Signs of Vicodin Addiction

Vicodin is a drug that has a risk of being abused, leading to health challenges or, sometimes, death. Learn about Vicodin addiction below.

What is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a brand name for a particular analgesic—a category of drug used to relieve pain. Vicodin contains two active ingredients; hydrocodone, an opioid analgesic and acetaminophen, an analgesic and antipyretic (fever reducer). The major uses of Vicodin are as a cough suppressant and painkiller.2
Vicodin addiction
Some Vicodin drug effects like euphoria make it one of the most common painkillers prone to abuse and addiction, which can ultimately lead to overdose and, worse, death.


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What is Vicodin Addiction?

Vicodin contains an opioid, hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is a synthetic opioid that releases the same neurotransmitters as natural opioids like heroin. Anyone with Vicodin addiction also suffers from opioid use disorder, an illness characterized by compulsive use of opioids (Vicodin in this case) despite adverse effects. Non-medical uses of Vicodin are quite debilitating due to its potency as an opioid. Here’s how Vicodin works.

How Does Vicodin Addiction Work?

Like other opioid pain relievers, Vicodin is usually prescribed for short-term use. They are considered safe when used for only a short time. The safest way to take Vicodin is via oral administration. The drug works by blocking pain signals between the brain and body. But that’s not all. A relaxed sense of euphoria is a common Vicodin effect on the brain. This Vicodin high can become addictive, leading to Vicodin abuse.3

Physical Signs of Vicodin Addiction

Learning about Vicodin addiction symptoms or signs can help you determine whether you or your loved one need help or not. These signs of Vicodin addiction will be detailed below.

Constant Drowsiness

Constant drowsiness is one of the signs that a person might be addicted to Vicodin, which ultimately affects the person’s daily activities.


Another sign of Vicodin addiction is the feeling of exhaustion or overall tiredness people with the disorder often face.

Mood Swings

As with other opioid disorders, Vicodin dependency can greatly impact the moods of a person, causing mood shifts that are often erratic.

Chronic Constipation

One of the long-term effects of Vicodin use is chronic constipation. The narcotic component, hydrocodone, found in Vicodin, attaches to special receptors in the bowel and slows down bowel movement.4


Another Vicodin drug effect that is quite undesirable is the feeling of nausea. Vicodin dependency makes nausea something a person with the disorder deals with often, a clear sign of Vicodin addiction.


On repeated administration of Vicodin medication, a person who misuses the drug will require most significant amounts of the drugs. This happens because the person may no longer get the desired Vicodin high effects from the previous dosage. This is called tolerance, which can feed the vicious cycle of Vicodin abuse.

Physical Dependence

This is where the body adjusts its normal functioning around regular hydrocodone (opioid) use. This makes it difficult to withdraw, and this can further encourage Vicodin addiction.

Behavioral Signs of Vicodin Addiction

A person abusing Vicodin will exhibit noticeable behavioral changes. These include the following:

Ignoring Everyday Responsibilities

Vicodin addiction will leave a person feeling drowsy and exhausted. Due to these Vicodin drug effects, a person who abuses Vicodin will find it challenging to carry out daily duties.

Taking a Higher Dose of Vicodin or Taking it More Frequently Than Prescribed

When the prescribed dose of Vicodin stops producing the desired Vicodin high effects, the person with the disorder often starts taking more to get that desired level of Vicodin high. This is an inevitable sign of Vicodin abuse.

Becoming More Secretive About Their Treatment with People They Are Close To

Vicodin dependence is incredibly isolating. The fear of social stigma and shame often makes people with the disorder secretive.

Losing Property or Personal Property for Unexplained Reasons

Vicodin medication is expensive, especially without a prescription. To keep getting the drug, selling properties is inevitable.

A Noticeable Lack of Interest in Activities They Previously Enjoyed

A person who abuses Vicodin tends to lose interest in things they used to enjoy because Vicodin dependency can cause depression, which worsens gradually over time.

Withdrawing From Loved Ones

You will most definitely find this behavior in people suffering from Vicodin addiction. This behavior is attributed to the negative effects of Vicodin.

Becoming Argumentative or Overly Emotional

This sign is usually very evident. The person with the disorder might become very defensive and argumentative to hide the addiction. Deep sensations that can lead to reckless or dangerous acts are also signs of Vicodin addiction.

Causes of Vicodin Addiction

Vicodin is a common prescription medication which means anyone can get addicted to it. However, there are some cases where the likelihood of getting into Vicodin addiction is high. Below are some of these cases:

Family History of Substance Abuse

People from families with a history of substance abuse are prone to suffering from it. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence documented in an article that family history is the single most reliable indicator of risk of future alcohol or drug dependence.

