Vicodin Withdrawal Duration, Symptoms & Treatments

Vicodin is a prescription painkiller that is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient found in Tylenol while hydrocodone is a semisynthetic opioid. The drug is usually used as a short-term option for dulling moderate or severe pain, such as pain after surgery.

Because it contains hydrocodone, Vicodin is listed as a schedule II substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This means that it is limited to specific medical uses, since it has a high risk of addiction and abuse. Despite such limits, Vicodin is one of the most abused substances in the United States.

Clinical manifestations of the use of hydrocodone

Clinical manifestations of the use of hydrocodone often include:

  • Euphoria
  • Lack of coordination
  • Sedation
  • Slurred speech
  • Shallow breathing
  • Feeling of confusion
  • Reduced size of pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness

Vicodin addiction increases the risk of overdose and death. There is also the likelihood of the user switching to heroin to satisfy their addiction, as heroin is relatively easy to obtain and often less expensive than Vicodin.

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

The side effects of Vicodin withdrawal can be severe. Users may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Mood swings, irritability, and other psychological changes
  • Sleep disorders such as insomnia and restlessness
  • Nasal problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating, tremors, and shivering
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing

Since the drug has a half-life of four hours, the symptoms can occur eight hours after the last dose. It is important for users to visit a Vicodin withdrawal treatment center where they can receive proper Vicodin withdrawal help.

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How long do Vicodin withdrawals last?

Physically, the withdrawal symptoms from Vicodin can last up to 10 days before they go away. Meanwhile, the psychological symptoms can continue for months.

Some people develop post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which makes the detox process more difficult. Effective inpatient treatment facilities provide the support and the round-the-clock medical supervision that people need to reduce their chances of relapsing.

How long people experience Vicodin withdrawal symptoms can depend on:

  • The length of time they’ve used Vicodin.
  • The severity of their Vicodin addiction.
  • The method of detox. Attempting to quit Vicodin cold turkey (quitting all Vicodin immediately) can produce severe symptoms.
  • The assistance of medical professionals during detox procedures.
  • The amount of hydrocodone that the person has been consuming.

Just like treating other opioid addictions, people who abuse Vicodin might want to use medication-assisted treatment (MAT) during detox. This treatment includes using prescribed medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce people’s physical dependence on the drug. Some common medications used in MAT include buprenorphine and naloxone.

Medical professionals also treat people by tapering them off Vicodin. During this process, they reduce people’s Vicodin dosage gradually until they completely end their dependence on the drug. The stronger someone’s addiction and the more Vicodin they use, the slower their tapering will probably be.

After the detox process is complete, there will be a need for addiction treatment, especially if people have co-occurring mental health issues (such as depression or anxiety) that drove them to abuse Vicodin. Such treatment can occur at a drug rehab facility. Rehabilitation is one of the most effective ways to treat substance addiction. Depending on their needs, people can opt for either inpatient or outpatient treatment.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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