A Brief Introduction to Oxycodone and Oxycodone Addiction
Oxycodone (or “oxy”) is one of the most widely prescribed pain-relieving medications in the world. The drug, sold under the brand names Percocet or Oxycontin, is extremely effective in treating mild to intense pain. Unfortunately, it’s also extremely addictive. Since doctors started prescribing Oxycodone more frequently in the 90s, addiction to the drug- and subsequently heroin addiction- in the US have increased at an alarming rate.
Some people use Oxycodone recreationally, and it is a major player in the current opioid epidemic plaguing America. People usually take the drug orally in the form of a pill. However, addicts have also used needles to inject it into veins or muscle. Drug companies offer both fast-acting and controlled release forms of the drug.
In the US, Oxycodone is controlled by the DEA as a Schedule II drug. Drugs of this schedule carry the following characteristics:
- High risk of abuse
- Has proven medical benefits
- High propensity for addiction and dependence
Remember, just because physicians can prescribe this drug doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Using it may still result in physical and/or mental dependence. Oxycodone remains readily prescribed for pain relief, even given the high likelihood of addiction because of how effective it is.
Signs of Oxycodone Addiction
Given the classification as a Schedule II substance under the DEA guidelines, Oxycodone’s understood to possess powerful addictive qualities. Even when taken as prescribed, there exists the possibility of developing a mental or physical addiction. Both forms of dependence can result from relatively short usage periods.
Physical Dependence: Due to the extended presence of oxycodone in the bloodstream, the body becomes accustomed to it, and begins to become dependent on it. Oxycodone withdrawal takes place when physical addiction sets in. An addict exhibits symptoms similar to the flu when stopping use.
Mental dependence: Due its euphoric effects, oxycodone use often develops into a need. This aspect of Oxycodone withdrawal occurs because addicts seek out this feeling. It is often due to being ill-equipped to deal with life problems.
Addicts enjoy oxycodone because of the effects it produces. These effects include feelings of extreme well-being and lower anxiety. This drug is also physically addictive, meaning the body reacts physically when the user stops taking it. This raises the risk for users to become addicted. Oxycodone prescribed by physicians can be just as readily abused as drugs acquired through a street dealer. Abuse can be identified by the following:
- Taking the medication not as prescribed by a licensed doctor
- Stealing or purchasing a friend or family member’s oxycodone
- Continuing to misuse the medicine after suffering negative consequences from the misuse
Addiction may be defined and is certainly most obvious when an individual continues use, even in light of severe consequences. The need for the medication causes the mind to become obsessed, which is nearly impossible to overcome.
Addicts begin to lose interest in all other activities including school, work, and sports because the need for the drug becomes paramount. As the addiction progresses, the body gets used to the drug, and larger and larger amounts become necessary to achieve the same euphoric results.
Oxycodone’s Side Effects
The dosages prescribed by physicians are considerably lower and less dangerous than the amounts typically taken by addicts. The proper dosage also has significantly less side effects. When taken as intended, the effects from oxycodone include:
- Elation, Extreme Feelings of Wellbeing
- Suppressed Pain
- Released Anxiety
- Dry Mouth
While they can still occur even at therapeutic dosages, the effects listed below are far more common when someone takes high levels of Oxycodone:
- Shifts in Mood
- Stomach Problems
- Throbbing Chest
- Painful Migraines
While the drug is incredibly effective at mitigating pain in chronic sufferers, it can have intensely negative effects. The kidneys and liver experience severe damage from extended use. Use can result in cirrhosis, in addition to permanent damage to the organs. Again this is especially true when mixed with alcohol.
Furthermore, consuming other substances like alcohol while on this medication can lead to adverse results. Each substance enhances the effects of the other substance, meaning someone can quickly overdose on either the alcohol or oxycodone. The likelihood of overdose skyrockets when oxycodone is mixed with alcohol or other drugs.
Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
Supervision under a trained medical professional is essential to provide relief from the withdrawal effects of oxycodone. This phase can be treacherous, and a physician can assist in many ways. Stopping a drug is never a comfortable experience, and addicts are often reluctant to undergo the prospect of withdrawal symptoms.
Oxycodone, as well as most opiates, tend to require roughly seven days to leave the body, a process known as detoxification. When finished, the addict may transition to an in-patient facility, usually for a month, but it’s not uncommon for this process to last as long as ninety days. If you or a loved one is suffering from Oxycodone addiction help is available. Click here to check out our treatment options to begin your journey into recovery.
We understand the perils and intimidating nature of oxycodone withdrawal, which is why we offer a program tailored to the needs of the individual. We are looking forward to help you (or your loved one) as soon as possible. To reach our staff via phone, please feel free to call us at 833-LA-REHAB. If you would like to reach our team via email, please feel free to visit the “contact” tab on our website or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All information that we collect from those that are seeking help or loved ones looking to help someone are all confidential and never shared with any third-party entity.