What Is Oxycodone Addiction?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), addiction can be defined as the chronic and repeated use of medications like oxycodone that result in any of the following:
- Recurrent failure to meet obligations at work, school, and home.
- Drug use in hazardous situations.
- Drug use despite repeated drug-related relationship problems.
Addiction is also characterized by a psychological urge to use oxycodone, as well as an obsession to make sure you have a way to obtain the drug at all times.
Most importantly, addiction is a treatable medical condition that responds well to adequate therapy. Addiction treatments for oxycodone are available and effective if you have the will to change. More on the causes of oxycodone addiction and the treatment methods for addiction, here…with a section for your comments and questions at the bottom of the page.
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Addiction is a medical condition!
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How Oxycodone Addiction Happens
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic painkiller agonist that acts directly on the central nervous system and affects brain areas that are responsible for pain management. After using it for a period of time, the body creates tolerance to the initial levels of oxycodone and requires increased doses to reach the wanted effects. Also, the body develops physical dependence on oxycodone…which means that you experience withdrawal symptoms upon dose cessation or significant decreases in dosing. Soon, you may start to feel like you can only function normally in the presence of oxycodone in the system.
Addiction usually occurs as the result of regular use of oxyocodone. One of the ways a person is most likely to develop addiction to oxy is by abusing the medication. However, in most cases, the abuse of oxycodone alone is not the only reason for a person’s addiction. In most cases, there is a complex interconnection of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors that contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing addiction. Some of the most commonly encountered risk-factors in people suffering from a substance use disorder include:
- Having a family history of substance use disorders, especially in the close family circle.
- Having a personal illicit or prescription drug abuse history.
- Being exposed to traumatic events in the past (childhood abuse, loss of a loved one, etc.)
- Being surrounded by peers or a community where drug use is accepted.
- Lacking parental support and communication, especially in early childhood and adolescence.
- Suffering from a co-occuring mental health disorder (anxiety, depression, bipolar).
All these factors can make up the underlying reasons that fuel your addictive behavior.
Oxycodone Addiction Signs
If you are looking for signs to help you determine whether your or a loved one’s oxycodone use is becoming risky, you can look for these symptoms commonly displayed by those who abuse the drug:
- Constant mood changes
- Increased tolerance to oxycodone
- Withdrawal symptoms
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), a person is likely to be diagnosed with an oxycodone use disorder if they display 2 or more of the following criteria within a period of 12 months:
- Continuing to use despite relationship problems and pleas from family and friends to stop.
- Craving oxycodone.
- Hiding oxycodone stashes around the house and in the car.
- Losing of control over oxycodone usage amount and frequency.
- Lying to doctors to get increased oxycodone doses or ‘doctor shopping’.
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, school, and work due to oxy use.
- Obsessively thinking about obtaining and using oxycodone.
- Using oxycodone far more than prescribed.
- Using oxycodone in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
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Addiction to Oxycodone: What’s It Like?
As a powerful addictive painkiller, oxycodone is super effective at relieving pain. But oxycodone is also highly addictive! Who can better describe the feeling than someone who has been through it? Here is one story from an ex-oxycodone user:
“I had to try to get off it somehow. It’s like a craving. I’d feel, I need this to get through the day. I registered for the pain clinic and had a talk with the nurse one day, and she said the first step was that I’d have to start reducing my dose on my own. Then she told me when I got to the pain clinic, they would do the rest.
I was home one day by myself and I thought, I just can’t do it. I was in a normal mood, but in a split second I became suicidal. I thought I’m a burden to everyone, I can’t work, I can’t contribute to my family; when I get off the oxy, I’ll be in pain every day.
I had a box of tablets in my bag and I swallowed a lot of them and went to bed. I thought that would be it. My hubby came home with the kids and they thought I was resting, but my husband could see that I had overdosed. He called an ambulance and I ended up in hospital…”
Treatment of Oxycodone Addiction
Today there are many oxycodone addiction treatment options available to you. Medical professionals are trained and ready to assist your recovery from oxycodone addiction in several stages:
- Gradual tapering of off oxycodone.
- Medical detox and withdrawal management.
- Therapy and counseling.
- Aftercare programs.
1. Gradual tapering off of oxycodone.
Gradual tapering is a process that usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks (but may take longer if more gradual taper is needed) before you can completely come off of oxycodone. Tapering significantly reduces your physical dependence on oxycodone, and thus the severity and duration of your oxycodone withdrawal. This makes the process much more comfortable and greatly increases your chances of recovery success.
2. Medical detox and withdrawal management.
Pharmacotherapy – or prescription medicines – can be used in oxycodone detox programs, and for as long as needed after detox is over. A few of the medications that are mostly used during the process of oxycodone recovery include:
In addition to medications, doctors and nurses at detox clinics can provide you with the needed motivation to go through this process. Having their support, 24 hour monitoring, and assistance can make all the difference between relapse and success.
3. Therapy and counseling.
After completing detox, it’s crucial to treat the psychological and behavioral aspects of oxycodone addiction. The first part of a successful psychological recovery is accepting responsibility and having the will to change. If you are looking for psychological treatments of oxycodone addiction, here are a few ideas:
- Therapy sessions: Could be individual, group, couples and/or family therapy.
- Support groups: 12-step meetings and SMART Recovery.
- Educational opportunities: About the nature of addiction, relapse prevention training, and life skills classes.
- Counseling: Talk therapy, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or other psychological therapies.
4. Aftercare programs.
Aftercare programs (a.k.a. continued care) lasts for months and years after initial treatment is over. It may include support group therapy, regular counseling check-ins, or sober-living arrangements. The aim of these programs is to help you continue working on your recovery, and seek/give support to people who are also recovering from addiction to oxycodone.
Got Any Questions?
There is nothing more rewarding than living a meaningful life. Oxycodone gets in the way of that. Every addiction is hard, but you can do it! You can live oxycodone-free!
If you still have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments section at the end of the page. We do our best to provide personal and prompt replies to all legitimate inquiries.