What to Expect during Vicodin Detox

Published: 08/11/2014 | Author:

Vicodin is an opiate-based pain medication that combines hydrocodone, a semi-synthetic opioid, with acetaminophen. Vicodin has a high rate of physical dependence because of its hydrocodone content and, when usage stops, withdrawals can occur. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “hydrocodone has a chemical structure that is related to that of codeine and morphine” and the more Vicodin a person uses the greater their dependency will become. Here is what you can expect during Vicodin detox.

Vicodin Withdrawal

Vicodin Detox

Professional treatment will help you avoid health complications associated with Vicodin detox.

Vicodin withdrawal can begin 24-72 hours after the last administered dose. The person may experience agitation, loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, headache, fever, chills, and other symptoms much like having the flu. These symptoms can last anywhere from 3 – 5 days or longer. Intense cravings for the drug is a major symptom of Vicodin withdrawals and depending on the levels of use, duration of use, and other contributing factors, the opioid cravings can last as long as several weeks. In some cases, such as long term use, or chronic abuse, the person may have added anxiety, depression, insomnia, restlessness, and other emotional or psychological withdrawal effects.

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Vicodin Detox

Safety is an important issue for someone who is suffering from Vicodin withdrawals because detox can be dangerous if not properly managed. Symptoms such as respiratory distress, excessive vomiting and diarrhea, anxiety, depression, confusion, or other complications are not uncommon. Serious physical and mental health issues should be treated by medical professionals who are experienced and have knowledge about complications that can arise during Vicodin detox and provide the necessary treatment to prevent further complications. Major concerns such as aspiration, cardiac arrest, and psychosis can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention which would be readily available in a Vicodin detox treatment program.

What to Expect during Vicodin Detox

Vicodin detox treatment can help alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals and reduce the cravings for opioids through specialized care of qualified clinicians. Vicodin detox professionals can administer comfort, medications, and other necessary treatment as the person goes through the process. Upon entering the program, professionals evaluate the person to determine their level of opioid dependency as well as the durations and amounts of drugs they are using, including other drugs and alcohol. A detox plan may include medications when necessary along with making sure the person remains hydrated and gets nutrients and vitamins to help them to recover.

Additional medications may be provided to reduce intense cravings, or anxiety disorders. Over the next few days, under the careful watch of clinicians, the program can be modified to ensure that the person has become stabilized enough to function more normally. Program interventions of counseling and therapy will be introduced and a program can be designed to address the specific needs of the individual with resource tools to prevent relapse and maintain abstinence.

Find Vicodin detox centers by searching our directory, or call our helpline at 866-351-3840(Who Answers?) to speak with a treatment specialist. 


  1. Drug Enforcement Administration. (2014). Hydrocodone (Trade Names: Vicodin®, Lortab®, Lorcet-HD®, Hycodan®, Vicoprofen®).
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal. 
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