Even though addiction to Oxycodone normally happens over a period of time, some people are especially sensitive to its pain relieving and euphoria inducing qualities. As a result, they can become addicted much more easily. Oxycodone is a very effective pain reliever, for those who truly need the benefits of this drug. Patients suffering from extreme and constant pain, like that experienced by cancer patients who are in the late stages of the disease, can benefit greatly from a drug like Oxycodone.
Oxycodone works by blocking pain sensors in the brain. The result is normally longer lasting than the results experienced with traditional pain relievers. If a person begins using Oxycodone when they don’t need it, effects produced include a type of euphoria like that experienced when using heroin. Users can become relaxed, less depressed and drowsy. They can also feel strong, overwhelming cravings for more of the drug.
An addiction to this medication can come on so slowly, a person may not even realize they are becoming addicted. When one is in severe, chronic pain and seeks a physician’s help for the pain, the physician may decide that a course of Oxycodone is the best answer. A person can begin taking this drug exactly the way it was prescribed. The problem is that a tolerance builds up over time in the body to this drug.
A person may feel that Oxycodone is no longer providing good pain relief and may increase the dosage without consulting their doctor. They might also use the drug when they no longer need it. This can lead to shopping around for another doctor who will prescribe more of the drug, and an insidious, slowly developing addiction can begin. Soon, a person might find that all they can think about is where to get their next dose of Oxycodone. This is when the pattern of addiction has begun.
A person can eventually build up such a resistance to the narcotic opiate that they must keep increasing dosages to get the same level of desired effects. These are some of the symptoms one experiences when they are becoming addicted to opiates like Oxycodone.
Some of the addiction symptoms can be mistaken for flu-like symptoms, especially when nausea, vomiting and headache and excessive thirst are experienced. When they happen along with a person’s use of Oxycodone, however, they are signs of abuse of this drug.
Oxycodone is a type of partially synthetic opiate drug that is normally prescribed by a qualified physician for pain relief. As with any type of opiate, addiction is a very real risk. The addiction to Oxycodone is like that of heroin addiction.
The usual brands and most common formulas of Oxycodone are:
One drug manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, restructured their formula of OxyContin so the tablets could no longer be crushed or broken. Tablets were meant to be long-lasting so the medication is released over time. However, those addicted to the drug found ways to experience faster results by crushing or breaking the tablets.
Users would then either swallow or snort the powder, or liquefy it and inject it for a faster, more dynamic reaction. Since the formula was changed by Purdue Pharma, the hope was that rates of addiction would go down. Although, those who really wanted to use more of it would usually resort to swallowing more of the drug.
According to the medical journal, The Lancet, out of about 78,000 deaths that happened in 2010 due to illegal drug use, over 50 percent of those were from prescription painkiller addictions. The pain relievers involved included Vicodin and OxyContin. The countries that have been hit hardest by addiction problems to opiate pain relievers include Russia, the United States, Britain, and Australia.
In the United States alone it has been estimated that over 13 million people have either abused Oxycodone or have used it in recreational ways, instead of for legitimate medical purposes. These estimates were made by the United States Department of Justice. The Justice Department also found that children as young as age 12 were being exposed to, or experimenting with drugs, including prescription opiate painkillers.
Some of the most common personality changes from using or abusing drugs include changes in moral values, aggressive or abusive behavior, and psychotic behavior. A person addicted to a substance like Oxycodone has experienced changes to the chemical makeup of their brain. Things they otherwise would never do become a very real option when faced with the dilemma of getting more of the drugs they need in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This desire for more drugs becomes all encompassing.
Moral lapses include things like stealing from others to get money for drugs, robbery of pharmacies, no longer caring about family, community, personal appearance or hygiene, and excuses being made for the problems in life. When excuses are made for actions like stealing, they are usually never the fault of the addict in that person’s eyes. This failure to even be able to see the problem is often a sure sign of addiction. These behavioral problems are red flags that should never be ignored if they are noticed in a friend or family member.
When a person is trying to break free from an addiction, the symptoms are often so severe they will try to avoid experiencing them at all costs. This often leads to relapses in use of the drug. Ending an addiction to Oxycodone is not easy to undertake, which is why treatment in a residential treatment center is normally the best choice.
When withdrawal begins to happen, a person may become extremely agitated, sweat profusely and be restless and unable to concentrate on anything. Other symptoms include pain in bones and muscles, nausea, vomiting, along with diarrhea and chills. Since these are also flu-like symptoms, it can be confusing, unless you are sure that what the person is experiencing is withdrawal from Oxycodone. Depression, severe cravings for the drug and insomnia are other common withdrawal symptoms.
Before prescribing Oxycodone or any pain reliever in this family of drugs, doctors need to ask about family history of addiction or alcoholism. These questions can help to find a patient’s predisposition to addiction. This might include going back more than one generation in the patient’s family. Education of physicians in drug addiction is crucial. If a patient is still treated with Oxycodone, they should be monitored carefully to avoid triggering possible addiction.
Some physicians believe the use of drugs like Oxycodone should be limited to two weeks, especially if there is a past familial history of addiction. There is a lot of debate over prescribing medications containing Oxycodone. Some physicians turn to alternatives like Toradol, which is non-narcotic, or therapies like acupuncture to help patients gain pain relief. Some patients, however, simply go to another physician who will prescribe the drugs they want.
When a person is trying to break an addiction, treatment in a residential facility is often the best solution. The person needs to be taken out of their normal surroundings, so temptations to go back to using the drugs are removed from the equation. They will need counseling and effective help in learning how to begin life again after treatment for addiction. Problems that originally led to the addiction need to be addressed and new, healthier solutions found for them.
Being treated in a residential treatment facility allows a person to learn from experts who are professionally trained in effective addiction recovery. The experience they have gained over years of working with addicts is a valuable part of the entire treatment process. Being away from familiar, tempting surroundings helps the person be able to focus on learning new ways to cope and leads to less temptation resume using drugs again.
To overcome addiction, clients need to re-learn the moral values they had once cherished and upheld before they became addicted to Oxycodone. They also need to be taught new ways of coping with the problems that always exist in every person’s life. These new ways of coping do not include the option of reaching for a pill bottle. All of these things can be learned. It takes time, patience and effort.
Recovering from an addiction is an ongoing and lifelong process. A recovering addict must continue to work every day of their lives to stay clean and sober, for their future and for a better future for their family. A healthier way of life is waiting for those who are strong, and for those who will reach out and take advantage of the addiction recovery expertise available. While recovery can sometimes seem to be hopeless and out of reach, it is not.
Caring and loving family members and friends of the addicted person can be a huge influence on whether the person finally gets help and is ultimately freed from their addiction. Life can be so much better than it was before, when one was caught up in the vicious cycle of addiction. Living a clean and sober life is possible, and it is a much more rewarding way of life.
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