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Oxycodone Addiction and Treatment

As with any opioid addiction, oxycodone addiction can be debilitating and even life-threatening. Learn about oxycodone addiction and find out how to get help.

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Oxycodone Addiction

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What is Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic that has been used in medical treatment since first being synthesized in Germany in 1917. It was invented as an alternative medication after the US issued a ban on heroin.  

Oxycodone is a powerful opiate painkiller used to treat severe pain. It is one of the most abused drugs in America. Many individuals who become addicted to oxycodone start innocently, taking their prescribed amount.

However, as the body builds a tolerance to the substance, the user will require a higher dose to achieve the same effects. Because of this, the transition from informed oxycodone use to uncontrollable abuse is a quick and often covert slip. 

Types of Oxycodone

Oxycodone is available in liquid and pill form. Depending on the dose and brand, oxycodone pills come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Oxycodone is prescribed as a combination medication blended with aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. The most prescribed brand names include Oxycontin, Percocet, and Roxicodone. 

Street Names for Oxycodone

Street names for oxycodone include: 
  • Oxy
  • OC
  • Hillbilly heroin 
  • Roxies 
  • Oxies
  • Kickers
  • Oxy-cotton
  • Berries
  • Percs
  • Killers

Street names like blues, greenies, pinkies, the 40s, or 80s refer to the dosage or color of the oxycodone pills. As mentioned above, the name brand of Roxicet or Roxicodone is a prevalent street drug. It is available in tiny instant-release tablets of 5, 10, 15, or 30 milligrams, and it is easily crushed to snort or inject. 

The milligrams coordinate with specific colors, so recreational users will seek them and supply them by color. 

Affects on the Brain

Like all other opioids, street or prescribed, the effects of oxycodone become less potent with time. The euphoric feeling and pain relief the user once enjoyed becomes more and more challenging to achieve. While everyone develops a physical dependence on oxycodone after extended use, not all people will develop an addiction. 

Physical dependence is defined by the onset of withdrawal symptoms in the drug’s absence. Addiction is the compulsive debilitating psychological need to have oxycodone. This compulsion can quickly override all of the person’s priorities and interests. People using oxycodone irresponsibly or without a prescription are at risk for addiction. 

Many individuals think of addiction as a misfortune that only affects other people. The reality is that very few can abuse opioids without developing a life-threatening addiction. 

Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

Drug addicts often do everything they can to disguise their addiction from the ones they love. If you suspect you or someone in your life could be battling a crippling oxycodone addiction, keep a careful eye out for these behavioral signs: 

  • Trying to obtain a prescription for oxycodone illegally
  • Trying to borrow or steal money or property to get oxycodone
  • Stealing oxycodone
  • Missing work or school
  • Declining professional performance
  • Using oxycodone when it is risky or reckless to do so
  • Using oxycodone even after experiencing an adverse outcome
Physical and cognitive symptoms of oxycodone abuse include: 
  • Shallow, slow, and labored breathing
  • Problems with balance, coordination, and reflexes
  • Numbness to pain
  • Itchiness
  • Faint pulse
  • Excessive yawning
  • Drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Heart failure
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Aches and cramps
  • Increased pressure on the spinal fluid
  • Coma
  • Swelling in limbs
  • Paranoia 

Who Abuses Oxycodone

Moreover, about 27 million were affected by an opioid use disorder. Approximately 45% of drug users with an opioid addiction experienced a nonfatal overdose, while 70% witnessed another person suffering an overdose.

While heroin accounts for most opioid use disorders in America, many drug abusers start with prescribed oxycodone and move onto heroin when they can no longer afford or source oxycodone.

Side-Effects of Oxycodone

Side effects are different for everyone, but results may include:
  • Constipation and difficulty urinating
  • Drug cravings and confusions
  • Dizziness, dry mouth, and constricted pupils
  • Stomach ache and nausea
  • Lethargy and euphoria
  • Sleepiness
  • Slow pulse rate and reduced respiratory rate
  • Slurred or delayed speech
  • Restlessness
  • Itchy skin or the feeling of skin prickling
  • Sweating and flushing
  • Impaired decision making and concentration
  • Slowed reactions and sexual dysfunction
  • Anxiety and depression

Oxycodone Detox

The oxycodone dose is reduced, based on each patient’s continual assessment, until complete abstinence. Other medication can ease the oxycodone withdrawal symptoms.

Oxycodone detox may last for 5-7 days or more, depending on how frequently, in what quantity, and for how long OxyContin or Percocet has been abused, and whether the patient has been taking any other drugs alongside Oxycodone.

Oxycodone detox involves ongoing medical supervision and round-the-clock medically monitored detox. The patient’s vital signs and withdrawal symptoms from oxycodone abuse should be continually checked by nursing staff. Therefore in-house treatments and residential stays are recommended.

Following oxycodone detox, the patient continues treatment in our residential rehab program. Inpatient rehab is considered the best type of program for a full recovery from oxycodone addiction.

Oxycodone Withdrawal

If the individual stops or decreases the number of opioids, including oxycodone, the individual will experience physical symptoms of withdrawal. This is especially true if a person has been using these medications at high doses for more than a few weeks.

Many body systems are altered when there are large amounts of oxycodone in the system for a long time. Withdrawal effects occur because it takes time for the system to adjust to no longer having drugs in the system.

Oxycodone withdrawal can be categorized as mild, moderate, moderately severe, and severe. The health care provider can determine this by evaluating opioid use history and symptoms and by using diagnostic tools that are available to professionals.

The symptoms you experienced will depend on the level of withdrawal. However, there’s a timeline for the progression of symptoms.

Symptoms typically begin in the first 24 hours after stopping the drug, and they include:
  • Muscle aches and restlessness
  • Anxiety and lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
  • Runny nose and excessive sweating
  • Inability to sleep and yawning very often
Later symptoms, which can be more intense. They include:
  • Diarrhea and abdominal cramping
  • Goosebumps on the skin
  • Rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure

Although very unpleasant and painful, symptoms usually begin to improve within 72 hours, and within a week, you should notice a significant decrease in the acute symptoms of Oxycodone withdrawal.

Therapies for Oxycodone

Typically individuals who develop oxycodone abuse disorders generally have severe mental health conditions that require professional intervention. Because there is a powerful potential that individuals who abuse these substances are dependent on them, individuals who enter recovery programs for opiate abuse must be thoroughly evaluated.

The evaluation will consist of a complete physical, psychological, and emotional assessment, an assessment of one’s social and living situation, and a comprehensive cognitive review to determine the individual’s ability to become engaged in treatment aspects.

These evaluations will help the individual’s treatment providers design a targeted plan that will address their strengths and weaknesses and treat any co-occurring mental health disorders or medical conditions.

Therapies used to treat oxycodone addiction include medical detox, cognitive therapies, group therapy, and holistic treatment as part of an individualized plan.

Recovery from Oxycodone

Rehabilitation has proven extraordinarily successful in helping countless oxycodone addicts to achieve long-term recovery.

To get help and find the right treatment center for oxycodone addiction, get in touch with us today. Our compassionate treatment navigators are here to help guide you on the path to recovery.

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