OxyIR Addiction

OxyIR is an immediate release formula of the powerful opioid painkiller, oxycodone. This medication contains 5mg of oxycodone and is available by prescription only. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic, abused by recreational drug users for its euphoric effects similar to morphine. OxyIR, like other opioids, has a prominent effect on the central nervous system.

Like other drugs in its class, OxyIR binds to opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system to provide analgesia and sedation. OxyIR is a special type of analgesia, known as a pure opioid agonist; like other drugs of this type, there is no ceiling to the analgesia effect.

Addiction to OxyIR and other opioids is a growing problem in the United States. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports the number of admissions to rehabilitation units in the U.S. for opioids, excluding heroin, skyrocketed by 414 percent between 1997 and 2007, from 7 people in 100,000 to 36 per 100,000. This increase in opioid abuse treatment is due, in large part, to the fact that Americans consume more opioids than another other nation on earth. Even though Americans represent only about 5 percent of global population, they use 80 percent of the world's supply of opioids, according to a report by the Institute of Addiction Medicine.

Opioids are a group of painkillers derived from the poppy plant, which contains morphine and codeine. The poppy plant also contains other compounds, such as thebaine, from which semi-synthetic opioid drugs such as OxyIR may be synthesized. Other semi-synthetic opioids include hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone.

Opioids, sometimes called opiates, are a psychoactive substance commonly used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Recreational drug users like opioids because these drugs produce a pleasant euphoria that lasts for several hours. Physicians typically prescribe OxyIR to be taken by mouth, but many addicted individuals snort or inject opioids to heighten the drug's psychoactive effects. Using OxyIR in this manner gets the individual higher, but it also raises his risk for addiction, overdose and diseases associated with intravenous drug use, such as HIV and hepatitis.

The Definition of Addiction

Medical scientists have now defined addiction as a disease, affecting the brain and central nervous system. This chronic condition makes changes to the cells of the nervous system in a way that causes a dysfunction in a person's sense of reward, motivation and memory. These dysfunctions lead to physical, psychological, social and spiritual changes. Most notably, the addicted individual experiences behavioral changes, such as craving OxyIR, seeking out the drug and abusing opioids despite being aware of the risks associated with these powerful medications.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine says that addiction is characterized by "inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one's behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death."

Addiction versus Dependence

Many people use the terms addiction and dependence interchangeably but, while a person can be both addicted and dependent on OxyIR, these two conditions are separate and quite different from one another.

The human body adapts to the presence of foreign substances, such OxyIR or other drugs, by adjusting its chemistry so that the body can tolerate these substances and still function. The person may even grow tolerant to the substance, which means he must take increasingly higher doses to get the intended effect. The usual dose for OxyIR is 5mg every six hours as needed; a patient experiencing increased tolerance to OxyIR must take a higher dose to feel relief from pain. A recreational drug user must take higher doses more frequently, risking opioid overdose without medical supervision.

Sometimes the body grows dependent on substances such as OxyIR, so that the individual must continue to consume opioids in order to feel normal. If the consumer's level of opioids were to drop suddenly, his body would struggle to stabilize itself. The individual feels this battle for chemical stability through uncomfortable, flu-like withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms, sometimes called "opioid abstinence syndrome," often come in two waves, with the first wave beginning several hours after the last dose. Early symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle Aches
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Watery Eyes
  • Yawning

One or two days later, the individual will experience the second wave of symptoms including:

  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Goose Bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Doctors diagnose an individual as being dependent on opioids if he suffers abstinence syndrome after the level of opioids drop. A person who is dependent on OxyIR will feel withdrawal symptoms if he does not take enough opioids or if he receives particular medications that rapidly reduce the level of opioids in his body, such as naloxone.

Doctors diagnose a person as being addicted if the individual engages in certain behaviors, such as craving and drug seeking, when he runs out of OxyIR.

