Let’s talk about hydrocodone (Vicodin®) and alcohol, what happens when they’re mixed, and why they aren’t safe to take together.
What Is Vicodin and What Is It Used For?
Hydrocodone (Vicodin®) is an opioid that’s often used to treat chronic, severe, or post-surgical pain. In the right environment and with a doctor’s prescription, hydrocodone (Vicodin®) can be highly useful in treating pain and speeding up the healing process. Unfortunately, because of its ability to create feelings of euphoria and well-being, it’s often misused. People sometimes acquire it illegally and take it outside of a doctor’s supervision, which is when it becomes dangerous. Hydrocodone (Vicodin®) combined with other substances (like alcohol) can cause an overdose.
Mixing Alcohol and Vicodin
It’s also easy for someone to build up a tolerance for hydrocodone (Vicodin®), which means they’ll need more of the medication to achieve the desired effect. When a person has become accustomed to taking this medication regularly, they may believe that adding alcohol won’t make much of a difference. After all, they can barely feel hydrocodone’s effects, so consuming alcohol shouldn’t do much, right?
Other times, people will mix hydrocodone (Vicodin®) and alcohol because one increases the effects of the other. If someone’s prescription isn’t working anymore and they can’t get a higher dose prescribed, adding alcohol to their dose may provide them with the pain relief they’re seeking. There are countless other reasons why people might mix these two substances. Unfortunately, when people do this, they’re playing with fire. Even if they don’t know it.The Effects of Mixing Vicodin and Alcohol
What someone feels after combining alcohol and hydrocodone (Vicodin®) varies greatly from person to person. Some people feel heavily relaxed, while others feel “high” or euphoric. Some people might feel sleepy, while others experience pain relief. Most of the time, when these two are mixed, the “feelings” someone gets are positive – happy, relaxed, calm, sleepy, excited, etc. Some people also experience anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, respiratory arrest, coma, alcohol and/or Vicodin® overdose, and more. Because each person’s biology is unique, it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen.
Here’s what we do know: alcohol and hydrocodone (Vicodin®) are both depressants. They both slow down the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system, and the brain. When they’re mixed, everything functions more slowly. It isn’t just your reactions, inhibitions, or feelings, either. Your brain could have a difficult time sending signals to your respiratory system, causing your breathing to slow, your heartbeat to become erratic, and your body to malfunction. Unfortunately, this is something doctors see too often.
The most severe side effect of mixing hydrocodone (Vicodin®) is the possibility of an overdose. These substances enhance each other’s effects to an often unhealthy level. When an overdose isn’t caught in time, it can lead to the loss of someone’s life. At ReVIDA® Recovery, that’s exactly what we’re trying to prevent.
Concurrent Alcohol and Vicodin Use Disorder
Another common danger of mixing these two substances is the risk of developing a concurrent substance use disorder. It’s possible for the body (and mind) to become dependent on both substances, making it difficult or seemingly impossible to stop taking them without medical help. Both of these substances can also cause withdrawal symptoms when they’re no longer present in the body, which can be dangerous if they go untreated.
Signs of Alcohol and Vicodin Addiction
If you’ve found that you’re in a position where you’re drinking alcohol while taking hydrocodone (Vicodin®), you’re not alone. It’s called polysubstance use, and according to the American Psychiatric Association, nearly 70% of people who use opioids illicitly also drink alcohol. The good news is that this doesn’t need to be permanent. With treatment, you can reclaim your life from addiction. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’re managing a polysubstance use disorder, here are some common signs of alcohol and Vicodin® addiction:
- Issues with memory
- Problems taking one substance without the other
- Massive mood changes
- Difficulty connecting with others or maintaining relationships
- Making personal sacrifices to obtain drugs or alcohol
- Financial or legal issues
Treatment for Vicodin and Alcohol Addiction at ReVIDA® Recovery
At ReVIDA® Recovery, we have seen firsthand how effective, evidence-based Vicodin® addiction treatment can be in eliminating opioid use disorder (OUD). It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been taking opioids or how impossible it feels to stop right now – recovery is always possible. Let’s talk about some of the treatment options we offer here that could be right for you or your loved one.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
While you’re here for MAT, you’ll be closely monitored by a compassionate and knowledgeable staff. Medications are available that can help in alleviating Vicodin® withdrawal symptoms and guiding you safely into recovery. You’ll also have access to resources that can help you on your journey moving forward, including individual counseling, group counseling, and support groups. In an MAT program, we use medications alongside traditional therapy to guide you away from opioids and into a healthy life of recovery.
You’ll also have the option to move forward with our outpatient treatment program. If a higher level of care is warranted, we will provide referrals for a local inpatient or residential treatment program. Your clinician will go over all of your options to set you up for success.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a safe and evidence-based way to treat OUD. At ReVIDA® Recovery, we support the use of buprenorphine (Suboxone®) because it has been proven to reduce cravings while working to prevent relapse. To receive buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatment, you will have to be opioid-free for 24 hours.
Outpatient Rehab Services
We believe that both individual and group therapy are critical components in the treatment of OUD – especially if you’re looking for long-term recovery. This is a safe and supportive space where you will learn how to manage your triggers and create healthy coping mechanisms. Our behavioral healthcare team is composed of licensed therapists, certified counselors, care coordinators, and peer recovery specialists who are standing by and ready to help. If we can treat your addiction where it started, at its roots, your chance of recovery is greater than if we were to simply treat your withdrawal symptoms.
At ReVIDA® Recovery, we’re standing by to help you reclaim your life from Vicodin® and alcohol. Recovery is possible, and you can start your journey to wellness whenever you’re ready. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call us today at 423-631-0432.
FAQs About Vicodin and Alcohol
Why is combining Vicodin with alcohol dangerous?
The most severe side effect of mixing hydrocodone (Vicodin®) with alcohol is the possibility of an overdose. These substances enhance each other’s effects to an often unhealthy level. When an overdose isn’t caught in time, it can lead to the loss of someone’s life.
When does Vicodin or alcohol misuse lead to a substance use disorder?
If you’re mixing Vicodin® and alcohol and you’re aware of the risks, it’s possible you’re trying to manage a substance use disorder.
How long does Vicodin stay in your system?
This number is different for everyone and depends on factors like height, weight, how much Vicodin® you’ve taken, and whether or not you’ve taken other substances alongside Vicodin®. Usually, Vicodin® stays in the system for around 4 days, but certain tests can detect it for up to 3 months after the last dose.