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Oxymorphone Addiction Treatment

Oxymorphone is an opioid analgesic prescribed by doctors as a pain-relief medication. It is sold under multiple brand names, including Numorphand and Opana. Doctors prescribe oxymorphone as a treatment medication for patients with severe pain. Due to its high potency, addiction is common.

Oxymorphone takes effect in about 30 minutes (if taken orally) or 5–10 minutes (if taken intravenously). The effects of immediate-release tablets last 3–4 hours. Time-release tablets last up to 12 hours. Users should not take oxymorphone on an empty stomach.

Oxymorphone was first formulated in Germany in 1914 and green-lighted for medical use in 1959. Oxymorphone is a Schedule II substance that is only available through a doctor’s prescription.

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Why Do People Take Oxymorphone?

People take oxymorphone for all kinds of serious pain, both temporary and chronic. Oxymorphone provides temporary pain relief for external injuries and internal damage to the body. The effects of oxymorphone usually last 3–4 hours. With time-release capsules, the effects last up to 12 hours.

  • Back pain – Some people take oxymorphone for painful back injuries. People who’ve fallen or suffered slipped discs and pinched nerves might take oxymorphone as a pain suppressant while the injury heals or until they get corrective surgery.
  • Fractures – People who suffer broken or fractured bones might take oxymorphone until the injury heals. They might take a small dose each day to help suppress pain flare-ups in the affected area until the bones remend and the casts come off.
  • Dental pain – People who suffer mouth pain due to tooth abscesses might take oxymorphone until they get to a dentist and have a root canal or have the tooth extracted. This helps people cope with the long waiting lists for dental appointments.
  • Nerve damage – People who suffer pinched nerves might take oxymorphone to ease the pain and inflammation. Incidents of nerve injury, such as when a person over-strains while lifting weights, can cause intense pain flare-ups that opioids counteract.
  • Burns – Oxymorphone can help suppress pain caused by second- and third-degree burns. As the body heals and the person undergoes surgeries to mend the affected areas as much as possible, oxymorphone can help suppress the exterior pain.
  • Bullet wounds – Some people take oxymorphone to suppress pain caused by bullet wounds, stabbing and other wounds caused by weapons and blunt objects. Intravenous shots of oxymorphone in the affected area could act as a temporary pain suppressant before emergency surgery.
  • Euphoria – People who acquire oxymorphone illegally take it as a recreational drug for euphoric effects. Oxymorphone causes a mellowing, numbing effect, which is desired by certain partygoers in the dance and rock scenes. Some people use oxymorphone instead of heroin or fentanyl.

People shouldn’t take oxymorphone for prolonged periods. The drug is highly potent but also easily addictive. It’s best used as an emergency remedy for serious pain. People who acquire the drug illegally and use it for recreational purposes face various risks to their health and personal liberties.

Side Effects of Oxymorphone?

Oxymorphone can have numerous undesired effects on users, especially those who exceed the recommended dose or use it for the wrong reasons. The dangers of oxymorphone range from mild (laziness, apathy) to more serious (slow heart, lungs).

  • Laziness – As a depressant medication, oxymorphone causes fatigue. Users often feel drowsiness in the daytime while they take the medication. This can make it difficult to stay alert in class and at work.
  • Complacency – Due to the mellowness and lethargy caused by oxymorphone, some users become apathetic about basic tasks and responsibilities. Some users stop keeping their houses clean or sticking to goals and plans.
  • Insomnia – The drowsiness caused by oxymorphone can cause users to sleep at inappropriate times and throw off their sleeping schedules. A user might take a 90-minute nap midday, then be lazy the rest of the day but unable to get to sleep at the right time.
  • Constipation – Opioid drugs often slow down the digestive system. Food might take longer to leave the stomach and travel through the intestines. People who abuse oxymorphone might have discomforting indigestion, bloating and irregular bowel movements.
  • Dry mouth – Oxymorphone can dehydrate users and cause symptoms like dry mouth. With or without this condition, people should always drink plenty of water throughout the day to clear the system of toxins, especially while on medications.
  • Nausea – Oxymorphone can make users feel nauseous and dizzy. This sometimes accompanies the brain fog, fatigue and lack of balance that comes with opioid drugs, which have numbing, euphoric effects on users.
  • Urinary retention – As part of the constipating effects of oxymorphone, some users might also have trouble urinating. A user might feel the urge to urinate but wait minutes for anything to come, which only happens when the person sits or stands in a certain position.
  • Respiratory depression – Depressant drugs like oxymorphone (and alcohol, heroin and fentanyl) slow the heart and lungs. This is part of the numbing effect. An overdose could slow the heart and lungs too much and cause strokes or heart attacks, especially if oxymorphone is mixed with other drugs.

