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What is Oxycodone Addiction?

by Ash Arjan

Oxycodone is one of the most prescribed opioid painkillers in America, and also the most commonly misused. Most people have received a script for this potent pain reliever at least once in their lives from a doctor or dental professional to treat acute pain. Still, some people began taking it as a form of pain management for more chronic conditions. The progression from prescribed use to dependency is often very quick with opioids because the body develops a tolerance to the medication, requiring a higher dose to attain its medicinal benefits.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is also available under the brand names Oxaydo, Roxicodone, Roxybond, and OxyContin. It comes in five different forms: immediate-release and extended-release tablets, extended-release capsule, and solution. All of them are to be taken orally, as directed by a medical professional, to treat severe pain. Oxycodone is an opioid agonist and falls into a group of medications that all work to decrease the pain signals that are being transmitted through the brain by plugging into and occupying opioid receptors. When misused or taken in large doses, a euphoric high can occur, which proves to be addictive as it begins to change the neural pathways in the brain’s primary reward center.

Addiction Progression

  • Misuse: Someone prescribed Oxycodone may start taking larger doses than directed to achieve a high, while also increasing their tolerance. They may also share their medication with others in social situations or look to Oxycodone when they are feeling down or bored. Each time they misuse the drug, they feel intense euphoria.
  • Dependence: Those who take Oxycodone long-term may experience withdrawal symptoms after their dose has worn off, especially if they are taking more than advised. They will begin seeking more of the drug to achieve the high they had first experienced in the misuse phase and will crave it when they are not under its influence.
  • Addiction: When someone becomes addicted to Oxycodone, they begin to prioritize use over everything else, even if it puts them in grave danger. Relationships often tend to decline, as well as finances, trying to keep up with their need to use and stave off withdrawal symptoms, while also chasing the euphoric high they once felt.

Opioid use disorder is treatable, but people who find themselves addicted to prescription medication are often in denial. They began taking the medication for a real issue, injury, chronic pain or surgery. When the opioid epidemic swept the country in the 2000s, people couldn’t fathom that a drug that was prescribed by their doctor could be so dangerous. Two decades later, we realize that opioids are, in fact, very addictive, and patients who are prescribed need to be monitored closely.

Learn More About Opioid Use Disorder

Healthcare Resource Centers offer counseling, information, and treatment for opioid addiction. To find out more, please contact us today.

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