Oxycodone Effects & Warning Signs

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Understanding Oxycodone Addiction

Learn About Oxycodone Abuse & Addiction

Oxycodone is a strong and possibly addictive synthetic opioid that is known for its painkilling effects, providing a sense of relaxation and euphoria. This substance can be found in many different medications, including Roxicodone and OxyContin, and are typically prescribed to treat individuals who have been suffering from moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone is a safe and beneficial medication when consumed as directed and under the care of a prescribing physician. However, the abuse of oxycodone can lead to a number of negative outcomes.

The pleasing effects that are elicited through the abuse of oxycodone and its ease of access make it sadly popular. Some individuals start to abuse oxycodone after being prescribed OxyContin or a similar pain medication, while others abuse the drug specifically for recreational reasons. Regardless of how one first begins using oxycodone or why one starts abusing it, this behavior is dangerous, and the individual is exposing him or herself to severe damage. Oxycodone interacts with parts of the brain that control respiration, heart rate, and other automatic processes, so those who abuse this drug risk harm if they suffer an overdose. Also, an addiction to oxycodone, which is clinically known as opioid use disorder, can develop very quickly and can be highly challenging to defeat.

When someone develops an addiction to oxycodone, he or she will lose the ability to control the frequency and the amount that he or she abuses this substance. He or she will also start to prioritize the acquisition and the use of this medication above personal relationships, professional duties, and other areas of life. When someone who has become addicted to oxycodone tries to stop abusing the drug, the fast onset of highly painful symptoms of withdrawal can keep the individual trapped within the dangerous cycle of oxycodone abuse.

Gratefully, opioid use disorder can be treated. With the appropriate professional treatment, an individual can clear his or her body of oxycodone, defeat the desire to abuse this dangerous opioid, and obtain the skills needed to support an effective long-term recovery.

At Wilmington Treatment Center, we realize the many ways in which opioid abuse can undermine one’s ability to live a healthy and productive life, and we have established effective programming to treat this kind of chemical dependency. With our assistance, many individuals who were previously dependent on oxycodone have been able to stop their use of this drug and obtain healthier futures, free from the confines of oxycodone addiction.


Statistics of Oxycodone Abuse

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), nearly five million American citizens abuse prescription opioids every year, including medications containing oxycodone. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that about 15,000 people in the country lose their lives every year because of the abuse of prescription painkillers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that two million Americans are currently addicted to a prescription painkiller like OxyContin, which contains oxycodone.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes & Risk Factors of Oxycodone Abuse

A person’s risk for abusing and becoming addicted to oxycodone can be impacted by a number of genetic and environmental factors, such as:

Genetic: Those with a family history of substance abuse are at a greater risk for developing a similar issue. The risk is most increased in those who have parents or siblings who have grappled with addiction. The same goes for mental illness, as the presence of it in one’s family can increase one’s risk for addiction, as can traits including impulsivity and novelty seeking.

Environmental: Having parents or siblings who abuse oxycodone can also be an environmental factor, as can spending time with those who partake in this action. Suffering trauma, being prescribed oxycodone for injury or illness, and living in poverty are also environmental impacts that can raise one’s risk for oxycodone abuse and addiction.

Risk Factors:

  • Being prescribed oxycodone
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Personal history of prior substance abuse and/or mental illness
  • Early exposure to opioid abuse
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Experiencing trauma
  • Living in poverty
Signs & Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms of Oxycodone Abuse

Someone who has been abusing or who has become addicted to oxycodone might show a number of signs and symptoms, including, however not limited to, the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Abusing oxycodone when it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as in combination with alcohol or other substances, or when driving a car
  • Habitual absences from school or work
  • Declining performance in school or at work
  • Continuing to abuse oxycodone even after experiencing negative outcomes from prior use
  • Borrowing or stealing money
  • Borrowing or stealing oxycodone that has been prescribed to someone else
  • Significant unexplained weight loss
  • Lying or being otherwise deceptive regarding one’s whereabouts or activities
  • Trying to fraudulently obtain a prescription for oxycodone

Physical symptoms:

  • Slow heart rate and faint pulse
  • Shallow breathing
  • Itchiness
  • Excessive yawning
  • Numbness to pain
  • Constipation
  • Problems with balance, coordination, and reflexes
  • Drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Difficulty with concentration or focus
  • Impaired memory
  • Poor spatial relations

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Unprovoked anger
  • Panic
  • Loss of interest in significant activities
  • Withdrawal
  • Paranoia

Effects of Oxycodone Abuse

Those who keep abusing oxycodone without receiving effective professional care might suffer a number of negative outcomes and effects, including, however not limited to, the following:

  • Financial problems
  • Family discord
  • Strained, damaged, or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Physical injury due to impaired judgment and coordination
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Social withdrawal
  • Job loss
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Financial devastation
  • Impaired sexual functioning
  • Academic failure
  • Vision problems
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Substandard occupational performance
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts
Co-Occurring Disorders

Oxycodone Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

Someone who develops an oxycodone addiction might be at a greater risk for the following co-occurring mental health conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Effects of Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal & Overdose From Oxycodone

Below are the withdrawal symptoms that might occur when an individual tries to stop his or her use of oxycodone after developing a dependency on this drug:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Painful abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Intense oxycodone cravings
  • Tics, tremors, and shakiness
  • Muscle spasms

Effects of oxycodone overdose: Anyone who experiences symptoms like those below after consuming oxycodone might have overdosed and requires immediate medical attention:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slow, shallow, or labored breathing
  • Extreme confusion or disorientation
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Faint pulse
  • Bluish coloration near lips and/or fingertips
  • Cold, clammy skin

Wilmington is an amazing place to receive treatment and go through recovery from this deadly disease of addiction. Honestly, I would probably still be addicted to pills if I'd done anything differently.

– Megan C.
We are affiliated with the following organizations, which provide accreditation, education, and training to ensure quality behavioral health and addiction treatment.
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • The Jason Foundation
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval
  • Tricare

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