Vicodin is the brand name for a medication known as Hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is never available on its own, but rather it is combined with other ingredients, and the different combinations of ingredients are responsible for creating the different products.
Vicodin, for example, is a combination of Hydrocodone as well as acetaminophen.
The way that this combination works is that Hydrocodone is the primary pain reliever, but the addition of acetaminophen makes the Hydrocodone more potent.
Hydrocodone is a powerful pain reliever on its own, but its benefits are greatly enhanced when it is combined with a large dosage of acetaminophen or paracetamol. Combining the two drugs together is what creates the brand name that is known as Vicodin.
Vicodin is considered to be a narcotic pain reliever and is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance according to the Drug Enforcement Agency in the United States.
Why is Vicodin Prescribed?
Vicodin is an opiate painkiller that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of short-term and long term pain. There are different forms of Vicodin including the standard version which is 500 mg of acetaminophen and 5 mg worth of Hydrocodone, Vicodin ES which is 7.5 mg of hydrocodone and 750 mg of acetaminophen and Vicodin HP which contains 10 mg of Hydrocodone mixed with 660 mg of Acetaminophen. This medication is most commonly prescribed in order to treat moderate level or severe level pain, though it may also be prescribed for a chronic cough because it possesses antitussive properties.
Statistics Relating to Vicodin
It is currently suggested that as many as two million people in the United States are currently suffering from an addiction to Vicodin. According to a study that was conducted in 2008, nearly one in every 10 teenagers has used Vicodin by the time they reached senior year of high school. In the past ten years, abuse of Vicodin in the United States alone has increased fourfold. Approximately 23,000 people in the United States have engaged in recreational Vicodin usage according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2008.
How is Vicodin Abused?
Vicodin has the propensity to be abused, not only because it is a serious painkiller but also because it can sometimes require greater dosages to experience the same relief of pain over time. If Vicodin is taken over a long period of time, then some physicians feel that abuse of the drug will be inevitable. Vicodin abuse may be characterized by taking the medication more frequently than prescribed, taking it in higher dosages than what is prescribed or by taking it beyond the length of time recommended by a physician. All of these forms of Vicodin abuse can lead to a serious addiction requiring professional treatment. Vicodin addiction is one of the most common forms of controlled substance abuse in the United States, and it has been seen in pop culture references including in the hit television show "House," where the lead character has battled a Vicodin addiction for many years to treat chronic pain in his leg.
How Vicodin Affects the Body
As a narcotic pain reliever, the primary mechanism for Vicodin is to impact the pain sensors within your brain, blocking how you receive pain. You generally want to begin with a lower dose of this medication and then slowly work up to a greater dosage as necessary, because in patients that have not taken Vicodin before, the results of taking the drug can be a lot more potent in comparison to people that have been taking it for some time. Although it is necessary to continue taking a painkiller such as this one over a long period of time for a number of reasons, taking Vicodin over too long a period can cause a physician dependency, addiction and abuse of the drug.
Vicodin Addiction Treatment Options
When someone is dealing with a Vicodin addiction or abuse problem, the best thing that they can do is seek help from a licensed drug rehab center. There are two facets to such an addiction, a physical dependency and a psychological dependency, and both of these issues have to be treated in order for the addiction or abuse problem to go away. A licensed drug rehab program is going to be able to help the person wean themselves off of the drug slowly so that there are no bad side effects. Next, behavioral training and conditioning are used to remove psychological addiction problems so the person can return to the life they led before they abused Vicodin in the first place.