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Article Summary

A Guide To Roxicodone Addiction

Roxicodone otherwise referred to as Roxycodone, is one of the most addictive of prescription drugs. Today, there's more to addiction than meets the eye. In fact, this risk is no longer limited to illicit substances such as cocaine or heroin.

Some legal drugs also come with the potential for addiction, even those that are legitimately prescribed. Consider the following statistics from SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) related to substance use and abuse in the United States:

  • 6.5 million Americans have reported using medications for nonmedical uses
  • Among these Americans, 4.3 million individuals agreed that they had abused prescription painkillers like Roxicodone

The same survey found that painkillers are the most abused substances, second only to marijuana. Roxicodone, an opioid painkiller also referred to as oxycodone, is among them.

Read on to learn more about this drug:

Understanding Roxicodone

Sometimes referred to as blues, roxys, or roxies, Roxicodone is the brand name for oxycodone, one of the most powerful of opioid prescription pain relievers. Doctors typically prescribe this medication for alleviating pain that does not respond to non-opioid painkillers.

A powerful semi-synthetic opiate, Roxicodone is derived from morphine. The drug causes effects that are quite similar to those experienced by heroin users, including sedation and euphoria, particularly when abused.

Although it is quite effective at helping relieve severe pain, Roxicodone also carries a high potential for tolerance, dependence, abuse, and addiction. More specifically, it works on the central nervous system to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain.

In the process, it creates an immediate rush of happiness and pleasure. It is this rush that creates the high addiction potential that is now commonly associated with prescription pain relievers like Roxicodone.

In the United States, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Authority) now classifies Roxicodone as a Schedule II Drug. Under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, this drug has legitimate medical use and might be prescribed at the discretion of a doctor to patients.

However, the classification also means that Roxicodone is potentially addictive, and might cause psychological and physical dependence. As a direct result, you need to be careful when you receive a prescription of the drug to ensure you do not become addicted.

Roxicodone Uses

When taken as the doctor prescribed, Roxicodone will cause a variety of effects across several important physiological pathways and systems. These effects include:

a) The Central Nervous System

In the central nervous system, the drug will alter your perception of pain. However, it will not fix the cause of suffering. Similarly, the substance can reduce your cough reflex and slow down your breathing rate.

b) The Digestive System

When you ingest Roxicodone, it will slow down the process at which your system digests food. This may cause constipation, vomiting, and nausea.

c) The Cardiovascular System

Taking this substance will slow down your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure.

That said, you might start using Roxicodone innocently according to your physician's prescription. In this case, the doctor may prescribe the substance for the management of pain conditions.

If you take your pills as the doctor intended, the story may end there. However, you may soon develop tolerance to the drug and start using more than your prescription allows.

Eventually, you will become addicted to the pain relieving effects that Roxicodone causes. Similarly, the euphoria created by the use of this narcotic can be so pleasurable that you will continue taking it to numb your emotional pain, even though your physical pain has already subsided.

At this point, you are likely to become addicted to Roxicodone. Further, if you crush the pills or melt them down so that you can inject or smoke the resulting solution/powder, you will experience a more intense high and stronger rush.

Roxicodone Effects

Roxicodone causes severe effects, particularly among those who abuse it. These effects can impact all areas of your life. In the long term, the effects range in severity and will affect you differently. Everything will depend on how you use the substance.

Consider the following long-term effects of abusing Roxicodone:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Chills
  • Chronic constipation
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Decreased testosterone levels in men
  • Divorce
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Financial ruin
  • Homelessness
  • Incarceration
  • Increased tolerance
  • Interpersonal relationship problems
  • Joblessness
  • Major depression
  • Pain all over the body
  • Prostate enlargement among men
  • Rebound pain
  • Respiratory distress
  • Seizures
  • Sinusitis
  • Swelling in the legs and arms
  • Weakness

Roxicodone Side Effects

In the short term, Roxicodone's effects include reduced pain and, as a direct result, reduced stress and more relaxed muscles. However, the drug also causes some side effects, ranging from the moderate to the severe. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushing
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood change
  • Nausea
  • Red eyes
  • Sluggishness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

Some patients also report that the substance also causes such reactions as sinusitis, dry mouth, anxiety, edema, leukopenia, and anemia. Even though the drug works effectively in the management of intense pain, it can also become habit-forming.

As a direct result, regular use can cause tolerance. This will happen once your body starts perceiving the effects of the drug not to be as powerful, and causing you to think you need a large dose than the doctor recommended. At this point, you can become psychologically and physically dependent on the substance.

Roxicodone Addictive Qualities

Like any other opioid drugs, Roxicodone is quite addictive. When consumed, it usually triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. This neurotransmitter is commonly associated with feelings of reward from activities like having sex and eating.

This heightened stimulation of dopamine created when you use the drug can prove to be so pleasurable that you will start abusing your prescription. Eventually, the drug may take priority in your life, over and above everything else. It is for this reason that most Roxicodone addicts require medical detoxification and rehabilitation as part of their treatment plan before they can fully quit.

In other circumstances, the path to Roxicodone addiction might be subtle - particularly if you use the drug while following a doctor's prescription. To this end, it is vital that you understand that even an oxycodone prescription can cause addiction especially if you decide to take more of the drug than the doctor recommended, use it in ways other than the doctor prescribed (injecting or snorting) or taking more than you intended.

