Oxycodone Addiction and Treatment
We’ve all had pain and ailments from time to time. Sometimes, that pain is so great we need strong medication to help manage it. This is how prescription opioids like OxyCodone came to exist.
Yet many opioids, including Oxycodone, also come with a high risk of addiction. The drug’s addictive properties and natural relief of and reduced perception of pain contribute to dependence, tolerance and abuse. After even just a short time, these factors can lead to addiction.
Opioids are a group of narcotic drugs that include prescriptions for pain relief and the illicit drug heroin. While these drugs can provide great relief for those in extreme to severe pain, they also present great risk of abuse and only are ever prescribed for a few days.
Even in just a few days, you risk developing addiction to them, and the opioid abuse and addiction problem is rampant in the United States.
Opioid abuse is responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the nation—which is “the leading cause of death in the U.S.,” according to the American Society Of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
What Is Oxycodone And How Is It Abused?
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate, the active chemicals of which are used in several opioid drugs, such as Percocet or Percodan. It’s available as a solution (liquid), tablet, capsule, extended-release tablet and extended-release capsule.
When abused, the tablets can be crushed and snorted or chewed, and capsules can be opened for the same effect. The tablets and powder from the capsules have also been dissolved in water and injected as a solution.
Changing administration of the drug is usually done with extended-release versions of it in order to get the effects faster. When you force immediate release of a drug that is intended for an extended release, “the risk of overdose increases dramatically since the drug is not intended to be used in this manner,” the Center For Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) explains.
Oxycodone works by slowing functions of the central nervous system, which reduces your perception of pain and alters your emotional response to it. This is what draws people to the drug. At the same time that your body experiences a perceived sense of relief from pain, your brain is changing the way it communicates about pain and the way it responds to this pleasurable feeling produced by the drug.
With continued use of Oxycodone, you may develop a dependence on it, which means if you try to quit use of it you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include:
- Muscle pain
As mentioned, overdose is a great risk with abuse of opioid because abusing certain extended-release versions, such as OxyContin, forces a quick release of the drug that can be dangerous. Mixing OxyCodone with alcohol is also a popular way to abuse it to achieve a greater high, and can be a deadly combination.
What Drugs Contain Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is available in several types of combinations, such as with acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. These combinations provide the opioid to reduce your sense of pain and the pain reliever/fever reducer/anti-inflammatory to reduce actual pain and treat other symptoms.
The following are all Oxycodone combination drugs:
- Troxyca ER
Other drugs that aren’t combinations but include Oxycodone include Oxaydo, OxyContin, OxyIR, Roxicodone, Xtampza and Xartemis XR.
What Are The Side Effects Of Oxycodone?
When used as directed, the effects of Oxycodone tend to be mild. It’s when the drug is abused that effects can be dangerous. Why? Oxycodone works to slow functions such as breathing rate and heartbeat.
These effects are meant to happen slowly over time in order to help reduce pain and calm you. When you abuse the drug, it forces these effects all to happen immediately. The following are possible side effects of Oxycodone abuse and addiction:
- Breathing irregularity/respiratory depression
- Headaches and nausea
- Increased pressure of cerebral and spinal fluid
- Low blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Overdose, which can be fatal due to cardiac arrest or slowed breathing
Consequences Of Oxycodone Addiction
CESAR explains that use and abuse of Oxycodone will eventually change your brain in a way that makes it difficult to quit use of it on your own. This is what leads to addiction. You may build up a dependence to the effects of it, craving it strongly when not using it, or getting adverse symptoms.
You may also build a tolerance to the effects of Oxycodone, a dangerous effect of abuse. When you become tolerant, if you are already hooked on the effects of the drug, you may start taking higher doses or take it more frequently to get the desired effects.
Taking more of the drug or more often than you used to increases your risk of overdose. But dependence, tolerance and overdose are not the only consequences that can result from OxyCodone addiction.
Addiction to any substance affects nearly all aspects of your life. For instance, if you begin abusing the drug and run out of the prescription, have no refills, and can’t obtain any more, you may start shopping around to other doctors to try and get it. That’s what addiction does: it can cause you to make questionable choices you wouldn’t normally make.
As you fall further into the pitfalls of addiction, you can also see rifts in your relationships, or have trouble at work. Addiction only allows for one top priority in your life: substance abuse.
With time, if you lose access to the drug, and you’ve already become addicted, you may start seeking alternatives. Addiction to prescription opioids is the reason many people become addicted to heroin.
In fact, the ASAM reports that four out of five people who are new to abusing heroin began with abuse of prescription opioids. We tend to think that prescriptions aren’t as dangerous as illicit drugs because our prescriptions are given to us, prescribed by doctors.
The glaring truth is that opioids like OxyCodone present great risk of addiction, which comes with a host of consequences including fatal overdose.
Signs Of An Oxycodone Overdose
Oxycodone overdose is a medical emergency, and should always be treated as one. If someone you know is experiencing overdose signs, seek medical help right away, and try to keep the person calm.
The following are signs of an Oxycodone overdose:
- Cold, clammy skin
- Dark circle in the eye, dilation of pupils, narrowing of pupils
- Extreme drowsiness
- Limp/weak muscles
- Loss of consciousness
- Trouble breathing, slowed breathing, stopped breathing
- In extreme cases, coma
Treatment For Oxycodone Addiction
The U.S. National Library Of Medicine explains, “the main treatment for prescription opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment (MAT).” This is partly because many who struggle with opioid addiction suffer withdrawal.
For those who experience withdrawal, detoxification may be necessary. This process helps you rid your body of harmful toxins gained during drug abuse. Medication during this phase of treatment can help relieve the discomfort, and help detox to go as smoothly as possible.
A comprehensive program for opioid addiction will include not just medication and preliminary detoxification, but also counseling, behavioral therapy, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and any number of other methods that are right for each individual.
The Treehouse recognizes the need for an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to treatment for opioid addiction. More than that, we understand the necessity of being removed from your environment of abuse for success in healing. That’s why our rehab center is in a private, tranquil location.
Perhaps most importantly, The Treehouse helps individuals find the program that works for them. Addiction affects not only the physical health, but behavioral, mental and emotional as well.
For this reason, we offer adventure therapy, nutritional guidance, specialized emotional and trauma care, countless recreation opportunities and more. Having access to all the best components of treatment will give you the best opportunity for a successful recovery journey.
Opioid addiction can feel like an endless cycle that rules your life. You can break that cycle, and learn to find fulfillment at The Treehouse.
Overcome An Oxycodone Addiction
The first step in getting help for an addiction to oxycodone is contacting a treatment specialist at The Treehouse today. A clean and sober life is achievable with the right treatment plan.
American Society Of Addiction Medicine—Opioid Addiction: 2016 Facts And Figures
Center For Substance Abuse Research—OxyCodone
U.S. National Library Of Medicine—Opioid Abuse And Addiction
U.S. National Library Of Medicine—OxyCodone