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What You Should Know About Quitting Vicodin

How to Stop Using Vicodin

Vicodin (a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone) is an opioid painkiller with a high potential for abuse. About 4.3 million people used opioids such as Vicodin without a prescription in 2014, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. 1

People who use Vicodin for long periods of time, at higher doses than prescribed, or without a prescription may be at risk for developing a Vicodin dependence.

Benefits of Quitting Vicodin

Quitting Vicodin improves your physical, mental, financial, and social wellbeing; helps you gain control of your life; and fosters a sense of self-efficacy.

Opioid drugs such as hydrocodone, one of the main components of Vicodin, may provide some users with an artificial sense of wellbeing. They forget how it feels to experience a natural “high” from success at work, happiness in relationships, or meeting personal goals. And they need to keep taking the drug, often at higher and more frequent doses, just to obtain or maintain that artificial high.

Some of the key benefits of quitting Vicodin include: 2

  • Improved finances: You’ll have more money to spend on rent, basic necessities, and other things besides drugs.
  • Better relationships: You’ll have more time to cultivate your relationships with friends and family.
  • Improved physical safety: Some people resort to crimes such as stealing to support their habit. You’ll no longer put yourself in harm’s way.
  • Decreased risk of mental and physical health problems: Long-term opioid users may suffer from depression, sexual dysfunction, constipation, vision problems, accidents, injuries, overdose, and death. They may also suffer from hepatitis, HIV, sclerosed veins (“track marks”), and nasal problems, depending on the method of administration. 6
  • Developing an increased interest in the world around you: You may find hobbies and other things besides Vicodin that are important to you.

Vicodin Addiction Treatment Center and Recovery Program Options

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, many people who try to quit using on their own ultimately relapse. Seeking professional help is one of the most important ways to kick the habit for good. 3

Treatment programs provide you with support, guidance, and education from professionals trained in the field of addiction. Depending on the type of treatment program you select, you’ll be closely monitored and offered a helping hand as you navigate your way to recovery.

Treatment options that can help you overcome a Vicodin addiction include:

  • Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment takes place in a residential setting.You live on-site at the facility for a few weeks to a few months. You’ll receive medical supervision as you detox from Vicodin and participate in a structured recovery program that includes individual and group therapy, 12-step meetings, group activities, and aftercare programming.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment is a less intense program that usually involves attendance at a recovery center several times a week, at least in the initial phases of recovery. This type of treatment is often best for people who are unable to take time off from work or from other responsibilities,or who simply prefer a non-residential treatment option.
  • Individual counseling: Some people are successful working one-on-one with a substance abuse counselor. Individual counseling is almost always a component of both outpatient and inpatient treatment programs.People might attend sessions several times a week to help gain insight into their problems and to obtain support and guidance.
  • Group counseling: Group counseling is also a component of both inpatient and outpatient programs. It involves participating in group therapy sessions with others in recovery.
  • 12-step programs: First popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-step groups adhere to the 12 steps of recovery that help members stay clean by working with a sponsor and relying on a higher power.


Regardless of the type of treatment program you choose, it’s important to participate in aftercare to help maintain your newly achieved sobriety. Aftercare helps support recovery by focusing on four key areas of your life: health, home, sense of purpose, and community engagement. 4

Types of aftercare that can support you after you complete a formal treatment program include:

  • Sober living: This is a residential form of aftercare that involves living with other people in a group home setting. Sober living provides structure such as rules, supervision, chores, and curfews help you stay on the path to recovery.
  • 12-step programs: Many people choose to participate in 12-step groups for the rest of their lives after completing a formal treatment program, benefiting from the support and the camaraderie of others in recovery.
  • Outpatient counseling: Speaking with a counselor on a regular basis can help support you in recovery and help you continue the process of personal growth and development.
  • Other support groups: Other types of support groups offer guidance and fellowship with others in recovery.

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms and Side Effects

Withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult to stay clean and sober. The symptoms will depend on your physical and psychological makeup, the length of time you’ve been using, the dosage you were taking, and other individual factors.

Some of the symptoms you may experience in the early stages of Vicodin withdrawal include: 1

  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Muscular aches and pains.
  • Excessive yawning.
  • Sweating.
  • Runny nose.
  • Insomnia.
  • Fever.

In the later stages of withdrawal, you may also experience:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Goose bumps.
  • Pupillary dilation.

Medical treatment for detox is recommended.Certain medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings. In some cases, a physician may replace Vicodin with one of these medications and then either gradually reduce the dose over time or maintain you on a certain dose, depending on the circumstances.

Tips for Quitting Vicodin

  • Find the right treatment facility for your needs.You might want to consult with an addiction treatment professional for help.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Collect quotes about recovery to help you stay motivated.
  • Stay busy with meaningful tasks and activities. Too much idle time may make you more likely to relapse.
  • Engage in support groups or find a sponsor in a 12-step program. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Isolation can also lead to relapse.
  • Call a trusted friend or family member if you feel tempted to use. Try not to be alone during intense cravings.
  • Develop a sense of purpose. Joining a community organization and giving back to others might help you see the bigger picture and realize that you don’t have to use to feel good about yourself.
  • Look at the reasons why you became addicted. It can help prevent relapse.

How to Help an Addict Quit

It’s painful and scary when someone you love has a substance abuse problem. You might feel as though you’re watching the person throw his or her life away.

The best way to help your loved one recognize the need for treatment is to share your concerns in a compassionate, non-judgmental way.

  • Avoid being confrontational, judgmental, angry, or accusatory. Deep down, your loved one knows he or she has a problem. The person might feel ashamed or embarrassed about it, so the last thing he or she wants is a lecture.
  • Approach the person from a place of love, compassion, and genuine concern. Let him or her know that you’re there for support every step of the way.
  • Use “I” statements. You might say, “I am concerned about you. I love you and want to help.” Don’t say, “You have a drug problem and need to get help.” Blame will only put your loved one on the defensive and may make him or her less likely to seek help.
  • Encourage your loved one to attend treatment. Offer to help locate a treatment program or find local programs and present some options when you talk to the person.

Can I Quit Cold Turkey? Is It Dangerous?

Quitting Vicodin suddenly can trigger withdrawal symptoms and cravings that can be extremely difficult to manage.
In an interview with Dr. Jennifer Shu of CNN, Dr. Stuart Gitlow, associate professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, advises gradual reduction of opioids with a physician rather than going cold turkey. 5

Although some people may experience depression or other uncomfortable effects, withdrawal symptoms are generally not life-threatening. 1 But it’s usually best to consult with a physician or seek help from a treatment center to make your journey to recovery easier, safer, and more successful.

Find a Rehab Center for Vicodin

Don’t put off living a clean and sober life. You don’t have to suffer from a Vicodin addiction any longer.

Call to speak to a treatment support specialist, who can help you locate a rehab center that’s best for your needs.

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