Over 100 people die each day from opioid abuse and roughly 2 million Americans have struggled with it. Prescription oxycodone is in high demand, as you probably already know. A study shows that in 2013 alone, there were 58.8 million oxycodone prescriptions written. Studies have also shown that individuals who suffer opioid-related deaths also have alcohol use disorders most of the time. One of the biggest dangers of prescription opioids is that once someone builds up their tolerance to prescription opioids such as oxycodone, they resort to stronger street drugs like fentanyl, heroin, and carfentanil. One of the effects of opioids is that it is even harder to stop taking them once an individual is dependent on them. Along with opioids, alcohol is a highly abused drug that is also responsible for taking too many lives each day.
Risks of the Combination
Alcohol might be a legal substance, one of the most common, that anyone over the age of 21 can access quite easily. But it can also be very dangerous and have very serious side effects, even when used by itself. The effects of the combination of alcohol with opioids can be unpredictable, dangerous and even deadly.
Combining oxycodone with your favorite alcoholic beverage can be a very risky combination, with serious consequences; physiological effects, respiratory problems, and behavioral issues. Both of these drugs are depressants, and when combined the effects are greater than when either of them is used alone. This combination can be lethal in severe cases.
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, a clinical study performed in 2017 shows that mixing the two of them increases the likelihood of a dangerous respiratory complication especially in older adults.
Other Effects of Alcohol and Opioids on the Body:
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in blood pressure
- Cardiovascular instability
- Dizziness or loss of coordination
- Marked disinhibition
- Irregular Heart Rate
- Abnormal behavior
- Loss of consciousness
- Decreased breathing/respiration rate (number of breaths per minute)
- Memory loss; increased effects of dementia
The physiological effects, such as depressed breathing or decreased breathing rate, are by far the most dangerous and life-threatening side effect when oxycodone is taken in combination with alcohol, enhancing the sedating effects of oxycodone. When you experience respiratory distress and the breathing rate slows, the amount of oxygen reaching the brain is decreased, which is a potentially fatal complication. When brain complications occur and the brain does not get enough oxygen it will begin to shut down vital organ systems. This can eventually lead to brain damage, cessation in breathing, coma, and even death.
Study of Substance Abuse and Alcohol Addiction in the Elderly
You might be surprised to learn that substance use disorder is one of the fastest-growing health concerns for adults over the age of 60 in the US. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcoholism and drug addiction and abuse affect up to 17% of all adults over 60 years old. Even when medical attention is sought, this is often overlooked by medical professionals due to rushed office visits, lack of knowledge, and limited research data. Another reason that this is frequently overlooked in older adults is that they often have behavioral or medical disorders that have similar symptoms of drug abuse. i.e. diabetes, dementia, and depression.
One article published by Science Daily states that there has been an increase in fatalities and people in emergency rooms because they abuse opioids while consuming alcohol. The article also states that the study found that elderly people are especially likely to experience this complication.
Statistical Significance of Pain Medication Abuse and Drug Dependency in Older Adults
- 17% of Americans over the age of 65 have abused prescription medications (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services)
- 30% of Americans over the age of 65 are prescribed medication by their providers (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence)
- It is suggested that any American over the age of 65 should not consume any more than 1 drink per day or 2 drinks maximum on any occasion (NIAAA)
How Do You Know When You’re Addicted?
The signs of opioid addiction, alcohol addiction, and addiction to several other addictive drugs can look a lot alike. The main reason that someone might begin taking prescription opioid medication is for the relief of severe pain, and even chronic pain. The following are some of the more common signs of addiction:
- being distracted from tasks or other thoughts because of an intense urge for a drug.
- Feeling as though you need to use a drug at least once a day, maybe even multiple times per day.
- Requiring an increased amount of a drug over time just to get the same effect.
- You begin to notice that using drugs is beginning to affect other aspects of your life such as your personal life, your career, and your social life.
- Engaging in risky behavior to obtain and use a drug, or spending a lot of money and time obtaining and using a drug.
