Oxycodone Addiction Signs And Symptoms

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid painkiller that has contributed to the rising opioid epidemic in the United States. Oxycodone abuse has many signs and symptoms, and knowing them can help determine whether you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction.

Oxycodone is one of the various opioid medications used in the treatment of pain. This drug is used for moderate to severe pain, with its extended-release version being reserved for around-the-clock pain.

When used as prescribed and for short periods of time, oxycodone is generally safe and well tolerated. However, this drug is easily abused and has a high potential for dependence and addiction.

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. This means that it is partially derived from the poppy plant and partially created in a lab. Other opioids that are similar to oxycodone include morphine, heroin, and codeine.

Oxycodone is the primary ingredient in a number of popular medications, including Oxycontin, Percocet, and Percodan. Oxycontin is the slow-release version of oxycodone drugs and is designed to release into the system over a 12-hour period.

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Why Is Oxycodone Prescribed?

Prescriptions for oxycodone and other opioids have increased in recent years. These drugs are used to treat moderate to severe pain and are significantly effective. Oxycodone may also be prescribed when a person does not respond or is tolerant to other pain medication.

The pain experienced by those prescribed oxycodone can be caused by a number of things. For example, oxycodone is used in the treatment of pain related to cancer. It can also be used after an injury or car accident.

The FDA has noted that this drug should not be prescribed in cases of mild pain or pain that comes and goes.

Besides pain relief, oxycodone can have a number of side effects. These include respiratory depression, feelings of euphoria, decreased anxiety, and constipation. Most people will eventually develop a tolerance to these side effects and stop experiencing them after a period of time.

Signs And Symptoms Of Oxycodone Abuse And Addiction

People who are addicted to oxycodone will often display both physical and behavioral signs. They also may experience and exhibit psychological signs of addiction.

These signs may include:

  • not being able to cut back or stop using oxycodone
  • using more than what is prescribed or taking the drug more often than what is prescribed
  • lying about using oxycodone
  • craving the drug
  • spending an excess amount of time and resources acquiring and using the drug
  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • work or school problems as a result of oxycodone use
  • continuing to use the drug despite dangers caused by drug use
  • withdrawal symptoms when reducing or quitting oxycodone

Additionally, physical symptoms of oxycodone abuse may be present and potentially noticeable to friends and family. These symptoms may include:

  • constipation
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • decreased appetite
  • depression
  • inability to sleep
  • depressed breathing
  • hallucinations
  • anxiety
  • abnormal thoughts
  • depersonalization

Even if a loved one is prescribed oxycodone for legitimate pain, addiction is still a real possibility. The longer that the drug is abused, the more at risk a person is of negative side effects and even death.

What Makes Oxycodone Addictive?

When used exactly as prescribed, oxycodone is not particularly addictive. However, when taken every day, people can build up a tolerance to the drug. A tolerance means that withdrawal symptoms will be experienced when the person stops taking the drug. Some people may continue to take oxycodone despite not needing it just to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal.

While dependence is not the same as addiction, it is a common happenstance with oxycodone and should be noted. Fear of physical dependence should not prevent someone from taking this drug, as doctors can wean a patient off to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Some people begin taking oxycodone as prescribed and develop an addiction to the drug. This is often due to the intense high that this drug can produce. Oxycontin is one of the most abused forms of oxycodone due to the high content of oxycodone in each pill.

When someone takes oxycodone, it triggers a rush of dopamine in the brain. This can create an intense feeling of euphoria and pleasure. The more the drug is taken, the more the brain and body begins to crave these effects.

People who abuse oxycodone will often need to continuously increase their dose to experience the same high. Doing so only increases the physical dependence and addiction as well as put people at risk for dangerous side effects.

Treatment For Oxycodone Addiction

As with other drug addictions – especially opioids – an addiction to oxycodone can come with several consequences. These consequences may include severe withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped or accidental overdose.

Getting help for oxycodone addiction is the best way to prevent these consequences and reclaim your life. There are various treatment options available to treat opioid addiction, with formal treatment programs considered the most successful.

A formal treatment program may include a medically monitored detox program as well as inpatient treatment. Inpatient programs provide intensive and daily treatment and may incorporate a number of different therapies. These therapies may include behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted therapy (MAT).

To learn more about oxycodone addiction signs and symptoms and the treatment options available, contact our dedicated treatment specialists today.

It Matters Colorado - DSM-5 Criteria for Diagnosis of Opioid Use Disorder

CDC - Prescription Opioids

MedlinePlus - Oxycodone

HealthDay - Oxycontin and Addiction

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