While an individual could be both addicted and dependent upon OxyIR or other opioids, addiction and dependence are separate diseases, independent of one another. A person can be dependent upon a substance but not be addicted to it, and vice versa. For example, an individual who depends on insulin will suffer high blood sugar if she does not take her medicine at the right time, but she will not crave insulin. Conversely, an addicted person will crave cocaine and participate in drug-seeking if her supply runs out but she will not suffer physical withdrawal symptoms because cocaine does not cause physical dependence.

Addiction: What Family Members Should Know

Family members should know that addiction is a disease, not a choice or a flaw in someone's moral character. An addicted person needs the love and support of a family now more than ever for effective recovery to take place. It is also important for the family to recognize that they share the risk for addiction with their loved one.

Researchers are still searching for the exact cause of addiction, but most specialists now agree that genetics play a large role in the development of addiction. A person with a strong family history of addiction to alcohol or drugs faces more of a risk for developing similar addictions than someone without addiction among immediate family members.

Stresses within the home, such as financial or relationship trouble, increase the risk for substance abuse and addiction for everyone in that home. Family members should look for ways to deal environmental household stresses to not only help the individual addicted to OxyIR, but to decrease everyone's risk for developing addictions and other unhealthy behaviors.

Researchers have discovered that many addicted individuals are hypersensitive to stress and that a person may inherit hypersensitivity. Additionally, parents teach their children how to cope with stress; a parent struggling with an OxyIR addiction passes poor coping skills onto his children, increasing the risk they will eventually take drugs as a way to manage personal stress.

Addiction affects and imperils every member of the house, and OxyIR addiction endangers the family as a whole. Addiction inflicts a considerable amount of collateral damage, including loss of income, child neglect and illegal activity including illicit drug use within the home. This illegal activity sometimes results in arrest or even imprisonment. In the worst-case scenario, OxyIR addiction dissolves entire family units, with children going into foster care while the parents serve time.

Addiction: What Parents Should Know

OxyIR is not appropriate for children. Parents should know that doctors do not generally prescribe OxyIR to children; parents should question a child in possession of OxyIR to learn where he got it and if he has already consumed any medication. OxyIR can cause serious side effects, including respiratory depression and death.

Addiction to opioids such as OxyIR is growing among teenagers and young adults in the United States. About 3 percent of individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 reported taking prescription medications for non-medical use in the previous month. When the survey asked how the students got opioid painkillers without a prescription, more than half of high school seniors say someone gave them the drugs or the student bought the substance from a friend or relative. Surprisingly, the number of teens who purchased opioids through the internet was negligible.

There are warning signs parents may look for, including an unusual loss of interest in things that were once important to the child. A kid suffering an addiction to OxyIR or other drugs may suddenly start doing poorly in school, sports or at an after-school job. A parent may notice his child becoming less motivated, displaying a lack of energy unusual even for a teenager. An addicted child often sneaks away and then cannot come up with a reasonable explanation for the disappearance.

Like an addicted adult, a child addicted to OxyIR or other substances must finance the addiction. Children and teenagers typically have relatively simple economic needs; parents should question a child who seems to have money problems too advanced for his age. Parents should remain alert to and investigate any missing household items or lost money.

Caring for a Family Member with an Addiction

Caring for a family member with a chronic disease is difficult and supporting a loved one with an addiction is no exception. Like any other debilitating disease, a strong and supportive family unit is vital to recovery.

Because researchers think the roots of addiction are genetic and environmental, it is important to remember that every member of the family shares the risks and effects of addiction. Families can identify and address those environmental stresses within the home that increase the risks and ravages of OxyIR addiction, such as ironing out relationship problems or reassigning workloads to reduce stress. It is important to remember that addiction affects the entire family, so each family member will benefit by recovery efforts as well.

Family members function as a team, providing a complete support network for the addicted individual in such a way that no one person will carry the entire burden of addiction. Teammates should meet often and assign responsibilities relative to each participant's abilities. For example, a grandparent babysits the children of an addicted parent while a sister grocery shops and cooks for the family. Children and younger siblings participate by doing minor household chores and staying out of trouble at school.

