Oxycodone and Hydrocodone: What’s the Difference?

Oxycodone and Hydrocodone: What’s the Difference?

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Oxycodone and Hydrocodone: What’s the Difference?

What is Oxycodone and Hydrocodone

Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are medications that are commonly discussed in the news. While they are often touted for their effectiveness on pain by doctors, they are often heard of due to their highly addictive properties. Unfortunately, both of these things are true. Those who suffer from chronic pain have a need of medications that can alleviate pain. However medications such as these are highly addictive and often misused. This is a well known problem, but no real solutions have yet to be found. While alternative medications do exist, they are often not as effective in pain management. Given that oxycodone and hydrocodone are common and serve the same purpose, what is the difference?

The Differences

Oxycodone abuse can be devastating to you and your family members. Oxycodone is commonly sold under the names OxyContin, Troxyca, or Percocet. These indicate the delivery method as controlled release or mixed with acetaminophen or naltrexone. The active ingredient originates with thebaine. Thebaine is synthesized from poppy plants. One side effect is a euphoric feeling, which can easily lead to abuse.

Hydrocodone comes from codeine. This is an opiate and is associated with the opium poppy. It is commonly prescribed as Vicodin or Damason-P which is mixed with acetaminophen or aspirin respectively. It is also possible to mix this with expectorants when it is given for persistent cough. Hydrocodone can also act on the brain’s pain receptors to basically rewrite the brain’s chemistry. This will lead to a euphoric feeling. Creating a higher likelihood of abuse.

Both drugs are considered at the heart of the opioid crisis. This is a problem, because although they are effective, the rate of abuse is extremely high. This happens because a tolerance is built up so quickly and more medication is required to achieve both the feeling and pain relief. As more is taken, the brain’s chemistry is further altered. Creating a vicious cycle in which the Dopamine release in the brain becomes dependent on the actual drug.

How to Stop

Oxycodone and Hydrocodone: What’s the Difference?If you or a loved one has an addiction to pain killers, even if they were prescribed for pain, then help is available. The downfall to stopping is that you may initially feel very depressed. This may happen as the drug works its way out of your system. The brain must relearn to produce Dopamine on its own. This is why it is important to talk to a substance abuse counselor. A therapist who specializes in substance abuse can offer you different options. One option is detoxification, which may be intense for heavy users. Another option is a pain recovery program. There is also individual and group therapy, as well as holistic treatments are available too if you are interested.

There is no shame in seeking help for an addiction to either of these medications. Whether the medications were originally prescribed for chronic pain or you stumbled upon them while using other substances, help is readily available. DARA is one place that can offer such help, especially through the detoxification process. If you suspect you have a problem or know you do, make a call and get the help you deserve.

CLICK HERE to get a Free Confidential Addiction Rehabilitation Assessment.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.
If you, or someone you care about, needs help for a drug or alcohol addiction, contact one of our therapists today.
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