Vicodin is a opiate pain reliever, and it is a brand name of the drug hydrocodone. There are other brands of hydrocodone, but Vicodin is the most commonly prescribed, and it is a mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Opiates like Vicodin can be highly addictive, and there is a variety of potential long term effects from Vicodin use.
Long Term Effects of Vicodin on the Body
One of the most serious long term effects of Vicodin is liver damage. Acetaminophen in higher-than-recommended doses can begin to cause liver damage. Because Vicodin contains acetaminophen, there is the risk of liver damage, disease, and failure from long term Vicodin use, especially when taken in high daily doses.
Other long term effects of Vicodin can be related to the method a person uses to take the drug. Some people who use Vicodin to get high will snort or inject it. Snorting Vicodin can result in damage to the nasal passageways and potential loss of the sense of smell. Injecting Vicodin can lead to infections and permanent scarring at injection sites.
While uncommon, it is also possible to experience hearing loss from long term Vicodin use. Some people may also have an increased risk for arthritis.
Long Term Effects of Vicodin on the Brain
Vicodin affects a person’s brain in its pleasure center. Vicodin increases a person’s ability to feel pleasure, and it can cause a person to feel happy and euphoric. Long term effects of Vicodin can include damage to the pleasure center. This can lead feelings of depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, and mood swings. People may feel irritable or anxious, and in severe cases they may begin to experience delusions or hallucinations.
Other Long Term Effects of Vicodin
Vicodin is a drug that’s easy to become physically dependent on. If a person becomes addicted to Vicodin, they can experience all the long term effects that are associated with addiction, such as problems with relationships, work, money, school, or the law.
When a person becomes addicted to Vicodin, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, irritability, anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.
The more a person takes Vicodin, the higher their tolerance for the drug will become. A higher tolerance means it will be necessary to take a higher dosage in order to feel the same effects, and a higher dose will increase the risk of long term physical and mental effects.
Factors Influencing Long Term Effects of Vicodin
The more Vicodin a person takes and the more often they take it will directly influence the severity of long term effects that they experience. A person’s body chemistry, weight, and any pre-existing conditions can also make a significant difference. If a person has pre-existing depression or anxiety, the long term effects of Vicodin on the brain can be more evident. If a person has liver damage or liver disease, Vicodin is more apt to cause liver failure or death.