With people living longer, more active lives than ever before, there is a greater demand for prescription pain relievers. Arthritis, injuries, and chronic pain are common occurrences in people--particularly as they age. As we have a larger geriatric population than ever before, these prescription pain medications are being prescribed more than they ever have been before in the past. Unfortunately, with the higher occurrences of pain medications being prescribed, there is also a higher rate of prescription drug abuse. Among one of the most commonly abused prescription pain relievers is oxycodone. Also known as Percocet, this prescription pain medication is a powerful drug. When taken as directed, it can be an extremely effective means of dealing with certain types of severe pain. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes habit forming and can lead to a powerful addiction.
Oxycodone is an opiate analgesic. What that means is that it is an opium-based pain reliever. It works by binding to pain receptors in the brain and blocking the pain response in the body. In response, the perception of pain is lessened in the body. It doesn't actually get rid of pain or treat the source of pain--rather it works on the biochemistry of how pain is perceived by the brain.
For people who take oxycodone exactly as prescribed and only for a short period of time, the side effects are usually drowsiness, constipation, upset stomach, difficulty urinating, and itching. It can also cause dry mouth, restlessness, and inability to reach orgasm in users. The reason it is so commonly abused, however, is because it creates a feeling of eupohoria in users. People who take oxycodone will feel an all over sense of well-being, warmth, happiness, and giddiness. It relaxes the body and the mind so that physical and mental stimuli are less noticable. Unfortunately, it also rapidly creates a physical and mental dependence. With repeated use, the drug becomes less effective in creating the effects of euphoria and happiness. Dopamine receptors within the brain will stop producing the natural feel-good drug, which can often lead to depression among users.
Other side effects which can happen with prolonged use or massive doses is memory loss, tremors, irritability, headache, and mood swings. After regular use, the body will need more of the drug just to feel normal. Withdrawl symptoms will begin to occur quickly, and can be quite severe. Withdrawl from oxycodone leads to stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, fever, chills, tremors, insomnia, body and muscle aches, elevated blood pressure, and depression.
Oxycodone effects the nervous system in a powerful way. For many people, they begin taking the drug for a legitimate means of relieving pain. They may often start by taking the drug exactly as prescribed and only occasionally because the side effects can be unpleasant. Then they may find the drug not only relieves pain, but helps them to sleep or relax. Before they know it, the prescribed dose does not relieve the pain they initially got it for. They may take one more, and find they feel good again. It can continue this way for quite some time until the drug sinks its teeth in and the person is physically addicted to the medication.
First and foremost, speak with your doctor--particularly if you truly are in pain. You and your doctor may begin working on alternative treatments for easing your pain without having to rely on opoid pain medications. Your doctor may be able to recommend a treatment plan for dealing with your addiction, as well.
A lot of people are worried about admitting they are addicted to prescription pain killers. There is such a negative stigma associated with drug abuse, that many people fail to seek help because they are worried about what other people might think when they hear they have an addiction. The truth is, addiction can happen to anybody. There is no need to worry about the social stigma associated with drug abuse. It isn't only losers, homeless people, prostitutes, or burnouts who have to deal with drug abuse--particularly when it comes to prescription pain medications. These drugs effect people from all walks of life, from stay at home moms to successful business people to CEOs. They are easy to become addicted to, and even easier to brush under the rug because they are, after all, legally prescribed. Because of this, it is often difficult to recognize the signs of addiction, which makes it difficult to seek help.