What Are The Physical Effects Of Using Vicodin?

Published: May 21, 2014
Dear What Are The Physical Effects Of Using Vicodin?,

what are the physical effects of using vicodin?


Dear What Are The Physical Effects Of Using Vicodin?,

There is a misconception by some teens that abusing prescription drugs is safer than using illicit drugs because prescription drugs are medications prescribed by doctors. But according to NIDA “prescription drugs that are not taken as prescribed can have powerful and dangerous effects on the brain and body. When doctors prescribe medication for a patient, they have taken into account that person’s age, body weight, other health conditions, and other medications or supplements.”

Vicodin is an opioid, a class of drugs that are sometimes prescribed by doctors to relieve pain following surgery or to address various types of acute or chronic pain. According to NIDA “Studies have shown that if taken exactly as prescribed by a medical professional, opioids are safe, can manage pain effectively, and rarely cause addiction. The problem occurs when they are abused. In fact, painkillers are one of the most commonly abused drugs by teens after tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana.”

There are various short-term effects of Vicodin use which can even be experienced by those being prescribed the drug by a doctor and taking the drug as prescribed:

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting or upset stomach
  • Drowsiness

Those taking Vicodin for a prolonged period of time may deal with medical issues such as:

  • Liver damage
  • Liver failure
  • Jaundice
  • Urinary system issues

Vicodin abuse carries the following risks as well:

  • Seizures and convulsions. 
  • Because Vicodin is a central nervous system depressant, it decreases heart rate and respirations (meaning there is shallow breathing and a slow heart rate), particularly if taken in large doses.
  • Overdose can occur if you take a dose that is too large or if you combine Vicodin with another central nervous system depressant, such as alcohol or another opiate or barbiturate.
  • Death can occur as a result of taking a large single dose of Vicodin.
  • Altered mental status. Vicodin acts on the central nervous system as any other illicit drug. It alters mental status resulting in dizziness, light-headedness, mental clouding, lethargy, anxiety, fear, dysphoria, psychic dependence, and mood changes.
  • Confusion and fear. Vicodin impacts the parts of the brain that controls thought, memory, and language causing severe confusion. Other side effects of Vicodin may include hallucinations, changes in behavior, isolation, fear, and unusual thoughts. If combined with some other drugs or alcohol, it can produce compounding dangerous effects. Along with confusion, it can cause sedation and impact mental and physical functioning of the individual abusing Vicodin.
  • Withdrawal symptoms can also be a common problem associated with those abusing Vicodin.

TeenHealthFX wonders why you are asking this question. In not knowing the answer to this question, we will say the following:

  • If your doctor is prescribing you Vicodin, take the medication exactly as prescribed. If you notice any side effects or reactions to taking this medication, notify your doctor right away. If you are being prescribed Vicodin do not share your meds with anyone.
  • If you are considering taking Vicodin as a recreational drug, FX strongly encourages you not to do this based on the serious effects and consequence of abusing this drug.
  • If you are abusing Vicodin, reach out for help immediately. Talk to your parents, a school counselor or your doctor and make sure that an adult intervenes to get you the professional help that you need. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area or call 1-800-662-HELP. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area

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