September 10, 2021

The Dangers of Vicodin Withdrawal

vicodin addiction | gratitude lodge

Vicodin is a discontinued branded formulation of a combination medication that contains hydrocodone (an opioid painkiller) and acetaminophen (an OTC painkiller).

Prescribed to relieve pain following surgery, Vicodin can deliver up to six hours of effective pain relief. Like all opioids, though, Vicodin can be highly addictive, with tolerance and dependence forming rapidly, even with legitimate medical use. Any form of Vicodin abuse heightens the risk of addiction developing.

If you become physically dependent on an opioid-based medication like Vicodin, you will experience intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if you moderate or discontinue use of the drug.

Discover what happens during withdrawal from Vicodin, and find out how to connect with science-backed treatment if you are addicted to opioids.


What Happens During Vicodin Withdrawal?

Any sustained use of Vicodin causes its stimuli to permeate the opioid receptors in your brain. Your body will develop physical dependency, wanting more of the euphoric effects. If you do not take enough Vicodin to satisfy the pleasure and pain receptors in your body, this will trigger the presentation of Vicodin withdrawal symptoms.

It is inadvisable, dangerous, and potentially life-threatening to abruptly stop using any opioid-based drug.

Consult your prescribing physician if you are dependent on Vicodin. They may recommend a tapered reduction in dosage to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.

Alternatively, you may want to streamline the Vicodin withdrawal process by engaging with a supervised medical detox program. The safest and most comfortable withdrawal from Vicodin also involves the administration of medications like buprenorphine or methadone.

During Vicodin withdrawal, medications can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and the intensity of cravings for opioids. Continuous clinical and emotional care at a medical detox center will minimize the likelihood of complications or relapse disrupting your early recovery.

Detoxing from Vicodin will allow you to break physical dependence on the drug. You can then move into an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. MAT (medication-assisted treatment) is often effective throughout ongoing treatment for Vicodin addiction. MAT is combined with psychotherapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for best results.

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

The withdrawal symptoms of Vicodin are similar to those of other painkillers in the opioid family. These symptoms can be grouped as follows:

  • Psychological withdrawal symptoms: Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, and confusion, cravings for Vicodin.
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms: Reduced hunger, fever, diarrhea, sweating, tremors, enlarged pupils, nasal congestion, cold-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting.

Can You Die from Vicodin Withdrawal?

Severe Vicodin withdrawal may involve the following complications:


  • Dehydration triggered by vomiting and diarrhea
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Seizure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory depression

These complications can be life-threatening, especially in those who have pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease or respiratory problems. Additionally, people who have been using high doses of Vicodin for an extended period may be at a higher risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms and complications.

A supervised medical detox for Vicodin can mitigate all of these life-threatening complications.


How Long Does Vicodin Withdrawal Last?

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms typically last for 7 to 10 days after the last use. In some cases, symptoms may linger for weeks or months.

The short elimination half-life of Vicodin means that the drug starts leaving your body after 8 hours, provoking the onset of withdrawal symptoms.

Some people detoxing from Vicodin experience PAWS – post-acute withdrawal syndrome – and experience psychological and emotional symptoms that linger for months.


Vicodin Withdrawal Timeline

The following factors influence the Vicodin withdrawal timeline:

  • Duration of use: If you have been taking an opioid like Vicodin long-term, the withdrawal process is likely to be more severe and longer-lasting than for someone who has not developed tolerance or dependence.
  • Dose: If you have been taking large doses of Vicodin, withdrawal will be more intense.
  • Addiction: If you have a diagnosable Vicodin addiction (opioid use disorder), you will feel a compulsive need to use Vicodin which will inflame the withdrawal process.

Allowing for those variables, here is a typical Vicodin withdrawal timeline:

Day 1 of Vicodin Detox

The initial symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal symptoms present after 6 to 12 hours of the last dose. Symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Hypertension
  • Raised heart rate

Withdrawal symptoms intensify throughout the following two days.

Many Vicodin withdrawal symptoms peak after 72 hours. New symptoms may present, including dehydration and powerful cravings for Vicodin.

Days 3 to 7 of Vicodin Detox

The most intense withdrawal symptoms occur 72 hours after the last dose, lasting for roughly a week. during this timeframe, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pains
  • Intense cravings
  • Depression

Ongoing Vicodin Withdrawal

All physical symptoms should dissipate after a month. Anxiety, depression, and mood swings may persist if you experience PAWS.

You can make Vicodin withdrawal as safe and comfortable as possible by engaging with a supervised medical detox. We can help you achieve this at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California.

Vicodin Detox at Gratitude Lodge

Whether you have been using Vicodin as directed or abusing this prescription opioid-based drug, we can help you initiate a sustained recovery at Gratitude Lodge in Southern California.

Our supervised medical detox program offers the safest and most comfortable pathway to Vicodin detox and ongoing recovery. After a week or so of opioid detox, you can transition into a 30-day inpatient program or an IOP (intensive outpatient program), depending on your personal circumstances and the severity of your Vicodin addiction.

If you have an opioid addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, we offer integrated dual diagnosis treatment to help you unpack both conditions simultaneously.

All treatment programs at our pet-friendly rehabs offer individualized opioid addiction treatment that combines holistic and science-backed therapies that may include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapies
  • Aftercare

When you are committed to recovery from Vicodin addiction, call Gratitude Lodge at 800-994-2184. We are here to help you from detox to discharge and beyond.

Dangers of Vicodin Withdrawals FAQs

How long Vicodin withdrawal lasts can differ for each person, depending on how much they took, how long they used it, and how healthy they are. Usually, withdrawal symptoms can start a few hours to a day after stopping Vicodin and may last for a few days to a couple of weeks, but they get better over time. It’s important to get help from a doctor during this time to handle withdrawal symptoms well.

The withdrawal effects of Vicodin may include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, anxiety, restlessness, and muscle pain. Additionally, individuals may experience changes in mood, insomnia, and intense cravings for the drug during the withdrawal period.

When you stop taking painkillers, your body may experience withdrawal symptoms as it adjusts to the absence of the drug. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, insomnia, and mood changes, but they vary depending on the type of painkiller and the individual’s usage.

Want to learn more?

Recent Articles

Begin your journey
to recovery.

Get evidence-based treatment in a peaceful location, with a
team of dedicated, expert staff. 
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin
Share on Email
Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
an image of clients representing drug detox california

Holistic Therapy

Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
Gratitude Lodge clients laughing, representing drug detox california


An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
woman at beach representing drug detox in california

Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
an image of a client and therapist at Gratitude Lodge's Long Beach addiction treatment center

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
an image of clients outside after getting help at Gratitude Lodge's rehab in Long Beach, California

Sober Living

Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
an image of clients at Gratitude Lodge's drug rehab program

Outpatient Treatment

Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
An image of clients going through inpatient substance abuse treatment


Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
an image of clients at clients at Gratitude Lodge's representing fear in recovery

Drug & Alcohol Detox

A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.

Use Our 24 Hour text line. You can ask questions about our program, the admissions process, and more.