Oxycodone: A Small Part Of The Larger Opioid Epidemic
In plain terms, oxycodone misuse is a great part of the larger opioid epidemic. It comes with a death rate that is as high as 7%, and things are only getting worse. Overdose deaths are becoming popular, and due to the medical applications of oxycodone, its hard to put a sudden stop to its use.
Theres also the illegal opioid trade thats booming in Canada. The easy access to street-level drug trade takes the oxycodone addiction crisis in Canada beyond the control of medical professionals.
The medical approach to using oxy as a pain reliever works on a tapering system. Over time, your doctor will start to reduce your dosage. But, when doctors start to reduce oxy dosage as necessary, patients can always buy it illegally.
S To Take When Battling Oxycodone Addiction
It can be nerve-wracking to consider you might be addicted to a prescription painkiller like oxycodone. There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding what to do next. Its critical to remain calm when considering your options. Addiction often develops when people use drugs as a response to stress, so if you start panicking, it may increase your craving for the drug.
If you can, enlist the help of a friend or family member you trust for support. Sharing your decision to seek appropriate treatment can help you by creating crucial accountability.
Help is out there for people who are serious about ending their addiction to opioids. The most effective form of treatment, used successfully since the 1970s, is methadone maintenance treatment. Its a form of medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, in which participants receive daily doses of methadone that keep oxycodone withdrawal symptoms at bay.
Methadone works by binding to the same receptors as oxycodone, but when a therapeutic dose is used as directed, it wont produce the same euphoric high. Instead, it eliminates the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that occur in the absence of opioids allowing patients to focus on other elements of long-term recovery.
Buprenorphine, aka Suboxone®, is also a good option for oxycodone addiction treatment.
Am I Addicted To Oxycodone
While the signs of use can be quite distinct, and easy to recognize, knowing definitively that you are addicted to oxycodone may require further introspection. Addiction is the continued use of a substance even when it has caused negative life events in the past or you know it will lead to problems in the future. Consider the following indications thatyou might be addicted to oxycodone:
- You have been placing less value on the relationships in your life, or you have been fighting more with those close to you.
- You have not been devoting the needed time or attention to the responsibilities in your life like attending work and paying bills.
- You are not caring for yourself physically or mentally.
- More of your time is spent thinking about the substance and trying to acquire more of it.
- If you are prescribed oxycodone, you find yourself using more than indicated by the prescribing doctor, trying to receive multiple prescriptions from various doctors, or trying to trade or buy medication.
- You have made previous attempts to limit or stop use of the medication with poor success.
- When you attempt to stop, you experience unwanted mental and physical health symptoms including flu-like symptoms, agitation, and depression.
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Risks For Oxycodone Addiction
There are several factors that increase the risk of developing an addiction to oxycodone, which may be:
- family history of substance abuse or addiction
- family history of mental illness
- history of trauma or mental illness
- prior substance abuse
- having a prescription for oxycodone
- early exposure to substance abuse
Repeated Attempts To Quit Using Oxycodone
Oxycodone addicts will often attempt to quit using oxycodone multiple times before they seek any type of professional help. Again, cravings play a critical role in maintaining the drug use and relapse is high with opioid drugs. According to the SAMHSA, Although individuals with drug dependence can often complete detoxification and achieve temporary abstinence, they find it very difficult to sustain that condition and avoid relapse over time.
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Whats An Addiction To Oxycodone
Substance use disorder, including addiction, exists on a continuum.
Its possible to only have a physical addiction, or dependence, which can go away once you detox off oxycodone.
However, its not uncommon to develop an emotional addiction to oxycodone. For many people, the euphoric effects are challenging to let go of.
In either case, an addiction is an inability to stop using oxycodone, even though youre experiencing physical, emotional, and behavioral difficulties as a result of using it.
Side Effects Of Using Oxycodone Oxycontin And Percocet
In addition to the strong potential for addiction, oxycodone side effects can permanently damage the body. Opioids like oxycodone, OxyContin and Percocet have a negative influence on almost every bodily system.
- Gastrointestinal: About 40 to 45% of patients taking opioids experience chronic constipation and nausea. In some cases, opioids have been known to cause internal bleeding and bowel obstruction.
- Respiratory: Opioid use depresses the respiratory system, and links with sleep apnea and other conditions characterized by disordered breathing.
- Cardiovascular: Opioids increase the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and heart failure by 77%.
- Central nervous system: Medical researchers are still investigating the effects of opioids on the nervous system. Their neurotoxicity can lead to symptoms like heightened sensitivity to pain and depression levels 38% higher than in those who dont take opioids.
- Musculoskeletal: Opioids can increase the risk of fractures. This factor is most dangerous for elderly patients, but can cause severe problems for anyone down the line.
