- Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Hydrocodone
Vicoprofen addiction and other types of substance abuse are on the rise in the United States. The powerful opioid pain reliever in Vicoprofen, hydrocodone, is associated with more abuse than another other drug.
Doctors prescribe Vicoprofen to ease a patient's moderate to severe pain but some people take Vicoprofen for its euphoric effects - the hydrocodone in Vicoprofen gets them high.
Physicians prescribe hydrocodone more often than any other drug. In 2010, U.S. pharmacists filled more than 139 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing products. To reduce the potential for abuse, Vicoprofen is available only by prescription and only in combination with other drugs. Vicoprofen contains acetaminophen, a less potent pain reliever that is not associated with abuse.
Widespread availability of hydrocodone increases the likelihood people will abuse it. Long-term opioid use, or using high doses of Vicoprofen, raises the risk for physical dependence and addiction. About 1.9 million Americans are addicted to prescription drugs like Vicoprofen, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA. In comparison, there are only about 329,000 people addicted to heroin.
General information about Vicoprofen
Vicoprofen contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen; each of these active ingredients work in different ways to relieve pain better than either drug could alone. The hydrocodone acts directly on your central nervous system, or CNS, to change the way your brain perceives pain. Acetaminophen disrupts the production of chemicals responsible for sending pain signals to your brain.
The Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, categorizes controlled substances according their relative potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs, for example, carry a high risk for abuse and have no medical value; there is no risk for abuse associated with schedule V drugs. PCP and heroin are schedule I drugs while the cough medicine Robitussin AC is a schedule V drug.
The hydrocodone in Vicoprofen is a schedule II drug, meaning there is a risk that people might abuse this drug. However, there is less than 15 mg of hydrocodone in Vicoprofen, so the DEA classifies Vicoprofen as a schedule III substance.
The Definition of Addiction
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as "a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry."
Vicoprofen addiction causes these circuits to malfunction in a way that changes the way you think, feel and behave. Behavioral changes are the hallmark of addiction and include craving and drug-seeking behaviors.
When your doctor considers a diagnosis of Vicoprofen addiction, she looks for the signs characteristic of addiction. These signs include an inability to stop using Vicoprofen consistently, cravings, an inability to recognize significant personal problems and other problems controlling one's behavior.
Vicoprofen addiction is a primary disease, meaning another illness or condition did not cause you to become addicted to Vicoprofen. Addiction to Vicoprofen is a chronic condition, usually involving cycles of remission and relapse, requiring long-term treatment.
Without treatment, Vicoprofen addiction may result in disability or premature death. Long-term use of Vicoprofen increases your risk for suffering side effects. Chronic drug abuse is associated with some infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis. Addiction alters your brain's reward and motivation circuits in a way that decreases your ability and desire to stay healthy; addiction causes devastating financial losses that negatively affect your basic nutrition and healthcare needs.
Addiction versus Dependence
While closely related because of their associated with drug abuse, addiction and dependence are independent medical conditions. Anyone who uses Vicoprofen for a long time can become addicted to it, dependent upon it, or both.
A doctor would say you are physically dependent on Vicoprofen if you feel flu-like symptoms when you stop taking it. She would diagnose you as being addicted if you engage in drug-seeking behaviors when you stop using Vicoprofen.
Your body responds to the substances you consume by adjusting its own chemistry. When you use Vicoprofen for a long time, your body begins to rely on having a certain level of hydrocodone to feel "normal." You experience this chemical battle through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If you let hydrocodone levels fall, your body struggles to maintain chemical stability.
Doctors call this process detoxification. Detoxification causes withdrawal symptoms.
Taking high doses of Vicoprofen, or using this opioid for a long time, may cause your body to grow tolerant of it. High tolerance means you have to take more Vicoprofen to achieve the same analgesic or euphoric effect. Low tolerance means it does not take as much Vicoprofen to affect your chemical balance.
