Physically, Vicodin works via the central nervous system. When it binds to opioid receptors, the medication suppresses sensations of pain. At the same time, the neurotransmitters that are responsible for mood and feelings are stimulated to begin firing at rapid rates, resulting in an improved sense of well-being. It is this concurrent numbing of pain and euphoric state that makes Vicodin such a popular recreational drug.
Long-Term Effects of Vicodin
People who chronically abuse Vicodin may begin to experience some long-term physical and mental effects, as well as develop a dependency on the medication. Vicodin has been shown to cause serious medical issues, including:
- Liver and urinary system complications
- Liver damage
- Liver failure
In addition to the intended effects of Vicodin, this medication may also cause some unwanted side effects, whether it is used as prescribed or abused recreationally. It is normal for Vicodin to cause:
- Skin irritation
- Dry throat
- Narrowed pupils
- Abnormal mood changes
- Secretive behavior
- Lying, stealing
Anyone experiencing side effects that persist or become severe should seek medical attention. In rare cases, Vicodin has been shown to cause respiratory suppression and chest tightness.
Immediate medical attention is necessary for anyone who has taken high dosages of hydrocodone and subsequently experienced shallow breathing, loss of consciousness, a slow pulse, or seizures.