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Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

Oxycodone is a pain reliever prescribed under the brand names Roxicodone and OxyContin. It is an opioid medication distributed in pill form. Oxycodone is a fast-acting drug that goes into effect within fifteen minutes of consumption. The effects last as long as six hours.

Oxycodone is a Schedule II drug in the United States. It can only be obtained legally with a doctor’s prescription. Oxycodone is considered highly addictive. Patients are only advised to use the drug for short periods. The patent maker originally suggested 12-hours between each dose but studies have found the drug loses its effects much sooner.

Oxycodone has spread as a recreational drug since the 2000s. Some people take it as a euphoric drug, similar to heroin or fentanyl. After Canada banned OxyContin in 2012, the drug became more difficult to obtain illegally. This led some abusers of the drug to switch to heroin.

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Why Do People Take Oxycodone

Doctors prescribe Oxycodone as a pain-reliever and an anti-anxiety medication. It is only meant to be taken every six hours for the duration of symptoms. Due to its euphoric side effects, some people abuse it as a recreational drug.

  • Pain relief – Oxycodone helps relieve ongoing body pain and causes numbness that renders the body less sensitive to new pain.
  • Anxiolysis – Oxycodone helps relieve anxiety, a common symptom of people suffering acute body pain. The medication calms the nerves and causes a more “chilled out” mood.
  • Euphoria – Like most opioids and pain relievers, oxycodone causes euphoria by calming the nerves and triggering the brain’s reward center. This is why some people abuse oxycodone the same way as heroin.
  • Relaxation – This goes with the euphoric effects of oxycodone. The medication allows people to feel laidback and carefree.

Oxycodone addiction starts when people exceed the prescribed dosage level. Overuse leads to tolerance of the drug, which renders it ineffective. This causes the user to take higher and higher doses of oxycodone to get the desired effects. Once addicted, the user could overdose.

Oxycodone Side Effects

Oxycodone has several possible side effects that range from common to rare. Some of these pass after the user takes the drug according to schedule. Side effects include:

  • Slowed digestion – Symptoms like delayed gastric emptying — where it takes longer for food to leave the stomach — and constipation may occur while taking oxycodone.
  • Respiratory depression – As a depressant medication that calms the nerves, oxycodone slows breathing.
  • Fatigue – The calming effects of oxycodone gives the drug a sedative effect on users.
  • Dizziness – In some users, the calming, sedative and euphoric effects of oxycodone can cause dizziness.
  • Itching – Some users get body itches when they take oxycodone.
  • Dry mouth – A rare side effect of oxycodone is dry mouth. Users are advised to drink plenty of water.
  • Sweats – Another rare side effect is sweating, which tends to pass once the user grows accustomed to oxycodone.

Aside from constipation — a common side effect of oxycodone that tends to last throughout a person’s use of the drug — most of these side effects pass within a week. People with codeine allergies might not respond well to oxycodone.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

If a user develops oxycodone addiction, he/she is bound to suffer withdrawal symptoms. These can range from mild to severe, depending on the user’s oxycodone history and intensity of doses.

  • Anxiety – As an anti-anxiety medication, users can feel their anxiety return twofold if they go off the drug cold turkey. The thought of not having the drug can aggravate the anxiety.
  • Panic attack – An extreme outcome of anxiety.
  • Nausea – The body typically feels strange and slightly disoriented when a person stops using opioid medications, including oxycodone.
  • Insomnia – The ill feelings of withdrawal can make it hard for the recovering user to sleep, especially if the user relied on oxycodone for its sedative effects.
  • Muscle pain – Withdrawal often causes muscle cramps in the arms and legs. This can also make it difficult to sleep.
  • Muscle weakness – An alternate muscle symptom is weakness. The arms and legs are usually less resilient in times of pain.
  • Fevers – High body temperatures sometimes accompany the nauseous symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal. People should always drink lots of water to get past this phase.
  • Flu-like symptoms – Symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea may accompany oxycodone withdrawal.

To soften the withdrawal, doctors recommend that users wean themselves off the drug gradually. This could be done over several weeks by reducing a daily dose of three pills to two, then down to one and ultimately to none. 

Oxycodone Abuse Recovery Programs

For people struggling with oxycodone abuse, addiction treatment follows a process that starts with detox and withdrawal, followed by recovery. The treatment process goes as follows:

  • Detox – This starts the moment the individual stops taking oxycodone and enters a treatment center. Oxycodone detox should always be done under strict medical supervision. Otherwise, the user may relapse when cravings peak during the second and third days of detox.
  • Inpatient care – After detox (which usually lasts 3-7 days) the recovering user enters residential rehab. This consists of 30-90 days at a treatment center, usually located in the countryside. Here, the user practices meditation, wellness and healing activities and partakes in group and individual therapy sessions.
  • Outpatient services – For those who don’t wish to stay 1-3 months at a residential facility, most treatment centers also offer outpatient programs, which cover the same ground (therapy, wellness, meditation) on a daytime schedule. The patient either comes to the center daily for treatment on a full-time (20+ hours per week) or part-time (9-19 hours) basis.
  • Aftercare – For patients who complete the residential or outpatient programs, some treatment centers offer ongoing support. For those who have trouble landing or need to rebuild their lives, some centers can link patients with sober-living opportunities and job-placement programs.

Treatment centers are the best way for people struggling with oxycodone addiction and other types of substance abuse to achieve sobriety.

Get Help for Oxycodone Drug Abuse

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Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

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People take oxycodone for acute and chronic pain. However, a person who suffers severe pain can easily develop an addiction to oxycodone.

Oxycodone drug addiction has also spread among people with substance abuse problems. As with any substance addiction that triggers opioid receptors, it’s difficult to overcome the drug alone. A person can suffer an oxycodone overdose without proper treatment.

Across the US, addiction treatment centers offer rehab programs for people who struggle with oxycodone and other forms of illicit and prescription drug abuse. If someone you know has a substance use disorder, call the nearest rehab center today.

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