OxyContin is one of the many brand-name versions of the drug oxycodone, a strong prescription narcotic used for pain relief. Oxycodone is often used to treat moderate to severe pain from surgery, cancer, injuries, arthritis, and other ailments and conditions.

It was first approved for use by the FDA in 1995, and since that time, it has become the most commonly abused painkiller on the market. As opioid-like morphine and heroin, oxycodone is a powerful painkiller, but it’s also highly addictive and may require the user to seek oxycodone addiction treatment.

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How Oxycodone Addiction Starts

In general, there are four ways a person can become addicted to oxycodone, and they are prescription drug use that turns into abuse, recreational use, self-medication, and withdrawal avoidance. Many people who enter OxyContin rehab are introduced to the drug through a legitimate need for painkillers that progress into a full-blown opioid addiction.

Others become addicted to oxycodone because they began using it recreationally or wanted to numb the physical or emotional pain they’ve experienced from trauma, abuse, or mental health disorders. And finally, some people must enter an oxycodone detox after becoming addicted to the drug because of long-term use, which can occur when a legitimate user wants to avoid the negative symptoms of withdrawal.

However, not all patients who are prescribed oxycodone end up addicted, and those who are at the most risk are people who have already suffered some form of drug or alcohol dependence.

Symptoms and Effects of Oxycodone Use

Oxycodone addiction can be easy to hide because there aren’t any external indicators or paraphernalia involved with its use the way there is with a drug like heroin. However, there are physical, psychological, social, and behavioral indicators that you can look for, especially if you suspect that a friend or loved one is struggling and may need an oxycodone detox program. For one, oxycodone will make a person feel euphoric, but it also causes anxiety, depression, mood swings, and irritability. Other symptoms and warning signs you can look for include:

  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth and blurred vision
  • Hypotension and respiratory depression
  • Sweating and slurred speech
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Emotional health problems
  • Increasing mental health problems

Even prescription users who aren’t abusing the drug are susceptible to these severe side effects of oxycodone use. Long-term use and abuse can have even more dire physical complications, mental health effects, and without the proper OxyContin addiction treatment, it can even lead to death. Long-term effects of use include:

  • Heart failure, myocardial infarction, and respiratory failure
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Increased spinal pressure fluid
  • Swelling
  • Liver damage
  • Overdose
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