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The Reality Behind Oxycodone Addiction

Most people understand that oxycodone is one of the primary factors in the prescription drug epidemic that the country has struggled with for years now. In order to understand why this is such a dangerous prescription medication, it is important to learn more about it and find out why it is so addictive.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate. It is produced by modifying thebaine, a chemical that we can trace back to opium. It is the active ingredient in a number of opioid painkillers such as Percodan, Percocet and OxyContin. The two first examples include small doses of oxycodone combined with other active ingredients like aspirin. OxyContin is a branded prescription form of oxycodone and is available in much larger doses; which range from 10mg per tablet to 80mg per tablet. This prescription was originally intended for moderate to severe pain associated with end-of-life patients and cancer pain.

Oxycodone Addiction

One of the unique properties of OxyContin is the fact that these are time-release tablets. This means that the analgesic properties and effects of the drug begin to work over a specific period of time rather than everything working at once. Unfortunately, one of the primary reasons for oxycodone abuse and OxyContin abuse is the fact that these drugs have a high abuse potential. In fact, over the past few years, they have been associated with an increasing number of fatal overdoses. The number of deaths linked to oxycodone was only 49 in 1996, but this number has climbed for 11 years straight. According to the latest research, these types of medication were responsible for almost 16,651 deaths throughout the country in one recent year.

The History of Oxycodone

Unfortunately, the issues with oxycodone addiction are nothing new. In fact, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime classified it as a dangerous drug back in 1960. As issues throughout the country continued and more people reported an addiction to OxyContin and similar drugs, the government classified the drug as a Schedule II drug. The FDA continued to approve OxyContin until 1995. There was little to no concern about possible issues related to oxycodone addiction signs or anything of the sort. The manufacturer of OxyContin began to distribute and market the drug in 1996, and with that, the reports of illegal use and concerns about possible OxyContin addiction also increased. At first law enforcement personnel, drug abuse treatment centers and pharmacists in Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Maine reported that there were increasing numbers of people who needed OxyContin addiction treatment.

What are the Methods of Using?

Most of the oxycodone products are taken intramuscularly (meaning that the drug is injected directly into the muscle), intravenously (meaning an injection into the bloodstream), orally, rectally and nasally. When taken orally, the tablet form of OxyContin can remain effective for upwards of 12 hours. However, it did not take long before people who were addicted to oxycodone, learned how to defeat the time-release mechanism of the drug.

The three different ways that the drug was generally abused was by crushing the tablets, then dissolving the tablets in water and injecting the solution, chewing the tablets, and crushing the pill into a fine powder and snorting it. If someone abuses the drugs in such a way, it causes most of the active ingredients to release at the same time. Even though this produces a euphoric sensation that is not unlike what heroin offers, it does increase the risk of an OxyContin overdose. This may even be fatal, especially because some users will try to achieve an even greater high by mixing the drug with alcohol.

Effects from Oxycodone

Mild side effects are likely, even for patients who are under the care of a physician. However, a physician has a decent understanding of how much of the drug the patient should get and when it is important to lower a dosage or switch to a different treatment method/painkiller in order to avoid an addiction to oxycodone. It is possible that the use of oxycodone significantly impairs certain daily activities. These may include physical abilities, mental abilities and even some basic functions such as driving.

A few of the oxycodone produced side effects include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Increased pressure of cerebral and spinal fluid
  • Breathing irregularity or respiratory depression

Those who abuse the drug also risk a potentially fatal overdose. The primary reason behind this is slowed breathing or cardiac arrest. This is especially true for long-term users who try to recover on their own and relapse into using. This is one of the reasons it is vitally important for those struggling with addiction to seek oxycodone addiction help at one of the qualified oxycodone rehab centers.

Some of the signs of oxycodone drug abuse include dry mouth, a loss of appetite, dizziness and nausea. People who abuse the drug may also experience issues with headaches, labored breathing and mood swings. Especially those who use the drug for longer periods of time will notice that the symptoms become progressively worse. As the user ingests more and more of the same substance, the body eventually builds up a tolerance. This means that before the desired effect appears, the body needs more and more of the same substance. This can quickly lead to a dependence on the drug, because the increased tolerance requires the user to ingest more. That in turn can lead to an addiction.

Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms

There are various oxycodone withdrawal symptoms that people have to be aware of. If a user is not under a physician’s care, it may be impossible to monitor and control possible OxyContin addiction signs. Because of the increased dopamine levels, the brain may be rewired in such a way that the user finds that it is impossible to stop using without professional oxycodone withdrawal treatment. When no longer ingesting prescription opioids, the chance of experiencing withdrawal symptoms is extremely high. These withdrawal symptoms from oxycodone can be severe and include flu-like symptoms, fever, muscle pain, insomnia, nausea and anxiety. The OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity. This is dependent upon how long the user has been abusing the drug, how much he or she was abusing on a daily basis and additional factors such as age, height, weight, sex etc.

Because the symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal are painful and unpleasant, most people who do not have oxycodone withdrawal help find that they end up relapsing again. This is one of the reasons that it is important to undergo professional OxyContin detox in one of the qualified OxyContin rehab centers. The professionals in these facilities are capable of helping users through the oxycodone withdrawal by dealing with the oxycodone withdrawal symptoms. It is also possible that they might help users through the OxyContin withdrawal by using various temporary medications to ease the withdrawal process.

Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

It is important to be aware of signs of oxycodone addiction. You will probably notice that these are similar to the signs of OxyContin addiction and countless other opiate derivatives. Despite the fact that there are varying strengths and different names, oftentimes the signs of a Roxicodone addiction and OxyContin addiction symptoms are quite similar.

Even though not everyone is going to have the same symptoms when struggling with oxycodone dependence, these are a few of the different oxycodone addiction symptoms that you might notice:

  • Hiding the drug around the house.
  • Using the drug in secret.
  • Lying or stealing to obtain more of the drug.
  • Restless thoughts or behaviors.
  • Feeling phantom pains if the drug is not available.
  • Obtaining multiple prescriptions for oxycodone from different doctors.
  • Constantly thinking about the drug.

Again, it is important to note that not everyone is going to demonstrate the same symptoms of oxycodone addiction. This also depends on the support system that is available to the user and the relationship that the observer has with the user.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Some people assume that after the initial signs of oxycodone addiction withdrawal are over, the problems with addition are over and done with. This is false…dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of OxyContin or the withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone is only a single step in the recovery process. One of the latest treatment options that many of the non-12 stepOxyContin treatment options use is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is a method that can help people avoid a relapse in the future and has become an important factor in battling an addiction of oxycodone.

These CBT strategies are based on the concept that learning processes play a critical role in developing maladaptive behavioral patterns, including the development of oxy addiction. This means that people who undergo this form of treatment are going to learn a range of different skills that they can use to identify and correct problematic behavior. This is not about making OxyContin drug abuse ‘disappear’, it is about learning different ways to handle the problem in the future.

The Central Element of CBT

One of the most important factors in CBT is developing effective coping strategies when certain issues occur. This means that the patient in rehab is able to anticipate specific problems and strengthen their own self-control. It is separate from oxy withdrawal in that both are separate tasks that need to be completed.

There are specific techniques such as learning how to avoid high-risk situations, developing strategies for coping with cravings, spotting how to identify situations that might lead to problems and exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued drug use. Studies show that especially when combined with long-term treatment and additional behavioral therapies, CBT should be a vital component of OxyContin rehab and should come after a successful OxyContin withdrawal treatment. Keep in mind that CBT comes after the withdrawal from OxyContin, because unless the oxycodone detox is complete, patients are still struggling with the withdrawal from oxycodone. Anyone who is physically uncomfortable, distracted or just plain nauseous is not going to be able to focus on learning how to spot and address the symptoms of OxyContin addiction.

Getting Help

For most people who struggle with withdrawals from oxycodone, enrolling into a professional oxycodone rehab is the first step to overcoming the issue. It is important to consider the type of treatment center that you or the person you care about needs, but you must also consider your budget. Especially considering that stress and budget issues are triggers for relapse, it is important that debt from a rehab facility does not send someone spiraling into their addiction to oxycodone again. Despite the fact that outpatient programs are available and more affordable, it is important to note that long-term inpatient oxycodone addiction treatment has a far higher success rate than outpatient treatment. Remember that inpatient staff members can monitor the process, help get to the underlying issues and deliver an encompassing rehab for oxycodone. Do not delay any longer, help is available.