Oxycodone Addiction: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
For so many years, people had a specific picture of drug users. They pictured their lives being full of shady drug dealers, abandoned shoot-up houses, and petty theft. In recent years, though, we as a nation have expanded our picture of drug use.
Today, prescription pills are among the most widely abused drugs in the country. People get a false sense of safety because their pills came from a doctor, not a back-alley dealer.
The truth is that opioids can be as dangerous as any illegal drug when misused. That includes one of the most commonly abused opioids: oxycodone. Here’s a closer look at oxycodone addiction.
What is Oxycodone?
To defeat your enemy you must know your enemy, so let’s talk about what oxycodone actually is. Oxycodone is the generic name for a popular drug called OxyContin. It’s also an active ingredient in some other painkillers like Percocet and Roxicodone.
Because it’s an opioid, oxycodone is highly addictive. It’s at the heart of the US opioid crisis. In fact, our country consumes 80% of the world’s oxycodone.
As we noted, oxycodone comes in several forms. OxyContin is formulated as a timed release drug so it can keep pain at bay for twelve hours. When people abuse it, though, they often snort it or use it through other means. This eliminates the timed release so they get to full twelve-hour effect at once.
The two other commonly abused drugs with oxycodone are Percocet and Roxicodone. Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. As with OxyContin, people often snort it or melt it down to get a stronger high.
Roxicodone, on the other hand, is a rapid onset version of oxycodone. It’s usually used in hospital settings, for instance, to calm a patient before surgery. “Roxies,” as some people call them, can be abused orally or by snorting or melting them.
Risk Factors with Oxycodone Addiction
Despite the fact that it’s legal as a prescription, oxycodone has serious dangers for people who misuse it. One of the most serious risks is a fatal overdose. If you’re taking oxycodone in a way other than your doctor prescribed, you don’t know how much your body can handle.
While you risk an overdose every time you abuse oxycodone, there are other serious risks too. High levels of oxycodone are toxic for your body. Repeated misuse can lead to life-threatening liver damage and kidney damage.
Oxycodone is a sedative, which means it suppresses your respiratory system too. This can cause a variety of serious respiratory illnesses.
While oxycodone itself can be a health hazard, it can also lead you into other dangerous habits. In many cases, people become addicted to oxycodone when they get a prescription for it. After they’re addicted, they transition to heroin because it’s cheaper to attain.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Oxycodone Abuse
When people overuse oxycodone, they’re chasing a euphoric high. Unfortunately, the drug can cause a variety of other side effects and symptoms too.
The most common side effects of Oxycodone include:
- nausea and vomiting
- dry mouth
- excessive sweating
If you’re concerned that a loved one may be using oxycodone, the signs can also include dilated pupils, a short attention span, a lack of interest, and drowsiness.
While those signs can tell you if someone is using oxycodone, how do you tell if they have an addiction? There are plenty of red flags.
People with oxycodone addictions will run out of pills sooner than they should. They then start using tactics to get new prescriptions. For instance, they might hop from one doctor to the next with various pain-related complaints.
Another key indicator is if the person is prioritizing their oxycodone above other necessities. For instance, they stop paying certain bills so they can buy oxycodone. Perhaps they neglect their family or social engagements to get high instead.
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Treatment and Recovery for Oxycodone Addiction
Establishing that there’s a problem is the first step to solving it. The next step is to get into a treatment program for oxycodone addiction.
Too many people who take oxycodone are hesitant to get into an established recovery program. They may be embarrassed by their addiction and think they can quit using pills by themselves.
In reality, your body has become dependent on the drug. This means that when you stop or decrease your dose, you’ll have withdrawal symptoms. Those symptoms are often intense enough to make someone abandon their hopes of recovery.
Instead, the best way to get help for oxycodone is with a medically supervised detox. Addiction specialists can give you gradually lower doses of oxycodone to make your withdrawal effective but manageable.
As your body heals, your mind needs to heal as well. People with addictions often have underlying issues they haven’t dealt with. It may be a mental illness like depression or anxiety that they were trying to self-treat with drugs. It may be a past trauma they were trying to escape.
Regardless, mental health therapy is an important part of oxycodone addiction recovery. A structured and professional treatment program can combine medical supervision and physical detox with healing from an emotional standpoint.
In addition, your recovery treatment will help you find new ways to live drug-free. You may learn stress relief techniques so you don’t have to turn to drugs. You can also find ways to repair the relationships your addiction damaged.
Getting Help for Oxycodone Addiction
The experience of drug addiction is different for everyone. Each person has their own journey through addiction toward healing and recovery. One fact is constant, though: it isn’t a DIY job.
Your best chance to get sober and stay sober comes from working with trained addiction professionals. Addiction is a disorder with both a physical and emotional component. Just like you wouldn’t try to treat your own multiple sclerosis, don’t try to treat your own addiction.
If you or a loved one is ready to be free from an oxycodone addiction, call Revive Detox for help today.