Oxycodone is prescribed by doctors to treat pain, but its powerful properties mean that patients can easily begin to abuse it. Oxycodone addiction leads to physical and psychological dependency on the drug.
What is oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a narcotic prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. The drug releases slowly over time, so patients can experience continuous relief for up to 24 hours. It is sold by pharmaceutical companies under the brand name Oxycontin. Oxycodone releases dopamine in the brain, which can lead to pleasurable feelings, and for this reason, it’s commonly abused.
Is oxycodone an opiate?
Oxycodone is an opiate with some synthetic ingredients, which means that users can experience withdrawal symptoms after they stop taking the drug. As a result, patients can become physically and psychologically dependent. Because of its powerful nature, oxycodone needs to be regulated by a doctor, and patients should never take more than the prescribed dosage.
Who is at risk for oxycodone addiction?
As oxycodone is a doctor-prescribed drug, not everyone who takes the drug is an addict. Patients who take the drug regularly are, however, at risk for forming an addiction. When the body become used to a certain dosage, a person needs more of it to sustain the pleasurable effects. Those who seek out higher or more frequent doses will likely form an addiction. In the short term, oxycodone can improve mood and lessen anxiety, so people who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders may be more susceptible to addiction.
What are signs of abuse?
Addicts believe they can’t get through everyday life without using oxycodone. If someone is dependent on oxycodone, they’ll experience painful withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, once the effects of the drug wear off. Signs of oxycodone abuse may include obtaining the drug from the street rather than a medical professional or seeing multiple doctors to get several prescriptions for the drug. Some addicts may begin using the drug in secret or stealing.
What are the short-term effects of oxycodone use?
Oxycodone users may experience euphoria and a lack of anxiety. Pain signals in the brain will be blocked, relieving physical pain. Users may also experience drowsiness and nod off to sleep because oxycodone slows the respiratory system down. If someone takes too much oxycodone, they may experience difficulty breathing for this reason.
What are the long-term effects?
Over time, users will build up a tolerance for the drug and need higher and higher doses to get the same pleasurable effects. Higher doses make it more likely that addicts will experience respiratory distress, which can result in death.
What treatment is available for addicts?
When physically withdrawing, users will experience flu-like symptoms as well as increased anxiety. Detoxing usually takes between two to three weeks, and at a detox center, medical professionals will be able to supervise the process. A rehab or treatment center can help addicts learn coping skills, so they don’t feel like they need to depend on a drug to help them with stressful situations. Inpatient or outpatient therapy can help those with oxycodone abuse issues cope with the psychological effects of their addiction.