You can be addicted to a substance but not physically dependent on it, or the other way around. For example, you might depend on medication to control your blood pressure. If you forget to take your medicine, your blood pressure will rise but you will not feel cravings for your antihypertensive medication. On the other hand, a person addicted to cocaine will crave this drug when he runs out, but he will not feel flu-like withdrawal symptoms.
Vicoprofen addiction causes neurological changes on a cellular level. These changes affect your thinking, emotions and behavior.
Doctors look for certain telltale changes when diagnosing you as having a Vicoprofen addiction. An addict will be unable to stop abusing Vicoprofen, even as he is expressing a desire to cut down or quit altogether. Cravings for Vicoprofen are overpowering. He cannot see the profoundly negative affect his Vicoprofen abuse causes in his personal life and in his relationships with others. He may display an inappropriate emotional response to the events in his life, and he may have trouble controlling his behavior in other aspects unrelated to drug use.
Drug-seeking behaviors are an important hallmark characteristic of Vicoprofen addiction. A person seeking drugs may present fake prescriptions at pharmacies, go "doctor shopping" to obtain multiple prescriptions, or alter prescriptions to get more Vicoprofen in each container. He may show up at the doctor's office just as it is closing to pressure staff members into writing a prescription quickly so they can go home.
Many people get Vicoprofen or other prescription painkillers from the medicine cabinets of friends or family. People commonly keep extra painkillers around just in case they experience pain later. Others give painkillers to friends who complain of symptoms similar to their own.
Many people suffering from chronic Vicoprofen addiction end up buying drugs illegally on the street as doctor shopping, generosity of friends and family or prescription tampering techniques begin to fail.
The DEA calls these types of activities "diversion" because they divert medicines from their intended therapeutic use to non-medical use. To use a drug non-medically means to use it to get high or to treat a condition for which a doctor had not prescribed.
Addiction: What Family Members Should Know
Assure your family that Vicoprofen is a neurological disease and not an indication of criminal behavior or a character flaw. Anyone can become addicted to Vicoprofen but nobody chooses to be an addict.
Family members may be genetically predisposed to developing an addiction at some point in life. Nobody is born an addict but your genetic makeup may make you vulnerable to substance abuse problems like Vicoprofen addiction. While there is not one specific "addiction gene," the interaction between a group of genes seems to increase an individual's susceptibility to addiction.
While heredity may determine who develops an addiction, certain environmental factors influence the development of addiction. Stressful environments, such as constant arguing or violence within the home, financial pressure, stress at work or other substance abuse problems increase the likelihood that people within those environments will abuse drugs or alcohol. Some individuals are hypersensitive to this stress, making them more prone to engage in substance abuse as a coping mechanism.
Family members should know that children often inherit hypersensitivity and learn poor coping mechanisms from their parents. Addiction counselors can identify hypersensitivity and teach your family members better ways to deal with stress.
Vicoprofen addiction inflicts collateral damage onto the entire household. The collateral damage associated with addiction is different for everyone, but may include loss of income, diversion of funds from household expenses like rent and groceries to the purchase of drugs, infectious diseases and unnecessary introduction of the criminal element into your home. Drug addiction often causes job loss, separation or divorce, removal of children from the home, jail time or death.
Family members should know that it illegal and dangerous to keep Vicoprofen in your home without a prescription. Keeping a controlled substance in your home increases your risk for police raids, burglary and accidental overdose.
Children may discover the stash of Vicoprofen and accidently consume a lethal overdose. Take your child to the emergency department immediately if you suspect that she has taken any amount of Vicoprofen.
Addiction: What Parents Should Know
Prescription drug abuse is on the rise among teenagers and young adults. In a 2010 national survey, more than 10 percent of kids aged 12 to 17 admitted to illicit drug use. About 3 percent of these young respondents currently used prescription drugs like Vicoprofen for non-medical reasons.
As a parent, you can look for signs your child is addicted to drugs, including an unusual loss of interest in things that were once important to your child. While it is common for children to go through phases, an addicted child abandons things he used to love. His performance in school, sports or jobs may decline and he will seem unmotivated or lack energy.
