Oxycodone Addiction and Abuse

About Oxycodone Addiction, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is Oxycodone and Why is it Addictive?

Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller drug manufactured from an opioid compound found naturally in poppy flowers. It is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a Schedule 2 substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and only used for a few strictly controlled medical purposes.

The drug is designed to ease pain from injuries, surgery, and general muscle discomfort by overloading the brain with the pleasure and reward chemical dopamine and weakening the body’s pain receptors. Over time, users will become tolerant to the effects and needed stronger doses to achieve the same pleasure and numbing “high”.

Eventually, the drug will oversaturate the brain’s levels of dopamine, so the body will cease producing its own naturally, resulting in the inability to experience pleasure from means other than the drug. Long term users will become indifferent to every day exciting activities, like sports or romance. This behavior can lead to devastating bouts of depression and anxiety apart from the drug.

Dependency can pressure chronic users to go to extreme and criminal steps to obtain oxycodone and potent forms of opioid. As individuals increase their substance dosage and potency, the side effects dramatically increase and can lead to overdose and death.

Side Effects of Oxycodone Abuse

Oxycodone has strong side effects that can disrupt normal life, but a doctor will determine that these effects will outweigh the initial pain from the accident or surgery. Don’t take other over-the-counter medication to combat the side effects without consulting your doctor. These effects may include:

  • Cold sweats
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Twitching and muscle spasms
  • Dry mouth
  • Fainting
  • Coma
  • Low blood-pressure
  • Difficulty / pain in urination
  • Severe vomiting

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, they may be suffering from abuse. Contact help immediately.

Signs of Oxycodone Abuse

Someone suffering from prolonged oxycodone abuse will undergo drastic bodily changes. Their skin may become clammy and their eyes heavy from loss of sleep. They may hide from loved ones in shame and show apathy from activities they once enjoyed. Other telltale indicators may include:

  • Unexplained absences from school or work
  • Secretive and sudden demand for privacy
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Sudden loss of weight and change of appearance
  • Incoherent and confusing speech
  • Immediate and urgent need for money
  • Criminal activities

When noticing these behaviors, It’s essential to approach this situation with care. Often addicts never mean to get hooked and suffer from depression and guilt themselves. Always address them privately and be supportive. Oxycodone addicts may seek heroin from dealers off the street as it’s cheaper and easier to obtain than new prescriptions. Watch for unexplained needles and marks on your loved one’s body.

Overdosing on Oxycodone

Overdosing on oxycodone, especially if combined with other drugs and alcohol, can result in a coma and immediate death. Severe side effects will deplete user’s oxygen level and blood flow to the brain to the point they usually lose consciousness. Often overdose will cause the person to continuously vomit and die of dehydration. Unless they get immediate help, an overdose will typically always be fatal.

Call 911 immediately for your loved one if you observe an oxycodone, or other opioid, overdose. The best thing you can do is not wait till someone is at this low point. Get help as you or someone you know show early signs of dependence and abuse.

Oxycodone: The Dangerous “Party Drug”

Oxycodone, and the brand named time-release product OxyContin, are particularly a concern among teens and young adults. At teen and college parties, students crush the pill and mix with alcohol and other drugs. The substance can then be snorted or often injected directly by unsanitary needles. This devastating combination can result in near immediate overdose and death.

Many young people naively believe that because they can obtain the drugs by prescription, there is little harm in the pleasure buzz from it. Teens can rather easily get oxycodone from their family’s medicine cabinet or grandmother’s purse. Always secure any medication and be mindful of your child’s activities. According to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, 1 and 5 teens have abused oxycodone or other prescription drugs in the past year.

Statistics of Oxycodone Abuse

Oxycodone and other opioid based drug abuse in America are often considered a deadly epidemic. Here are surprising facts:

  • Prescription medicine is the 2nd most commonly abused drug in the US after marijuana
  • According to the CDC, about 3 of 4 heroin users reported abusing a prescription opioid prior
  • 60% of drug related deaths involve prescription opioids
  • The Monitoring the Future Survey, found that 1 in 30 high school seniors used oxycodone recreationally at least once
  • In 2015, there were roughly 20,000 prescription opioid related deaths

Oxycodone Abuse Treatment

Treatment plans can vary for each person depending on their condition and level of abuse, but it’s always important to first admit the problem. You can try to detox (stop usage) yourself, but this can be dangerous without support experts and facilities as the withdrawal symptoms may be fatal in your condition.

These withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Rash
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth

There is no shame in admitting addiction. Seek the comfort and love of family and friends to recover fully. Your doctor may recommend a rehab treatment center to meet your physical, emotional, and psychological needs best. The 24/7 medical support of an inpatient facility will gradually detox your body and restore lost nutrients. You may need professional counseling to achieve peace of mind from traumatic episodes and thoughts of depression.

It’s important to know you are never alone in your recovery process. Complete recovery may only come after tightly monitored accountability from loved ones and therapist. It’s on the individual, to be honest committed to a new sober life. While every case is different, it usually takes months to years to fully recover from addiction.

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