- Endocrine: Taking opioids severely impacts the production of every hormone, which can lead to infertility and fatigue.
Essentially, long-term use of oxycodone wears down the body in multiple ways. People who have abused opioids for months or years often report feeling generally run down and sick, even if they cannot identify any specific symptoms.
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Rapid heartbeat
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How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Oxycodone
People who develop an addiction to prescription painkillers increase their risk of becoming a heroin addict. More than 80% of persons who have been addicted to heroin report misusing opiate prescriptions earlier in life.
However, only about three percent of people who take prescription painkillers will ever become addicted, let alone switch to heroin. Nobody knows precisely why some people become addicted to opiates while others do not. Some of it is genetic, some of it is social conditions, and some of it has to do with any underlying emotional or mental disorders.
Some people can use Oxycodone as prescribed for weeks and not develop a physical dependence nor an addiction. Other people report feeling symptoms of withdrawal and addiction after only a week.
So what gives? How long does it take to become addicted to Oxycodone?
There is no definitive answer. It could take weeks, months, or years to develop an addiction. However, developing tolerance and physical dependence to oxycodone is a different matter.
Finding Treatment For Oxycodone Addiction
As with addiction issues with other drugs, knowing the symptomology associated with the use of a particular drug, what occurs when use is ceased and any secondary or co-occurring mental and health concerns will dictate what forms of treatment would be ideal. The same can be said for finding treatment for oxycodone addiction.
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Recognizing An Oxycodone Addiction
Even when people start using oxycodone painkillers by prescription, continued use can lead to abuse. Those abusing oxycodone can develop a tolerance to it, leading to more abuse and eventual addiction as time goes on. It is important to recognize when you or someone you care about is struggling with an oxycodone addiction.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there are 11 criteria for diagnosing an oxycodone addiction. The more symptoms that are present, the more severe the problem. Here are the criteria.
- Hazardous use: Youve used oxycodone in ways that are dangerous to yourself and/or others
- Social or interpersonal problems: Your oxycodone use has caused relationship problems or conflicts with others
- Neglected major roles: Youve failed to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home
- Withdrawal: You experience withdrawal symptoms when you reduce or eliminate use
- Tolerance: You need to use more oxycodone to get the same effect
- Larger amounts for longer: You use increasing amounts of oxycodone for increasing periods of time
- Repeated attempts to control use: Youve tried to cut back or quit entirely but havent been successful
- Much time spent using: You spend a great deal of your time using oxycodone
- Physical or psychological problems: Your oxycodone use has caused physical or mental health problems
- Giving up activities: Youve skipped or quit activities you once enjoyed to use oxycodone
- Craving: Youve experienced cravings for oxycodone
What Does Oxycodone Addiction Treatment Entail
Since oxycodone dependence and addiction are so severe, its generally not safe for individuals to quit cold turkey. Withdrawal side effects can be severe and dangerous, so its generally advised for individuals to undergo a medication-assisted detox program. Oxycodone treatment involves an integrative approach, combining counseling, medial supervision, medication, alternative therapies, and nutrition.
Patients and their loved ones should bear in mind that addiction is a serious medical disorder and needs to be treated accordingly. The overall goal of treatment programs is not only to stop drug use, but also to reduce dangerous behaviors associated with use. Oxycodone abuse centers help people learn how to live healthy, sober lives, as well as be able to identify and manage triggers.
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Stick To The Lowest Dose
If you need opioids, your doctor should prescribe the lowest possible dose. Three days or fewer will often be enough and more than seven days are only rarely needed for urology procedures. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking opioids for more than three days will increase your risk of addiction. If youre still in pain after three days, use over-the-counter medicines as recommended by your doctor. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you take those medicines safely. They may also suggest non-drug ways to ease your pain, such as heat or cold therapy.
The Decision To Seek Treatment
If you or someone you love is addicted to oxycodone or showing warning signs, call a substance abuse professional today and begin the process of seeking help. The quality and longevity of life are both greatly impacted by this decision and, as multiple clinical studies have shown, oxycodone addiction responds best to early intervention. A wide range of effective, flexible treatment options exist, many of which may be a perfect fit for you or your loved ones needs.
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Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
Physical And Psychological Signs And Symptoms
The term addiction is deeply entrenched in the public domain however, this term is no longer considered to be clinically accurate. Rather, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, uses the term substance use disorder, and even more specifically opioid use disorder . In order for a person to receive a diagnosis of an opioid use disorder, at least of a possible 11 symptoms must be present within the same 12-month period of time. The severity of a use disorder is spread across a continuum, from mild to moderate to severe. The more symptoms that are present, the more severe the grade. In a sense, then, what the lay public refers to as addiction is probably in the range of six or more symptoms.
