Vicodin Withdrawal | Symptoms, Timeline & Detox
A physical dependence on Vicodin may develop after a period of long-term use. Once you stop taking Vicodin after dependence develops, withdrawal symptoms may occur. Opioid withdrawal can be intense and last a week or longer, but professional detox programs are available.
Vicodin is a brand name for the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. This combination is classified as a narcotic analgesic that’s prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain.
Hydrocodone acts on the central nervous system and changes how the body responds to pain. The prescription drug also attaches to opioid receptors in the brain and increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin.
Vicodin is addictive, and abusing the drug for an extended period of time can lead to a physical dependence on the painkiller. When this happens and you stop using it, withdrawal symptoms may occur, making the first days of recovery very difficult.
Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms
When withdrawal symptoms show up after stopping Vicodin use, they can range in intensity from mild to severe and can last anywhere from days to weeks. Some of the symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal may include:
- general pain
- elevated heart rate
- nausea and vomiting
- mood swings
- depression and anxiety
- rapid breathing
- muscle aches
- symptoms of a cold like a runny nose, fever and chills, and nasal congestion
Vicodin Withdrawal Timeline
How long Vicodin withdrawal symptoms last differ from person to person. However, there is a general timeline you can look at to see if your symptoms follow a normal timeline or not.
The most common Vicodin withdrawal timeline looks like this:
6-12 Hours After Last Dose
At this stage, you can expect to experience opioid withdrawal symptoms like muscle aches, difficulty sleeping, runny nose, anxiety, fever, sweats, and high blood pressure. These symptoms will likely intensify across the next two to three days.
At 72 hours, the symptoms will be at their most intense and may last for up to a week.
Besides the symptoms you felt from 6-12 hours, you may also experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, depression, dehydration, and an intense craving for Vicodin. This is the time where you’re likely at the highest risk of relapse.
Physical symptoms will likely start to subside but you may still experience uncomfortable symptoms for a few more days if you used Vicodin in high doses.
One Month Or More
Most, if not all, of the physical symptoms should be over but psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, and mood swings may continue. If they do, it’s called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). At this point, more professional help may be needed.
Factors That Affect Vicodin Withdrawal Timeline & Symptoms
How long your withdrawal symptoms last and how intense they are depend on a number of factors:
- length of Vicodin use
- history of substance abuse and Vicodin addiction
- If you stopped Vicodin use “cold turkey”
- overall health
- history of mental health disorders
- whether or not other drugs were taken with Vicodin
Detoxification For Vicodin Withdrawal
Going to an inpatient treatment center that offers detox or receiving detox support from your healthcare provider is recommended. Even if withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, seeking medical help can make the withdrawal process safer and more comfortable.
During detox for an opioid like Vicodin, you receive medical support and supervision from healthcare professionals. Your detox team may also prescribe medication for specific withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, depression, or diarrhea.
Although detox doesn’t treat opioid addiction directly, it helps prepare for an addiction treatment program in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
To address opioid dependence, medical professionals may prescribe buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone, or Suboxone as part of a medication-assisted treatment program.
These medications are long-acting opioids that help ease physical dependence and drug cravings. Like Vicodin, they bind to opioid receptors but they do so without the intense high.
Medication-assisted treatment also involves behavioral therapy, peer support groups, and other treatment services.
If you or a loved one live with opiate/opioid addiction and need treatment in Ohio, we can help. To learn how our inpatient treatment center addresses opioid abuse and addiction, which includes detox and medication-assisted treatment options, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Opiate and opioid withdrawal https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
- National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Opioid Withdrawal https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526012/
- World Health Organization — Withdrawal Management https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310652/