An addicted child finds ways to sneak off to do drugs and then have trouble explaining his absence. He may have money issues that seem too advanced for a child his age, as he struggles to pay for his Vicoprofen habit. Parents should remain alert for items or money missing from the home.
Caring for a Family Member with an Addiction
As with any chronic illness, family involvement is critical for recovery. The recovery process works best when the addicted individual feels safe in his home environment. The family works as a team to encourage the individual to seek treatment and to remain in therapy. It is common for a family member to locate a treatment center where the addicted individual eventually attempts recovery.
The family should open lines of communication between individuals to discuss treatment plans and progress. The addicted individual does not have to participate. She may even be angry when she first learns her family has been discussing her illness but this anger will fade in time.
Participating in the detoxification and rehabilitation stages of recovery takes time away from work and domestic responsibilities; the addicted individual relies on her family's help for childcare while she is treatment, for rides to doctor's appointments or counseling sessions, and to help around the house.
Every member of the family can participate in age-appropriate ways. For example, a grandparent can prepare meals while an older child with a driver's license runs errands. A young child can do light housework while an aunt pays bills.
Keep in mind that it is possible to arrest the progression of addiction at any time - do not let your loved one hit rock bottom before intervening. Hitting rock bottom could entail divorce, loss of child custody, prison, infectious disease, homelessness or even death. Avoid the worst collateral damage by encouraging treatment early.
It is vital that the addicted individual recognize the damage his illness causes to his own life and to the lives of others. It is always tempting to shield an ill loved one from the ravages of his disease, but sheltering someone from the damage associated with his Vicoprofen addiction allows him to continue abusing drugs. Family counseling can help you support your loved one without enabling his addiction.
Addiction is a devastating disease but the recovery effort can have a positive effect on your family. As with any chronic disease, family members learn a great deal about their own strengths and weaknesses while discovering hidden qualities in others.
Signs of Addiction
The neurological changes associated with Vicoprofen addiction result in certain physical and behavioral patterns. Someone with a Vicoprofen addiction may engage in abnormal, anti-social or illegal activities, such as being in gangs or selling drugs. He prioritizes activities that include hydrocodone or Vicoprofen. He might seem unpredictable or spend money inappropriately.
He may have violent outbursts or seem argumentative, or seems to be in perpetual emotional crisis. He might have serious legal issues and may sometimes be vague about the nature of those issues.
He might neglect his children or his social commitments. He is always at the pharmacy, filling opioid prescriptions for himself or his family. There may be long, unexplained absences from the home or a strange withdrawal from friends and family. He may even get divorced or separate from what seemed to be a loving relationship.
Behavioral, Cognitive and Emotional Changes
Vicoprofen makes neurological changes that directly affect the way you behave, think and feel.
If you are addicted to Vicoprofen, you may use stronger doses or abuse hydrocodone more frequently than you intend. You may use Vicoprofen even though you have a deep desire to be drug-free and have tried to quit several times. To others, it may seem as if you are unwilling or unable to quit.
You lose precious time looking for Vicoprofen, getting high or recovering from your drug use. Eventually, this has a negative impact in your social life and at your job. Your relationships suffer, as do those things you are responsible for, such as childcare, household tasks or schoolwork.
Your addiction causes you to continue using Vicoprofen, even though you know the harm it causes. Addiction slowly narrows your range of interest so that you eventually participate only in activities that result in getting high.
Vicoprofen addiction causes you to become preoccupied with getting high. Addiction changes the way you view drugs, so that you can see only the benefits of opioids and none of its risks. Vicoprofen makes you think other people or events caused your problems in life, blind to the fact that your troubles are the predictable consequence of your Vicoprofen addiction.
Doctors prescribe Vicoprofen to reduce physical pain but many people abuse drugs as a way of self-medicating emotional pain. Ironically, chronic Vicoprofen use causes emotional pain, increases anxiety and results in the emotional opposite of euphoria, dysphoria. Addiction may make it difficult to identify your feelings, distinguish between emotions and bodily sensations, or describing your feelings to others.
