Oxycodone is an opioid drug most often prescribed for pain. While it does have legitimate medical uses, it is, like most opioids, highly addictive and prone to abuse. An oxycodone dependency could develop by accident in patients prescribed painkillers for chronic pain or recovery after major surgery. It can also cause damaging, lasting effects to those that become addicted. Understanding oxycodone addiction is the first step to getting help and achieving sobriety.
What Is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic. Physicians often prescribe it for patients after serious injuries, car accidents, or surgeries. Typically, oxycodone is the primary ingredient in other medications. For example, OxyContin and Percocet are both name-brand drugs that contain oxycodone.
Oxycodone has a lot in common with other opiates. However, it’s a synthetic drug. This means that scientists create the drug in a lab rather than deriving it from the poppy plant.
Typically, oxycodone comes in a pill or tablet form. Those using it for legitimate medical purposes swallow the pill whole, which creates a time-release dose. However, abusers may crush, break and even snort the tablets for a faster, more potent effect.
Short-Term Effects of Oxycodone Use
The short-term effects that users crave from oxycodone use include pain relief, relaxed muscles, and a feeling of euphoria. Unfortunately, oxycodone can create a number of side effects that are far less appealing.
Some of the most common short-term side effects of oxycodone include:
- Increased drowsiness
- Changes in mood
- Stomach pain
- Dry mouth
In some extreme cases, oxycodone can also lead to an overdose. It is a common misconception that an overdose can only happen to someone with a severe and prolonged addiction. In reality, an overdose can occur after the very first use.
An oxycodone overdose can cause sedation, and users might not be able to wake up. Even shouting or poking the user won’t wake them from this state of unconsciousness. Unfortunately, a complete respiratory arrest is possible in this state. A visible sign of an overdose is a blue tint on the fingernails or the lips.
Long-Term Effects of Oxycodone Use
Chronic use of oxycodone can also lead to several long-term effects. These effects are pervasive among those struggling with oxycodone addiction. While many of the long-term effects are physical, they can also be psychological. Some of the long-term effects of oxycodone use include the following:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of conscouisness
- Muscle weakness
- Cold and clammy skin
In addition, restlessness and agitation are also very common. Many people who use oxycodone report intestinal problems such as abdominal cramping, constipation, and nausea. Although physicians prescribe oxycodone to eliminate pain, prolonged use can actually worsen pain sensitivity in the long term.
Signs of an Oxycodone Addiction
Anyone who uses oxycodone without a doctor’s supervision and without a clear prescription is likely abusing the drug. The line between abuse and true addiction is when going without oxycodone brings about withdrawal symptoms. Someone with an addiction to oxycodone might feel an increase in pain after skipping the drug for just a day, or they may develop some of the side effects listed above.
You might also be able to recognize an addiction by a person’s sudden change in mood, unusual sleep patterns, or regular complaints of pain. Additional signs of oxycodone addiction include visiting multiple doctors in an attempt to gain multiple prescriptions–a process called doctor shopping–and withdrawing from social activities or struggling financially.
How to Treat an Addiction to Oxycodone
Oxycodone may be a prescription medication, but it is still an addictive drug. To recover from an oxycodone addiction, a professional oxycodone rehab program is necessary.
This treatment most likely begins with a medically supervised detox, which may include painful withdrawal symptoms, but residential drug and alcohol treatment is crucial. During this treatment, patients will have access to:
- Group and individual counseling
- Behavioral therapy
- A safe and comfortable facility
- Aftercare programs to prevent relapse
To recover from an oxycodone addiction, commit to professional addiction rehab programs. At San Antonio Recovery Center in San Antonio, Texas, you can break free from a dependence on oxycodone. Call 866.957.7885 today to start leading the fulfilling life you deserve.