Oxycodone addiction is on the rise in the United States, but how big of a problem is this, why is it spiraling out of control, what does addiction entail and how can you spot and cure it?
We’ve talked about addition to prescription medications on Addictive Addiction. Codeine is prescribed for pain, and even as a cough syrup. Marijuana, as you know, is now medically prescribed. And even ketamine is used as an anti-depressant in some situations.
Oxycodone addiction is another risk of prescribed drugs. It’s an opiate, and the drug can lead to the addiction of other, street drugs. Do you think you may have an oxycodone addiction? Read on to find more about the drug and the symptoms of addiction.
Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic. Simply put, it’s a painkiller. You may be prescribed oxycodone after surgery, or if you’ve suffered an injury. You may even be prescribed oxycodone for minor aches and pains, as doctors have become more likely to prescribe the substance in recent years.
Oxycodone addiction is no at all uncommon. In fact, it’s a highly addictive painkiller, and abuse is highly likely. The drug offers both pain relief and a euphoric effect, which quickly causes drug seeking behaviors.
Oxycodone, like most other drugs, works by binding to receptors in the brain and the spinal cord. These receptors are responsible for both the analgesic effect and the feeling of euphoria that those who take it feel. At larger doses than normally prescribed, oxycodone addiction onset is rapid.
How Addictive is Percocet?
Percocet is a type of oxycodone; it’s actually oxycodone combined with acetaminophen, or what we know as Tylenol. Because it contains oxycodone, it’s also a highly addictive drug.
Percocet has two other “brand names,” Endocet and Primlev. If you’ve been prescribed any of these drugs for pain, be careful to follow prescription instructions carefully. You’re taking oxycodone, and misuse can cause oxycodone addiction.
How Common is Oxycodone Addiction?
Because oxycodone is a prescribed drug, it’s difficult to determine how many patients (or others) suffer from oxycodone addiction. However, it’s more common in the United States, as doctors are willing to prescribe oxycodone more frequently in other parts of the world.
In the UK, for example, oxycodone is rarely prescribed. Instead, United Kingdom doctors rely on tramadol and codeine to help their patients.
It’s estimated that between 26 and 36 million people, worldwide, abuse oxycodone. Not all may be addicted, but overdoses by use of the drug have more than quadrupled in the United States over the past 18 years.
It’s interesting to note that those who are prescribed oxycodone are 40% more likely to abuse heroin. It’s unclear what causes this connection, but researchers indicate that, as heroin is a street drug, abuse of heroin may be a result of drug-seeking behaviors. In other words, when someone who suffers from oxycodone addiction can’t find oxycodone, he or she will use heroin instead.
Symptoms of Percocet Addiction
So how do you know if you or someone you know is suffering from Percocet addiction? There are signs to look out for. Of course, you’ll be looking out for drug seeking behaviors Because Percocet and oxycodone are prescription drugs, these can be fairly easy to spot.
First, you’ll find that your friend is increasingly reporting pain or other ailment. They may cite back pain, headache or dental pain as a need for Percocet.
Let’s say, for example, that you offer them a Tylenol. Drug seeking behavior will cause your friend to refuse the acetaminophen, asking for oxycodone or Percocet by name.
Refills may suddenly become lost or stolen, prescriptions may “accidentally” run out, and the frequency of refill requests may increase. In some cases, your friend may ask that the Percocet or oxycodone be administered in an unusual way – intravenously, for example,
You’ll see a few other symptoms of Percocet addiction, as well. These include:
- Mood swings
- Low blood pressure
- Reduced aspiration (breathing)
- Your friend may become uncoordinated
- Sweating may increase
- Depression may occur
- Sleep patterns may change – either sleep may increase or decrease
Does everyone who suffers low blood pressure or mood swings have an oxycodone addiction? Of course not! But these symptoms, combined with increased use of oxycodone or Percocet, may be signs of abuse.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
As you overcome your oxycodone addiction, it may seem that you feel much worse than you did when you were using the drug. The symptoms are severe, and it may be unsafe to undertake withdrawal on your own. Please speak to a doctor, friend or a professional about your need to quit oxycodone abuse. He or she will help to ensure that you can kick your oxycodone addiction without harming yourself.
Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include:
- Suicidal tendencies
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe depression
- Abdominal cramping and other muscle cramps
As you can see, the symptoms are severe, so it’s important that you get help for your oxycodone addiction. If nothing else, please keep a friend with you in case of a medical emergency.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline
If you’ve been prescribed oxycodone, there’s a high probability that your doctor will slowly taper you off the drug. A slow stop to your oxycodone use will help to ensure that you don’t do damage to your central nervous system.
The oxycodone withdrawal timeline will vary, depending on your body and your use of the drug. But in general, symptoms will begin about 12 hours after you last use the drug.
The first one or two days are the most uncomfortable, as that’s when you may experience shakes, vomiting, diarrhea and sweating. You’ll likely not want to eat, making the abdominal pain worse. Sleeping will be difficult, and you’ll likely suffer anxiety, sometimes panic attacks.
Three to five days after you quit, you’ll feel better physically. You may still have trouble sleeping, and you’ll likely still suffer depression, anxiety or both.
Toward the end of the week, your symptoms will be all but gone. They’ll decrease to the point of being virtually unnoticeable. However, remember that your brain has been affected. You’re still at risk for suicidal tendencies, so keep a friend close.
How Long Can Percocet Withdrawal Last?
As with any drug, Percocet and oxycodone have lasting effects on your body and your brain. PAWS is an example of this, and it’s something that may affect you as you withdraw from the drug.
PAWS is Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. It’s when your body needs to commence producing the chemicals that an opiate had affected. That is to say, it’s going to take quite some time before you start to feel normal again. Your body has been dependent on oxycodone, and needs to re-learn how to balance hormones and other chemicals.
Help with Percocet Addiction
Are you or your friend ready to get help with Percocet addition? You have options. Talk to your doctor about the best course of withdrawal. Percocet and oxycodone addiction are tough to beat, but with a little help you can do it.