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Vicodin pills with a syringeVicodin is a commonly prescribed painkiller that is used to treat chronic pain. Similar to other prescription painkillers, Vicodin is a narcotic that can become both physically and psychologically addicting. Vicodin is very powerful, as a painkiller, and does have incredible medical applications that enable it to bring relief to people with severe chronic pain. However, because of how useful it is in this regard, an individual can become addicted to Vicodin even if they are following the doctor’s orders on how to use it, depending on their particular tolerance.

Short term effects of Vicodin abuse

Vicodin, like many other types of prescription painkillers, is an opiate, which means that the high that it induces is very similar to other types of opiates (and usually is a less intense, but similar, high to heroin). Vicodin induces relaxation and euphoria in the brain by causing receptors to release a sudden surge of dopamine. This is what makes Vicodin such a powerful painkiller, as the pain is masked up by the dopamine.

Like other opiates, though, Vicodin causes some unpleasant physical side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The nervous system is also affected by Vicodin, which can cause intense itching and swelling on parts of the body.

Long term effects of Vicodin abuse

Because of the type of high that Vicodin causes, the brain can start to have problems inducing dopamine on its own, without the help of illicit substances. This is how Vicodin, along with other opiates, can be so physically and psychologically addictive, as it inherently promotes dependency by rejecting the natural ways your body creates pleasure and relaxation.

Because Vicodin isn’t as strong as other opiates, one can begin to build a tolerance for it. This means that a user needs more and more Vicodin to get the same high, which increases the chances of a heart attack and overdose, or else they need to get a stronger substance to take its place. Because of this, Vicodin works as a gateway drug for stronger substances, like heroin.