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Vicodin Abuse

Is It Vicodin Abuse or Something Else?

People whose pain is not adequately controlled often display signs that mimic Vicodin abuse. For instance, if your prescription for Vicodin is not strong enough for your pain, you may display unusual changes in behavior due to the pain, or you may take your Vicodin more frequently than prescribed. If you feel your pain is not adequately controlled, please discuss this with your healthcare provider. However, many people start down the slippery slope of Vicodin addiction by using inadequate pain control as an excuse.

Possible Consequences

The physical consequences of Vicodin abuse can be extremely dangerous. Taking high doses of a narcotic, especially if you are not used to it, can result in breathing problems, extreme drowsiness, coma, and even death. Taking high doses of acetaminophen (one of the components of Vicodin) is likely to cause liver failure and death.
The emotional and social consequences of Vicodin abuse can be equally devastating. Relationships and careers can be destroyed, and years of hard work can be ruined in a short time.

Where to Get Help If You are Abusing Vicodin

Your healthcare provider is a great place to start when searching for help for abuse or addiction. He or she will be able to help you deal with this abuse or may suggest other resources for you.
Depending on the situation, the first step in treating Vicodin addiction may be to slowly decrease the dose and attempt to treat withdrawal symptoms (see Vicodin Withdrawal). This process of detoxification could then be followed with one of many behavioral therapies. Contingency management, for example, improves treatment outcomes by enabling people to earn vouchers for drug-free urine tests; the vouchers can be exchanged for items that promote healthy living. Cognitive behavioral therapies, which teach people skills to recognize risky situations, avoid drug use, and cope more effectively with problems, are proving beneficial. Recovery support groups may also be effective in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
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