Oxycodone is an opioid that is often compared to Morphine. Even though the two target the Central Nervous System and provide pain relief, they are different. That is, Morphine is an Opiate that can be derived naturally from plants. Oxycodone, on the other hand, is an Opioid that is chemically manufactured.
Both are highly abused drugs, not only within the United States but globally. Notably, however, Oxycodone has an incredibly high potential for abuse and addiction. This is rooted in the fact that the drug often puts the user in a euphoric state due to its function as a pain reliever.
Oxycodone and Addiction
Where did it all start? Oxycodone is said to have first entered the United States Market in the year 1939. It took a few years before anyone realized its high potential for abuse and addiction. Among the first to step up was the World Health Organization, warning people about opioid dependence.
Regardless, Oxycodone continued to be used in the medical field. Where at first it was used to help relieve pain in cancer patients, it was now prescribed for other kinds of pain. This change led to an increase and exposure in users.
Due to this, Oxycodone, which can be found in OxyContin and Percocet, is among the top drugs that lead to death. More specifically, death caused by an overdose on the drug.
This is not to say that Oxycodone cannot and does not provide pain relief. It does provide pain relief by attaching itself to the opioid receptors in the brain once it’s consumed. This then gives it the ability to block pain signals and hence, provide pain relief.
It doesn’t stop there though. Oxycodone also increases the release of Dopamine; a neurotransmitter responsible for affecting mood, among other things. The high amount of dopamine release is what leads to the feeling euphoria often experienced by its users.
More often than not, the rush or high caused by Oxycodone is said to be similar to that of heroin. So, what may have started as an innocent use in prescription drugs can plunge someone into an addiction they never saw coming.
How Does One Get Addicted?
A patient can easily get addicted to the prescription drug. If they feel as though the prescribed dose isn’t getting rid of the pain, they may opt to up their intake. This is especially likely to happen if the patient has been using the drug for a while.
That increase in dosage is just the beginning of many. Soon, they’ll find that they need a higher dosage than the one before for it to work. That is, for the drug to provide pain relief and help the user enter a state of Euphoria. This is what is called tolerance.
If they try to stop and realize that they can’t function normally without it, they are now dependent. Dependency can push the individual into lying to their doctor to get more prescription drugs. The withdrawal symptoms that the user is likely to experience may even push him/her to the wrong side of the law.
Soon, the person will discover that he needs a faster release to experience the rush. This may be due to the painful withdrawal symptoms or the need to find relief.
This is why individuals tend to crush Oxycodone pills. They also tend to dilute the crushed pills and inject them straight into their bloodstream. This need for fast relief, coupled with high dosage is what increases the risk of overdose death.
You’re probably wondering, why can’t they stop? Why can’t they just flash those pills down the toilet and walk away?
Well, as mentioned earlier, people addicted to Oxycodone experience what is often termed as withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms related to Oxycodone use are known to be extremely painful and uncomfortable.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person using Oxycodone tries to stop using a drug or goes for long without it, they often experience withdrawal symptoms. When it comes to Oxycodone, the symptoms can be divided into two: early and later symptoms.
Early symptoms often happen within the first twenty-four hours of not ingesting the drug. They include:
- Muscle ache
- Aching muscles
Later symptoms are usually after the first 24 hours of not ingesting the drug. They include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased heartbeat
- Cramping of the stomach
- Severe hydration
Withdrawal symptoms are often painful and uncomfortable, but not life-threatening. However, the severe hydration that comes from the loss of fluids can be extremely dangerous. If a loved one is experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, it’s best to seek medical intervention.
Checking in a loved one that is addicted to therapy can have him/her in a more controlled environment. This way, when he/she feels the impulse to relapse they can’t. Also, therapy can help manage the withdrawal symptoms more safely and less painfully.
Usually, rehabilitation centres will have the person undergo detox. Detox is what will help get the Oxycodone out of the person’s body system.
Sometimes the centre will integrate the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as well. This is the use of medication to help manage the withdrawal symptoms and help improve the chances of long-term recovery.
In conclusion, Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms are indeed painful and uncomfortable. They make it extremely difficult for a person to stop using the drug. However, with therapy and a conducive environment, your loved one can overcome their life-threatening addiction.