Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms | Help

Vicodin withdrawal - what are the symptoms? what can be done?

Vicodin withdrawal – what are the symptoms? is it addiction?

Vicodin Withdrawal – what should I look for? does that mean I’m addicted? what can I do?

I have had a lot of questions regarding Vicodin addiction and withdrawal of late and thought it would be helpful to share the following resources from NIDA to answer common questions. This is not to be construed as medial advice, rather simply a sharing of information because the problems that arise with not using Vicodin – or any prescription medication, for that matter – as prescribed can be life-altering. [Note: in case you’re not aware, Vicodin is one of the Opiods, which is why the term Opiods is used throughout the following.]

Explain What Vicodin Is and Why It’s Prescribed

“Opioids [Vicodin] are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus. Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and related drugs.” [NIDA What Are Opiods?]

How Does Vicodin Affect the Brain and Body?

“Opioids [Vicodin] act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body. When these drugs attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain.” [NIDA How Do Opiods Affect the Brain and Body?“]

Is Vicodin Addictive?

“Physical dependence is a normal adaptation to chronic exposure to a drug and is not the same as addiction (see textbox, Dependence vs. Addiction).” [NIDA What Are the Possible Consequences of Opiod Use and Abuse?]

What Are Some of the Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms?

“…withdrawal symptoms may occur if drug use is suddenly reduced or stopped. These symptoms can include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”), and involuntary leg movements.” [NIDA What Are the Possible Consequences of Opiod Use and Abuse?]

What if it is Addiction? How is it Treated?

“Years of research have shown that addiction to any drug (illicit or prescribed) is a brain disease that can be treated effectively. Treatment must take into account the type of drug used and the needs of the individual. Successful treatment may need to incorporate several components, including detoxification, counseling, and sometimes the use of addiction medications. Multiple courses of treatment may be needed for the patient to make a full recovery.” [NIDA Treating Prescription Drug Addiction]

What If I Need It for Chronic Pain?

“To mitigate addiction risk, physicians should screen patients for potential risk factors, including personal or family history of drug abuse or mental illness. Monitoring patients for signs of abuse is also crucial, and yet some indicators can signify multiple conditions, making accurate assessment challenging. Early or frequent requests for prescription pain medication refills, for example, could represent illness progression, the development of drug tolerance, or the emergence of a drug problem.” [NIDA Chronic Pain Treatment and Addiction]

Single Source for Prescription Drug Information

For all of the above information and more, please find NIDA’s PDF, Prescription Drugs: Abuse and Addiction.

For Help With Vicodin Withdrawal

Here are three resources provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

Opioid Treatment Program Directory

Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator

Call SAMHSA's 24-Hour Toll-Free Treatment Referral Helpline

For More Information About Addiction – Whether It’s to Drugs or Alcohol

Visit this website, The Addiction Project, a collaborative work done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and HBO.

Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at
Author of nine books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!" and "Quick Guide to Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and hundreds of articles, Lisa Frederiksen is a national keynote speaker, consultant and founder of She has spent more than a decade researching, writing, speaking and consulting on substance abuse prevention, mental illness, addiction as a brain disease, dual diagnosis, secondhand drinking | drugging, help for the family and related subjects – all centered around 21st century brain, mental health and addiction-related research. In 2015, she founded SHD (Secondhand Drinking) Prevention, providing training and consulting for companies and public agencies. Lisa can be reached at 650-362-3026.

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  1. Great information, Lisa and once people are free and clear from the habitual use of Vicodin when it is not indicated, it’s a best practice to direct them toward a low carb, low inflammation and sensible exercise lifestyle so that those natural endorphins can get back on line ASAP!

    Opioids have their place, but this seductive and highly addictive substance can lull people into a false sense of well being that believe me, won’t last and can be deadly.

    Thank you for your diligence in bringing this commonly prescribed medication into clearer focus.