Oxymorphone is intended as a medicine for people with no history of opioid medication. People should first be acclimated to mild opioids and only advance to oxymorphone for relief of severe pain.

Signs of Oxymorphone Addiction

Oxymorphone abuse manifests in various strange behaviors and symptoms. If the user exceeds the recommended daily dose or uses the drug excessively for recreational purposes, tolerance can quickly set in and render the drug less effective. Once the user ups his/her intake and addiction takes hold, the following signs would indicate the problem:

  • Absence – People who develop oxymorphone addiction typically slack off on their responsibilities. The drug makes people feel lazy and complacent, which causes users to be negligent of their responsibilities. This becomes noticeable when once-attentive and present people become no-shows at important events.
  • Social withdrawal – Oxymorphone, and opioid drugs in general, cause addicted users to withdraw from friends and family. Users become catatonic and constantly fatigued. Days turn into weeks as the user loses track of time. Some users withdraw to hide their addiction.
  • Declining appearance – As oxymorphone addiction takes hold, people lose sight of their hygiene and grooming. The user becomes too lazy to care about hair, teeth and appearance. People who were once neat and stylish become frumpy and disheveled.
  • Declining performance – The effects of oxymorphone abuse cause users to slack off at work. An addicted user might miss important deadlines and crucial meetings. Once-respected co-workers start dropping out of group assignments. Straight-A students see their GPAs slip. 
  • Poor memory – People who abuse oxymorphone suffer memory lapses. The drug can cause brain fog and laziness, which causes poor thinking skills and a lack of coordination. A user might forget crucial data when it’s most important, such as a phone or PIN.
  • Lack of coordination – People under the influence of oxymorphone should never operate firearms or motor vehicles. As with alcohol, oxymorphone impairs people’s senses and hand–eye coordination. It makes people lose their sense of space and balance.

Oxymorphone addiction is much like alcohol or heroin addiction. All three substances are depressants, which slow the heart and respiratory system and make people less aware, resourceful or careful. Oxymorphone abuse can damage the brain and organs.

Risks of Oxymorphone Addiction

Oxymorphone addiction causes a host of risks and problems. Anyone who abuses oxymorphone runs the risk of impaired judgment, injury and financial trouble. People who use it illegally might use dangerous means to get the fix.

  • Blood disorder – Oxymorphone abuse can cause health problems like thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a blood disease that causes clots in the vessels. 
  • Hepatitis C – People who use oxymorphone as a recreational drug and share needles for intravenous use run the risk of contracting hepatitis C, a disease of the liver that causes fatigue, bruising, bleeding, itching, jaundice and loss of appetite.
  • HIV – Shared needles and intravenous oxymorphone use can also spread HIV, the disease that causes AIDS. This was a major cause of new infections when the disease spread in the 1980s and ‘90s. 
  • Injury – People are more at risk of injury when they abuse oxymorphone, which impairs alertness and judgment. Oxymorphone can make it dangerous to drive, hold firearms or walk on balconies, rooftops, hills and bridges.
  • Overdose – Oxymorphone addiction could lead to an overdose if the user mixes the drug with other downers like alcohol, heroin or fentanyl, which exacerbate the depressant effects. It’s also dangerous to mix oxymorphone with stimulants (cocaine, meth) as this has contradictory impacts on the heart.
  • Financial collapse – Oxymorphone abuse can collapse a person’s finances. People who use it as a street drug might spend hundreds each month to procure oxymorphone and support their addiction. A person who gets hooked might slack off at work, lose his job and run up credit.

