Oxycodone Abuse: Symptoms and Treatment
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Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller that has the potential to be highly addictive. It is given to people who just had surgery or are suffering chronic pain. Patients often get addicted after their doctor gives them a prescription; it is derived from the same plant as heroin and can be incredibly destructive if taken outside of the prescription. In the United States, it’s a Schedule II drug, placing it in the same category as cocaine, meth, and morphine.
Treatment centers offer a wide range of options to help you, from holistic treatment centers that pair counseling with yoga, art therapy, and mindfulness, to faith-based centers that provide a strong group support system.
On the street, Oxycodone is referred to as Oxys, Orange County, Ox, OxyCotton, or cotton. Because it can be easily acquired outside a pharmacy, it’s very easy for people to get and abuse. Abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise in the US, especially abuse of opiates such as Oxycodone.
Many people are prescribed Oxycodone after having their wisdom teeth removed or after other surgery. Once you’re home with the first pill bottle, it’s easy to take an extra pill or two and enjoy the feeling. After that, you may have gotten it from someone else’s medicine cabinet or off the street, or perhaps your told your doctor you were still in pain and got an additional prescription. It’s that easy to get hooked and happens frequently to people who would never believe they could be addicted to drugs.
Any abuse of the drug, meaning taking it outside of your doctor’s prescription, can lead to addiction. Your brain becomes dependent on the drug, causing you to compulsively seek out and use it regularly.
Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Abuse
Like other opiates, Oxycodone has specific signs you can look for when you suspect someone you love is abusing the drug. Users experience symptoms from mild to severe depending on how much they are using. Depression, anxiety, and euphoria can all be signs of abuse, along with mood swings, irritability, drowsiness, sedation, nausea, headaches, constricted or dilated pupils, and dry mouth. Any side effect you experience should be reported to your doctor so they can adjust your prescription or recommend you get treatment for the drug. The longer you let your abuse and addiction go on, the harder it will become to get off the drug and get your body clean.
- Short-Term Effects: Even if you’re only using the drug for a short period of time, these side effects are something to watch out for. Pay attention to irregular heart rate, chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue, weakness, or mood changes, and you should absolutely start to worry if you experience seizures.
- Long-Term Effects: Continued use of the drug has some serious and harmful long-term effects including memory impairment, cognitive deficits, aggressive behavior, delirium, depression, and psychotic experiences. Addicts begin to steal in order to get drugs, have scrambled thoughts, and often depression leads to suicidal tendencies.
If you or someone you know starts demonstrating these symptoms, get them to medical help immediately.
When someone overdoses on Oxycodone, it slows down and represses the body’s natural functions and death can occur due to respiratory suppression. This is more common when Oxycodone is combined with other opiates or alcohol.
When someone is unable to obtain Oxycodone, they may begin to suffer the symptoms of withdrawal. They get restless and sweaty as the body tries to expel the toxin through diarrhea and vomiting, which leads to muscle pain, insomnia, and depression.
Understanding and Accepting Addiction
Because Oxycodone is often prescribed by doctors, it can be hard to admit you’ve gotten addicted and started abusing the drug. You may not believe you’re someone who can get addicted to drugs, but you need to educate yourself about how addiction works. Understand that it’s a chemical process in the brain that can happen to anyone. Once you can admit to yourself that you might have a problem with addiction, the next step is to find the treatment for your addiction that will help you get back to a healthy lifestyle.
They may be upset and try to convince you that they don’t need treatment, but if you can convince them to try, even if they think it’s pointless, that’s still a step in the right direction.
If someone you love is addicted to Oxycodone, you may need to step in and talk to them in order to help them see and handle their addiction. Your action may be what’s needed to save their life by preventing and eventual overdose situation. One way to handle this is by holding an intervention for your loved one. Bringing together lots of people they love and respect that want to support them, listen, and encourage them to make changes is often what it takes to get people to go into a treatment facility. During your intervention, make sure the person knows that everyone is there because they want to support the addict in getting healthy and keep them from continuing their destructive behavior.
While the abuser might not be happy about the intervention, if everyone else can keep their calm, be willing to listen and talk, continue to communicate that they care and want to help, then it may be the first step that’s needed towards acceptance and treatment.
Do not glorify drug abuse or make excuses, instead show them how their actions are hurting them and those around them. Do your research beforehand so that you can show them some treatment options and make suggestions on how they can get their life back on track. Continue to reiterate a message of care and support.
If possible, try to hold your intervention or discussion when they are not under the influence of Oxycodone. They may be upset and try to convince you that they don’t need treatment, but if you can convince them to try, even if they think it’s pointless, that’s still a step in the right direction.
Oxycodone Detox and Withdrawal
Withdrawing from an opiate addiction is never easy and generally takes professional along with medical assistance. If you’re ready to take the steps you need to kick your Oxycodone addiction, then that’s awesome! You’ve already made the hard decision. The next step is to find the treatment facility that is right for you and begin detox.
