Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone is an opioid used in medical settings for pain relief. Due to the mild sense of euphoria it produces, it carries a high risk of being abused. Used under the guidance of a medical professional, oxycodone can be extremely beneficial as an effective pain relief medication. However, the side effects of mild euphoria put individuals at risk of developing an addiction. This can happen when the original purpose was medicinal, or for entirely recreational purposes.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a narcotic which is made in a lab in order to replicate the opiate, morphine. Because oxycodone is synthetically made, it is an opioid. Typically this medication is used under the supervision of a doctor to treat severe pain. Common brand names for oxycodone are Percocet, Percodan, and OxyContin. OxyContin was FDA approved in 1995, and was introduced to the US market in 1996. Within five years, it became the top-selling narcotic pain reliever in the United States.

Oxycodone is made by altering an organic chemical found in Opium. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, giving it the same classification as heroin. This means that although it has a definite medical purpose, it has a high potential for abuse.

How Does it Work?

Oxycodone is used in pain relief treatment. It is an analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain in a variety of conditions, both acute and chronic. Oxycodone works by inhibiting pain signals traveling through the nerves to the brain. The substance interacts with the central nervous system, in particular the areas which control heart rate and respiration. This puts users in great danger should they abuse the drug.

The effects of oxycodone include the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Lowered levels of anxiety
  • Increased confidence
  • Relaxation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

Side Effects of Oxycodone

Oxycodone brings side effects, whether the drug is being used in a medical setting or illicitly. Common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Skin itching
  • Vomiting

Prevalence of Oxycodone Abuse

Oxycodone plays a significant part in the opioid crisis. According to 2019 data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 50,000 people died from opioid-involved overdoses in the United States. More specifically, research by the United States Department of Justice found that more than 13 million Americans, including children as young as 12 years old, abuse oxycodone.

Despite the well-known dangers of abusing prescription opioids, many individuals find themselves in a cycle of oxycodone abuse. Recent research showed that approximately 100,000 people are taken to hospitals for misusing painkillers every year.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse in the United States is $78.5 billion per year. This includes the cost of healthcare, lost productivity and work, treatment for addiction, and involvement in the criminal justice system.

Devastatingly, oxycodone addiction starts young. Research from 2020 found that 2.4% of young people in 12th grade had used OxyContin within the past year. Oxycontin addiction and abuse are particularly high among teenagers and young adults because they are able to access prescribed painkillers more easily than other substances.

Developing an Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone addiction commonly starts with users taking a prescribed amount. However, as their body develops a tolerance to the drug, they begin to need a higher dose to maintain the same pain relief, or to maintain the euphoria they may have become dependent on.

Abusing oxycodone can quickly turn into an addiction. As an incredibly potent and powerful drug, oxycodone can provide relief from intense pain and terminal conditions in a way no other drug has managed; therefore, it can be hard to control one’s use.

Once somebody has developed an oxycodone addiction, trying to stop or limit use can trigger some severely painful and distressing symptoms, both physical and psychological. The intensity of withdrawal can cause some individuals to relapse and begin abusing oxycodone again. Once a cycle of using, abstaining, and relapsing has been initiated, it can make staying off the substance extremely difficult.

Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Abuse

Understanding oxycodone addiction signs is crucial if you think you or someone you love might be abusing the substance. Recognizing the indicators could help save a life. Living with an oxycodone addiction is an extremely dangerous and debilitating condition, and additionally, brings a high risk of oxycodone overdose.

Being aware of the following physical, behavioral, psychosocial, and cognitive symptoms can help you to identify an oxycodone addiction, or if somebody is abusing the substance in a way that could lead to addiction:

Physical Symptoms
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Track marks on arms and legs
  • Slurring speech
  • Constricted pupils
  • Difficulty coordinating movement
  • Sleep problems
  • Decreased or increased appetite
Behavioral Symptoms
  • Using oxycodone in dangerous scenarios such as when driving or under the influence of alcohol
  • Stealing or asking to borrow the prescribed oxycodone from others
  • Attending multiple doctors in order to obtain prescriptions for oxycodone
  • Being unable to fulfill personal responsibilities due to being preoccupied with acquiring and using oxycodone
  • Attempting to stop using, but being unable to stop
  • Regularly borrowing or stealing money to buy oxycodone
  • Being dishonest about whereabouts or daily activities
Cognitive Symptoms
  • Being unable to concentrate or focus
  • Experiencing memory problems
  • Reduced judgment
Psychosocial Symptoms
  • Intense mood swings
  • Increased levels of anger and violence
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Withdrawing from others

The Complexities of Recognizing a Problem

Oxycodone is not an illegal drug; it is a prescription medication which means it is widely used and accepted in American society. For this reason, it can be complex to correctly identify or manage oxycodone abuse. This is especially true when an individual’s addiction or abuse starts with legal and legitimate use. It then becomes difficult to ascertain what is an acceptable dosage and when it crosses the line into abuse.