Addiction & Withdrawal
Once someone develops a physical dependency on a drug, it becomes harder and harder to quit as time goes on. Without the drug, your body will experience several negative side effects; this is known as withdrawal. Oftentimes, when someone attempts to quit using a drug such as oxycodone, they feel that the symptoms of Oxycodone withdrawal are just too much to bear, so they, unfortunately, continue using.
Effects of Oxycodone Withdrawal
- Mental Illness; sadness or depression
- Flu-like symptoms; headache, runny nose, body aches, fever
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Clamminess and excessive sweating
What is the Fastest Way to Get Through Oxycodone Withdrawal?
Typically, an individual experiencing withdrawal symptoms will experience the worst of their symptoms throughout the first week. But some symptoms can last for months. Conventional treatments, like behavioral therapy, can take months to have effect. Unfortunately, most of those treatments are also ineffective as they do not address the root of the problem. However, Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is the fastest way to go through the withdrawal process.
What is ANR & When to Get Treatment
It is important that you get treatment as early as possible when you are struggling with addiction. It is crucial to address opioid dependency from a medical perspective because the root of the addiction happens within the brain’s chemical system.
Whether it is inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab, it often involves medications, withdrawals, and behavioral therapy for an extended period. But not with ANR, which only requires about 36 hours of hospitalization.
This one-of-a-kind treatment option has been developed by Dr. Andre Waismann, and it has helped treat addiction to opioids in over 24,000 people. Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is a science-based approach to treating opioid dependency.
The ANR approach not only reverses the addiction itself but also the physical and psychological symptoms of the addiction. The overall goal of the ANR method is to return an individual’s central nervous system to a balanced state by decreasing the number of opioid receptors and allowing the body to restart endorphin production.
What Does ANR Treatment Look Like?
Admission: On the morning of your treatment, you will be admitted to the treatment center’s ANR unit and will undergo lab testing and an extensive clinical evaluation. You will also receive pre-medication, making your transition into the treatment period very comfortable.
Treatment Period: You, the patient, will be under sedation for about 4-5 hours. During this treatment period, your endorphins and opioid receptors will be monitored and regulated by the treatment providers until the pre-dependency balance is established.
Recovery: On the evening of your treatment, the first stage of your recovery starts. You will continue to be evaluated and if needed your endorphin receptor balance can be adjusted.
Discharge: The morning following your treatment, you will be encouraged to get up and perform activities of daily living. Such as showering, eating, and slowly beginning physical activity. The majority of patients will be discharged from the treatment facility later that day.
To learn more about Accelerated Neuro-Regulation you can contact the Clinic by phone at 813-797-5688 or by email at [email protected]. You can also schedule your free consultation here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any drugs that slow your breathing rate should not be combined because they increase the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression. These drugs include opioid medication, alcohol, antihistamines, CNS depressants, or general anesthetics.
Even when combining alcoholic beverages and over-the-counter medications, serious health problems may occur. If you take painkillers regularly, you run the risk of a dangerous drug interaction whenever you’re drinking alcohol. Short answer: This combination is a dangerous cocktail. It’s best not to mix these two things.
Like all narcotics, oxycodone has an extremely high addiction profile, giving them a lot of potential for abuse. When you take more than the oxycodone dose prescribed to you by your healthcare provider, these drugs have psychoactivity effects.
“Opioids” include prescription drugs such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®, Lortab®, Lorcet®), and meperidine (Demerol®). Illegal drugs like heroin are also considered opioids.
It takes as little as a few weeks for someone to become physically dependent on an opiate. However, that depends on each person. If you take opioid medication for a day or two then it shouldn’t be a problem and, usually, you won’t get addicted. However, some studies suggest that even the first dose of opioids can cause physiological changes.
Opioid medications can cause your heart rate (or pulse) to slow down. When your heart slows down, it becomes harder for your body to pump blood throughout your body. Bradycardia usually isn’t painful, but it can make exercising more difficult.
Dr. Waismann identified the biological roots of opioid dependency, Since then he has successfully treated more than 24,000 patients worldwide that are struggling with opioid addiction.
Throughout his career, he has lectured and educated health professionals in dozens of countries around the world to this day.