• Vicodin is a prescription painkiller, which is commonly abused in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Vicodin is abused at unacceptably high rates by 12th graders. Withdrawal from Vicodin addiction is an uncomfortable process; however, an individual can take certain steps to help ensure a successful withdrawal.


    If you are employed, take time off from work to undergo Vicodin withdrawal. If you have been using Vicodin for an extended period of time, withdrawal symptoms can last for a week or two. You will need time to rest and to recover from the withdrawal. It is also critical that you familiarize yourself the withdrawal symptoms, so you know your treatment options.

    Withdrawal Symptoms

    Similar to heroin and morphine, Vicodin is an opioid derived from opium. Taking Vicodin for more than a few weeks can cause you to develop a tolerance for the drug, in which you need more to get high, hence forming an addiction. Once you stop taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms occur. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, mood swings, chills, sweating, fever, goosebumps, insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Generally, withdrawal symptoms occur 24 to 72 hours after your last dose. As your body adjusts to normalcy, your withdrawal symptoms diminish. The best way to overcome Vicodin withdrawal is to visit a substance abuse treatment facility, so a physician can taper off your dosage. Stopping use suddenly intensifies the withdrawal symptoms; tapering off the dosage decreases the severity.

    Medical Treatment

    A physician may give you medication such as methadone or buprenorphine, which suppresses withdrawal symptoms and alleviates cravings. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you can receive treatment in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Inpatient care allows you to reside at the treatment facility and receive 24-hour monitoring during your treatment period. Outpatient care is scheduled around your school or work schedule and requires you to visit the facility for treatment.

    Natural Treatment

    If you would rather to use alternative methods to relieve your withdrawal symptoms, meditation, acupuncture or hypnosis may be useful. According to CNN Health, herbal remedies such as kava, passion flower and valerian are not as well-researched as medication, but may alleviate the anxiety and insomnia related to Vicodin withdrawal. If you are considering alternative remedies, consult with your physician. Herbal remedies may not interact favorably with medications and if consumed in large quantities can result in side effects, such as liver damage.


    Vicodin withdrawal is not considered life threatening, but cravings can become so strong, they can result in relapses. Behavioral treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, is available to address the underlying reason for your addiction and to teach you vital coping skills.


    NIDA: High School and Youth Trends

    NIDA: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction

    CNN Health: What Can I Take to Help with Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms?

    More Information:

    SAMHSA Facility Locator

    Vicodin Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

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