Family members can develop a "care plan" designed to encourage the addicted individual to seek and complete recovery, and then work as a unit to enact this care plan. The care plan should include researching detoxification and rehabilitation facilities, deciding who will take over the addicted person's daily responsibilities while they are in rehab, rides to doctors' appointments and so on.

Teammates should meet often to discuss progress and change course when necessary. The addicted person does not have to participate in these meetings; addiction makes changes to the brain that causes the individual to feel very private and defensive about his disease, so he may react angrily when he first learns of these family meetings and refuse to attend. The family should allow the addicted individual to opt out of these meetings but, because addiction affects everyone in the household, the family has a right to talk about the problem and seek solutions, even if the addicted person forbids such meetings.

A strong family unit plays a critical role in recovery in that they are often the first people to encourage the addicted individual to seek and complete treatment. It is common for the family to have located the facility where the addicted individual eventually seeks treatment. Every member of the family should consistently encourage the addicted individual to seek treatment, and continue to do so even as the addicted person refuses.

Do not let your loved one hit rock bottom - take action the first moment it is clear a family member is addicted to OxyIR or another substance. Rock bottom is a long way from recovery, and the path to health is difficult and fraught with danger. Addiction causes collateral damage and health hazards that early treatment would avoid. Family members should remember that it is possible to arrest the disease's progress at any time.

Supporting a loved one with an OxyIR addiction does not mean a family should shield the individual from the consequences of his disease. Recovery often begins when the person sees how his addiction brings harm to his own life and to others. Sometimes, out of love and compassion or even out of shame and anger, family members shield the addicted individual from the consequences of drug addiction. Some family members enable a loved one's addiction by preventing him from feeling the consequences of his action. While it is not usually necessary to "throw a person under the bus" by calling the police or removing the individual from the home, an addicted individual must face and accept responsibility for the damage his disease has caused his family.

It is a fine line between enabling an addicted individual and supporting his recovery. Specialists agree that treatment and recovery experience works best when the individual feels physically, emotionally and spiritually safe in his home environment. Family members should recognize addiction as a disease and avoid blaming the individual for becoming ill.

Signs of Addiction

Addiction to OxyIR or other opioids changes cells in the neurological system; these changes affect the way a person behaves, thinks and feels. A doctor looks for these behavioral, cognitive and emotional changes when she diagnoses a patient with an opioid addiction.


A person addicted to OxyIR uses opioids more often and in higher quantities than he intends, even while he promises to quit or cut down on his drug use. Each time he uses OxyIR, he swears it will be his last - but it never is. He tries to quit several times but ultimately seems unwilling or unable to control his opioid use.

OxyIR begins to consume the addict's life. He loses an ever-increasing amount of time looking for, using and recovering from OxyIR use, which cuts into the time he usually devotes to work, relationships, family or school. Soon, he only thinks of OxyIR. The addicted individual seems determined to use opioids, despite the danger it poses to his health or to his relationships with the important people in his life.

Soon, he will not care about the things he used to be most passionate about, like his hobbies, work or family. As a way of protecting itself from recovery, the disease of addiction rewires the brain's reward circuit so that nothing seems as rewarding to the individual as opioids.


OxyIR addiction changes the way a person thinks. The addicted individual becomes more and more preoccupied with opioids, increasingly ignoring everything else in life - even things like food, safety or shelter. Addiction causes her to assess the relative benefits and risks associated with opioids such as OxyIR incorrectly; she will overplay the benefits and discount the risks. Soon, she will begin to blame everyone and everything else for her problems, rather than recognizing the harm opioid addiction causes.


