Dangers of Mixing Vicodin and Alcohol
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Vicodin is a strong pain medication prescribed by doctors in situations of extreme pain and discomfort. Vicodin is for individuals expected to experience severe long-term pain that cannot be relieved through alternative therapies.
Combining alcohol with Vicodin has the potential to be deadly. Both drugs have antiseizure effects on the central nervous system (CNS). When they’re combined, their effects are amplified in a way that can induce respiratory depression, brain damage, coma, and death.
They can also induce kidney damage and acute liver failure when used together.
This article will discuss some dangers of mixing Vicodin and Alcohol and how you can avoid these dangers by using Vicodin responsibly.
What Is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a pain reliever designed to treat moderate to severe pain levels. Vicodin contains an opioid called hydrocodone, which belongs in the same class as drugs like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and heroin.
It’s very effective at treating any chronic or acute pain, including joint pain from arthritis or other causes, such as back problems or cancer-related issues. Vicodin is also frequently prescribed for short-term injuries caused by accidents with no long-term damage when you need immediate relief from your injury.
Like all opioids, Vicodin carries a high risk for addiction which means many people abuse it when they take more than prescribed.
Vicodin is highly addictive because it activates the same reward center of your brain as drugs like cocaine or heroin, known as euphoriants.
How Does Vicodin Work?
Vicodin is designed to alter how you perceive pain by binding with opioid receptors in your brain. The drug binds with these receptor sites and blocks any physical or emotional pain you might feel, which is why it effectively treats chronic and acute forms of pain.
Vicodin does not change the amount of time you feel pain but rather how much attention your mind pays to recognize this discomfort as painful. It also works similarly on your body organs, like your heart, where it slows down their work rate, so they don’t require as much oxygen for operation.
This is part of what makes Vicodin dangerous because slowing down certain bodily functions can result in breathing problems if taken too often over a long period.
What Are the Effects of Vicodin?
The effects of Vicodin can vary depending on how much is taken. It also matters if Vicodin is combined with other drugs or alcohol and what kind of tolerance your body has to the drug.
Some people will feel relaxed when they take Vicodin, which means they might not be as aware of their surroundings or act differently than usual because Vicodin alters your brain activity by slowing down specific processes.
Other common effects include:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Itching sensations throughout the body (especially around the neck)
- Dry mouth and nose
The more severe side effects that could occur are:
- Confusion where users aren’t able to think anymore
- Shallow breathing, which can lead to respiratory failure
- Cold, clammy skin
Vicodin can also result in a fatal overdose when used with other drugs or alcohol that could cause an adverse reaction that’s too powerful for Vicodin to handle on its own.
How Addictive Is Vicodin?
Vicodin is highly addictive because it activates the same reward center of your brain when you take drugs like cocaine or heroin, known as euphoriants.
Vicodin is so addictive because of its effects on two different neurotransmitters within your body: norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals help control emotional responses such as stress and physical reactions such as pain relief.
When Vicodin binds with opioid receptors in those areas of the brain, those feelings begin to change from not only feeling less stressed but also feeling a sense of pleasure and euphoria since you’re no longer experiencing constant pain.
What Is Alcohol?
Alcoholic beverages have existed for thousands of years. They are made by fermenting and distilling natural starch and sugar and are depressants that slow down your brain and central nervous system.
Fermented beverages were known to the ancient Egyptians, and there is evidence of an early alcoholic drink in China dating back to 7,000 B.C. In India, a rice-based spirit called sura was produced and used between 3,000 and 2,000 B.C.
However, for a beverage that has been around for thousands of years, alcohol can be very addictive and cause severe health problems.
For thousands of years, alcohol has been a very controversial substance because it can make a person lose their inhibitions, leading to poor decision-making and accidents.
It also impairs your body’s motor skills and cognitive abilities because you’re unable to think clearly or respond quickly enough when faced with an obstacle that requires those attributes.
