Oxycodone is one of the most addictive and commonly misused prescription medications in the nation. One survey of youth in 2010 found that one in 20 adolescents had misused oxycodone. The national opioid epidemic reflects increasing rates of both opioid abuse and opioid-related overdose deaths.
Oxycodone goes by many brand names, including Percocet and OxyContin and is used to treat chronic, moderate-to-severe pain. A narcotic, or opioid, oxycodone is typically prescribed for individuals who need help with long-term pain management.
However, oxycodone is a powerful opioid, which means it is addictive. Not all who take oxycodone are aware of how quickly they can become addicted to it, or the medication’s addictive properties.
Before starting any medication, individuals should ask their doctor about its addictive properties, if it can be mixed with other medications, if it can be taken while drinking alcohol, and other factors which may affect the development of addiction.
Length of Time it Takes to Get Addicted to Oxycodone
The length of time it takes to get addicted to oxycodone varies among individuals taking the prescription. Because oxycodone has the potential for addiction, it is typically only prescribed for use for a few days at a time.
If a person follows all prescribing practices, such as taking oxycodone with the exact frequency and dosage guidelines and stopping use when pain is manageable, the medication is less likely to result in addiction.
If a person changes frequency or dosage, or changes method of administration to force the medication to take effect faster, they are more likely to develop an addiction.
With abuse of the medication, oxycodone addiction can happen in as little as two weeks. Physical dependence can follow, and results in withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and headaches.
If a person has a tolerance to central nervous system depressants, it may take longer to develop addiction, such as several months. In any case, it’s a good idea to recognize signs of addiction so individuals can seek help when needed.
How to Know if You’re Addicted to Oxycodone
Because oxycodone is a prescription medication, many who take it may perceive it as completely safe. They may believe increasing the dosage is a safe way to treat severe pain, rather than consulting their doctor first.
But oxycodone changes the brain chemistry by working on the feel-good chemical production and disrupting the flow of communication in the brain. With time, an individual’s natural chemical production may alter or stop, making the brain reliant on oxycodone to produce happy chemicals. This is known as physical dependence, another form of addiction.
Signs of addiction to or dependence on oxycodone include:
- increasing dosage without doctor’s consent, even if the individual is told this is unsafe
- increasing frequency of medication
- changing method of administration to make oxycodone work faster
- lying about prescription usage
- continuing use of medication, even after recognizing signs of addiction
- feeling cravings when not using oxycodone
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using oxycodone
There are 11 medically recognized signs of addiction, but only two or more must be exhibited for an individual to have an addiction.
Find Rehab Centers that Give Free Assessments
If you are worried you may have an addiction, it can be difficult to recognize or admit to the signs. Make a great decision for your health and your life by seeking professional help.
If you have a problem with oxycodone abuse, or think you may have developed an addiction to it, contact us today. Our addiction experts can give you an initial assessment to determine whether you have an addiction and put you in touch with rehab programs that meet your needs.