When Does Oxycodone Experimentation Become Addiction?

When Does Oxycodone Experimentation Become Addiction?According to a 2010 article from the National Institutes of Health, a person moves through several stages of drug use that lead to dependence, and younger people often move through these stages more quickly than adults do. A person who uses oxycodone will move through these stages of oxycodone use that can lead to dependence:

  • Experimentation: At this stage, a person will use oxycodone on a recreational basis. This is often a trial period in which a person determines whether or not he or she likes how he or she feels while using oxycodone.
  • Regular use: As a person continues to experiment more with oxycodone, he or she moves into regular use. This stage is marked by missing work or school, changing friends, using oxycodone to alleviate negative emotions, and showing increased tolerance to oxycodone.
  • Problem use: During this stage, which can be very short, a person loses motivation for regular activities, including school or work; thinks about oxycodone use more than other interests; has major behavior changes; becomes secretive about behavior; may use harder drugs; and may experience legal problems as a result of using oxycodone.
  • Addiction: At this point, a person cannot cope with daily life without oxycodone. He or she denies any problem with oxycodone use; loses control over self and oxycodone usage; and experiences increasing financial and legal problems.

Addiction to drugs is considered a chronic medical condition, just like high blood pressure or heart disease. It involves both psychological and physical changes that indicate a serious problem has developed.

Physical Dependence on Oxycodone

Physical dependence on oxycodone develops over time as the body naturally responds and adapts to the presence of the drug. Over time, the repeated use of oxycodone can alter the way the brain functions. Taking oxycodone causes dopamine in the brain to increase, which creates a feeling of pleasure. The brain remembers the good feeling and wants to experience it again. Without continued use of oxycodone to produce that desired effect, the brain and body experience withdrawal symptoms. The longer a person uses oxycodone, the greater the physical dependence and withdrawal. Over time, without the presence of oxycodone, the withdrawal symptoms will wane, and the body will return to “normal.”

Psychological Dependence on Oxycodone

As your body becomes used to the presence of oxycodone and its effects, you become psychologically dependent on it as well. You begin to depend on oxycodone to deal with stress, to make a bad day seem better, or to make life more meaningful. Over time, you begin to believe that you cannot possibly survive without oxycodone.

While the physical addiction to oxycodone can fade fairly quickly after detox, the emotional or psychological dependence can take much longer to deal with. You must work through the underlying reasons why you believed you needed oxycodone in the first place. This may include childhood trauma, stressors at work or home, or unhealthy relationships, just to name a few. Tackling these issues is best done in the context of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program catered to your needs.

Getting Help for Your Oxycodone Addiction

If you or someone you love is experimenting with oxycodone, we can help. You can call our toll-free helpline at any time of day. You can speak to one of our admissions counselors who can help you determine the best treatment options for you. Don’t let experimentation lead to addiction. Call us today.