Oxycodone Addiction, Effects & Treatment

Oxycodone is a drug that has a high potential for misuse and addiction.1 According to the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.5 million people aged 12 and older misused prescription pain relievers like oxycodone in the past year.2 Additionally, 5.6 million people had a prescription pain reliever use disorder in the past year.2

This article will go into more detail about oxycodone, including its effects, risks, overdose, and how to find treatment for opioid addiction in Texas.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid medication that doctors prescribe to treat severe pain that cannot be effectively managed with other treatments.1 It works by binding to and activating opioid receptors in the brain, altering pain signals sent from the brain to the body.3 This action produces an increase of dopamine, which can strongly reinforce the continued use of oxycodone.3

Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it possesses high potential for both misuse and addiction.1

Side Effects of Oxycodone

Oxycodone shares several side effects with other opioid painkillers.1 Common oxycodone side effects may include:1

  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness.
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Itching.
  • Sweating.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Asthenia (weakness, lack of energy or strength).

Health Risks of Oxycodone

Serious health risks exist for those prescribed oxycodone, some of which may include:1

  • Misuse.
  • Opioid addiction.
  • Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression.
  • Accidental ingestion of oxycodone, especially by children, which can lead to fatal overdose.
  • Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome caused by prolonged use of oxycodone during pregnancy, which can be potentially fatal.
  • Concomitant use of opioid with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system depressants, including alcohol, which can lead to profound sedation, respiratory distress, coma, and death.

Oxycodone Overdose

An oxycodone overdose is a medical emergency and can quickly become fatal.3 Someone who is overdosing on oxycodone may exhibit the following symptoms:1

  • Respiratory depression (slowed or stopped breathing).
  • Extreme sedation or loss of consciousness.
  • Limp or weak muscles.
  • Cold and clammy skin.
  • Gurgling noises/unusual snoring resulting from regurgitation, causing partial or complete airway obstruction.
  • Constricted pupils.

If you suspect that you or someone else might be suffering from an overdose, call 911 immediately, administer naloxone (Narcan) if available, and stay with the person until first responders arrive.3

Signs of Oxycodone Misuse and Addiction

The misuse of a prescription opioid like oxycodone occurs when a person takes it in higher doses or in a way other than prescribed, takes someone else’s medication, or takes it to get high.3

Those who misuse oxycodone may swallow the tablet, capsule, or liquid form of it, while others may prefer smoking or snorting oxycodone. Additionally, some crush the tablets or open pills to dissolve the powder with water and inject it.3,4

Oxycodone misuse can also include:5

  • Requesting to refill a prescription for oxycodone in greater amounts or more frequently.
  • Going from one doctor to the next to obtain multiple prescriptions for oxycodone (also known as “doctor shopping”).
  • Falsifying or altering written prescriptions to obtain more oxycodone from a pharmacy.

Those who misuse oxycodone are at increased risk of becoming addicted to it. Addiction is a chronic medical disease characterized by the compulsive use of substances despite harmful consequences.6,7 Individuals who are addicted to oxycodone are diagnosed with opioid use disorder, or OUD.

A person must exhibit 2 of the 11 criteria for opioid use disorder (OUD) set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) within a 12-month period to be diagnosed.

These criteria include:8

  • Consuming opioids in larger amounts or over longer periods of time than originally intended.
  • No longer fulfilling responsibilities at home, work, or school because of opioid use.
  • Continuing to use opioids even in situations where it is physically hazardous to do so.
  • Having a persistent desire to cut down or stop opioid use, but being unable to do so.
  • Continuing to use opioids despite knowing that it is exacerbating or causing physical or psychological problems.
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of opioid use.
  • Experiencing cravings or a desire to use opioids.
  • Continuing to use opioids despite the social or interpersonal problems it is causing.
  • Giving up important recreational, social, or occupational activities because of opioid use.
  • Tolerance, or needing to take increasingly higher doses of opioids to achieve the desired effect.
  • Developing withdrawal symptoms, which can be alleviated by taking more opioids.

Oxycodone Detox & Withdrawal

Dependence refers to a physiological adaptation that is caused by regular exposure to the drug.1 Individuals who develop a dependence on oxycodone can experience withdrawal symptoms when they suddenly stop or reduce their oxycodone use.1

Some common oxycodone withdrawal symptoms may include:1

  • Restlessness.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Runny nose.
  • Sweats/chills.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Muscle aches and pains.
  • Gastrointestinal upset (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps).

Opioid withdrawal symptoms are not typically medically dangerous, but they can be intense and uncomfortable and make it more difficult to stop taking the drug.9 Therefore, a person wanting to stop their misuse of oxycodone may choose to enter a detox program so they can remain as comfortable as possible throughout this process.9

In a professional detox setting, healthcare providers can oversee the safety and wellbeing of patients while they clear their systems of oxycodone. If medically indicated, some patients may be prescribed medications such as buprenorphine or methadone to help better manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.9 Adjunctive medications, like ibuprofen and other over-the-counter drugs, may be administered to help mitigate less severe symptoms like headaches, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress.9

Once detox has been completed, patients are often encouraged to transition from detox into opioid rehab to will help them address the underlying issues related to their addiction and compulsive drug use .9

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment in Texas

If you or a loved one are struggling with oxycodone misuse or addiction, you can get help to start the path to recovery. Greenhouse Treatment, an inpatient rehab near Dallas, offers customized oxycodone addiction treatment plans and evidence-based therapies. We provide all levels of care to suit a variety of needs.

Please call to speak to a caring admissions navigator about our oxycodone rehab options or to learn more about treatment. You can also learn more about different types of rehab, insurance plans that cover treatment, handling the cost of rehab, and start the admissions process today.

Get started by instantly checking your with us right now.

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