Avatar universal

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms...how long?

I am a 40 yr old male and I have been taking 2-4 Vicodin a day for the past three years. A medical doctor prescribed it for me after it was discovered I suffered bone degeneration in my lower 2 disk vertebrea. At the time I thought little of taking a prescription painkiller. Now after my first 6 days of no longer taking Vicodin I am realizing how powerful of a substance it actually is. I'm having withdrawal symptoms I didn't expect. Light headedness, the runs, blood pressure going up, and general fatigue. Lots of fatigue. And some irritability. I am hoping that these symptoms begin to decrease soon. Well, they have gotten better than it was in the first 2 days. I am still wondering how long I can expect to have these side effects of withdrawal?
416 Responses
192332 tn?1189755828
hello and welcome.In my opinion you are going to get off easy .If you ween off that amount you should suffer minimal w/d symptoms.There are alot of peeps who will tell you how.Me personally do it every time cold turkey and hate life all at once.Kinda like cuting your hand off once opposed to cutting  one finger off once a week and suffering a whole lot longer.but that is just me.There aer peeps who are more experienced in other factors than i.Good luck .God Bless
Avatar universal
HI, I think u are in good shape.  U have already had the worst of it and now, they will begin to taper off and get better and better.  The irritability may last a little longer, but not much I imagine.  Anyway, congrats.  U took the meds like u should and didnt ever get into trouble w/ them.  That says a lot to me.  Anyway, that makes a difference during all of this, in my opinion.  Stay positive and by the end of the weekend, I bet they are a memory, distand I hope.  How is your pain now?  Do u have another way to manage it?  I wish u all of the best, and please let us know if u need anything else.  There are lots of smart ppl here who have done this before and are so willing to help if u need it.  Good Luck and God Bless.


ps....to all friends who are seeing my name and saying she needs to go to bed, Im going, just couldn't sleep and thought I would peek.  lol
202347 tn?1189755825
On average hydrocodone withdrawal peaks at 72 hours and gets better between days 7-10. There is a direct correlation between the length of time and amount of hydrocodone taken and the length and severity of withdrawal. So I would expect that by day 7 or 8 you will be feeling much better. I would never advise going "cold turkey" as this can do permanent damage to the nerve cells in your central nervous system(brain and apinal cord), cardiopulmonary system and smooth muscle in your digestive tract( mainly the large intestine as these are the areas of the body where opiate receptors are widely spread. Tapering as slowly as possible will almost eliminate withdrawal symptoms. Once you stop taking them you will probably feel some withdrawal symptoms so always taper as slowly as possible toward the end.

xoxo- D.
Avatar universal
Can someone answer this. How long does hydrocodine show up in your system for a drug test. I take this drug for the pain I get with Lymes Disease. I'm starting a new job and they will ask for a drug test. How soon do I need to get off of them so it don't show up on my test. Thanks.
Avatar universal
If you have a legit script you do not need to worry. Just provide the bottle to the technician that does your test and they notate it in your chart for results. The HC only shows when they are seeking out synthetic drugs, which some employers have begun to do with the influx of prescription abuse. However, if you have a script they cannot hold it against you, since you have a medical disease. That would fall under discrimination. Most employers, especially smaller companies, only run a basic 5 or 7 panel UA, which doesn't typically seek out synthetic drugs like HC and OC.

P.S. I speak from being an ex-P.O. and administering many a UA's. I read the lab manual front to back and this is what the labs reported to the agency. However, test are ever changing and anything is possible when it's in your system. I wouldn't think opioids would remain in the system for more then a week. In fact, MJ is out of the system within 3-5 days. The longest is reported at 21 days and that is for a user that smokes five plus joints a day for at least a two week period, per lab manual. Many folks always believed one joint would stay in your system for at least a month, but that's a fallacy! If you have a fast metabolism it will be even faster! Whatever you do, do not flush your system too much bc they also check the creatine levels and if they are too low they will report that and it will appear as though you were trying to flush your system. Most companies will make you repeat the test if this happens and it may not look good. Try drinking mass amounts of water a couple days before the test and then the day before and day of the test drink juices and you could even take a creatine supplement to increase your levels in the Urine.

