Oxycodone is a pain relief medication typically prescribed for severe to moderate pain. Even though it is synthetically made, this drug affects the user like other legal and illegal opioids do. Oxycodone gives the user a powerful euphoric high, increasing the abuse potential in many people.
Additionally, Oxycodone increases the risk of developing dependence and tolerance to this medication. There is still a risk of becoming dependent and tolerant to the drug even if you have been taking it as prescribed, which can eventually lead to addiction. In fact, anyone suffering from an addiction to prescription opiates such as Oxycodone is more likely to get a heroin abuse problem.
Symptoms and Signs of Oxycodone Abuse and Addiction
As a legitimate prescription medication, one can start abusing Oxycodone if they take it in methods or amounts other than prescribed. This includes crushing the tablets to inject or snort them to get a more potent high.
If you believe a loved one is suffering from an oxycodone addiction, you may notice them getting more of the drug than they need. Someone suffering from an oxycodone addiction might turn to doctor shopping, forging prescriptions, or stealing to restore their supplies. Such behaviors may tell you that this person is on the brink of oxycodone addiction and needs an oxycodone detox.
The behavioral indications of oxycodone addiction depend on various factors such as the extent of the addiction, the person’s assets, finances, and living arrangements. The five signs that someone is abusing pain killer medications such as Oxycodone include:
- Secrecy: People suffering from oxycodone abuse usually live a double life to hide this problem. Since oxycodone abuse is illegal, people abusing it might hide their use and use unfamiliar terms to reference their drug use.
- Changes in appearance: The person will start disregarding personal hygiene and grooming.
- Personality and lifestyle changes: The individual will find maintaining friendships and family relationships challenging. They will also withdraw from social or personal activities they used to enjoy and isolate themselves socially. However, they will also start hanging out with a new crowd that also uses drugs.
- Inability to perform as before: Drug abuse affects the user’s cognitive functioning making it hard for them to concentrate. This makes the person unable to meet their school, work, or home life requirements. Their performance will reduce, and they might miss work, leave early, or not attend essential engagements.
- Fatigue: The person will seem drowsy or tired due to a pattern of abnormal nap times outside regular sleep hours.
Other behaviors to watch out for include:
- Needing more of the drug to function
- Using Oxycodone in risky situations
- Experiencing oxycodone cravings regularly
- Worrying about the medication running out
- Being unable to stop using Oxycodone
- Taking heavy doses of the drug too frequently
Side Effects of Oxycodone Use
Since Oxycodone is an opioid drug, it affects the user like heroin, leaving them feeling less anxious, confident, relaxed, and happy. On the other hand, the user will also feel dizzy and drowsy.
Side effects are the symptoms resulting from oxycodone use and do not necessarily show what the addiction experience is like. When someone suffers from an opioid use disorder, the higher the dosage of opioids they use, the more intense the side effects will be. For example, if a prescribed oxycodone user experiences nausea as a side effect, they may vomit if they take too much of the drug.
On the other hand, it is still good to know the side effects of Oxycodone, as this will give you an idea of what someone abusing the drug may experience, possibly more amplified. Someone who is taking heavy doses of Oxycodone may start showing physical side effects of addiction, including:
- Breathing problems
- Appetite loss
- Dry mouth
- Vomiting and nausea
People who abuse Oxycodone are also at risk of overdosing, which can be deadly. Possible overdose symptoms from Oxycodone include:
- Small pupils
- Shallow breathing
- Extreme fatigue
Addiction is another possible result of oxycodone abuse. When you use a habit-forming drug such as Oxycodone, the body develops a tolerance in response to it. Once this happens, you will need to use more of the drug to get the desired euphoric effects you’re used to experiencing. As you keep using the drug, the body becomes dependent on it.
When an oxycodone user stops taking the drug or reduces their typical dosage, they experience withdrawal symptoms. The intensity and duration of the withdrawal symptoms will depend on factors such as the amount of Oxycodone abused and the span of abuse. Based on these determinants, the withdrawal symptoms can occur within six to 30 hours after the last dose.
Possible withdrawal symptoms of Oxycodone include:
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Abdominal cramping
- Muscle aches
Opioid withdrawal can be especially dangerous because withdrawal symptoms can cause complications such as dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea. This is why it is strongly advisable for individuals to get professional help from a rehab center or a detox facility for an oxycodone detox.
Aside from the health hazards, the intensity of oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can trigger a person to relapse. Most of the time, people relapse during the withdrawal process to eliminate the discomfort of the symptoms.
Long-term oxycodone abuse can result in psychiatric problems such as hallucinations, agitation, depression, insomnia, anxiety, confusion, strange dreams, and abnormal thoughts. If you spot any of the above indicators of oxycodone addiction in yourself or anyone else, it is crucial to seek professional assistance, starting with an oxycodone detox.