Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication that helps treat moderate to severe pain. Its extended-release form helps provide around-the-clock treatment for pain. Being a narcotic, the drug may be habit-forming even when taken as prescribed. When taken as prescribed, oxycodone can bring about pain relief, cause euphoria, reduce anxiety and lead to extreme relaxation. Misuse of the drug can lead to overdose, addiction and even death.
As per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in 2013, there were nearly 60 million prescriptions for oxycodone-containing drugs. The agency also states that in 2011, the drug was responsible for more than 150,000 emergency room visits.
Oxycodone is available in a pill and liquid form and is often prescribed in combination with other drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. Classified as a Schedule II drug by the Controlled Substances Act, oxycodone has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological and physical dependence.
Some of the common side effects of oxycodone are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chills and fever
Some of the most dangerous side effects of oxycodone include breathing problems.
Oxycodone abuse, symptoms and effects
Commonly supplied under the brand names Percocet and OxyContin, the drug acts by changing the way the brain responds to pain. As the drug produces rewarding sensations in the brain, oxycodone has a high potential for abuse. When used recreationally, there is a chance of overdose as recreational methods of consuming it often leads to absorption of a large amount of drug.
It is effective for individuals suffering from chronic pain, but its long-term use can have serious psychological and physiological effects. Known to be associated with liver and kidney failure, oxycodone use can cause a reduction in brain’s ability to adapt to new input which may cause a compulsive behavior. When used in combination with alcohol, the drug can cause severe respiratory problems and may even lead to an overdose. When abused in higher quantities, it may lead to following symptoms.
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Irregular heartbeat
- Severe sleepiness
- Weak muscles
- Slow breathing
When taken for a longer duration, the drug can cause physical dependence that can quickly develop into drug tolerance, requiring more quantities of the drug to achieve the same effect. As users take more of the drug to amplify its euphoric effects, oxycodone can cause psychological dependence.
Individuals struggling with oxycodone addiction are driven by strong cravings for the drug and can encounter severe withdrawal symptoms if the drug is discontinued abruptly. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Increased heart rate
Treatment for oxycodone addiction
The most severe effect of oxycodone abuse is addiction to oxycodone. As the withdrawal symptoms can be quite uncomfortable, individuals attempting to quit oxycodone should seek professional help.
Treatment in an oxycodone addiction rehab depends on the amount, duration and the frequency of oxycodone abused. A comprehensive oxycodone addiction treatment in oxycodone drug rehab centers involves a combination of medically supervised detoxification along with behavioral therapies and counseling sessions.
During detoxification in an oxycodone addiction treatment center, medications are used in reducing cravings, managing withdrawal symptoms and in preventing a relapse.
At an inpatient treatment center is suitable for severe cases where an individual suffering from oxycodone addiction undergoes detoxification in a sober environment. It is then followed by behavioral therapies to identify triggers causing addiction and abuse. An inpatient treatment center also provides individual, group and family therapies to treat any underlying mental condition causing addiction. For those with time constraints, addiction treatment can also be sought in an outpatient treatment center that offers the same treatment options even as an individual continues to live his/her normal life.