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Oxycodone Addiction

Written by Melissa Carmona

& Medically Reviewed by Rachel Loukas, PharmD

Medically Reviewed

Up to Date

This article was reviewed by a medical professional to guarantee the delivery of accurate and up-to- date information. View our research policy.

Last Updated - 6/17/2022

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. Speak with a Recovery Advocate by calling (855) 602-7202 now.

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid used to treat certain types of pain. Semi-synthetic opioids are created by making chemical changes to naturally occurring opiates like morphine and codeine. Other examples of semi-synthetic opioids include oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone. These medications are chemically very similar to heroin and can be extremely addictive.

In addition to blocking pain signals, oxycodone produces feelings of euphoria and triggers the reward center in the brain, encouraging continued use. With long-term use, the body will stop making natural opioids and become physically dependent on the drug, making stopping very difficult. For these reasons, even the use of a legitimate prescription can lead to abuse and addiction. Fortunately, oxycodone addiction is treatable.

Oxycodone Brand Names

Oxycodone is manufactured under several different brand names, some of which include:

  • OxyContin (extended-release oxycodone)
  • Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen)
  • Tylox (oxycodone and acetaminophen)
  • Percodan (oxycodone and aspirin)

Symptoms of Oxycodone Abuse

Oxycodone use can have many different effects on the body. Certain effects are “desirable” or may be the reason a physician prescribes oxycodone, such as pain relief. On the other hand, several side effects are unwanted and may even be dangerous.

Physical side effects of oxycodone use include:

  • Sedation
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Flushed complexion
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash or hives

Psychological effects of oxycodone use include:

  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Feelings of relaxation

There can also be serious side effects caused by oxycodone use, including:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Respiratory depression
  • Heartbeat changes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Swelling
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Long-Term Effects of Oxycodone Abuse

When oxycodone is abused over a long period of time, there may be serious health effects. Some of these effects may lead to further disease or cause irreversible damage. Long-term effects of oxycodone abuse and addiction include:

  • Brain damage
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Breathing irregularities
  • Heart infection (with IV use)
  • Liver damage (when used in combination with acetaminophen)

Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

If you suspect that a loved one may be addicted to oxycodone, be on the lookout for social changes. Is your loved one socially isolating? Also, consider the daily activities your loved one participates in, like work, school and hobbies. Are they demonstrating a lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy? How are their relationships? Personal finances? If their oxycodone use negatively impacts different areas of their lives, these may be signs of oxycodone addiction.

How To Help Someone Addicted to Oxycodone

Oxycodone addiction is a serious matter. It can lead to a fatal overdose in many cases. If you have a loved one who is struggling with oxycodone addiction, it’s crucial that they seek treatment. You may need to stage an intervention and introduce consequences as a result of not seeking treatment. The person may be resistant to this now, but they may understand why you encouraged them to get help after they are no longer in active addiction.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

As with any opioid, withdrawal symptoms can occur if oxycodone is stopped abruptly. Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms may be more severe if you have been abusing the medication for a long period of time or if you are taking a high dosage. It’s recommended that you seek medical assistance while you are detoxing. If you attempt to detox on your own, you may be tempted to relapse when the withdrawal symptoms become severe.

Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking
  • Body cramping
  • Cold sweats
  • Runny nose
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Drug cravings

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

Seeking help for oxycodone addiction is absolutely essential in starting the path to recovery. Continuing to abuse oxycodone can result in tragic consequences for you or your loved ones. Drug addiction is a disease that needs to be treated, just like diabetes or cancer. Find the courage to reach out and ask for the help you need. Luckily, many professional treatment centers offer help for oxycodone addiction.

The Recovery Village Ridgefield is one such facility. Tucked away in the Cascade Mountains, our facility is located close to Seattle, Washington; Tacoma, Washington; Vancouver, Washington; Portland, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon. We offer a full continuum of care with personalized treatment plans to meet your needs, including medical detoxinpatient and outpatient care. If you are interested in beginning a path to recovery, give us a call today. We are waiting to speak with you.


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