According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, 70,000 people are struggling with opioid dependency. Tennessee is currently ranked third in the nation for prescription drug misuse, and the numbers are climbing every year. It has never been more important to have quality, reliable, and evidence-based treatment options available. At ReVIDA Recovery®, we’ve joined the fight against our nation’s opioid epidemic. We are developing a premier network of recovery centers that deliver clinical excellence and industry-leading outcomes.
Among others, oxycodone is front and center of the opioid epidemic. Prescribed to treat severe pain, oxycodone has a high probability of misuse and dependency. When used under a physician’s care, oxycodone can be an effective solution for temporary pain management. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the way that it’s used. Let’s take a look at oxycodone, its characteristics, and its side effects.
What is Oxycodone?
Like other opioids, oxycodone binds to the brain’s opioid receptors, creating feelings of well-being, euphoria, and pain relief. If someone has recently undergone surgery or if they’re dealing with severe pain that isn’t responding to other methods of pain relief, a clinician might prescribe oxycodone. Oxycodone works through the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and the spinal cord.
When it’s used for a long period, the brain and body can become physically dependent on oxycodone. When a dose is skipped or when the medication is stopped, an individual can suffer from a host of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance can also be built when taking this medication, so people who use it may have to keep taking higher doses to feel the same effects. This can also lead to dependence.
People can also become mentally dependent on oxycodone, especially if they’re struggling with their mental health. The false promotion of “well-being” can become a way of life for some people. For those struggling with anxiety or depression, oxycodone can feel like a quick fix for mental anguish. After a while, the original dose of oxycodone stops working, so people will often misuse it by taking more than prescribed.
Oxycodone comes in a few forms:
- Extended-release tablet
- Extended-release capsule
- Fast-acting tablet
- Fast-acting capsule
Whether prescribed or sold illegally, the most popular form of oxycodone is a round, white tablet. Oxycodone brand names include:
- OxyCONTIN CR®
- Oxy IR®
- Roxicodone Intensol®
There is no set cause of opioid dependency or opioid use disorder (OUD). Anyone who takes oxycodone risks dependency, no matter what their background is. There are some risk factors you can look out for if you’re concerned about oxycodone dependency in yourself or someone you love:
- History of depression or anxiety
- Family history of dependency or substance misuse
- History of reckless or risk-taking behavior
- Current stressful environment
- History of dependency on alcohol or other drugs
If you’re concerned that you’ve formed a dependency on oxycodone, or if you’re worried about someone you love who’s taking it, there are some signs you can look out for. Here are some behavioral signs that might indicate OUD:
- You’re isolating yourself or avoiding people
- You need to keep upping your dose to feel the same effects
- You’re using oxycodone longer than your doctor prescribed, or you’re obtaining it illegally
- You’ve lost interest in your hobbies
- You can’t control how much you’re taking
- You’re taking your medication when you shouldn’t be taking it, like while driving or operating heavy machinery
- You’re seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors
- You’re taking your medication sooner than when you’re supposed to because you’re afraid of withdrawals
There are also some physical signs of OUD you might observe, such as:
- You’re frequently fatigued
- You’re losing weight (fast and unexpectedly)
- You’re having cravings for oxycodone
- You’re slurring your speech
- You experience withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose or if you’re late taking your medication
OUD can also affect your mind. You may experience psychological symptoms, such as:
- You’re irritable for no reason
- You’re sleeping more than usual, or you’re experiencing insomnia
- You feel panicked, anxious, or sad all the time
- You don’t have the motivation for work, family, or social activities
- You’re experiencing mood swings
- You’re eating more or less than usual
If you’re using oxycodone for a short time and under your doctor’s supervision, the effects will likely be minor and dissipate after you stop using this medication. Some of these short-term side effects include:
- Feeling on edge or restless
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Stiffness in muscles or joints
- A slower heart rate
- Difficulty using the bathroom
An overdose is what happens when someone takes too much oxycodone. This can happen if you’ve built up a tolerance, and you need to keep taking more or higher doses to achieve the same effect. Overdosing on any opioid can be dangerous, and it’s important to recognize the signs. Common signs of an oxycodone overdose include
- A weak pulse
- Stomach spasms
- Extreme fatigue (unable to keep your eyes open)
- Shallow breathing
- Slowed heart rate
- Shortness of breath
If you suspect that you or someone you love is overdosing on oxycodone, you should get immediate help. Call 911 or go to your local emergency room. Tell your clinician your symptoms in detail so they can help to the best of their abilities.
Treatment for Oxycodone Dependence of Opioid Use Disorder
Feeling dependent on a substance like oxycodone can feel overwhelming or scary. Never hesitate to seek help – even if you aren’t sure if you have a problem. You are not alone – remember that 70,000 people in Tennessee are also struggling with opioid dependence right now. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1.6 million people are struggling with OUD nationwide.
When it comes to treatment, ReVIDA Recovery® wants you to know we are here for you. We offer the following treatment programs to individuals who are looking to create healthier, oxycodone-free lives:
Structured Outpatient Program
Our outpatient program is designed to be flexible for your schedule. We use evidence-based, scientifically proven methods to guide you toward your journey of recovery. This program includes individual and group therapy, educational classes, and 12-step meetings. We also connect you to resources and community partners so that you’ll have round-the-clock support when you need it.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Discontinuing oxycodone use shouldn’t be unbearable. Our MAT program allows us to control your withdrawal symptoms through medication while you’re in therapy and support groups. MAT is supervised by our physicians, licensed therapists, certified counselors, care coordinators, and peer recovery specialists. We’re here to help with every step of your recovery journey.
Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Treatment
Our medically supervised buprenorphine (Suboxone®) treatment program will prepare your body for long-term recovery. Buprenorphine can help in managing your withdrawal symptoms while preventing relapse and overdose. Unlike methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone®) can be prescribed in a doctor’s office, so it’s always convenient.
If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, don’t wait – call us today to reclaim your life. ReVIDA Recovery® wants to help you begin your journey to recovery. We know seeking help isn’t always easy, but our staff is committed to listening and helping with compassion. For questions or to set up an appointment, please call us at 423-631-0432. We look forward to hearing from you.