Opioid addiction alters pathways in the brain that change the way a person feels, including increased anxiety, sadness and emotional pain. Addiction makes the individual more sensitive to stress; the addicted individual says she needs opioids because "things seem harder right now" and that she will quit OxyIR when things calm down. Addiction rewires the circuits in a way that makes it difficult to identify one's feelings or to distinguish between emotions from other bodily sensations. An addicted person sometimes has trouble describing her feelings to others, a condition known as alexithymia.

Symptoms of Addiction

Opioid addiction is associated with a variety of physical and psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of drug addiction include:

  • Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss
  • A Change in Sleep Patterns
  • Deteriorating Physical Appearance - Looks Sickly
  • Nagging Cough
  • Diminished Hygiene Care
  • Body or Clothing May Have an Unusual Odor
  • Bloodshot Eyes with Large or Small Pupils
  • Tremors
  • Slurred Speech

Psychological Symptoms

Doctors diagnose opioid addiction by identifying certain psychological symptoms characteristic of addiction. Psychological symptoms of addiction to opioids include:

  • Inability to Abstain Consistently.
  • Impairment in Behavioral Control.
  • Cravings for Drugs or Intense Reward Experiences.
  • Diminished Capacity to Recognize Significant Personal or Relationship Problems.
  • Dysfunctional Emotional Response.

Gender Differences

Treatment Options

When left untreated or poorly treated, addiction to OxyIR or other substances can cause disability or premature death, according to the American Society of Addictive Medicine.

Treatment consists of two phases, each focused on a different aspect of addiction: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification lowers the level of opioids in the body. A person going through the detoxification process typically experiences five or more days of intense withdrawal symptoms as his body adjusts to the lack of opioids.

Rehabilitation addresses the underlying emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects of opioid addiction through behavior modification and counseling to help the individual learn how to live without opioids. Without rehabilitation, it is nearly impossible for the individual to break free from OxyIR addiction.


There are many reasons people avoid opioid detoxification, including fear of unbearable physical withdrawal symptoms that prevent even the most determined and self-disciplined individuals from breaking free of the grip of opioid addiction. For some, there is a strong social stigma against drug addiction; many individuals find it easier to hide an addiction than admit they have a problem. Others fear that entering a rehabilitation clinic will reveal their secret to friends, family and co-workers. Some cannot afford the cost of taking time from work or worry because they do not have health insurance, so they attempt self-detoxification at home, without the help of medical professionals.

Self-detoxification, or going "cold turkey," is a grueling and time-consuming approach to quitting opioid addiction. Some liken the experience to having a broken leg - but all over your body - for a week or more. With no medications to ease withdrawal symptoms, self-detoxification takes five or more days, with the worst day occurring on or about the fourth day. The individual cannot sleep, eat, lay still or move around comfortably.

Without trained medical personnel to monitor him, the individual may suffer serious complications. He may vomit and inhale stomach contents, known as aspiration; this may lead to pneumonia or lung infections. Excessive vomiting and diarrhea leads to dangerous dehydration.

While detoxification is not fatal, withdrawal symptoms sometimes seem worse than death. Detoxification from OxyIR is demoralizing, frustrating, embarrassing and depressing.

Some individuals create a treatment plan including medications to relieve specific withdrawal symptoms. One such plan is the Thomas Recipe, which calls for Xanax or some other medication to ease the demoralizing anxiety and insomnia. The Thomas Recipe also calls medicine to ease diarrhea, muscle aches and fatigue.

The Thomas Recipe and other self-detoxification methods address the physical aspects of OxyIR dependence but they do not correct the neurological changes in the brain that characterize addiction. Without adequate behavioral modification, the behavioral aspects of addiction will bring the individual back to opioid abuse soon after he has gone through detoxification.

Relapse is the primary complication of detoxification and, while withdrawal symptoms are not fatal, relapse may be deadly. A recently detoxified body has a lower tolerance to opioids, which means an individual might overdose on a smaller amount of opioids than he used to take before he tried detoxification.