Cutting Oxycodone completely out of your system is when the withdrawal symptoms really start to show. In some cases, you’ll quit the drug cold turkey and get assistance handling the worst of your symptoms. In others, medical professionals will taper your dose, giving you an increasingly smaller dose until you’re off the drug completely. At the same time, they’ll help you manage any withdrawal symptoms which appear. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle, joint, and bone pain
During treatment, continue to share what symptoms you’re experiencing and be honest about how bad you’re feeling. The staff at the treatment center are experts at helping people through the process and have available medical and nonmedical interventions to help you make it through. When things don’t go as planned, they are able to adapt your treatment plan to help you stay calm and as comfortable as possible.
During the detox process, your body must learn how to function without the chemicals from the drug interacting with brain. Detox is the actual removal of the drug from the body while withdrawal is the collection of side effects you experience while your body is undergoing this process. Everyone’s detox and withdrawal is different depending on how long they’ve been taking the drug, the formulation, the method by which it was taken, and how large a dose they regularly took.
Generally, withdrawal symptoms begin within half a day after quitting the drug and peak over the first four days. Physical symptoms generally subside after a week; however, the psychological side effects and drug cravings may continue for up to a month.
During a medically assisted detox, you’ll be monitored around the clock as your body detoxes and withdraws from the drug. Your vital signs are checked to make sure you stay healthy and you may be offered other medications to help you handle the symptoms of withdrawal. Medical personnel can help adjust the treatment to your specific needs and situation. Once detox is complete, you can then move into a treatment program.
You may continue to take a medication to support your treatment and help keep you clean. Methadone and Buprenorphine are two of the most common medications used for this purpose. They act on the same chemical receptors in the brain that Oxycodone does and make the brain think it is getting the drug it craves, but you won’t feel a high or rush, causing your cravings to diminish.
Others are treated with Naltrexone, which blocks the body and brain from being able to pick up and use the Oxycodone you take, causing the drug not to work at all. This prevents relapse because even if you do take the drug, nothing happens.
Whatever treatment plan you choose, remain in close contact with your doctor and therapist throughout so that they can adjust it to make sure you’re getting the help and medicine you need to be successful.
Oxycodone Treatment and Rehab
Because Oxycodone is highly addictive, even after detox and withdrawal, there is a high possibility of relapse. For this reason, drug treatment centers only consider detox the first stage in a more comprehensive treatment program that will include education, counseling, therapy, and aftercare. In some cases, you may be given medication to help you prevent a relapse. If you’ve managed to clean your body of the drug and then relapse in the future, taking your previous amount, you may experience overdose as your body is no longer tolerant of the drug. The CDC estimates that 15,000 people die each year from overdose.
Aftercare support is key in preventing relapse and helping you keep on the healthy trajectory you’ve started.
Treatment is all about giving you the support and skills you need to handle the psychological side effects of withdrawal and prevent relapse. Treatment centers offer a wide range of options to help you, from holistic treatment centers that pair counseling with yoga, art therapy, and mindfulness, to faith-based centers that provide a strong group support system.
When you arrive at the treatment facility of your choice, you’ll start by going through the intake process. You’ll be assessed by a medical professional and a therapist to better understand your addiction and any underlying causes that may need to be addressed. They will then outline your detox and treatment program, and explain to you the details of how your stay at the treatment facility will work.
You’ll then be taken to your room and immediately enter the detox process as discussed with your doctor. The length of detox can range from one day to many as mentioned above. You’ll have the support on hand to make sure you’re safe and the process is successful.
After detox, you’ll begin rehabilitation treatment, again as discussed with your therapist. This can cover a wide range of options depending on what you need and what the facility offers, however it is certain to contain education about your drug and addiction, counseling, support groups, and the therapies you need to learn skills and tools to help you cope with life when you return to the real world.
When your time at the facility is complete, you’ll meet with your therapist a final time to lay out an aftercare plan. Aftercare support is key in preventing relapse and helping you keep on the healthy trajectory you’ve started. Aftercare is likely to include more counseling and necessary therapy, and may or may not include continued use of medications to help prevent relapse.
Paying for Oxycodone Treatment
Affording treatment for a drug addiction may seem like a stretch, especially if you’ve gotten yourself into financial trouble over your drug habit. Thankfully, most insurance providers will cover some or all of your treatment process. For help sorting through all the details and available options, reach out to Rehab-Finder.Org. We can help review your insurance policy and find treatment options across the country that will accept your insurance. We can then help you narrow your options to determine exactly which program is right for you.
Start the First Steps of Beating Your Addiction Today
If you’re ready to take control of your life and beat your addiction to Oxycodone, you’re doing the right thing by researching treatment options. Your life can be so much better when you’re healthy and have the energy to spend time doing the things that matter while also spending time with the people who love and support you.
You’re not alone in this process. We can help you choose a rehab center from hundreds of available options, figure out how to pay for it, and get you started on the road to recovery.
Call us today at 877-251-4813 to get started.