Oxycodone Dependence Vs. Oxycodone Addiction

Many people loosely throw around the terms "oxycodone dependency" and "oxycodone addiction." They often used these terms interchangeably but they are not meant to be. These terms mean two different things. Oxycodone dependence refers to a condition that develops among people who take the drug, as it's prescribed, for a medical need. Oxycodone addiction is a more serious condition marked by compulsive use that is treated more aggressively.

Opioid Dependence Characterized by Physical Withdrawal

Taking this powerful narcotic painkiller for an extended period of time could result in oxycodone dependence. This means that physical withdrawal symptoms will develop when use is stopped. A person who takes this medication for a prolonged period to treat serious pain will develop a dependency. A doctor may wish to adjust the dosage or switch medications altogether to alleviate the dependence. He or she may also try to find better ways to address pain.

A person who suffers chronic pain from a serious condition such as cancer would need to take oxycodone long-term. He or she will experience physical and/or psychological distress if the medication is stopped. This is a physiological process that stems from the use of opioids for chronic pain relief. Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, inability to concentrate, anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression. A patient may also experience intense physical cravings and a return of pain.

Oxycodone Addiction Can Be a Consuming

Oxycodone addiction is marked by both a physical and psychological reliance on the drug. Someone who is addicted to oxycodone may become consumed by the drug, thinking about little else than getting it and taking it. Running out of the drug could cause serious anxiety and some people will stop at nothing until they have more of the drug.

Oxycodone addiction is often viewed in the medical community as a behavioral syndrome characterized by an obsession with getting or taking the drug. These thoughts become consuming for the individual and get in the way of a person's life. Consequences, whether they be health-related, criminal or social, often have no bearing on an individual who is opiate addicted. Many of these people become dominated by thoughts of getting high or experiencing euphoria or sedation. People who are addicted to oxycodone may try to stop taking the drug but are often overwhelmed by powerful, even dangerous symptoms of withdrawal.

People who are dependent on oxycodone and those who are addicted may be treated with very different approaches designed to reverse the problem. Both can be treated successfully and various programs exist for this reason. A person who becomes dependent may have their use tapered by a doctor. Instead, that doctor may decide to switch the person's medication altogether. More serious cases of dependence may benefit from oxycodone treatment through detox and/or rehab. Cases of addiction may be addressed more aggressively through detox, rehab or other programs, including rapid opiate detox.