When you are already struggling with a drinking problem, you may look for ways to reduce how much alcohol you drink by taking Vicodin. Conversely, if you take Vicodin to treat pain, you may turn to drinking to enhance the medication’s pain-relieving effects. Unfortunately, doing either of these things and mixing Vicodin and alcohol can be dangerous.
Vicodin: What is It and What are the Risks of Misuse?
Vicodin is a prescription medication that consists of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Acetaminophen is more commonly known by the brand name Tylenol and is a pain reliever. Hydrocodone is an opioid drug that also helps alleviate more severe pain, including chronic pain conditions.
When Vicodin is taken as prescribed and not mixed with other drugs or alcohol, it is relatively safe and relieves pain. Vicodin numbs the central nervous system receptors so that they cannot detect pain. As a result, Vicodin is considered a depressant.
However, there are dangers when Vicodin is abused. One of the common ways Vicodin is abused is by self-medicating and taking a higher or more frequent dose of Vicodin than was prescribed. Unfortunately, increasing the dosage can increase dependence on the drug while increasing tolerance to it. As such, it is easy to become addicted to Vicodin.
Another common way Vicodin is abused is by taking it in ways it was not meant to be taken. For instance, pills are crushed up, and the powder is snorted. In addition, some people may mix the powder in water and inject it directly into the bloodstream.
Vicodin can also be smoked by heating up the powder and inhaling the smoke. Misusing Vicodin can also lead to dependence and addiction to the drug. No matter how Vicodin is abused, as tolerance to the drug grows, larger amounts are needed to achieve the desired effects.
When one has a limited supply of Vicodin, they will turn to other drugs to enhance the effects they desire, like alcohol, fentanyl, and heroin.
Dangers of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is considered both a stimulant and a depressant. When consumed in lower amounts, it acts as a stimulant. It makes you feel happy and euphoric. When large amounts are consumed alcohol becomes a depressant. It affects your ability to think, reason, and balance, as well as makes us sleepy.
Alcohol also affects the central nervous system and numbs nerve endings. As a result, alcohol can relieve pain. The dangers of drinking alcohol frequently can lead to tolerance.
To achieve the desired effects, one has to consume higher amounts. Over time, this can lead to addiction. Furthermore, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning, coma, and slowed respiration rates causing breathing to stop, and potentially death.
What Happens When You Mix Vicodin and Alcohol?
Mixing Vicodin with alcohol enhances and intensifies the effects of both drugs. One achieves intoxication faster. Even using small amounts of Vicodin with alcohol can speed up the effects.
However, as the body builds up a tolerance, one needs to consume larger amounts of Vicodin and alcohol. Both drugs slow heartbeats, blood pressure, and respiratory rates, increasing the risks of accidentally overdosing.
A side effect of drinking or taking Vicodin or both is potential damage to your liver. This is because the liver metabolizes alcohol and Vicodin. When your liver is overloaded with too much alcohol and Vicodin, it cannot keep up. This can lead to liver damage in the short run. If you continue abusing Vicodin and alcohol, liver failure is possible. The kidneys can also be compromised, leading to increased risks of kidney problems and kidney failure.
What are the Warning Signs of an Overdose?
Some of the more common signs that could indicate a Vicodin and alcohol overdose include:
- Problems staying awake
- Low blood pressure rate
- Problems breathing
- Extreme dizziness
- Excessive confusion
- Cold clammy skin
- Cold sweats
- Problems speaking
- Inability to stand, walk, or move
If you suspect you overdosed, it is imperative to seek medical help immediately. Failure to seek medical attention can be life-threatening.
How Much Vicodin and Alcohol is Too Much?
It is understandable you may feel like you can manage using Vicodin and drinking. However, mixing Vicodin and alcohol in small or even moderate amounts will start to damage your liver and kidneys.
Additionally, you can quickly lose control because of the enhanced euphoric effects you experience. You could enjoy not feeling any pain and want to maintain this feeling as long as possible.
As you become tolerant, your use of both drugs increases. When you exceed 16 Vicodin and are drinking, you are consuming dangerously toxic levels of both drugs.
How Can I Get Help with Vicodin and Alcohol Abuse in Pennsylvania?
DreamLife Recovery in Pennsylvania is here for you when you want help with Vicodin and alcohol abuse. We offer customized substance abuse treatment programs tailored to your needs.
We provide the structure you need in a supportive environment using a variety of therapy experiences and amenities. For further information or to speak to an intake specialist, call us at (844) 402-3592 today!