Oxymorphone takes hold as the user takes higher and higher doses to compensate for the drug’s diminishing euphoric effects in a tolerant body. For a lot of users, addiction takes hold without the person even realizing it.

Oxymorphone Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxymorphone withdrawal is a difficult yet crucial stage on the road to recovery. It usually takes 2-3 days to complete as oxymorphone clears the system. Days two and three are usually the hardest, especially for people who quit oxymorphone cold turkey.

  • Cravings – When a person with oxymorphone addiction stops using the drug, cravings emerge within a day. The cravings are strong and hard to resist, especially as other withdrawal symptoms intensify. It’s crucial to be cut off from all supply sources at this stage.
  • Anxiety – People often get anxiety during oxymorphone withdrawal. Opioids like oxymorphone suppress anxiety in high-strung individuals. The drug’s mellowing effects calm the nerves. Without oxymorphone, anxiety often returns twofold, compounded by the separation anxiety of no longer having the drug.
  • Irritability – People often get irritated when they’re cut off from a drug of choice. Oxymorphone calms anxiety and temper, which could easily be agitated during detox. Opioid drugs often leave people with poor coping skills once they go sober. This makes treatment crucial after detox.
  • Shakes – People often get jitters and shakes as they go through oxymorphone withdrawal. With nothing to calm the nerves or makes the discomfort or anxiety go away, the body might shake uncontrollably and get over the shock of being without oxymorphone.
  • Sweats – Along with anxiety and jitters, recovering oxymorphone users often get cold sweats as the drug clears the system. This could happen in the evening as the person tries to sleep. Perspiration may occur in the underarms and inner thighs.
  • Muscle pain – During oxymorphone detox, people often feel discomfort and cramps in their upper and lower extremities. The patient might endure pain in the calves and thighs as oxymorphone clears the system.

To make the transition smoother, users should slowly taper off oxymorphone. A person who takes two doses a day could lower it to once every 18 hours, then down to once per day, and then down to zero. 

Oxymorphone Addiction Treatment Options

For people struggling with oxymorphone addiction, recovery involves several steps. First, the individual must get past the withdrawal stage. Due to the stress that typically occurs during withdrawal, most users risk relapse unless they enter a detox center, where they’ll get 24-hour supervision by nursing staff.

  • Detox – This is the first step toward recovery from oxymorphone addiction. It starts the moment the patient enters a rehab facility and commits to a life without oxymorphone. Detox usually takes 2–3 days, during which oxymorphone cravings and withdrawal symptoms peak as traces of the drug clear the system. 
  • Residential treatment – After detox, most people recovering from oxymorphone addiction enter a residential inpatient program. In residential treatment, patients meet privately with counselors and have group therapy sessions with other former oxymorphone users. These programs also include wellness exercises and experiential therapy.
  • Physical therapy – This is designed as an alternative form of pain relief for one-time oxymorphone users who still struggle with pain. Physical therapy helps patients become more resilient.
  • Outpatient treatment – This covers the same material as residential treatment. The recovering oxymorphone user comes to a clinic in the daytime for group meetings and private therapy sessions. Outpatient therapy also features wellness training, skill-building exercises and activity-based therapy such as equine therapy and art therapy. Outpatients live at home and come to the center 3–7 times each week.
  • Aftercare – Some rehab centers offer aftercare programs for people who’ve recovered from oxymorphone addiction but still need help piecing their lives back together. This might include ongoing moral support and counseling and link-ups with job-placement programs and sober-housing situations.

Today’s rehab programs take a holistic approach to treatment that recognizes each recovering oxymorphone user as an individual with his/her preconditions and personality traits.

Get Help for Oxymorphone Addiction

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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.

Make a Call

If someone you know struggles with oxymorphone addiction, get that person the help he/she needs. Contact the treatment centers in your area and ask about their oxymorphone addiction treatment programs and financing options. Your call could make all the difference in someone’s life.

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