How To Help Someone Addicted to Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a powerful opioid that can be addictive when misused. Helping someone overcome addiction to oxycodone will likely involve encouraging them to seek treatment.

Oxycodone addiction is a serious issue that can have life-threatening consequences. If you know someone addicted to oxycodone, getting them help could potentially save their life. Support from loved ones can play an important role in addiction recovery.

Most commonly known by the brand name, OxyContin, oxycodone is a strong opioid that can relieve moderate to severe pain. Due to its high potential for abuse, doctors typically prescribe it for short-term use.

Oxycodone can have harmful effects when it is not taken as prescribed. People can quickly fall into a pattern of drug abuse, which can make it difficult for them to quit.

Chronic oxycodone abuse can have dangerous consequences, including addiction and risk for overdose. Oxycodone addiction help through formal treatment may be needed to help your loved one overcome their drug abuse.

How Addictive Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone can very quickly become addictive when misused. This can include taking higher or more frequent doses than prescribed or abusing it for its effects. While people who take oxycodone as prescribed may become dependent on oxycodone, misuse can result in a much higher risk for addiction.

When taken, oxycodone acts on the central nervous system, which controls various functions in the body such as heart rate, breathing, and body temperature. It also alters pain sensation and emotional reactions to pain.

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High doses of oxycodone can produce an intense rush of euphoria. This causes an increased sense of well-being and feelings of relaxation. Like some other illicit drugs such as heroin, oxycodone affects the brain’s dopamine levels. Dopamine is a chemical linked to the brain’s pleasure and reward systems.

Repeated use of oxycodone can reinforce a person to keep using the drug. Over time, this can make it harder for a person to quit. Being unable to stop using oxycodone is one of the main signs of addiction.

Signs And Symptoms Of Oxycodone Addiction

There are certain signs that can indicate when someone is abusing oxycodone. Recognizing the signs of oxycodone abuse may be able to give you an indication of whether your loved one has a problem.

Signs of oxycodone addiction can include:

  • extreme drowsiness
  • continuing to take oxycodone after the prescription has run out
  • taking the drug despite harmful effects on physical or mental health
  • withdrawal symptoms after stopping oxycodone use
  • lying about or hiding drug use
  • taking pills from a family member or friend’s prescription
  • strong cravings for the drug

Oxycodone’s effects on the body and brain can also result in various symptoms. Side effects can occur by taking it as prescribed. However, there can become more intense when misused.

These symptoms include:

  • euphoria
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • slow or difficulty breathing
  • low blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • constipation
  • confusion

Hypoxia is a serious effect that can occur with oxycodone misuse as a result of too little oxygen reaching the brain. In severe cases, this can lead to brain damage, coma, or death.

Talking To Someone About Oxycodone Abuse And Addiction

If you are concerned about a friend or loved one’s oxycodone use, it is important first and foremost to address the issue. Staying silent can be easier, but they may be unlikely to bring it up on their own.

People who are confronted about their oxycodone use may react in various ways. Some people may feel encouraged that their problem has been recognized. However, in many cases, people will often deny their drug abuse.

Staging An Intervention

If someone does not respond well to individual confrontation, it may be best to organize a group intervention. Addiction hurts more than just the person struggling, and the isolation of drug abuse can sometimes shield a person from the ways in which their addiction affects their loved ones.

Group interventions can be an effective way for concerned parties to express the ways that their loved one’s addiction has impacted them. This may include family members, friends, or coworkers close to the person.

Group interventions can also show a person that they have a support system behind them. Staging an intervention can be an emotional process, but is also capable of producing a sense of hope and encouragement.

The ultimate goal of an intervention is to encourage your loved one to seek treatment for their problem. After staging the intervention, you will need to determine what treatment will be needed to help your loved one overcome their addiction.

Treatment For Oxycodone Addiction and Abuse

Developing a formal treatment plan can be helpful for people struggling with oxycodone addiction. Treatment for addiction is not a quick fix, and may involve several steps. The first step to get someone on the path to recovery most often begins with a medically supervised detox program.

Oxycodone dependence can result in withdrawal symptoms once a person tries to quit the drug. These symptoms can be distressing and difficult to manage alone. Medically assisted programs provide a safe environment to detox under the supervision of trained medical specialists. Detox programs can also provide approved medications to ease intense withdrawal symptoms.

After completing detox, doctors most often recommend that patients enter a treatment center for inpatient drug rehab. Inpatient treatment can teach beneficial coping skills to help patients remain sober and recover from the mental and psychological aspects of their addiction. Inpatient programs can be individualized to meet each person’s needs and most often lasts between 30 and 90 days.

Providing Help and Support During And After Treatment

Drug addiction can make a person feel alone in their struggles. Having genuine support from friends and loved ones is a factor that can ease feelings of loneliness and stress.

Feelings of embarrassment and shame are common among those who struggle with drug addiction. It can be difficult for someone to confront the ways addiction has impacted not only their own life but those of their loved ones as well.

Showing your support during and after their time in a treatment program can be important for their recovery. One way you can support your loved one is to visit them in treatment. Depending on the policies of the facility, visitation may be limited. Contacting the treatment center directly can provide you with more information on their rules for visitation.

Family counseling may also be offered within inpatient programs. Family therapy allows family members to participate in counseling with their loved one and a counselor. This can be a time to address relationship problems and other issues related to their addiction. Together you may also brainstorm ways in which you can best support them in their recovery.

Additional ways to support your loved one during an inpatient treatment:

  • offering to help cover treatment expenses
  • checking in with them through phone calls or traditional mail
  • sending a care package
  • encouraging them to attend support groups after treatment
  • encouraging them to talk to you when/if they are struggling
  • driving them to individual or group therapy

For more information on how to help someone struggling with oxycodone addiction, contact one of our specialists today.

Center for Substance Abuse Research - Oxycodone

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