Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone is a synthetic opioid that can be found within a handful of prescription painkillers, including popular ones like Percocet, Percodan, Tylox, and OxyContin. These medications are most commonly used to treat those who have been suffering with moderate to severe pain caused by injury, surgery, cancer, or other medical conditions. When an individual consumes a prescription medication that contains oxycodone, he or she will likely experience a decrease in pain along with elevated mood and a sense of relaxation. When the individual limits his or her oxycodone use to the dosage and duration that is recommended by a medical professional, he or she can safely benefit from the positive effects of the drug.

Sadly, the potency of oxycodone and its prevalence have made it a commonly abused substance, both by those who seek to self-medicate, as well as those who want to achieve a recreational high. Regardless of why an individual starts to abuse oxycodone, the results can be devastating. Oxycodone interacts with parts of the brain that also control automatic functioning, including heart rate and respiration. Therefore, those who exceed or ignore the suggested dosage risk cardiovascular damage that can be deadly.

In addition to the risk of death, oxycodone abuse also exposes an individual to a host of short and long-term risks, including the development of an addiction. Clinically referred to as opioid use disorder, oxycodone addiction can rob an individual of the ability to control the amount and frequency with which he or she abuses this substance. It will also cause an individual to put the acquisition and use of the oxycodone over personal, academic, and professional obligations, as well as other responsibilities.

When an individual attempts to defeat his or her oxycodone addiction by stopping his or her abuse of this dangerous drug, he or she might quickly start to experience a number of painful withdrawal symptoms. If the individual does not have effective professional care, these symptoms can be overwhelming and can cause the individual to fall deeper into the downward spiral of oxycodone addiction.

get confidential help now: (801) 396-5391 Email Us

Statistics

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), approximately 1.9 million Americans struggle with a substance use disorder including prescription painkillers, a category that includes oxycodone addiction. The same source also reports that women are more likely than men to struggle with chronic pain and to be prescribed painkillers, and that 48,000 women died at the hands of prescription painkiller overdoses between 1998 and 2010. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that 81% of all prescriptions for oxycodone in the world are written in the United States. NIDA has also reported that between 2001 and 2015, the annual rate of deaths caused by prescription painkiller overdose in the United States rose by 340%.

Causes and Risk Factors for Oxycodone Abuse

An individual’s risk for abusing and then becoming addicted to oxycodone might be impacted by a number of genetic and environmental factors, including the following:

Genetic: Possessing a family history of substance abuse can dramatically increase one’s risk for developing an opioid use disorder. The family risk is increased most in those who have a parent or a sibling who have grappled with addiction and/or a mental illness. Heritable traits such as impulsivity and novelty-seeking can also increase one’s risk for developing a substance abuse problem that includes oxycodone or other opioids.

Environmental: Early exposure to substance abuse through family, friends, and peers who abuse oxycodone or other opioids can serve as an environmental factor on one’s likelihood of developing an opioid use disorder. Trauma, poverty, surgery, pain due to injury, or a pain condition can also increase one’s risk for oxycodone abuse.

Risk Factors:

  • Receiving a prescription for oxycodone
  • Experiencing trauma
  • Poverty
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Prior substance abuse
  • Gender (women are more likely than men to be prescribed oxycodone)
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Early exposure to substance abuse

Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Abuse

Those who have been abusing or who have become addicted to oxycodone might display a series of symptoms, including, however not limited to, the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Abusing oxycodone when it is risky or reckless to do so, such as when also abusing another substance or when driving a car
  • Abusing oxycodone even after experiencing negative outcomes from prior use
  • Habitual absences from school or work
  • Declining performance in school or at work
  • Attempting but failing to end one’s use of oxycodone
  • Trying to borrow or steal oxycodone that has been prescribed to someone else
  • Trying to fraudulently obtain a prescription for oxycodone or attempting to acquire this drug via illegal means
  • Lying, secrecy, and deception pertaining to one’s activities and whereabouts
  • Trying to borrow or steal money or goods to exchange for drugs

Physical symptoms:

  • Shallow, slow, and/or labored breathing
  • Problems with balance, coordination, and reflexes
  • Numbness to pain
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weight loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Excessive yawning
  • Itchiness
  • Faint pulse
  • Withdrawal when not using oxycodone

Cognitive symptoms:

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

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Uncharacteristic anger
  • Loss of interest in significant activities
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Oxycodone Abuse

The continued, untreated abuse of oxycodone can lead to many negative effects and outcomes, including, however not limited to, the following:

  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Damage to vision
  • Suicidal actions
  • Unemployment
  • Family discord
  • Marital strife, including separation and divorce
  • Loss of child custody
  • Financial ruin
  • Damage to heart and lungs
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Physical injury due to impaired judgment and coordination
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Damaged or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Academic failure
  • Job loss

Co-Occurring Disorders

Those who become addicted to oxycodone might also be at risk for the following co-occurring mental health problems:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of oxycodone withdrawal: Someone who has developed an addiction to oxycodone might suffer the following symptoms of withdrawal when he or she tries to stop his or her abuse of this substance:

  • Intense cravings for oxycodone
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painful abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tics, tremors, and/or shakiness

Effects of oxycodone overdose: An individual who suffers the following symptoms after consuming oxycodone might have overdosed and is in need of immediate medical care:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bluish tint to skin near lips and/or fingertips
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Pupillary constriction or dilation
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Slow or shallow heartbeat
  • Slow, shallow, or labored breathing
get confidential help now: (801) 396-5391 Email Us