As one of the most commonly prescribed painkiller medications, oxycodone works well at relieving conditions involving moderate to severe pain symptoms. While it’s medicinal benefits are many, oxycodone still carries a high risk for abuse and addiction when used over long periods or used in excess.
For many, oxycodone’s addictive effects develop slowly over time without a person’s even knowing it. Being able to recognize signs of addiction to oxycodone early on can help you keep a bad situation from getting worse and take steps towards getting the help you need.
The Oxycodone Addiction Cycle
Signs of addiction to oxycodone develop over time as the drug’s effects overwhelm the brain’s regulatory processes. According to the University of Maryland, like other drugs of abuse, oxycodone’s addictive effects stem from the drug’s ability to alter dopamine neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
Since dopamine plays a central role in regulating the brain’s reward system, oxycodone’s effects redirect a person’s motivations and priorities towards compulsive drug use. These effects compound over time and ultimately create a vicious cycle of compulsive drug use in a person’s daily life.
Signs of Addiction to Oxycodone
With continuous oxycodone abuse, what starts out as occasional discomfort soon turns into full-blown withdrawal episodes, according to Wofford College. Oxycodone’s effects not only disrupt dopamine levels, but most every other essential neurotransmitter process.
As the brain’s chemical system skews further and further off balance, the body’s major systems start to breakdown, which accounts for developing withdrawal effects. Signs of addiction to oxycodone to watch for include:
- Body aches
- Mental confusion
When abused on an ongoing basis, it’s only a matter of time before oxycodone’s effects start to disrupt a person’s psychological well-being. As emotional stability relies heavily on stable neurotransmitter levels, oxycodone abuse soon leads to feelings of depression that tend to worsen over time.
It’s not uncommon for regular users to develop major depression disorders as well as other forms of psychological dysfunction once signs of addiction to oxycodone take root.
Psychological dependence lies at the heart of an addiction problem. In effect, oxycodone’s impact on the brain reward system essentially “rewires” a person’s psychological makeup to the point where he or she can’t cope with everyday pressures without the drug’s effects.
This sign of addiction oxycodone accounts for the destructive choices addicts make when having to choose between drug use and doing the right thing. At this point, a person’s basic belief systems, motivations and priorities all center around getting and using the drug.
When left to its own devices, an oxycodone addiction can all but destroy a person’s life. The damaging effects of the drug place users at ongoing risk of overdose, mental breakdown and declining health as the mind’s dependence on the drug grows stronger with each passing day.
If you’re struggling with oxycodone abuse and suspect addiction may not be far off, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addiction counselors.