A true indication of whether or not somebody is abusing the substance is how it impacts their life. If somebody is experiencing negative outcomes due to his or her oxycodone use, this could signal a problem. If somebody finds it difficult to contemplate living without it, or they put themselves in compromising situations to obtain it, this could indicate the presence of drug abuse.

Oxycodone Overdose

Oxycodone use brings a high risk of overdose. If an individual takes a dose of the substance which is too high for their body to process, they put themselves in extreme danger. Recognizing the signs of an overdose is crucial in order to help. If you see any of the following symptoms in somebody who is using oxycodone, or you suspect might be, access medical help immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Clammy and cold feeling skin
  • Bluish tinge to the lips and fingertips
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

Overdose is a devastating risk for oxycodone users. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that opioids were linked to 49,860 overdose deaths in 2019 (70.6% of all drug overdose deaths). Of those, 72.9% involved synthetic opioids.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

For individuals living with oxycodone addiction, stopping or reducing intake can result in some extremely distressing symptoms. Often these symptoms lead people back to using the substance in order to relieve the distress of oxycodone withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Diarrhea
  • Tension in muscles
  • Severe cramps
  • Increased body temperature

Withdrawal symptoms of Oxycodone have been found in babies whose mothers had abused the substance during pregnancy.

Getting Help for Substance Abuse

If you are living with a drug abuse problem and you are ready to take steps towards your recovery, it’s crucial you seek help from a verified medical professional. Having the support of a medical team ensures your safety during your recovery process, as well as eases unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Many individuals have been through the process and come out the other side. Addiction to prescription painkillers is a real and dangerous illness, but recovery is possible.

When choosing a substance abuse treatment center, look at the therapies they offer for opioid addiction disorder. There are specialized treatments, particularly for narcotics, which can support you in your recovery journey. The opioid crisis has led to significant strides in the treatment of narcotics addiction treatment in recent years.

Recovery: The Ebb Tide Approach

Ebb Tide is a dual diagnosis facility. This means we specialize in treating substance abuse disorders alongside any co-occurring disorders. We recognize that often substance abuse is a symptom of underlying mental illness.

We take a holistic approach to substance abuse treatment. We take into consideration your personal health history, untreated mental illnesses, and environmental factors when building your treatment program.

Under the care of our expert medical team, you will receive round-the-clock assistance and support. This means that your physical and psychological withdrawal can be managed which is crucial in reducing the risk of relapse.

Recovery Process

After a medically supervised detox, you will receive continued support to help you manage cravings and to manage the initial triggers and environmental factors which led to your drug use. You will take part in both individual and group therapy.

After you have completed the initial withdrawal process, we will work together with you to create a plan for the weeks and months which follow.

Detoxification is the crucial first step toward recovery, but the work continues long after detox finishes.

As a result of the complex nature of addiction, recovery in a structured inpatient program is the most effective form of treatment. Opioid use disorder is an extremely difficult illness to manage and withdrawal symptoms can be painful. Having the support of a professional treatment center gives you the best chance of a full recovery.

Get in Touch Today

At Ebb Tide, we understand how opioid addiction can take over your life. But there is a way out. We offer a range of therapy options to support you through your recovery, including the following:

  • Behavioral therapy: Includes CBT, rational behavior therapy, rational living therapy, and dialectic behavior therapy.
  • Trauma Therapy: Can be beneficial for individuals living with co occurring disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: This method helps individuals to recognize their negative thought patterns and find ways of combating negative self-talk.
  • Group Therapy Finding hope and strength through shared experience is often a big source of support for individuals in recovery.

A life free from your addiction is possible. Pick up the phone today and give us a call +1 844-430-4357.

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