Coping and Relief From Withdrawal Symptoms
Certain practices can relieve the unpleasant Vicodin withdrawal symptoms:
- Stay busy – Find activities to help take your mind from the withdrawal effects by keeping your mind occupied with something other than the discomfort. You could choose to read, watch movies or TV shows, or play video games.
- Drink a lot of water – Staying dehydrated is vital for your recovery because Vicodin withdrawal is usually accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting, making the body lose fluids. Drinking lots of water and other fluids prevents dehydration.
- Taking OTC medications – Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help relieve withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea and fever. Some of these drugs include antidiarrheal options and NSAIDs. Ensure that you stick to the proper dosage, and speak to the doctor if you feel any severe or unusual withdrawal side effects. Granite Recovery Center offers a medication-assisted treatment program that uses Methadone and Suboxone to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms in its patients. Seek medical attention if the dehydration symptoms become severe. These symptoms include rapid breathing, extreme thirst, disorientation, and sunken eyes.
Vicodin withdrawal can result in dangerous complications. For instance, vomiting and then breathing in the stomach contents into your lungs can cause aspiration, leading to choking or a lung infection. Having diarrhea and vomiting can make you dehydrated and can interfere with your body’s mineral and chemical balances.
The main danger from Vicodin detoxing occurs when the patient begins using again. A majority of Vicodin overdose-related deaths occur for individuals who went through withdrawal and detox recently. An overdose can even be caused by a smaller dose than the amount that the person used to take.
Tapering Off Vicodin
The purpose of a Vicodin taper is to help the user stop using it gradually. It is a standard and effective detoxification method. Although this method takes time, precise strategy, and patience, it delivers desirable results. While this technique is not fast, it offers a regular and consistent process.
A Vicodin taper schedule that a doctor or physician approves alleviates or prevents the following withdrawal symptoms.
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Panic attacks
Other common side effects:
- Muscle aches
Although you can do a Vicodin taper at home if your physician approves it, it is best to do a medical taper at an addiction treatment center. Vicodin users who take the medication only for therapeutic purposes can reduce their doses when their doctors deem it necessary. However, recreational Vicodin users do not have that luxury because their dosage amounts and quantities vary based on the pill availability, making scheduling a taper difficult.
A Vicodin taper can be accompanied by complications, especially if done without the help of a medical professional. The reduction rates of Vicodin will fluctuate based on every patient’s needs, which can change weekly. Physicians recommend lowering the use of Vicodin by 10% per week. Fast tapers can go up to 25% every couple of days, but this method is not suitable for users who have not been using Vicodin excessively.
Tapering off Vicodin is an incremental detox program, so the strides you make will often fluctuate. Therefore, it is best to take the process day by day until you reach the end of the taper. Regardless of the type of taper you choose, do not do it without medical guidance, and make sure that you have a robust support system.
The process can be performed in multiple ways, including the following:
- Medication-assisted detox – This is the most widely recommended and supported detox mode. It is done in hospitals and addiction recovery centers that offer full services, like Granite Recovery Center. Every patient gets individual counseling, around-the-clock medical care, nutritional support, individual counseling, and many more services. This method aims to soothe the physical symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal. Through it, healthcare professionals can monitor your symptoms and act swiftly and accordingly in case of an emergency. It also increases the odds of completing the treatment.
- Outpatient detox – This process can take place at a doctor’s office, local clinic, or medical center. It offers a less comprehensive support system compared to medication-assisted detox, with the treatment issued during business hours in most cases. This method is not ideal for individuals with a severe Vicodin substance disorder.
However, outpatient therapy is more desirable to many people because it allows them to continue their everyday lives while continuing detoxing from Vicodin. It is also cost effective because the patients do not receive 24-hour care and monitoring. Outpatient detox is ideal for individuals with a safe, stable, and supportive home life.
- Holistic detox – Instead of providing clinical support and using taper medications, this method utilizes herbal medicines and alternative therapies to facilitate body detoxification. Holistic detox may employ yoga, acupuncture, and spiritual counseling. It takes into account the patient’s emotions, mind, body, and spirit to offer optimal wellness and health.
Meditation changes how you perceive different events, including stress, discomfort, and pain. It also alters how you perceive your feelings and thoughts, helping you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your surroundings. Acupuncture enables you to acquire long-term recovery support and immediate relief. It is usually used to re-establish balance and to stimulate certain body parts.
- Cold-turkey detox – Doing something “cold turkey” means to abruptly quit the consumption of a substance, in this case Vicodin. This method may seem appealing to many people because it offers a quick way to stop using that involves avoiding places, people, and other reminders of your Vicodin use and to begin afresh. However, you should keep in mind that going cold turkey can cause adverse, life-threatening effects, including heart problems and seizures. This occurs because your nervous system had adapted to Vicodin dependence.
This method also results in severe withdrawal symptoms. It would be best to avoid this approach if you have been using Vicodin for a long time. Cold turkey detox lowers your body’s tolerance for Vicodin dramatically, putting you at a high risk of overdosing if you relapse.
- At-home detox – Ideally, you should only do an at-home detox if your doctor approves it. If you are considering this treatment option, make sure that you consult a medical professional with extensive experience in withdrawal management and addiction treatment. It is also vital to be honest about the severity of your Vicodin use and the existence of other physical and mental health conditions.
Before doing at-home detox, make sure you have a support system because relying on your willpower will not be enough, and ensure that you can access medical help swiftly if the need arises. Trying to detox alone can cause disastrous consequences, like severe withdrawal symptoms. Ensure that you and your support system understand the effects of detoxing. While at-home care is an option, it is a dangerous one, so it would be best to avoid it for your well-being, especially if you have been using Vicodin for a long time.
The pain and discomfort of Vicodin withdrawal can make it difficult for patients to complete recovery and to stay clean, which is why it is crucial to go through the process in a supportive environment. Granite Recovery Center offers medical detox and the tools to help maintain your sobriety.