Personal History of Substance Abuse

A person with a history of substance abuse may relapse, falling back to drug misuse. This can be caused by several reasons, such as stress, negative emotions, and strong subconscious yearnings.

Traumatic Childhood Experience

Childhood trauma can have long-lasting effects on adults. A person’s ability to cope with stress is usually influenced by childhood trauma. At times when the stress becomes overwhelming or terrifying, people begin to find solace in the high offered by substances like Vicodin.

Depression Or Other Mental Illnesses

Attempting to reduce depressive symptoms and/or other mental illnesses often leads to drug misuse. It mostly starts with the affected individuals trying to self-medicate. They get their hands on drugs like Vicodin and live off the temporary high gotten from each administration.

Diagnosing A Vicodin Addiction

Any clinician or healthcare professional can diagnose Vicodin addiction. The diagnostic process involves some steps, which include: 

A Physical Examination by The Healthcare Provider

The healthcare provider first runs a physical examination on the patient to determine the general status of their health. Slowed heart rate, weight loss or gain, nasal congestion, blurred vision, headaches, and seizures are common signs that might suggest that the patient suffers from Vicodin addiction.

A Series of Screening Questions

The healthcare provider asks several questions to assess the severity and probability of Vicodin addiction. The questions may come like this, “Do you often use Vicodin in larger amounts or over a longer period than when prescribed? Have you been finding it difficult to cut back on the Vicodin use even when you want to?” and so on.

A Detailed List of Questions Leading to Your Personal and Family Medical History

People with a family or personal history of substance abuse are more likely to abuse drugs. Providing answers to these questions can further strengthen the clinician’s observation from the first two steps.

Urine Or Blood Tests to Confirm the Use of Opiates

A urine or blood test is carried out to determine if there are traces of the drug (Vicodin) in the patient’s urine or blood.5 This is the concluding step, and together with the steps mentioned above, the healthcare provider can determine if the patient suffers from Vicodin addiction.

Vicodin Withdrawal

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are like those experienced by people with opioid use disorder.The following are typical Vicodin withdrawal symptoms:

Psychological Changes Like Irritability, Mood Swings, Anxiety, And Confusion

The symptoms associated with withdrawal from Vicodin dependence can also be psychological, causing changes or shifts in mood from hostility to elation, irritability, and sometimes illogical actions due to confusion and anxiety.

Appetite Changes

Normal functioning like eating is impaired when a body used to the effect of Vicodin stops getting it. The appetite of the person frequently changes because of Vicodin dependence.

Physical Symptoms Like Tremors, Enlarged Pupils, Nausea and Vomiting, Sweating, Diarrhea, Rapid Breathing, and Muscle Aches or Cramps

This happens because of Vicodin dependence. The body has already adjusted to normal functioning around the drugs. It’s now more like the body needs the drug to function. So, symptoms like tremors, muscle aches, rapid breathing, and nausea begin to manifest due to Vicodin withdrawals.

Sleep Disturbances Like Restlessness, Insomnia, Or Exhaustion

This is also a result of physical dependence on Vicodin. Sleep is disturbed when it comes, and it may come at all. The lack of the drug disrupts normal bodily functions.

Symptoms Of a Cold Like a Running Nose, Fever, Sweating, And Chills

Fever or cold can indicate withdrawal in persons who have been addicted to drugs like Vicodin. Symptoms of fever can range from moderate to severe.

Treatment Options for Vicodin Addiction at Concise Recovery

Vicodin addiction

At Concise Recovery, we understand that withdrawal symptoms can be distressing at times, and we offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment options to help you rid your body of the long-term effects of Vicodin.

Our trained professionals can help you decide which option might be best for you in your Vicodin recovery journey. To achieve healing, the following are some of the programs we offer:


This is the first step in the Vicodin addiction recovery process. At this stage, our trained professionals work with you to help you rid your body of the harmful drugs in your system. We believe that undergoing Vicodin detox will help you benefit more from counseling and therapy.


To manage the withdrawal symptoms of Vicodin, we put patients under certain medications such as methadone or buprenorphine. Our qualified professionals prescribe these medications and are administered to patients until the drugs are no longer needed.


We also offer cognitive behavioral therapy to help you understand the destructive thought patterns that fuel addiction. We adopt dialectical behavioral therapy to help you learn to accept life situations and analyze them to better control situations.

Our counseling programs help identify the underlying cause of your addiction and help create positive changes that will keep you away from harmful substances in the long run. We also offer dual diagnosis to treat co-occurring disorders that may be undiagnosed, such as Vicodin and alcohol abuse which is the most lethal.

Feel free to contact us to know more about our Vicodin addiction treatment programs.