Hope that helps.
Avatar universal
I was taking vicodin for a severe tooth ache, after this I became addicted, I enjoyed the high. I took about 4 tablets a day for about 2 months and I was on it on off after that. Now I have stopped, it has a week since I last took my last vicodin. Anxiety and insomnia kicked in right away. It got better about the fifth day but I had an anxiety and nervousness attack on my seventh day. Is this normal, will this go away or will the anxiety always peak in. Is this my body telling me it needs the drugs.
Avatar universal
I have been taking vicodin & or percoset for about two years now,I had two surgeries in 2 years,anyway,I am totally addicted,have been taking about 6-8 a day of the highest strength,I tried the cold turkey method since I cannot afford rehab and I wanted to gouge my eyes out,ha ha ,sweats,throwing up,wanting to crawl out of my skin,the whole nine yards,I have been trying to find a way to get off it on my own since,it is ruining my life,I met with someone today who made me an appointment witha doctor to talk about suboxen,sorry about spelling,does anyone know anything about that or have any other advice,Thanks!
Avatar universal
Hi Ya,

I am exactly in your shoes.  I have a Dr. who fills mine every time.  Makes it so easy.  I am just off mine, but be careful.  Once you are done, get rid of the bottle.  Flush them away!  Do not stop cold!  Start by reducing 50% for a few days, then 50% of that.  You will feel free like someone has just unlocked your handcuffs when you finish.