When you are addicted to the drug, you are also highly likely to appear like you are under the influence by showing the following signs of drug intoxication:

  • Confusion
  • Euphoria
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slowed breathing

Since it is so potent and acts fast, Roxicodone is a popular substance of abuse for individuals looking for a recreational high. Although you might think that you are safe because a doctor prescribed the drug, you should still be watchful and careful that you do not exceed the prescription.

Remember, the DEA reports that the prescription of substances with oxycodone is quite high. In 2013, for instance, there were close to 60 million of these prescriptions. The next year, 150000 kilos were produced to offset the growing demand for the drug. Similarly, close to 2 million individuals were addicted to or dependent on prescription opioids like Roxicodone. This goes to show just how addictive it is.

Roxicodone Overdose

One of the common risks of Roxicodone use and abuse is an overdose. This will happen when you take more of the drug than your body can handle, and it can occur at any given time without warning.

Apart from leading to fatal respiratory depression, such an overdose may also be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Clammy skin
  • Coma
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Extreme sedation
  • Flaccid muscles
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Stopped heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakness

When used with other drugs - mainly substances that act as central nervous system depressants - such as benzodiazepines or alcohol, Roxicodone overdose will be even more likely. Injecting or snorting the drug can also increase your risk of an overdose as well as several other severe medical complications.

In case of an overdose, seek medical attention immediately to prevent the situation from turning fatal.

Roxicodone Withdrawal

Opiate analgesics, including Roxicodone, are quite notorious because they cause physical dependence. When your body becomes dependent on this drug, and you stop taking it, you are highly likely to experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. As such, you should never stop using this medication abruptly.

Most people continue taking Roxicodone in a bid to avoid these adverse withdrawal symptoms, which include:

  • Anxiety
  • Body weakness
  • Chills
  • Cold flashes
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Inability to sleep
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Intense sweating
  • Involuntary muscle jerks
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Mood changes
  • Musculoskeletal pains and aches
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Tachycardia
  • Vomiting
  • Watering eyes

As you might imagine, these withdrawal symptoms are quite uncomfortable - with some abusers describing them as one of the worst flu they have ever endured. However, the experience is not typically dangerous or fatal.

For this reason, you may prefer to sign up for a medical detoxification program to help you go through the tough first phase of your recovery from Roxicodone abuse and addiction.

Roxicodone Dangers

Cardiovascular damage is one of the severe risks that Roxicodone abuse poses. This mostly happens to those who inject the drug. The damage might also include:

  • Endocarditis (heart infection)
  • Collapsed or scarred veins
  • The clotting of blood vessels by foreign particles, which can cause cell death
  • Boils
  • Abscesses
  • Soft-tissue infections
  • Systemic infections (sepsis or bacteremia)
  • Viruses
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis

On the other hand, if you become pregnant while suffering the long term effects of substance addiction, you will experience severe health risks. Further, this abuse can hurt your child. The dangers of Roxicodone abuse for expectant mothers include:

  • Addicted newborns
  • Greater risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature delivery
  • Stillbirths

Signs And Symptoms Of Roxicodone Abuse

The individual signs and symptoms of active Roxicodone abuse vary based on the amount of the drug you take, the frequency at which you abuse this substance, and the tolerance you develop to it.

These signs and symptoms include but are not limited to:

1. Mood Symptoms
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Overwhelming sense of happiness and well-being
2. Behavioral Symptoms
  • Abrupt changes in vocal pitch
  • Doctor shopping
  • Failing to meet your responsibilities at school, work, and home or with your social acquaintances
  • Financial problems
  • Forging Roxicodone prescriptions to get more of the drug
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nervousness
  • Placing orders for Roxicodone over the internet
  • Reporting that you have lost your Roxicodone prescriptions
  • Restlessness
  • Robbing medication dispensaries and pharmacies
  • Stealing or borrowing the drug and other narcotics from friends and family
  • Tampering with your prescriptions
  • Visiting the emergency room frequently with vague complaints of severe pain
  • Withdrawing from activities you once found pleasurable
3. Physical Symptoms
  • Bradycardia
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Chest pain
  • Circulatory depression
  • Constipation
  • Decreased respiration rate
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Increased respiratory infections
  • Increased sweating
  • Itching
  • Lightheadedness
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Nausea
  • Nodding off
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Urinary retention
  • Visual disturbances
  • Vomiting
4. Psychological Symptoms
  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

Treatment For Roxicodone Addiction

Roxicodone addiction treatment might require more than one facet. Typically, you may have to undergo detoxification, therapy in an outpatient or inpatient setting, and aftercare to ensure you do not relapse. However, the treatment plan will vary from one individual to the other.

Through detox, the doctors will seek to treat any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms you experience. Without detox, these symptoms can cause you to relapse. Therefore, your doctors may recommend that you undergo detoxification to ensure that this does not happen.

Therapy, on the other hand, can occur as part of a comprehensive outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation program. Here, behavioral therapies will be used to help you learn how to cope with some of the triggers of Roxicodone use and abuse, and avoid them in the future. These therapies include CBT (Cognitive-behavioral therapy), family therapy, motivational interviewing (or MI), and CM (contingency management).

With the abuse of such prescription pills as Roxicodone becomes more dangerous and widespread, it is vital that you understand that anyone can start using the drug and become addicted in the process. If you are (or anyone you know is) struggling with this kind of addiction, abuse, or dependency, seek medical attention immediately.

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