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A powerful painkiller and one of the most abused prescription drugs in the country, oxycodone is a prescription painkiller commonly referred to by its brand names OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone and generic oxycodone. All brand names of the drug contain oxycodone, which is an opioid or narcotic pain medication that is prescribed for the long-term management of moderate to severe pain. However, these medications can cause addiction in their users, prompting the need for oxycodone addiction treatment.

A commonly prescribed medication containing oxycodone and a brand name for the drug, OxyContin is known by various names including “Oxy,” “O.C.’s,” “Oxycet,” “Oxycottons,” “Oxy 80’s,” “Hillbilly Heroin.” Oxycodone is available as a regular and extended-release tablet or capsule that is administered orally once every 12 hours. It is also available as a solution administered via injection into a vein or muscle. People who have chronic, severe pain are typically good candidates for the extended-release version of oxycodone, which is intended to provide people with daily, round-the-clock treatment for managing chronic pain. Some forms of oxycodone are combined with a non-narcotic painkiller such as acetaminophen (e.g., Percocet). The extended-release form of oxycodone is discharged slowly into the bloodstream for a period of up to 12 hours. Doses of oxycodone vary depending on the patient’s severity of pain.

When taken as prescribed, oxycodone can bring about pain relief, reduce anxiety, cause euphoria and lead to extreme relaxation; however, misuse of the drug can lead to an addiction, overdose and even death. A comprehensive oxycodone addiction treatment combines medically assisted oxycodone detox treatment along with behavioral and counseling sessions.

How does oxycodone work?

A semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic, oxycodone helps reduce a person’s perception of, and emotional response, to pain by acting on the central nervous system (CNS). Opioids such as oxycodone bind to naturally occurring opioid receptors located in the spinal cord, brain, gastrointestinal tract, and organs throughout the body to reduce a person’s sensation of pain.

Oxycodone use: Side effects

Prescription opioids such as oxycodone can produce powerful pain-relieving effects. When abused by taking high doses or larger doses than prescribed, oxycodone can produce effects similar to heroin, including euphoria, pleasure, and a sense of well-being in users. Oxycodone has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological and physical dependence. Common side effects of oxycodone include dizziness, lightheadedness, depressed breathing, nausea and vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, itching, sweating, and headaches. When abused in higher quantities, the drug may produce severe side-effects.

Following are some of the serious side effects of oxycodone.

  • Irregular heart rate
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Depressed or irregular breathing
  • Heart attacks
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Tremor
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Increased pressure of cerebral and spinal fluid
  • Overdoses, which can lead to hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain), permanent brain damage, coma, and death)
  • Death

Hydrocodone versus oxycodone

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are both opioid analgesics used to treat patients with moderate to severe pain. Unlike hydrocodone, oxycodone is intended to be taken round-the-clock and has a lower risk of dependence. Hydrocodone is also more likely to cause stomach pain and constipation compared to oxycodone.

Oxycodone abuse

In 2016, an estimated 3.9 million people misused oxycodone products in the past year, representing 1.4 percent of the population (aged 12 or above). Due to its high abuse and addictive potential, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified oxycodone as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In 2010, a new formulation of oxycodone became available to reduce the abuse potential of the drug, yet people have continued to find ways to bypass the time-release function. For example, people who abuse oxycodone destroy the time-release of the tablet or capsule by diluting it in water.

Oxycodone abuse: Long-term effects

People who abuse oxycodone can affect the body’s natural pain-reducing abilities and can cause the death of nerve cells (neurons). Oxycodone can cause attention problems, restlessness and hyperactivity when abused over time. It can also contribute to judgment lapses, loss of coordination, low testosterone levels, and increase a person’s sensitivity to pain, called hyperalgesia.

Following are some of the other long-term consequences of oxycodone abuse.

  • Physical dependence
  • Addiction
  • Compromised immune system
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Death

Oxycodone abuse: Withdrawal effects

Oxycodone is highly addictive and can lead to physical dependence on the drug. When people who have oxycodone dependence try to reduce their dosage or try to stop taking the drug, they can experience unpleasant and sometimes severe, withdrawal symptoms.

Following are some of the withdrawal effects of oxycodone abuse.

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Watering eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Fevers
  • Flu-like symptoms

Oxycodone addiction

Similar to other opioid drugs, oxycodone can quickly produce tolerance in users, meaning a higher dose will be needed to feel its effects. People can develop physical as well as psychological dependence if they take oxycodone for longer periods of time than intended or if they take the drug without a prescription.

Compulsive drug use, drug cravings, and drug-seeking behavior may occur when a person develops oxycodone addiction, commonly referred to as an opioid use disorder. Due to its euphoric and relaxation properties, the user often suffers from psychological dependence and sometimes even take higher amounts of drug to amplify its effects.

People who develop an opioid use disorder due to oxycodone have a physical dependence on the drug and will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can make it difficult for them to stop on their own, necessitating professional oxycodone treatment.

Oxycodone addiction treatment

Those suffering from oxycodone addiction should seek out a professionally monitored oxycodone detox treatment at certified oxycodone detox centers. Depending on the amount, frequency, and duration of the drug abuse, treatment for oxycodone abuse and addiction involves a combination of medically supervised detox program along with behavioral therapies or counseling sessions.

An essential part of the treatment, a supervised detoxification treatment process helps patients safely eliminate the abused substance while helping him or her manage the acute withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and prevent relapse. A detox is usually followed by an intensive treatment program involving therapy and counseling sessions to help uncover any underlying illness and avoid any relapse.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

As a dual licensed network of treatment facilities, Sovereign Health offers its patients individualized, evidence-based treatments in a structured living environment aimed at treating the disorder while reducing the risk of relapse. Our women-only rehab center in Chandler, Arizona, provides female patients with customized, trauma-informed care to treat mental health, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.

Sovereign Health of Arizona’s all-female oxycodone treatment facility in Chandler, Arizona, provides women with opioid use disorders with comprehensive treatment for oxycodone addiction that combines evidence-based behavioral therapies along with complementary and experiential treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), neurofeedback and yoga, meditation and expressive arts therapy.

For further information about treatment for oxycodone addiction at Sovereign Health of Arizona’s Chandler facility or to locate the finest oxycodone detox centers, near you, please call our 24/7 helpline to speak with a member of our admissions team. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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