Oxycodone Addiction, Symptoms and Treatment Information
Oxycodone is a drug often prescribed for pain relief. It is a narcotic drug that affects the central nervous system. However, oxycodone can be habit-forming. People who develop a physical dependence on it may use it to get high or simply become addicted to the drug after forming a psychological dependence on it.
Oxycodone is available in the United States by prescription only. It is not recommended for minor pains. Oxycodone is generally prescribed for moderate pain or severe pain. People may be prescribed the drug when recovering from surgery. People with end-stage cancer might also take the drug for pain. Oxycodone is classified as a narcotic drug, and it is available in tablet form and even extended release for constant and consistent pain relief.
Side Effects of Oxycodone Use
Oxycodone is an effective pain reliever, but it can also produce some unpleasant side effects. People on oxycodone can become constipated or feel dizzy. Drowsiness is common. Occasionally, patients will vomit, feel weak or faint.
Signs of Allergic Reaction
Patients with an allergic reaction to oxycodone can experience severe or even life-threatening symptoms. Sweating profusely and developing a rash are signs that the patient might be experiencing an allergic reaction. In more severe cases, the patient might have trouble breathing, experience a blood clot or feel confused. Swelling in the throat, a collapsed lung, abnormally low blood pressure and hallucinations are rare but alarming effects. Those who experience any scary or unusual reactions to oxycodone should get to the emergency room immediately.
Signs of Oxycodone Abuse
Addiction to oxycodone is often referred to as an opioid addiction. Those who are addicted to oxycodone often feel they would like to quit the drug but are unable to do so. Addicted people will spend a significant part of their days thinking about the drug, obtaining the drug and recovering after abusing it. Even after oxycodone use begins to affect the abuser’s personal relationships and daily functioning, the abuser will still find it difficult to stop. Intense cravings for oxycodone are also present during this time.
Methods of Abuse
People who abuse oxycodone may steal it from someone else, accept pills from a friend or write a fraudulent prescription. In some cases, abusers purchase the drug illegally from a seller. Oxycodone addicts may take the pill form of the drug, even after they no longer require it for pain relief. Doctors in the United States generally do not prescribe the drug for an extended time, unless the patient has a debilitating and painful illness, such as cancer.
Oxycodone is most often taken by mouth. However, tablets can also be crushed and snorted. People even inject the drug for a faster and more intense high.
Once a person stops taking oxycodone or reduces his or her dose, withdrawal symptoms can manifest. These withdrawal symptoms have often been compared to heroin withdrawal symptoms, especially since both drugs are classified as narcotics. During withdrawal, the user will suffer from pain in the muscles and joints. A strong craving for oxycodone is present. The patient will also be restless and agitated. Profuse sweating is common. The following symptoms might also appear:
- Cold chills
- Feeling nauseated
Death by overdose can occur. In such cases, the user’s respirator system is suppressed, blood pressure drops and the person stops breathing. Death by overdose is most common when users combine oxycodone with other drugs. For instance, mixing oxycodone with alcohol can be fatal. Another mistake that leads to overdose is when people mix oxycodone with another opioid drug such as Percocet (a brand name containing the drug). Other drugs containing oxycodone are Oxycocet, Endocet, Roxicodone, OxyFast, Percodan, Roxicet and Oxygesic. Users should not combine these drugs. Users should follow all doctors’ orders when prescribed oxycodone. It is never a good idea to take anyone else’s prescription drugs. The patient should also avoid taking more oxycodone per dose than prescribed by a doctor.
Those who overdose on oxycodone usually have dilated pupils. Often, the patient’s blood pressure will be lower than normal. The abuser will appear confused or delirious. He or she might also look or act inebriated. Vomiting and drowsiness are common. The person’s skin may appear clammy and cold with blue fingernails and bluish spaces around the lips. However, the most serious effect is shallow breathing or loss of breath. Even in cases where the overdosed person is saved or recovers, he or she might still have permanent organ damage due to loss of oxygen during an overdose.
Treatments for Oxycodone Abuse
People who want to quit taking oxycodone should contact a rehabilitation center for help. Such centers employ professional counselors who can monitor the patient’s progress. Counselors and healthcare professionals are also trained to handle relapsing patients, withdrawal symptoms, overdose and medical emergencies that may arise from substance abuse.
Taking prescription medications and receiving professional counseling are the two things that tend to produce the most success when it comes to breaking an opioid habit. Buprenorphine and naltrexone are popular drugs used to wean a user off of oxycodone. Methadone treatment programs are also popular and have helped many people break their narcotics habits in the past.
Buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone should only be taken while under the care of a physician. In addition to taking these drugs, other narcotics abusers have also been able to break their habits by joining 12-step programs. In such programs, users are taught to complete a series of 12 steps that will lead them on the road to recovery. During this process, the drug abuser must admit that he or she has a problem. The addict must also be able to access his or her own shortcomings and mistakes. Such programs teach users to take responsibility for their lives and to avoid behaviors that might make them relapse into oxycodone addiction. Such programs generally provide counseling through each step of the process as well as support from other recovering addicts.
Oxycodone, while effective as a pain-reliever, is also habit-forming. However, those who become addicted to oxycodone can manage the addiction with the help of a professional rehab center. If you or someone you know shows signs of oxycodone addiction, contact a rehab clinic for help.