Vicodin Addiction Causes and Effects

Sunrise Recovery Ranch provides Vicodin addiction treatment rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier, more satisfying life, without addiction.

Understanding Vicodin

Learn about Vicodin addiction and substance abuse

Vicodin is a prescription medication with an active ingredient from the opioid family. Opioids are a class of drugs that are derived from the opium poppy plant. Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller, and acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. When used in a medical setting, opioids like Vicodin have powerful painkilling properties and are able to bring relief moderate to severe pain. However, because they can also cause feelings of pleasure and relaxation, opioids present a risk of being abused. Unfortunately, once a person begins abusing opioids, it may be all but impossible to stop without professional help.

Thankfully, an addiction to Vicodin does not have to rule a person’s life. With compassionate and comprehensive treatment at a specialized substance abuse treatment center, it is possible for a person to regain control over his or her actions and rediscover a life without substance abuse.


Vicodin statistics

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), nearly 0.4 percent of people in the United States use opioids in a given year. Men are roughly 1.5 times more likely than women to abuse prescription opioids like Vicodin, and people younger than 29 years old are the most likely to struggle with an opioid use disorder.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Vicodin addiction

Attempting to ascertain the various causes and risk factors for Vicodin abuse is a complex process. However, researchers consider the following factors to have a strong influence in determining a person’s risk of abusing Vicodin.

Genetic: While environmental exposure to Vicodin is a necessary prerequisite for Vicodin abuse and environmental factors do play a role in determining a person’s risk of developing an opioid use disorder, researchers have argued that genetic factors play a particularly significant role in determining an individual’s risk of Vicodin abuse. For example, certain personality traits, like impulsivity and novelty seeking behavior, increase a person’s risk for abusing Vicodin, and these personality traits may be genetically determined. Furthermore, a person’s relationships and environment can affect his or her chances of becoming addicted to Vicodin. However, researchers argue that genes may influence relationship and environmental preferences, thus accounting for these particular environmental influences.

Risk Factors:

  • Being around others who abuse opioids
  • Certain personality traits such as impulsivity and novelty-seeking
  • Having ready access to Vicodin

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction

Though the signs and symptoms of Vicodin abuse that a particular individual experiences will differ depending on that individual’s personality, as well as length and intensity of use, the following are some common signs and symptoms of Vicodin abuse:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Taking more Vicodin than intended
  • Taking Vicodin over a longer period of time than intended
  • Unsuccessful efforts to cut down on Vicodin use
  • Continuing to abuse Vicodin despite knowing that the drug is causing or exacerbating problems for the user
  • Using Vicodin even in situations where use is dangerous
  • Vicodin use which causes a person to fail to fulfill obligations at home, work, or school
  • Expending a great deal of effort obtaining, using, or recovering from use of Vicodin

Physical symptoms:

  • Diminished effectiveness of the drug when taking the same dose
  • Needing more of the drug to achieve desired effects

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Strong cravings for Vicodin

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Using Vicodin instead of attending to important social, recreational, or occupational events
  • Continuing to use Vicodin despite it causing interpersonal problems


Effects of Vicodin addiction

If left to continue unchecked, Vicodin abuse can have the following effects on those who abuse it:

  • Constipation or dry mouth
  • Onset or worsening of mental health symptoms
  • Polysubstance use, addiction, or chemical dependency
  • Impairment in sexual functioning
  • Menstrual irregularity
  • Being a victim of drug-related violence
  • Birth defects
  • Birth complications

Co-Occurring Disorders

Vicodin addiction and co-occurring disorders

People who struggle with Vicodin abuse may meet diagnostic criteria for a number of other mental health disorders and symptoms, such as:

  • Other substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Conduct disorder during childhood

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal & overdose

Effects of Vicodin withdrawal: If a person who has been abusing Vicodin should suddenly stop using, he or she may experience the following unpleasant effects as his or her body readjusts to functioning without the drug:

  • Depressed mood
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Diarrhea

Effects of Vicodin overdose: If a person takes more Vicodin than his or her body can metabolize or excrete, he or she may experience some of the following effects:

  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Unconsciousness
  • Breathing reduction or cessation
  • Slow heart rate
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Itching
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Darkened urine
  • Jaundice
  • Organ damage
  • Vomiting
  • Coma
  • Death

Thanks to Sunrise Recovery Ranch, my daughter was able to get the lasting recovery she deserved from her addiction and her co-occurring mental health disorder. I am super grateful!

– Michelle A.
Marks of Quality Care
These accreditations are an official recognition of our dedication to providing treatment that exceeds the standards and best practices of quality care.
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)