Oxycodone is a potent prescription opioid commonly known as the brand names OxyContin and Percocet and is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. While most people who are prescribed oxycodone to manage their pain use the medication as directed, there are some who find the pleasant feelings it can induce very desirable and begin to misuse it.
Prescription medication misuse occurs when a person uses prescription medication for non-medical reasons, and many people who abuse prescription drugs choose opioids. Narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone provide pain relief, but can also induce pleasurable or euphoric feelings. People who abuse oxycodone may begin after experiencing the euphoria it causes and later finds it is an effective way to temporarily self-medicate away feelings of stress and emotional pain.
Those who abuse oxycodone often crush the pills into powder and then snort or inject it directly into the bloodstream, which produces a more intense high.
Oxycodone use can result in the development of tolerance at a more accelerated rate than some other opioids. Tolerance is characterized by the need to continuously increase the amount used of a substance over time to achieve the pleasurable effects as previously experienced. The building of tolerance and the associated increase in the amount used can rapidly result in addiction as well as significantly increase the risk of overdose.
In 2013, the FDA approved the use of an abuse-deterrent formulation of oxycodone that offers comparable long-lasting pain control but does not induce these same effects if the medication is crushed or altered. This formula was created as an attempt to reduce the risk of abuse and overdose associated with using oxycodone in a manner in which it is not intended.
Although most people who are prescribed oxycodone use it as directed and do not develop an addiction, certain individuals rapidly become dependent upon it. Many oxycodone addicts also use other substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, concurrently in an attempt to achieve a more intense high. Unfortunately, polysubstance abuse further increases the risk of adverse effects on a person’s physical health and emotional well-being.
Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction
Among the most common side effects of oxycodone addiction include the following:
Psychological and Emotional Symptoms
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings
- Agitation or irritability
- Anger and frustration
- Impaired attention span
- Memory problems
- Disorganized thoughts
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Increased risk of suicide
- Preoccupation with substance attainment and use
- Forging prescriptions
- Lying and stealing
- Hiding substance use
- Financial or legal issues
- Routine ER visits complaining of pain
- Stealing or borrowing opioids from friends or family
- Purchasing oxycodone on the black market
- Social isolation, interpersonal relationship problems
- Doctor-shopping, or obtaining multiple prescriptions
- Tolerance and dependence
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Phantom aches and pains
- Respiratory depression
- Breathing problems
- Sleep apnea
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Circulatory problems
- Liver or kidney damage
- Chronic dry mouth
- Itchy skin
- Decreased libido
Withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone are comparable to withdrawals from other opioids. Withdrawal symptoms can be highly unpleasant, and any attempts to cut down the amount or frequency of oxycodone used should be discussed with a physician or addiction specialist to ensure withdrawal is safe.
Withdrawal symptoms from oxycodone may include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body and muscle aches
- Abdominal cramping
- Runny eyes and nose
- Extreme sweating
- Tremors and shakiness
- Brain fog
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatment for Oxycodone Abuse and Addiction
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers comprehensive treatment for addiction in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. We employ an integrated approach to substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders that includes evidence-based services vital to the recovery process. These services include psychotherapy, individual, group, and family counseling, psychoeducation, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning.
Our staff is comprised of caring health providers who specialize in addiction and facilitate these services to clients with compassion and expertise. We are dedicated to helping people free themselves from the grip of addiction so they can begin to experience the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to oxycodone or other opioids, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options and find out how we can help!