Feeling Good For Once in California
786076 tn?1240715911
I was a heavy user for at least 3 yrs. 4-9 per day of Vicodin XS or Lortab.  My doc (a friend) finally cut me off.  I've been cold turkey for 2 weeks and can't take it.  It is not getting better.  I vomit hourly early morning thru mid-afternoon  and have such bad diarreha that it's embarassing.  I'm not sleeping and have become a heavy drinker because it's the only thing that "numbs" my misery.  I actually would become an addict again just to get rid of this misery.  Any suggestions?
228936 tn?1249094248
This is bothersome but hydro is the lightest off all opiate WD's. Some people get serious WD's like above but most can get over it in 5 days. all the best
Avatar universal
Hi. I have been taking Vicodin for almost four years now.  Two spinal surgeries and failed lower back surgery.  A new ruptured disc.  It's hard not to take Vicodin.  I don't want to start with anything else and I don't mix  drugs, although, I do take Klonopin, which I find works as a good muscle relaxer (safer than Soma).  Anyway, I was up to 4-5 a day for two weeks (not a lot for some) and now I am cutting down, but I feel as though I am either fighting a flu bug (cold sweats, hot skin, goose bumps, head aches with brain fog and I haven't even cut the vicodin out, just tapering off.  I am wondering if I am doing something wrong or perhaps I an coincidentally sick.  Anyway, I need to get off of this stuff no matter how much pain I'm in, as I want to feel free again and not agitated or moody when I'm coming off.  I am depressed too.  I just want to be me again, but sometimes the pain is too much and over the counter drugs do not help and 9 epidurals later, nada!  Any suggestions?  Thank you
Avatar universal
Me again.  Actually, is it possible to go thru withdrawals while decreasing Vicodin, but still taking it?  Anyone experiencing this or has experienced this in the past?  
881961 tn?1243599437
Hi everyone, Help is my most valued word now. I am a 61 year old grandma addicted to vicodin for the last 7 years. I have noticed now that my habit has gotten worse and I'm not liking it at all. I don't have support of my husband for out of house therapy or even in house therapy. Some times the ones not addicted just don't understand. I have tried to stop cold turkey a few time prior and the craving was unreal so I would opt to get more and hence the habit is getting worse. It's gotten so bad that I find myself counting days until my next trip to the doc when I can get another script for them and then count the days they will last and I always fall short because I take more than I should and I run out. I want to stop totally. It's been so many years since I haven't taken them I don't know if I even still have pain from the orginal thing I started with them in the first place. I'm up to 10 to 15 a day now and take five just to get me moving in the morning. This is no way to live. How long and how hard are the with drawals from it? I don't want to live my life around this drug anymore. Just a word of encouragment some times is what I think I need and to know that I am not alone. Thanks
Avatar universal
Hi, I am new here, never posted before but have been "lurking" for over a year.  I have been taking vics for years for back pain. I don't take more than I am prescribed, nor do I take more than two at a time.,I am prescribed 6- 5 milligram tablets a day, but I was taking the maximum. I have cut back to 5 a day for two weeks and intend to go down a half a pill everyother week until I am done. By the last week in June, I am stopping, even if I cannot taper down as far as i would like. I have a vacation week then to deal with any potential withdrawals.  Please tell me if I am allowing too much or not enough time in the spacing/reduction of dosage and how many days I will be unable to function during the stop in June-if gameplan works, I will have tapered to half a pill by then.  I have two teenagers, and I am very much Mom's taxi service, so I will need to make arrangements for them if I am too ill to drive.
Avatar universal
Just wanted to see how you were doing.  Do you think it's possible even after 3 years of trying and trying to go through the first 3 days and be ok.  I feel bad but think I can make it.  I wonder how much of this is mind power too.
1007373 tn?1253239289
The last two Vicodin I took were Saturday night Aug 15th. Today is Aug 17th it's Monday morning and for me to be able to get out of the house and go to work (normal) I only need TWO-750mg of Vicodin.  If I pop two, I'm out the door, off to work and all is happy. If I don't, I know what my day will be filled with...my head in a fog, my body aching and all I'll want to do is sleep. Not at all conducive to being the bread winner. I feel like I need a two vaction to let my body detox, but that's not going to happen. Last night I told my husband I feel like I'm coming down with the flu...I know better than that, it's withdrawals. I came to this site to find information on withdrawals and read others experiences...thank you to those of you that shared. So, the question for me today is, to ween or to go cold turkey. I see here people doing both and people having very different out comes. I think cold turkey is the way for me...It's only been a little over a day and a half, I'm feeling sick, sleeply and full of pain, why stop now. I'm not feeling well but I'm full of hope. I'll keep you updated. Say a prayer!
1075731 tn?1286887375
My doctor put me on Vicodin and Bennies starting in May of 2009 for a disk issue in my back.  The pain only got worse and I started to lose interest in everything, which almost cost me my job.  To make a very long story short; I realized I was over medicated and found an excellent treatment center in Michigan.  I spend 10 days there and I'm doing much better.  I learned that if I had stopped cold turkey I could have died.  It's be 21 days now and I am still in withdrawal.  I take 2 meds to help, but I have a long way to go.   My adictionologist says that it can take up to 2 years to feel better, but I should feel better after 1 month and much better after 3 months.  I am suing my old doctor and trying to get laws passed to protect us from these drugs.  If you would like to know where I went for treatment I can send you a link.  I don't go to NA meetings because I was physically addicted and I have learned to hate the Bennies and Vicodin.
1109372 tn?1258335311
there is power in prayer......go to JESUS!!!!!! there is nothing he cant do.......TRUST ME.
Avatar universal
Bless all of you .Iwas taking 3or 4 a day.for two years due to three surgeries.I quit cold turkey 12 days ago.It's been rough but I'm very concerned about the insomnia i am having.I''m lucky to sleep 3 or 4 hours a night.Any suggestions?

