Oxycodone Dependence

There is nothing shameful in developing an oxycodone dependence when you take the prescription painkiller as prescribed by a physician. Anyone who needs long-term pain relief could become physically dependent with regular use. This narcotic medication is extremely powerful and is meant to treat moderate to severe pain. A dependency is characterized by the presence of opioid withdrawal symptoms which can develop hours after a person stops taking oxycodone. This condition is treatable but it's important to speak to a doctor about options. It's not recommended that people try to stop taking this medication without talking to a doctor. It's also risky to increase the dosage in any way.

There is a fine line between dependency and oxycodone addiction. Abusing the medication in any way can be a sign that dependency has progressed to addiction. This is marked by both physical and psychological dependence on the drug and needs to be treated aggressively by professionals. Oxycodone addiction may require a detox or rehab program or rapid opiate detox.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid contained in medications including OxyContin and Percocet. It attaches to opiate receptors in the brain and body, bringing about pain relief. Misusing this drug can also cause euphoria and sedation. Oxycodone use over a prolonged period can result in the development of an opioid tolerance. This is when the current prescribed dosage becomes ineffective and more of the drug is needed to bring about relief. A patient should tell his or her doctor if their medication stops working. The doctor may decide to adjust the dosage or switch medications. Taking escalating dosages of oxycodone can be dangerous.

Opioid Dependence is Characterized By the Onset of Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. Someone who suspects they have opioid dependency can look for these signs and symptoms to possibly develop when use is stopped:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Other forms of gastrointestinal upset
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Tremors
  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Goose bumps
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rigid muscles
  • Sleep disturbances

Possible Treatments to Reverse Oxycodone Reliance

These symptoms can come and go in waves and may vary in intensity and duration depending on the person and his or her length of use and dosage amount. Oxycodone withdrawal can last days or weeks. It can be difficult to go through this without some sort of help. Patients who are addicted to oxycodone, abusing it or taking very high dosages will likely experience a much worse opiate withdrawal syndrome than someone who takes it for medical reasons and becomes physically dependent.

Oxycodone dependency can be alleviated with proper medical care. A doctor may decide to adjust the dosage or switch to another medication. Other forms of pain management such as acupuncture can be explored. Patients with extreme cases of dependence and addiction can benefit from a medically based treatment to help them detox and recover.