In other words, you become more vulnerable to injury once alcohol is introduced into the equation due to its effects on coordination and balance.
How Does Alcohol Work?
Alcohol is considered a depressant because it slows down brain function, which affects your coordination muscles and decreases energy levels. It does this by interfering with the messages that are sent between your brain cells.
Alcohol depresses the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which blocks nerve cells from over-firing, thus slowing things down in the body. This is why you feel relaxed when consuming alcohol, as it acts as a sedative by suppressing signals to your muscles, heart rate, speech centers, and many other parts of the brain responsible for activity regulation.
What Are the Effects of Alcohol?
Alcohol can have several effects on your body, including drowsiness and slurred speech. In some cases, it may even lead to loss of consciousness or blackouts where you wake up with no memory of what happened while drinking.
You might experience blurry vision and impaired judgment, which could also result in accidental injuries such as cuts, bruises, or burns that happen when you’re not fully aware of your surroundings.
Alcohol use has been linked to increased risk-taking behaviors like unprotected sex and fights because intoxicated people don’t usually make good decisions about their health.
Over time, the negative impacts of alcohol abuse will be seen in physical changes such as weakening liver function, stomach irritation, and ulcers due to increased gastric acid. It can also lead to heart problems like arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and high blood pressure, risk of a stroke, or cardiovascular disease if not treated properly.
How Addictive Is Alcohol?
Alcohol is one of the most frequently used substances in the United States. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which provides addiction statistics, 85.6% of adults aged 18 and over have ever consumed alcohol, with 69.5% reporting having done so in the past year and 54.9% reporting doing so in the previous month.
So with so many individuals consuming alcohol, how common is it for addictions to occur? The answer is, very.
With alcohol consumption becoming a daily or weekly ritual for millions of young adults, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people seeking treatment for alcohol addiction over the last decade.
Alcohol is considered to be one of the most addictive drugs in the world. It’s ranked number three on the list of dependence-producing substances according to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSUDH).
Alcohol is so addictive because it affects the brain’s reward center, leading to cravings and compulsive drinking behaviors.
The Similarities of Alcohol and Vicodin
Alcohol and Vicodin share similar effects on pain reduction. Vicodin is a narcotic used for moderate to severe pain. At the same time, alcohol acts as an analgesic that numbs the body in all types of physical discomfort, including injuries and menstrual cramps.
When Vicodin contacts opioid receptors located inside your brain cells, it triggers them to release dopamine into your system, creating feelings of pleasure or euphoria similar to what you’d get from ingesting large quantities of sugar or caffeine.
This explains why some people are more likely to become addicted when first taking Vicodin. Their brains haven’t yet developed tolerance levels against opioids, making it easier for them to experience intense sensations earlier than expected.
While alcohol is a depressant, it also triggers dopamine release when it enters the body. The brain’s pleasure center releases the feel-good chemical dopamine after alcohol consumption. However, chronic alcohol consumption depletes the dopamine in your brain, causing you to want more to drink and setting the stage for alcohol addiction.
Both Alcohol and Vicodin affect the central nervous system, release dopamine, numb pain, and are highly addictive substances.
Mixing Alcohol and Vicodin
Vicodin is an opioid narcotic, while alcohol is a depressant. Even though both drugs are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that produce similar effects of sedation and relaxation on the body’s systems, Vicodin has the potential to be more damaging than alcohol depending on your tolerance levels.
Vicodin contains hydrocodone, which belongs to a class of semi-synthetic opioids known as narcotic painkillers. Vicodin increases dopamine concentrations in parts of the brain associated with reward, pleasure, euphoria, and reinforcing behaviors leading up to addiction when used long-term or abused at high doses for nonmedical purposes.