           Thanks,butchie 477
Avatar universal
Hello all and thank you for posting such comments... I was on Vicodin for almost an entire year, 3 pills of that 750mg a day... I, as someone else said here, "enjoyed the high" but I am also an alcoholic who struggles yet continues to fight daily to get off the booze. I'm just wondering when I will feel better in life and my interests again without the need for wanting to get high and dandy like I always craved before... causes me major depression... well, anyway, my AIM/AOL is PaulostheSpy for anyone who wishes to respond or something. Thanks.
Avatar universal
I have been on  norco 4/day for 8 years. sometimes the pain is sooo bad I have taken one every two hours. I desperately want it gone. I am more scared of the pain than the dependence. I recently got cortisone shots in both shoulders and thus pain relief. I only took one norco yesterday and 2 today, I have been sweating every night, from either the cortisone or the withdrawls. I want to be pain free. I don't know many days without pain. I hope this respite from pain lasts long enough to stop the pills. I am no hero and could not go thru much misery. I am 58 female and have fibromyalgia. I consider the last week a gift from God. I will take what I need to to function. But in my heart of hearts I want no pain, no pills.
Avatar universal
i've been on norco, hydrocodone 7.5 and was taking too many a day for about 2 months, then this past week and a half tapperd down dramaticaly from 4 a day to 3 then 2 then to 1 5/500 mg yesturday monring and one this morning. I've been feeling the WD's pretty bad these past 3 days about, and today it doesnt feel like that one helped AT ALL! but so far the WD's have been diareha and chills/goosebumps sumthin powerful - but its workable, i WD from oxy at the end of this last year only a handfull of months ago.. so this WD now is dramatically better ( even though it *****!) the oxy took a good 2 1/2 months to get to the point where i could even leave the house,
this vicodin WD seems like its much more tolerable... like i dont even have to stay in bed, as long as mentally i keep telling myself that!
i reallly reallly realllllllly hope it doesnt get worse through the night!
Avatar universal
you're right though, since i recently ( i'd never forget it) came off huge huge huge amounts of oxycontin - this WD seems MUCH more tolerable ( the oxy WD IS NOT TOLERABLE BELIEVE ME DOOOONT TAKE EM CUZ THE WD IS HELL)
i'm gunna try to keep on going though as though i'm not in WD from the vic's. i have too much to do so im HOPING i can actually do that - cuz the oxy WD was out-of-commision time -
now if i jsut get bad stomach and chills/goosebumps... well i suppose i can deal w/that and still function - i sure had to deal w/ that the last 3 weeks of the OXY wd anyways...

ugh -
1188199 tn?1264544081
I am a 20 yr. old female and I am in pain management.. I have severe, severe scoliosis which causes severe pain. I am on two 5-500 mg lortab pills a day, and three 100 mg neurontin a day. I am 2 weeks short on my pills cause I am now addicted to them. I have been taking up to 9 a day.. I am down to 1 and a half pills. Now I am having to come down off of the lortab for the next 2 weeks. I am one day in and its already getting bad.. I have no energy what so ever.. and I'm having severe insomnia, and restless leg syptoms.. I literally have no energy or get up and go about me.. I really need this medicine.. but I don't know how to control my addiction.. Lortab is the only pain med that works. They've tried me on everything and thats the only thing that helps. What should I do?? If they don't find the lortab in my system, they'll kick me out and say that I've been selling my pills.. How soon b4 my pain management opointment should i take the 1 and a half pill for it to be in my system?? What's so sad is that I NEED to be on strong pain killers, but the addiction gets outta control every time.. I'm lost and scared..
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Addiction: Substance Abuse Community

Top Addiction Answerers
495284 tn?1333894042
City of Dominatrix, MN
Avatar universal
phoenix, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is treating glaucoma with marijuana all hype, or can hemp actually help?
If you think marijuana has no ill effects on your health, this article from Missouri Medicine may make you think again.
Julia Aharonov, DO, reveals the quickest way to beat drug withdrawal.
Tricks to help you quit for good.
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.