I wrote about Hydrocodone addiction a while back, and this is essentially the same thing, but I know people out there are searching for different terms and I also had some new ideas to shed on the subject.
Vicodin tends to be over-prescribed
One problem regarding Vicodin is that it tends to get prescribed too easily and too often. For example, I only have a medium to low tolerance for pain, and the last time a doctor offered to prescribe me Vicodin, I declined and was just fine by using a schedule of Ibuprofen (800 mg) and also Tylenol (1000 mg), alternating these medications every 4 hours.
Depending on the kind of pain you experiencing, in a lot of cases you can also do something in conjunction with the medications above to try and soothe the pain in a local manner, such as with topical cremes, a TENS unit, massage, heat, or any other number of alternative therapies.
Sometimes these alternative ideas to opiate drugs takes some experimentation on the part of the patient, so it is a lot easier to just say “here is a script for Vicodin.” But remember that Vicodin is an opiate based painkiller that does not actually reduce the pain, but only masks it by dulling the senses (sort of like alcohol would do).
Our reaction to pain
The opiate addict is in a constant game of catch-up. If they have chronic pain issues that are essentially permanent and not going to go away, then treating that pain with an opiate such as Vicodin is a losing battle. The problem is that tolerance starts building and the person will need to take more and more of the drug in order to get the same effect that they got before. This will not necessarily happen at a therapeutic dose of the drug, but will start to occur if the person starts abusing it and taking greater and greater quantities of it. Once this happens they will be locked in a losing battle, as their body will be starved for more opiates just so that they can feel “normal.” Taking enough of the drug to actually feel high will become increasingly difficult, and eventually the best they can hope for is to simply avoid withdrawal symptoms.
If you are a medicating your chronic pain with Vicodin, and it is no longer able to control your pain, do you really think the answer is a higher dose or a more powerful opiate? This is unlikely if you are addicted to the drug and developing tolerance. In this case, you should seek alternative ways to treat the pain and try to get off the opiates altogether. If your doctor will not help you with this then you should find another doctor.