The 11 symptoms cover physical, psychological, and behaviors factors. The following are paraphrased descriptions of each of the 11 symptoms of an opioid use disorder, as applied to oxycodone:
Side effects are essentially symptoms of use. Side effects do not necessarily reflect the addiction experience. When a person has an opioid use disorder, the higher amount of opioids consumed means that the side effects can be more extreme. For example, if a side effect for a prescribed user is nausea, a person who takes too much oxycodone may vomit. Still, it is helpful to understand the side effects reported for OxyContin as they provide an indication of what a person who abuses this drug might experience .
Side effects include but are not limited to:
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How Is Naltrexone Used To Treat Addiction
This medicine is very different and doesnt activate the opioid receptor the way that buprenorphine and methadone do, but instead blocks the euphoric/sedative effects of opioids. Your system must be completely free of all opioids before beginning naltrexone. It can be taken orally or as a once-a-month injection.
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Achieving Sobriety In Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
Addiction to oxycodone is dangerous and often life-threatening. However, it is possible to overcome it and achieve lasting sobriety. Everything begins by speaking to licensed healthcare professionals. When looking for the best rehab facility, look for treatment centers offering the following:
- Integrative approach that blends care methods
- Strong interdisciplinary team of doctors, clinicians, social workers, counselors, and support staff
- Commitment to individualized care regimens
- Support from peer groups, families, and community
- Group and individual therapy
- Comfortable facilities with medical supervision
- Residential treatment center setting
Substance use disorder is difficult to overcome, but you can recover with the tools youll get at drug rehab. You will start with a screening where a care team will put together a plan tailored to your needs. From here, you will enter a detox program that will help you start your recovery on the right foot. In the next stage of rehab, you will utilize different therapy methods to build the wellbeing you need to beat addiction and lead a healthy life.
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Origins Of Drug Liking
Many factors, both individual and environmental, influence whether a particular person who experiments with opioid drugs will continue taking them long enough to become dependent or addicted. For individuals who do continue, the opioids ability to provide intense feelings of pleasure is a critical reason.
When heroin, oxycodone, or any other opiate travels through the bloodstream to the brain, the chemicals attach to specialized proteins, called mu opioid receptors, on the surfaces of opiate-sensitive neurons . The linkage of these chemicals with the receptors triggers the same biochemical brain processes that reward people with feelings of pleasure when they engage in activities that promote basic life functions, such as eating and sex. Opioids are prescribed therapeutically to relieve pain, but when opioids activate these reward processes in the absence of significant pain, they can motivate repeated use of the drug simply for pleasure.
The Mesolimbic Reward System
When drugs stimulate mu opioid receptors in the brain, cells in the ventral tegmental area produce dopamine and release it into the nucleus accumbens , giving rise to feelings of pleasure. Feedback from the prefrontal cortex to the VTA helps us overcome drives to obtain pleasure through actions that may be unsafe or unwise, but this feedback appears to be compromised in individuals who become addicted to drugs. The locus ceruleus is an area of the brain that plays an important role in drug dependence.
Measures To Prevent Oxycodone
The sale and purchase of oxycodone are strictly monitored by the federal government because the drug is highly addictive and potentially deadly if abused. A great deal of effort has been put in place to make it difficult for people to divert painkillers like oxycodone to the black market.
That is, governmental agencies and the medical community have joined forces to make it harder for people to:
- Alter their written prescriptions to increase the number of pills
- Buy pills they dont need from doctors who are essentially selling the prescriptions for a fee
- Sell their prescriptions to others
- Seek multiple prescriptions for addictive drugs from multiple doctors
As a way around the new regulations, many who are struggling with addiction have sought to buy drugs from online pharmacies or other online sales venues.
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Why Is Oxycodone Prone To Abuse
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has reported individuals have issues oxycodone since the 1960s. The drug has the same potency as morphine, which makes it highly addictive. Moreover, people who are addicted to heroin or methadone often turn to oxycodone to manage the withdrawal side effects, which in turn leads to addiction.
Typically, individuals abuse the drugs in three ways. First, they may orally abuse the drugs by chewing the pills to induce effects more quickly. Further, it may be intranasally abused through crushing the pills and snorting the powder to send the drug straight to the bloodstream without passing through the kidneys. Alternatively, some individuals may dissolve crushed oxycodone power in water and then inject it via a syringe.
All of these are warning signs of abuse. If you or anyone you know has exhibited this behavior, seek help immediately. Finally, although these are all signs of abuse, individuals can develop oxycodone dependence even when taking the drug as prescribed by a healthcare professional. Dependence becomes less likely when you take the drug as prescribed, but it is always a danger.