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Oxycodone is a type of prescription painkiller given to patients with severe and acute pain. It is an opioid, but it is considered a semi-synthetic agent since it is made from ingredient thebaine, which is derived from the poppy plant. Commonly referred to as “oxy,” it is available in the United States only in the pill or tablet form. Cancer-related pain, acute pain after surgery and pain not controlled by any other means are few instances in which experts prescribe opioids. Unfortunately, oxycodone is now easily available on the streets, which has led to its increased use worldwide and is causing more deaths due to abuse and overdose.

Pharmaceutical agencies commonly mix Oxy with other pain relievers for distribution in markets. Oxycodone products include Percocet (oxycodone with acetaminophen), Combunox (oxycodone mixed with ibuprofen), Oxycodan (oxycodone mixed with aspirin), OxyContin (controlled-release pure oxycodone), Roxicodone and generic oxycodone. Some of the common street names for the drug are “OC,” “Roxy,” “Kicker,” and “Hillbilly Heroin,” among others. According to a 2016 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 3.9 million people (aged 12 and above) misused oxycodone products in the past year.

Classified as a Schedule II drug by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the drug has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological and physical dependence. Taken orally, 20 mg of immediate release oxycodone is equivalent to 30 mg of morphine. Extended-release oxycodone is considered to be twice as potent as oral morphine.

Oxycodone abuse

When taken as prescribed, the drug can help subside pain, cause euphoria and reduce anxiety. However, its abuse can lead to addiction, overdose and even death.

Following are some of the side effects of oxycodone abuse:

  • Constipation
  • Pruritus (severe itching of the skin)
  • Euphoria
  • Lethargy
  • Respiratory depression

When taken without a prescription or in more quantity than prescribed, these medications can cause a lethal overdose, resulting in severe respiratory depression. These opioids attach to the mu opioid receptors in the brain, thus, decreasing the rate of breathing in the medulla oblongata in the brain. The body has natural painkillers in the brain known as endorphins, which are down-regulated after chronic use of exogenous opioids. After taking opioids for a sustained amount of time, the body develops a tolerance. When combined with an increased tolerance and a lower regulation of endorphins, a larger and more frequent dose of opioids may be needed to elicit the same effect. This is how addiction develops.

Oxycodone abuse: signs and symptoms

Opioid intoxication can lead to overdose and death. Though the signs of drug abuse depend on the frequency, dosage and formulation of the oxycodone, there are some common signs and symptoms of oxycodone abuse, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Constricted pupils
  • Lack of responsiveness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sweating

When combined with other drugs, such as benzodiazepines or alcohol, oxycodone abuse can cause respiratory depression, leading to death. Additionally, when a user does not get his/her usual dose of oxycodone, he/she will become restless, agitated and can suffer from diarrhea, depression, muscle and bone pain, among others.

Oxycodone abuse: withdrawal symptoms

An addictive drug, oxycodone has a high potential for physical and psychological dependence. Individuals struggling with oxycodone addiction experience strong drug cravings and encounter severe withdrawal symptoms, if they abruptly stop the drug use. Withdrawal from oxycodone is known to be extremely painful and can cause a relapse.

Following are some of the withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone abuse:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety

A supervised detoxification treatment at certified oxycodone detox centers can help ease the uncomfortable and long-lasting oxycodone withdrawal symptoms and minimize the likelihood of a relapse.

Treatment for oxycodone addiction

Like all other opioids, oxycodone addiction treatment is best managed with pharmacological therapy that includes both opioid agonists and antagonists which can be found at an oxycodone rehab. An agonist is a medication similar to opioids that binds to the same receptors in the brain. Antagonists act opposite to opioids but also bind to the opioid receptors in the brain blocking opioids. Methadone, naltrexone and Suboxone can be used to treat opioid dependence by reducing the side effects of withdrawal and curbing cravings which can lead to a relapse.

Opioid addiction can be managed with medication-assisted treatment. In 2002, the FDA approved the use of the combination of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) to manage opioid dependence. Most drug-rehabilitation facilities offer at least one of these medications as part of their oxycodone treatment options.

Depending on the amount, duration and frequency of the drug abuse, a comprehensive treatment program for oxycodone abuse involves a combination of medically supervised oxycodone detox treatment and behavioral therapies or counseling sessions. The first step in treating addiction-related disorders is undergoing a supervised detox program that helps in getting rid of the toxic substances and reducing drug cravings. Post detox, the patient undergoes counseling or behavioral therapies for identification of trigger situations or factors and treatment of the underlying cause of addiction, if any.

Why choose Sovereign Health

Teenage can be difficult. Teenagers often use addictive substances like drugs and alcohol out of curiosity, to get a feeling of euphoria, to find their individuality or to deal with peer pressure. However, they don’t realize when sheer experimentation develops into an addiction.

A leading addiction treatment center, Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego provides comprehensive and effective treatment to adolescents and teens (aged 12-17), struggling with mental illnesses, drug and alcohol addiction, and behavioral health and co-occurring disorders. We create individualized treatment programs for all patients, depending on their needs. In addition to offering traditional clinical therapies and medication-assisted treatment, we also treat our patients with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), solution-focused therapy (SFT), and experiential therapies like yoga and meditation, and expressive arts therapy, among others. Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego also encourages the support of families in addiction treatment and offers them non-confrontational interventions in a relaxing environment. As part of the treatment, patients at our Rancho San Diego facility can also take part in process groups, skill-building groups, 12-step groups and other educational events organized for them as part of their aftercare programs. Our holistic approach to treatment gives us an edge over other behavioral healthcare providers and makes us the preferred treatment center of choice for many.

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego is accredited by the Joint Commission and is licensed to diagnose and treat addiction, mental health and co-occurring disorders. If your teen is struggling to attain oxycodone recovery, feel free to call our admissions team today on our 24/7 helpline. Our counselors are well experienced to answer your queries, explain the admissions process or the insurance paperwork and attend to the needs of your teen and your family. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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