Overdose claims the lives of more Americans each year. During the 5-year period between 1999 and 2004, there was a 63 percent increase in the number of deaths in the United States associated with opioid use.

Emergency department doctors and nurses save lives by administering naloxone, which drops opioids such as OxyIR to safe levels very quickly. Medical personnel monitor patients for dangerous complications, such as aspiration and dehydration, and take appropriate action such as starting IVs. Once the patient is out of mortal danger, she may participate in rehabilitation and counseling to address the behaviors that define addiction.

Addicted individuals in otherwise stable condition may temporarily avoid the detoxification phase and move directly to rehabilitation through Drug Replacement Therapy, or DRT. Replacement drugs block the effects of opioids while still maintaining a level of opioids in the system, so that a person does not get high nor does he suffer withdrawal symptoms.

Doctors prescribe DRT medications such as methadone, Suboxone and buprenorphine to block the effects of opioids. The effects of DRT drugs last longer than heroin or other opioids and an individual may remain on DRT for many years. After the individual changes the behaviors associated with addiction, he weans himself from the replacement drug. Harvard Medical School cites estimates that 25 percent of methadone DRT patients eventually abstain, another 25 percent continues to take the drug and 50 percent go on and off methadone.

DRT is a type of Medically-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, in which doctors prescribe medications to reduce the severity and durations withdrawal symptoms. MAT improves a patient's chance for recovery and for survival and improves the likelihood that a patient will adhere to the treatment plan. MAT decreases IV drug use, lowering the individual's risk for infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. MAT lowers the risk for criminal activities, as the addicted individual no longer has to finance his habit and associate with drug dealers. MAT increases employment rates, as rehabilitation allows individuals to return to work. MAT improves birth outcomes for pregnant women battling addiction to OxyIR.

Many people choose to undergo standard detoxification in a hospital or clinic before moving on to behavioral modification so they can get the grueling process of withdrawal behind them. During this type of MAT, doctors administer medications to reduce opioid levels along with drugs to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Nurses monitor the patient for complications. While inpatient detox programs relieve the physical distress of withdrawal and shorten the detoxification process to some extent, patients still battle the demoralizing psychological aspects of opioid withdrawal that often leads to relapse.

Rapid Detox is the most humane form of detoxification available today. During this cutting-edge and well-researched procedure, board certified anesthesiologists administer sedatives and anesthesia alongside naloxone and other detoxification medications, so the patient rest in a comfortable "twilight sleep" during the detoxification process. When the patient awakens, she will have no recollection of the grueling and demoralizing detoxification process; this positions the patient in a better physical and emotional state for rehabilitation.


The American Society of Addictive Medicine recognizes that recovery from addiction is "best achieved through a combination of self-management, mutual support, and professional care provided by trained and certified professionals."

Rehabilitation "rewires" the reward circuit in the patient's brain through behavior modification and counseling and teaches the individual how to live without opioids. Rehabilitation programs may be inpatient or outpatient, with treatment plans ranging from a few weeks to six months or more. OxyIR addiction is a complicated disease and treatment is equally as complex. Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, such as his emotional or financial state, and not just on the disease of addiction. Many drug-addicted individuals also suffer social issues or mental disorders that increase the risk for relapse. No one treatment is appropriate for everyone; some people need the structure of a lengthy residential program while others do well talking to a counselor once a month. Treatment does need to be readily available to the individual, as addiction looks for any excuse to drive the individual back to OxyIR abuse. It is critical that the addicted individual remain in treatment for an adequate length of time. Behavioral therapies, such as individual or group counseling, are common rehabilitative treatments. Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. According to NIDA, individuals under legal coercion tend to remain in treatment longer than and do better than those not under pressure. Drug use during treatment must be monitored continuously, as lapses during treatment do occur. Treatment programs should assess patients for the presence of HIV/ AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases as well as provide targeted risk-reduction counseling to help patients modify or change behaviors that place them at risk of contracting or spreading infectious diseases.