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Vicodin Addiction and Abuse
Vicodin is a medication that contains both acetaminophen (a non-narcotic pain reliever) and hydrocodone (a narcotic pain reliever). It is used to treat moderate and severe pain. It works by changing chemicals in the brain so that the body reacts to pain differently. Since Vicodin contains acetaminophen, patients are advised against using it if they have liver problems. A person who is prescribed Vicodin should also check over-the-counter medications that they take to see if they contain acetaminophen. There is the chance of an overdose if too much acetaminophen is taken.
Vicodin abuse is on the rise as is other prescription drug abuse. Many people that are addicted to prescription drugs do not consider themselves addicts because they received the medication from their physician. Also, it is so easy to obtain prescription drugs on the Internet without a prescription - just a few clinks of the mouse and your drug of choice is on its way.
The reason a person can become addicted to Vicodin is that the drug affects the way the brain produces the chemical call "endorphin," a natural substance that the body uses to calm nerve cells. After long-term and high doses use of Vicodin the brain stops manufacturing endorphin. A person will begin with a small dose and over time feel that the pain is not responding to this amount and then they will either increase the dosage on their own or ask their doctor for a higher level of the medication.
Signs of prescription drug addiction including Vicodin can range from continued use of the drug after pain symptoms have gone, mood changes and changes in lifestyle habits, such as not going to work and even steal money or the drug.
Teenagers are one of the largest Vicodin drug abuser. In a recent survey, almost one-third of the teens that participated say that it is safer to use prescription drug simple for the fact that they were prescribed by a health care professional. Nearly 7 million teens believe that it is not harmful to take prescribed medication every now and then just for fun.
A trend today is for teenagers and young adults to obtain prescription medication then have what is called a "pharm party." At these parties, all the medications are placed in a bowl or some other container. Everyone then gets a few, swallows them and waits to see what happens. At times, alcohol is also consumed. There have been an increased number of overdoses from these incidents. Of the 1.3 million drug-related emergency room visits almost one-fourth can be contributed to overdosing of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Vicodin rehab programs are the only way for a person who has a dependence to break free. At a drug treatment center a person usually begins with a detox program. This involves eliminating the drug from the body, by either decreasing the dose or by taking a substitute. Then a person will goes through treatment that will include nutrition and psychological programs. The most important thing a person dealing with addiction needs is support.