Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid drug taken from the seed pod of the poppy plant. It is in the drug class of narcotic analgesics. It can be found in medicine used to treat pain, such as OxyContin and Percodan. It is highly addictive.
The brand names for oxycodone are Oxaydo, Roxicodone, Roxybond, (immediate-release) OxyContin (extended-release).
Oxycodone tablets can be swallowed or chewed, crushed and sniffed, or crushed and dissolved in water to be injected, and its vapors can be inhaled by heating the tablet on foil. Oxycodone can give people pain relief, feelings of relaxation, or euphoria. Overdose can lead to coma or death. Chronic use of it with acetaminophen may lead to liver damage.
Narcotics work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord and other parts of the body. The receptors control pain, pleasurable, and addictive behaviors. The mu receptor is the main opioid receptor that a narcotic analgesic binds to.
It is important to understand how opioids like oxycodone work in the brain to comprehend how one can become addicted to them. Oxycodone is a bit like endorphins, the natural substances in the brain. Endorphins work to decrease pain messages that the body sends to the brain. Oxycodone acts like endorphins decreasing the amount of pain the brain thinks it feels.
When the oxycodone does not seem to reduce the amount of pain that is felt, the person taking it may take more of the drug to experience the pain relief they felt before. When that happens, it is called tolerance. Tolerance is considered the first indicator of a substance use disorder.
If someone continues to take the drug even though they have developed a tolerance to it, it becomes a chemical dependency. Chemical dependency is closely related to addiction. The difference is when the brain begins to rely on the drug to maintain normal functioning.
“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences,” as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. It entails the compulsive use of a drug, despite the consequences. It can lead to adverse health issues, legal trouble, loss of employment, and/or ruined relationships.
Oxycodone withdrawal is not particularly dangerous. However, it is very unpleasant and uncomfortable.
Early Withdrawal Symptoms May Include:
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Eyes tearing up
- Yawning often
- Unable to sleep
Withdrawal Symptoms Which May Come Later Are:
- Abdominal cramps
- Goosebumps on skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurry vision or dilated pupils (dark part of the eye is enlarged)
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
These symptoms can lead to more dangerous health effects, which is why addiction specialists will recommend the person to undergo medical detoxification. Detox provides the individual with medical assistance as their body goes through the process of ridding itself of the substance. It also is beneficial if the person has other medical concerns. This is conducted outside of our facility.
After detox, the addiction care team will assess the level of addiction the person has and, along with the individual, make a recommendation for further treatment following the continuum of care. This might involve partial hospitalization, residential treatment, or intensive outpatient treatment.
Throughout the treatment plan, licensed therapists work with the person to find the root of their addiction. Some of the different therapy types one might be involved in are cognitive behavior therapy, individual and/or group therapy, family therapy, and creating a relapse prevention plan. Once the person completes these levels of treatment, they can partake in aftercare activities with other individuals in the same situation.
Oxycodone addiction can be overcome with professional help from an accredited addiction treatment center. It is best to seek help to become substance-free.