What is Vicodin used for?

Straight facts on what vicodin is used for, both medically and for recreation. Come discuss the addictive qualities of Vicodin and its use here.

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What is Vicodin?

Vicodin is the brand name for a combination of drugs which mainly contain two pain killers: paracetemol and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is an opioid, which works by decreasing perception of pain, reaction to pain at the same time increasing tolerance for pain. Hydrocodone is also an antitussive, which help relieve coughing. According to the most recent version of the Controlled Substances Act, Vicodin is classed as a Schedule III narcotic drug by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) but it is currently being reviewed to be classed as a Schedule II narcotic. As a Schedule III narcotic, Vicodin has a current, accepted medical use and is viewed to have less potential for abuse than drugs or other substances in schedules I and II.

What is Vicodin Used For?

Vicodin is prescribed for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain.


Non medical uses of Vicodin

Recreational Vicodin use is reaching significant levels in the U.S., particularly among young people. In 2009, almost 10% of high school seniors reported past year use of Vicodin without a doctor’s prescription. But abuse of prescription drugs such as hydrocodone cut across educational, employment, racial, and geographical boundaries, according to a recent White House Office of National Drug Control Policy analysis. Because it is an opioid, Vicodin can be used for both its numbing effects and to trigger euphoric feelings. In fact, opioid medications work on areas of the brain that control pleasure perception, and taking Vicodin can result in an extreme sense of well-being. This is why people primarily use Vicodin to:

* numb mental or emotional pain
* produce feelings of euphoria or well-being

Is Vicodin addictive?

Can I get addicted to Vicodin?  Vicodin is an opioid (similar in structure to codeine) and is highly addictive. The DEA recognizes that abuse of Vicodin (using Vicodin in higher than prescribed doses, more often than prescribed, or for reason other than health issues) may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.


Do you know someone who takes Vicodin? Do you know how to identify signs of Vicodin drug addiction…and if you did, would you ever confront the person? Please leave your comments or questions about Vicodin addiction below. We’ll be happy to respond in a post or video.

Reference sources: Monitoring the Future 2009
uscode [dot] house [dot] gov/download/pls/21C13.txt
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I see – so the Vicodin has been prescribed for treating pain and has a subjective effect on the way that you handle the diabetes. Just be aware that you seem to be affected by the euphoric side of Vicodin. And even though you are taking it as prescribed now, you enjoy the psychoactive opiate effect of the drug. Just good to know, as a way to prevent possible addiction. And I wish you the best in managing diabetes…that is very difficult.

  2. My regular doctor has me on two different anti-anxiety drugs to help me cope with having diabetes, but they are all but useless, they relax you about 2minutes and thats it and you’re being back in the dumps again. The doctor which did my surgery prescriped the vicodin ONLY for the pain, not for the diabetes, I’m just saying that in the course of taking the vicodin I learned it makes me more relaxed, more energetic, happier, and wanting to eat good food. I only take two per day, thats it, and i makes me feel good,not high, or giggly, just good old fashioned good, But my fistula is healing and when this vicodin runs out thats it for me, back to gloomy old me. Yes there are other lifestyle changes on can make like: exercising, running, etc and I take a plethora of medications for my condition, but when you’re in the dumbs most of the time its had to get in to running and exercising, but I do it and I always take my medications, just saying

  3. Thanks for bringing your experience to the discussion, Mike. I am interested to know what your prescribing doctor says about hydrocodone and diabetes. Are there other lifestyle changes or medications that can help to control blood sugar levels?

  4. There are two sides to the coin in your discussion about Vicodin. I am a dibectic with out of control sugar. Recently I had a fistula implanted in my wrist and I started taking Vicodin for the surgurey pain. Not only did it relieve my pain but I feel more relaxed with more energy and pep and I don’t feel down in the dumps about my condition anymore and I eat good helthy meals and my blood sugar has dropped dramatically. It may be the euphoria affects of the meds but it helps me tremdoulsy with my diabetes control. Yes, It may be addictive but I would rather take two Vicodin (only) per day and have a healthy control overm my diabetes than have the disease run amok all over my body without it..

  5. I’m still learning from you, but I’m trying to reach my goals of stopping Vicodin. Keep the articles coming. They really help.

  6. Thanks for sharing, Tiffany. I totally agree. And it IS sad when anyone in a position of management overlooks an addiction. And irresponsible. And downright immoral, in my opinion. Your comment has reminded me that I’ve wanted to write posts that target specific professions, and addictions in those professions. Most of us don’t realize just how stressful and full of pressure car sales is. Thanks for opening this up.

  7. Before I started working in the car business I was ignorant to what Vicodin was or that it could be an addictive pain killer. During my years in the car business my manager used up to 20 vicodin a day, and he was never fired. I had several car saleman practically beg me to give them any leftover vicodin when/if I went to the doctor or dentist office. I never used vicodin because it was too strong and made me sick; however, I was pressured to fill the prescription and sell individual pills to them. I never did this, but I knew several other people who did. Fortunately, most car dealerships require drug testing to begin working, and then random drug testing throughout their employment; however, the dealership I worked at did not. Over the 12 years I worked there I watched very young men become addicted to vicodin and other drugs, and I tried to talk them out of ruining their lives. Car dealerships can be very stressful and the manegment can ask some of these guys to work 15 hours in a day with no compensation. I no longer work in the car business, but I will never forget one of our closing mangers walking into my office and saying, “Wow, I just crushed 5 vicodin and snorted them in the bathroom.” A week later this same person overdosed and was in the hospital. Managment turned their cheek to the guys drug dependencies as long as they were selling cars and making them money. It was heartbreaking and exhausting to see young boys become addicted to vicodin over and over again.

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