Vicoprofen addiction increases your sensitivity to stress because it recruits the stress center in your brain. This is especially true for people who are hypersensitive to stress.
Symptoms of Addiction
While Vicoprofen is a neurological disease, it manifests itself in a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. Your physician looks for these symptoms when she is considering a diagnosis of Vicoprofen addition.
You may lose or gain weight for no apparent reason. You may also experience a change in your sleep patterns. Your physical appearance may be deteriorating - you might look old or sickly - and you are lacking in your personal hygiene. You have a nagging cough. Your eyes might be bloodshot with large or small pupils, and your speech may be slurred. Your hands might shake and your body or clothes might have an unusual odor.
Your psychological symptoms of Vicoprofen addiction may include an inability to abstain from drug use or impaired behavioral control in other ways. Addiction causes you to crave Vicoprofen or other intense reward experiences. Your ability to recognize personal problems or troubles in your relationship may be impaired. You may have a dysfunctional emotional response, like feeling apathetic about the people or things you used to be passionate about or getting upset about unimportant events.
While anyone can become addicted to drugs, surveys suggest men are twice as likely to abuse illegal substances like heroin, cocaine or marijuana, while females prefer prescription drugs, such as Vicoprofen. It is also more common for women to use prescription drugs along with alcohol, marijuana or other drugs.
Men and women abuse drugs in different social settings. Males party in groups while females get high alone. Addicted women have small social groups, compared with addicted men who have many friends. This could be due to social stigmas against drug abuse among women and the relative comfort with which men get high.
The two genders start using drugs for different reasons. Males start abusing drugs to get high, while women frequently continue using drugs after receiving a prescription to treat a legitimate medical problem.
Women may have more obstacles preventing them from seeking treatment. Women frequently have partners with substance abuse problems; these women feel they are "abandoning" their partner when they try to quit Vicoprofen. Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to quit drugs when surrounded by temptation.
Vicoprofen causes women to lower their expectations for their lives. These women tend to have less education and fewer marketable skills than their male counterparts do. Women with opioids addiction report lower expectations for their lives.
Many women experience barriers to recovery, such as being able to afford quality treatment at a specialty facility or finding someone to watch her children while she is in detoxification or at counseling.
Without adequate treatment, Vicoprofen addiction can cause disability or premature death. In 2008, 14,800 people died from prescription opioid overdose, more than from heroin and cocaine combined.
Treatment consists of two phases. The detoxification process lowers the level of hydrocodone in your body. Rehabilitation modifies the behaviors that cause relapse to Vicoprofen abuse.
Self-detoxification is the process of overcoming Vicoprofen withdrawal symptoms alone, without the help of medicine or professional guidance. Self-detoxification is sometimes called "going cold turkey," a reference to the bumpy, pale, cold and clammy appearance your skin takes on, resembling a plucked turkey.
Withdrawal from opioids is not usually life threatening, but dangerous complications can occur. Vomiting and then inhaling stomach contents, a condition called aspiration, can lead to fluid in the lungs or lung infections. Excessive and prolonged vomiting and diarrhea may result in dehydration that can lead to electrolyte imbalances.
Relapse is the major complication associated with detoxification. Many people struggling with Vicoprofen addiction cycle between periods of relapse and remission. Each relapse may cause more collateral damage, putting recovery even further out of reach.
The Thomas Recipe
Some people use a variety of medicines to overcome withdrawal symptoms at home. One such homemade treatment plan is The Thomas Recipe, which calls for Xanax or another drug to ease anxiety and promote sleep. Imodium stops diarrhea, vitamins and supplements along with hot baths soothe muscle aches and body pains.
While The Thomas Recipe relieves withdrawal symptoms, it does not protect you from complications such as aspiration, dehydration and relapse. Detoxification lowers your body's tolerance to opioids, making you more vulnerable to overdose when you relapse. You can potentially overdose on a smaller dose than you used to take before experiencing even moderate withdrawal symptoms.
