Many people start out taking oxycodone as prescribed. However, as the body develops a tolerance to the medication, they can self-medicate and take higher doses to relieve their pain. Unfortunately, this transition to misusing oxycodone can lead to addiction. Therefore, recognizing the symptoms of oxycodone addiction could prevent you from accidentally overdosing and dying.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a prescription medication and controlled substance that is a semi-synthetic opioid narcotic which can become highly addictive when used long-term. As oxycodone is released into the body, it interacts with pain receptors in the brain and the central nervous system to block pain perception.
People using the medication can also experience a sense of euphoria from its effects. This is caused by an increase in the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a natural neurotransmitter that helps alleviate pain and increase pleasure.
Is Oxycodone Addictive?
Oxycodone can be an addictive medication when taken for more than a few weeks. The physical dependence on the drug will become apparent with two to three weeks of continued use. Other factors, such as a family history of addiction, the dosage amount, and the reinforcement of the pleasurable effects of oxycodone use, can further increase the risks of addiction.
Dangers of Oxycodone Use
#1. Oxycodone is habit-forming.
As with other opioid medications, oxycodone alters neurotransmitters in the brain and central nervous system to reduce pain and increase pleasure. Consequently, it can be very tempting to misuse the medication.
#2. The body develops a tolerance to oxycodone.
The longer oxycodone is taken, whether as prescribed or misused, the body becomes resistant to the effects of the drug. Therefore, to compensate for these changes, one must take higher dosages to achieve similar results.
#3. You can become even more sensitive to pain.
Long-term oxycodone use can alter the brain’s chemistry leading to hypersensitization of pain receptors. So, even a minor cut can be perceived by the brain as very painful.
#4. Oxycodone affects impulse control.
Impulse control is our ability to evaluate risks and rewards which helps us make appropriate decisions. The effects of oxycodone use cause changes in these processes, leading to engaging in risky behaviors, becoming aggressive, or making rash decisions as a result.
#5. Chronic oxycodone abuse can cause brain damage.
The frontal lobe of the brain can be damaged from long-term oxycodone abuse. As a result, a person could have issues with speaking, language comprehension, mobility, memory, concentration, problem-solving, and decision making.
#6. The risks of accidental overdose increase with long-term abuse.
Since large dosages are required to achieve the desired effect, one can easily accidentally overdose on oxycodone.
#7. Long-term use makes it difficult to stop using oxycodone.
Attempting to stop oxycodone or even reduce dosages can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that can induce physical pain and trigger psychological symptoms.
Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction
The type of symptoms one experiences when addicted to oxycodone can vary but, in general, include:
- Inability to function without using the drug
- Changes in appetite
- Frequent mood swings
- Engaging in drug-seeking behavior
- Experiencing fear when the drug is not available
- Keep a secret stash of oxycodone
- Hiding oxycodone use from family and friends
- Stealing other people’s prescriptions or money
- Exchanging sex for oxycodone
- Taking other opioids when oxycodone is unavailable
- Problems with motor coordination and speech
- Memory, concentration, and decision-making problems
- Becoming easily angry as well as violent
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- No longer finding pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Inability to stop, even when a person wants to
Symptoms of Oxycodone Withdrawal
The severity of the withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone depends on various factors, such as:
- How long it was taken
- The dosage amount
- The extent of the addiction
Keeping this in mind, typical withdrawal symptoms can include the following:
- Muscle pain
- Body aches and pains
- No appetite
- Hot and cold sweats
- Uncontrolled shaking
- Cravings of oxycodone
Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline
Withdrawal from oxycodone can begin within 4 to 8 hours of the last dose but could take up to 24 hours. Once withdrawal starts, most people experience severe flu-like symptoms. Cravings, anxiety, and other typical withdrawal symptoms can appear by the third day.
The most severe withdrawal symptoms begin to subside within 3 to 7 days after discontinuing oxycodone use. However, they can continue for 2 to 4 weeks, or longer in some cases. Even after the drug is no longer in the body and the adverse withdrawal symptoms have subsided, people can also experience PAWS (post-acute withdrawal symptoms).
PAWS is a condition that can occur in some people who have abused oxycodone for a long time. While the physical withdrawal symptoms of withdrawal are no longer present, mood-related and psychological withdrawal symptoms can still be ongoing for several months or even up to a year.
Addiction Treatment for Oxycodone
The first step in getting help for oxycodone addiction is to undergo medically supervised detox. It is essential to know the withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone could be potentially hazardous and life-threatening when detox is not medically supervised.
Furthermore, supervised detox can help alleviate the more severe withdrawal symptoms with the help of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT uses various medications that mimic the effects of oxycodone without the additiveness.
Being carefully weaned of oxycodone and then the MAT medication helps reduce the risks of relapse and allows the person to continue with addiction treatment. Thus, depending on the individual’s needs, rehab treatment options include residential and outpatient programs.
Detox and Addiction Treatment for Oxycodone in Orange County, CA
Overcoming oxycodone addiction can be difficult but is possible when you want help and are ready to take the first steps on your recovery journey. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, California, we offer a caring, supportive, and safe environment for you to detox and begin your treatment.
We will work with you to create a detox and addiction treatment program that best reflects your objectives for long-term sobriety. To start your oxycodone detox and treatment or to learn more, visit our admissions page today.