Effects of Mixing Vicodin and Alcohol
Vicodin combined with alcohol may increase the sedative effects of Vicodin, which can have many adverse effects on the body. Here are some of the serious impacts that can be experienced when combining alcohol and Vicodin:
- Shallow breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Brain damage
- Stomach issues
- Liver problems
- Pancreas infection
- Heart infection
- Mental confusion
- Coma paralysis
- Permanent nerve damage
- Vision loss
In extreme cases, the combination can even be lethal. If you have urges to combine alcohol and Vicodin, reach out to the support team at Zinnia Healing and talk to a professional for help.
Long-Term Effects of Mixing Drugs and Alcohol
While in small doses, the combination of Vicodin and alcohol may not cause an overdose or death, Vicodin combined with alcohol can cause severe mental and physical issues in the long term.
1. Mental Effects of Combining Vicodin and Alcohol
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts and feelings (especially when mixed with other drugs like antidepressants)
2. Physical effects of Combining Vicodin and Alcohol
- Memory loss
- Loss of motor control
- Liver disease
- Brain damage
- Kidney problems
- Heart infection
- Blood poisoning
- Vision changes
Because of the severe health risks, avoid the consumption of alcohol if taking Vicodin. Vicodin can cause many adverse effects on its own, so adding the dangers of mixing Vicodin and Alcohol will only increase your risk for further health issues.
If you are struggling with Vicodin addiction or know someone, contact us today to see how we can help. We offer several programs that assist people in getting off Vicodin over time while still providing support during the process.
Signs of Alcohol and Vicodin Addiction
There are many signs that you should know in terms of addiction to Vicodin and alcohol. These signs may be difficult to notice at first, but as you learn more about Vicodin addiction and alcohol abuse, the following things will become evident. Here are some common signs of being aware of:
- You start using Vicodin or drinking before social gatherings such as parties or dinners.
- You go out of your way to avoid activities that would cause a lack of access to Vicodin, like skipping family events and birthdays because you don’t want others finding out how badly you need it.
- You’re moody if someone takes away access to Vicodin by putting it in a safe place where you can’t find it.
Addiction is widespread and is not something that you should be ashamed of. Instead, you should know you may have a problem and seek professional help.
Zinnia Healing has dealt with thousands of patients going through the same things you are, providing a safe, judgment-free environment to help you on your journey to sobriety.
What Should You Do If You Think You May Be Addicted to Alcohol or Vicodin?
If you think that Vicodin and alcohol addiction may be a problem in your life, then reach out to Zinnia Healing. Our substance use programs will help you “heal for good.”
Zinnia Healing also offers payment options and plans to keep treatment affordable and accessible.
As we say at Zinnia Healing, “A better tomorrow starts today.” If you’re looking for more information on Vicodin treatment, contact our team of experts and professionals today.
Different Treatments for Addiction
At Zinnia Healing facilities, there are many methods of treatment for Vicodin and alcohol addiction. Some of the treatment options include:
- Detoxification treatment
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- One-on-one and group therapy
- Relapse prevention training
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) – This step allows patients to learn skills that help them with their Vicodin addiction while also maintaining their daily schedules.
- Aftercare – Aftercare continues your recovery after you leave a Zinnia Healing treatment center with ongoing support from our staff members dedicated to helping you stay sober long term. We will also provide referrals to different community groups, such as 12-step programs that meet regularly, which can be beneficial throughout recovery.
We focus on providing high-quality care through evidence-based practices so patients have every opportunity possible to recover successfully from Vicodin addiction and alcohol abuse issues.
Zinnia Healing Can Help
Combining Vicodin and alcohol can be extremely dangerous and cause several short and long-term health risks.
If you’re struggling with Vicodin abuse, contact Zinnia Healing today to learn more about Vicodin treatment options that will work best for you.
We offer 24-hour assistance, and we don’t make judgments. Instead, we help our patients through the process of getting sober from Vicodin over time while also providing support along the way when it is needed most.
Call (855) 430-9439 if you’d like to speak with one of our experts immediately so they can provide information on our Vicodin addiction programs.