Vicoprofen overdose may be fatal. You can overdose on either the hydrocodone or the ibuprofen component of Vicoprofen, or both. Go directly to the emergency room or call for an ambulance if you think you are suffering from an overdose of Vicoprofen. For immediate help, contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
According to the manufacturer's label, withdrawal symptoms associated with hydrocodone component of Vicoprofen include the breathing problem known as respiratory depression, extreme sleepiness that progresses to stupor or coma, flaccid muscles and skin that is cold and clammy. Hydrocodone overdose may cause dangerously low blood pressure or slow heartbeat. Severe hydrocodone overdose may result in stopped breathing, collapse of the circulatory system, heart attack and death.
Ibuprofen overdose causes damage such as irritation of the digestive tract severe enough to cause hemorrhage or perforation. It may also damage your kidneys, liver or heart. It may also cause blood disorders such as clotting problems, various types of anemia or meningitis, which is inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms of ibuprofen overdose include headache, dizziness, vision problems, ringing in the ears, rash, mental disturbances, swelling, inflammation and swelling inside the mouth and high blood potassium levels.
Drug Replacement Therapy
You may choose drug replacement therapy, or DRT. During DRT, you take drugs that mimic the effects of Vicoprofen but do not cause euphoria. The most common DRT drugs are methadone, Suboxone and buprenorphine.
DRT allows you to participate in behavioral modification before going through the detoxification process. Once you have learned how to live without opioids, you wean yourself from the DRT drug by taking smaller doses further apart.
Many people seek help for their Vicoprofen addiction from specialized clinics staffed with medical professionals who received extra training to treat substance abuse problems. During standard detoxification procedures, doctors administer naloxone to lower opioid levels plus a variety of medications to alleviate the ensuing withdrawal symptoms. Nurses monitor your condition, addressing complications as they arise.
While standard detoxification procedures lower opioid levels and deal with physical withdrawal symptoms, the patient must still endure the lengthy and demoralizing process. Struggling with the physical and mental stresses of detoxification exhausts the patient's emotional resources before meaningful rehabilitation can begin.
During rapid detox, board-certified anesthesiologists administer the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs along with anesthesia and sedatives. The patient dozes in a comfortable "twilight sleep" during the detoxification process. When the patient awakens, she has no recollection of the exhausting and demoralizing withdrawal symptoms.
Many consider rapid detox to be the most humane and efficient form of detoxification available today because it allows the patient to begin meaningful rehabilitation without the emotional baggage associated with drug withdrawal.
Detoxification is only the first step in recovery and, by itself, does little to change drug abuse patterns. Meaningful rehabilitation and behavior modification gives you the tools you need to live drug-free.
Vicoprofen addiction is a complex neurological disease that affects everyone differently therefore no one treatment is appropriate for everyone. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of rehabilitative treatment options available, from attending monthly appointments at a doctor's office to living in a long-term residential treatment center.
Most rehabilitation clinics include behavior modification and group, family and individual counseling as part of the treatment plan. Medications and other types of counseling may also be included. Treatment does not have to be voluntary to be effective - many individuals who are under legal pressure to complete treatment do better than those people who are not under coercion.
Regardless of the type of rehabilitation you choose, it is critical that you remain in treatment long enough to restore neurological function and modify the behaviors that increase your risk for relapse. Your treatment plan must be readily available so you can conveniently participate in recovery long enough to make these neurological and behavioral changes.
Your treatment plan must attend to your multiple needs and not just focus on your Vicoprofen abuse. Many people with substance abuse problems also have mental disorders or other problems that interfere with recovery efforts. Medications are often an important part of rehabilitation, especially in the presence of mood disorders such as depression.
Trained counselors are an important part of effective rehabilitation. Your counselor will continually assess and modify your treatment plan to ensure it fits your changing needs. You will probably have to submit to drug testing, as relapse can occur during treatment. Your counselor may request testing for infectious diseases commonly associated with drug use, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis. When appropriate, she will provide risk-reduction counseling and education to help you modify those behaviors that put you at risk for contracting or spreading these illnesses.