The prescription opioid drug Oxycodone has legitimate uses, which makes determining the difference between use, abuse and dependency a bit complicated. In general, if an individual is using Oxycodone exactly as prescribed to treat a specific medical condition, such as pain after surgery, then the use is legitimate. Any use other than that is abuse, and if the user develops a physical addiction to Oxycodone, that is dependency. Common ways that people abuse Oxycodone include taking extra pills instead of just one at a time, acquiring more Oxycodone from illicit sources to use once the initial prescription runs out, and crushing the pills to get the drug into the bloodstream more quickly.
Sometimes the line blurs and a person develops a dependency during normal prescribed use. This often leads to abuse and addiction because you can develop withdrawal symptoms when your prescription ends, but you can be dependent on Oxycodone without being addicted. A doctor can help you wean off prescription Oxycodone to try to safely get you back to functioning without the drug. If this process fails, you might end up an addict. The sheer availability of opioid prescription drugs on the black market makes it easy to obtain extra Oxycodone once your prescription runs out. Forged prescriptions can sometimes fool a pharmacist into releasing more of the drug than originally prescribed.
If you’re dependent on Oxycodone, your body reacts poorly to being without the drug. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, muscle aches, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, cramps, agitation, and sweating. These symptoms are extremely unpleasant, but they aren’t deadly. The discomfort is so strong that most people trying to quit end up going back on Oxycodone to make the symptoms stop. A single dose of Oxycodone quickly halts withdrawal symptoms. Some people also start using again because the initial pain they were treating with Oxycodone comes back.
Tolerance also develops during dependency. As your body becomes more tolerant of Oxycodone, the drug loses its effect. Moderate doses don’t seem to work anymore, so you need to take more Oxycodone than previously. You might experience a resurgence of the pain your original prescription was supposed to treat. The high you used to feel may not be as pronounced anymore. At this point, many abusers start upping their doses or attempting to obtain more Oxycodone than their prescriptions allow.
Oxycodone abuse is a growing problem across America. In 2012, about 2.1 million people in the US used prescription opioids in a way that is considered drug abuse. Oxycodone has similar effects to other opioid drugs, such as heroin and morphine. Some users stick with Oxycodone exclusively, while others switch between different types of opioids. Prescription Oxycodone comes in a tablet form, but abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort them or mix the powdered tablets with water and inject the liquid for a faster, more intense hit. The extremely addictive nature of opioid drugs means that Oxycodone abuse frequently becomes physical dependency and addiction rather quickly.
Taking Oxycodone in excess can lead to serious health problems, up to and including death. Relationships, work, and school suffer when you’re addicted to Oxycodone. Once you’re addicted to Oxycodone, you crave the drug so much that you can’t resist it even knowing the risks. Some people take even more risks just to get the drug. Stealing other people’s medication or forging prescriptions can land you in legal trouble, but you might feel unable to stop yourself. You might hide evidence of your Oxycodone use from friends and family members out of embarrassment or to prevent them from taking away your drugs. Getting more Oxycodone becomes the focus of your everyday existence, and other commitments fall to the wayside. You might combine Oxycodone use with other drugs or switch between Oxycodone and heroin depending on which drug is easier to get at a given time. Poor decision making is a sign that your use of prescription opioids is out of control.
Addiction to Oxycodone isn’t just about physical cravings, although the biological changes that take place in the brain are a big part. There’s also a psychological component to Oxycodone addiction. You might be afraid that stopping the drug means you can never be free of the pain that the initial prescription was designed to treat. You might be nervous about going through withdrawal if you stop. Some users crave the relaxing sensation Oxycodone brings, while others like the way it reduces anxiety. These deep psychological effects must be treated along with the physical dependency for recovery to take place. The reasons you became addicted to Oxycodone are as important as the fact that your body is dependent on opioids.
Whether you developed addiction because of illicit drug use or after a period of prescribed Oxycodone use, recovery is difficult without the help of caring professionals trained in addiction treatment. Seeking help isn’t an admission of weakness on your part. Some people are ashamed or self-conscious about overuse and dependence on a prescription drug, but the truth is that prescription Oxycodone addiction can happen to anyone. Fortunately, help is available for those who want it. No matter how long you’ve been using Oxycodone, recovery is a possibility.