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Vicodin: Common Withdrawal Symptoms

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More than 10 million U.S. adults are misusing prescription opioids like Vicodin — roughly 21-29 percent of those who are given an opioid prescription. It is a crisis of pandemic proportions, killing over 115 people every day.But if you or a loved one are one of those numbers, you can’t just stop. It’s just too risky.

Woman in withdrawalWhen someone abruptly stops or significantly decreases the amount of Vicodin she takes, the body begins to detox. And with detox comes withdrawal. Now, more than ever before, it is important to understand what withdrawal from opioids looks and feels like. Knowing just might save your life or the life of someone you love.

Withdrawal symptoms are not comfortable, but they are not impossible to overcome either. With the right medical and psychotherapeutic support, Vicodin detox can be a brief part of a comprehensive opiate addiction treatment program that helps your loved one get back on track.

First Phase of Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms only occur when there is a physical dependence. They often come on slowly within the first 12 hours after the last dose of the drug. The first phase, or early symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal, can be mild to moderate and often grow in intensity as the hours pass. They may include any combination of the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Tearing eyes
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia

Second Phase of Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

As time wears on, the initial phase symptoms may continue and worsen, and new symptoms characteristic of intense Vicodin detox usually begin. These symptoms may include any or all of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

These symptoms may continue for days and then slowly start to lessen. If no medication is used to address these symptoms beyond over-the-counter medications designed to address specific symptoms, most patients will be stable and drug-free within a few weeks after cessation of Vicodin use in most cases.

Can You Detox at Home?

It is not recommended that patients who experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking Vicodin attempt to undergo detox at home alone. Even with the care and supervision of well-intentioned loved ones, relapse is all too common. Additionally, although medical complications are rare, they can be life-threatening when they do occur. Access to immediate medical intervention is important.

When you choose a professional detox program for your loved one, she will receive the benefit of:

  • Initial psychiatric stabilization, if needed
  • Ongoing psychiatric care including medication maintenance, if needed
  • Around-the-clock care from medical staff members trained in substance abuse detox and treatment
  • Support of peers in treatment
  • Psychotherapeutic support groups and one-on-one counseling

Additionally, should you choose a detox program that does not offer long-term addiction treatment, your loved one will be able to get a referral to a program that will be able to provide the next step in recovery: ongoing psychotherapeutic treatment.

Detox: The First Step to a New Life in Recovery

It is impossible to avoid detox if withdrawal symptoms occur and freedom from opiate dependence is the goal. However, Vicodin detox is just the first part of a comprehensive treatment program. Follow-up care through group therapy, personal therapy and a unique combination of alternative and holistic treatments can be essential to long-term sobriety.

Learn more about what can help your loved one to lay a firm foundation in recovery when you contact us at Michael’s House today. We’re here to help your family move past addiction together.


1Opioid Overdose Crisis.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. March 2018.