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Oxycodone is a prescription opioid that has been used since the middle of the 20th century to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a synthetic drug derived from the opium poppy plant. You can find oxycodone in the following brand-name drugs: Oxycontin (includes both immediate and extended-release formulations), Percodan (combines oxycodone and aspirin), and Percocet and Vicodin (combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen).

Oxycodone falls into the same category of narcotic pain relievers as morphine and fentanyl. All these substances cause intense euphoria in users that take the drugs, making them dangerously addictive. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), nearly 1.9 million people in the U.S. have taken oxycodone for nonmedical purposes. In addition, those that become addicted to oxycodone are far more likely to start using heroin, since this street substance is often cheaper and easier to obtain than the prescription drug.

Oxycodone is categorized as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which indicates the substance has a serious risk of misuse and dependency. Despite this status, it continues to be widely prescribed across the country. Even those that take the drug as directed have the potential to develop a dependency, creating the need for careful monitoring by physicians prescribing it.

Oxycodone’s Effect on the Body

The immediate effects of oxycodone may seem pleasant, leading to repeated use and eventual abuse in some situations. Those effects might include:

  • Relief from physical pain
  • Euphoria due to dopamine flooding the brain after use
  • Mental and physical relaxation

Not all the side effects of oxycodone use are pleasant, however. The following can also occur after using this substance:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness, drifting from sleep to consciousness
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Restlessness, agitation, irritability
  • Slowed respiration and difficulty breathing
  • Depression and anxiety

The intensity of the effects will vary based on the amount of oxycodone taken and the way in which it is consumed. To increase the “high,” some users will crush the tablets and snort them or dissolve them in liquid, so they can be injected directly into the bloodstream.

Signs of Oxycodone Abuse and Dependency

When oxycodone use turns to abuse and dependency, other symptoms might develop:

  • Needing higher amounts of the drug to get the same effects (tolerance)
  • Substantial mood swings or increased depression and anxiety
  • Hiding use of the drug from others
  • Spending more time obtaining, using and recovering from the drug
  • Forging prescriptions, shopping doctors for additional prescriptions
  • Continued use despite personal, professional, legal and financial problems
  • Neglecting work, school or home responsibilities
  • Spending more time alone
  • Loss of interest in activities, friends or family

People that have been abusing oxycodone may find they experience very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using it. Supervised detox often needs to be the first step before a treatment program can begin.

Long-Term Damage from Oxycodone Abuse

If someone uses oxycodone over an extended period, the substance can take a significant toll on the body. Long-term damage might include:

  • Failure of major organs like the heart, liver and kidneys
  • Brain damage and seizures
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Heart infection, known as endocarditis
  • Decreased breathing and breathing irregularities
  • Vein diseases and damaged vessels

People that abuse drugs that have a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen are at increased risk of liver damage, due to the effects of excessive acetaminophen use on this organ. Drinking alcohol while using oxycodone can also increase the problem.

The Dangers of Oxycodone Withdrawal

When someone is addicted to oxycodone, stopping the drug could result in uncomfortable and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like the following:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea and vomiting
  • Shaking and muscle weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms including aches, fever and chills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Suicidal thoughts and ideations

By undergoing detoxification in a supervised setting, you can ensure a safer more comfortable process. Once detox is completed, addiction treatment can begin.

Help for Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone addiction is difficult – if not impossible – to overcome on one’s own. Professional treatment helps you to identify the issues that led to the addiction and find healthier ways to cope that will promote long-term recovery. To get help for yourself or someone you care about, contact Serenity Oaks Wellness Center today at 844-720-6847.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center