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Vicodin Detox Timeline

Vicodin’s ability to enhance the body’s pain-relieving mechanisms leaves users in a debilitated physical state once the effects of dependency and addiction take hold. For long-term users, Vicodin withdrawal effects can be just as harrowing as heroin detox.

Becoming familiar with the Vicodin detox timeline gives a person a better idea of what to expect along the way. As with most all opiate-type drugs, the Vicodin detox timeline is made up of two distinct stages in which symptoms lessen in intensity along the way.

For people, with a long history of drug use, the Vicodin detox timeline can run considerably longer extending into a yet a third stage of withdrawal symptoms. Ultimately, the severity of a person’s addiction will determine the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms.

Vicodin Dependence

Vicodin dependence occurs on a physical and psychological level, both of which are driven by the brain’s increasing tolerance levels. Overall, a person’s tolerance level and degree of dependence determines how long the Vicodin detox timeline will run.

According to the University of Utah Pain Research Center, opiates, as a group, stimulate neurotransmitter chemical secretions from specific groups of brain cells that regulate central nervous system functions. As one of the stronger opiate drugs, Vicodin places a considerable degree of strain on brain cell secretion functions, eventually weakening them over time.

Since weakened brain cells can’t perform as usual, larger doses of Vicodin must be ingested to produce the same desired effects. Weakened brain cell functions also give rise to the withdrawal effects users experience during detox when abstaining from drug use. In effect, the Vicodin detox timeline unfolds as brain cell structures work to regain normal function.

The Vicodin Detox Timeline

Stage 1

vicodin withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms start to develop about 12 hours after a person’s last Vicodin dosage.

The Vicodin detox timeline starts as soon as six to 12 hours after a person’s last dose and can last up to seven days. Stage 1 brings on the most acute symptoms with users experiencing the brunt of physical symptoms during this time.

Withdrawal effects to expect include:

  • Chills
  • Considerable sweating
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors

For long-time users, this stage can be especially uncomfortable, as brain functions have undergone considerable damage from ongoing drug use.

Stage 2

During Stage 2 of the Vicodin detox timeline users experience the last of the drug’s physical aftereffects. Symptom severity lessens, though this stage can still last as long as two weeks. In effect, the body is excreting the last of the drug’s residues and toxins from the system.

Stage 2 symptoms usually take the form of:

  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Leg cramps
  • Goosebumps along the skin
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Pupil dilation

Stage 3

Also known as the protracted withdrawal stage, Stage 3 on the Vicodin detox timeline develops in cases of long-term drug use. Symptoms are mainly psychological in nature as chemical processes in the brain are left in a perpetual state of imbalance.

This stage can last anywhere from two months to two years in cases of chronic, long-term drug use. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Severe depression
  • Anxiety episodes
  • Insomnia
  • An all-consuming feeling of apathy and discontent

More than anything else, it’s the deep-seated feelings of depression that pose the greatest threat to a person’s ongoing recovery.

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