Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid, which means that it comes from opium of the poppy plant and partially human-made.
The most common formulations of oxycodone contain acetaminophen, aspirin, or only oxycodone, and are all listed by the DEA as Schedule II drugs.
Oxycodone Abuse History
Oxycodone abuse dates back to the 1960s, as it is well-known for its euphoria-producing effects. Even though the country was not in the grips of the current opioid epidemic, heroin was a major concern during the 1960s and 1970s, when scores of injured and underinsured Vietnam veterans were returning home with heroin dealers waiting to distribute.
It wouldn’t be until the mid-1990s with the release and aggressive marketing of an extended-release version of oxycodone (OxyContin®), that the greatest opioid epidemic of our time would come into existence.
Despite claims by the manufacturer that it had a low potential for abuse, extended-release oxycodone could be easily crushed, releasing the full 12-hours worth of oxycodone at once.
With liberal prescribing practices by doctors who believed the marketing claims that it was not abusable, oxycodone flooded the pharmacies and thus began the opioid epidemic we now face. Unfortunately, stricter regulations on oxycodone are no longer effective since nearly 80% of current heroin users today started with prescriptions like OxyContin.
Effects of Oxycodone Abuse
Like most narcotic opioid painkillers, oxycodone directly targets and binds to the μ opioid receptor in the brain, which stimulates the rewards system as it provides a rush of euphoria. Although oxycodone is a painkiller, it doesn’t do anything to address the cause of pain; it just dulls the signals in the brain that tell us we feel pain.
Oxycodone has similar effects to most other opioid painkillers, and they can range from mild to severe, including:
- shallow breathing
- low blood pressure
- slurred speech
- heavy limbs
- constricted pupils
Oxycodone abuse often begins with a legitimate prescription for pain, but the risk of addiction is high after sustained non-medical use of any opioid which can develop in as little as two weeks.
Spotting Oxycodone Addiction
Oxycodone addiction can develop faster than many people may realize, especially when it is being abuse and administered in dangerous ways, like snorting or injecting it intravenously.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Examples oxycodone addiction include:
- inability to abstain from oxycodone abuse
- behavioral control issues
- intense cravings to use oxycodone
- inability to recognize problems and dangers associated with addictive behaviors
- impaired and dysfunctional emotional responses
Addiction is uniquely characterized by the behaviors associated with it. These are destructive and include drug-seeking behaviors like doctor shopping, stealing money or oxycodone from loved ones, and unrealistic fantasizing about oxycodone and other drugs. Additional characteristics of oxycodone addiction include the following:
- Continued Use of Oxycodone Despite Negative Consequences
- Taking Risks to Experience a Higher High
- Compromised Emotional Abilities
- Escalating Drug Use Risks
- Chronic Withdrawal
The consequences of oxycodone addiction never end until an addict receives help, and that does not necessarily need to be at rock bottom. Addiction creates unmanageability in the lives of addicts and their loved ones. This unmanageability can include things like:
- legal troubles from stealing or buying oxycodone illegally
- health complications
- financial problems
- strained relationships with loved ones
- loss or reduction in earning capability
- serious accidental injury to oneself or others while under the influence
The only way to end the vicious cycle of oxycodone abuse and addiction is to seek help, starting with detox.
Oxycodone Withdrawal and Detox
Oxycodone withdrawal, like that of any other opioid is comprised of a myriad of painful and uncomfortable symptoms that range from mild to severe. Individual health and the severity of oxycodone abuse are strong factors in the length of time it takes to complete detox. Typically, a medically assisted detox from oxycodone can last between five and fourteen days with symptoms significantly easing around the third or fourth day for most.
Although oxycodone detox is not life-threatening, it can be excruciating for addicts, with a combination of physical and psychological symptoms that can include the following:
- runny nose
- increased anxiety
- watery eyes
- high fever
- muscle aches and spasms
- high blood pressure
- abdominal pain
- nausea and vomiting
- rapid heart rate
- intense cravings
- clammy skin
- excessive yawning
- joint pain
Medical assistance during oxycodone detox is highly recommended since staff can administer medications that ease severe symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, abdominal pain, nausea, and high blood pressure.
Although all symptoms cannot be addressed during a medical opioid detox, they can be managed to the degree that most people can be comfortable enough to sleep and be more relaxed during the process.
Some people may experience anhedonia, an inability to feel pleasure for several weeks or months after detox. This is most common in those who have a long history of oxycodone or opioid abuse.
Recovery From Oxycodone Addiction
Whether you are seeking oxycodone for yourself or your loved one, it is never too late to get the help you need through addiction recovery.
Vogue Recovery Centers offers a customized addiction treatment program in an exclusive and comfortable environment set in a private and upscale community. At Vogue Recovery, our evidence-based therapies and services are customized around your needs, challenges, and personal lifestyle.
Your recovery from oxycodone addiction means acquiring the tools and skills necessary to keep yourself safe, healthy and thriving in a life of recovery. This happens with individualized therapies and treatments that are customized to address your needs through the following:
- identifying the people, places, and things that are personal triggers for relapse
- discovering and addressing the underlying issues, traumas, and problems which may have contributed to initial drug abuse
- understanding abilities and limits in recovery to maintain abstinence from further drug abuse
- customizing a plan for recovery including where to live and work, how to engage in sober activities and establish individual and group support
At Vogue Recovery Centers, we start your customized treatment and recovery plan from day one. In our comfortable and exclusive setting, your days will include chef-prepared gourmet meals, a state-of-the-art exercise facility, evidence-based psychotherapies, and weekly outings, and much more to help you reclaim your life from addiction.
If you or a loved one needs oxycodone addiction detox and treatment or referrals, call us now for a free and confidential assessment.