Oxycodone, an opioid drug generally prescribed under the brand names OxyContin and Percocet, is primarily used for relief of moderate to severe pain. Despite being manufactured in a lab and prescribed by doctors to treat patients with chronic or acute pain, oxycodone impacts the user in ways that many illegal opioids affect a user. With powerful high producing effects, many people, regardless of their intention to use as prescribed, become addicted to using the drug and inevitably end up using the drug in other ways than for their chronic/acute pain. Additionally, when using more than prescribed, the user will develop an increased tolerance to taking the drug, therefore, needing more of the drug to feel the same effects. With increased dosage comes the increased risk of accidental overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published alarming statistics that drug overdose deaths involving opioids rose from 18,515 deaths in 2007 to 47,600 deaths in 2017; 68% of those deaths occurring among males. Understanding how oxycodone affects the user, what withdrawal symptoms look like, and how to get treatment are key to prevent the further expansion of these devastating numbers.

Side Effects of Oxycodone Abuse

Like other opioid drugs, oxycodone acts on the reward centers of the brain, giving the user intensely positive feelings. Additionally, because it works on the central nervous system of the body, the user will perceive his/her pain and emotional response to pain to be lessened. When used as prescribed, oxycodone can have mild side effects. Like other narcotic drugs, driving and other activities that require mental or physical abilities may be impaired with lower doses. However, when taken more than prescribed, particularly when abusing the drug, these side effects can become more serious.

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Side effects of oxycodone include:

  • Breathing irregularity
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Heart failure
  • Overdose death due to cardiac arrest

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

The intensity of oxycodone withdrawal depends on many factors, including: the duration of use, the amount used, and the degree of neuroadaptation in the user (long-lasting changes in the brain).

Common withdrawal symptoms include some or all of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Sore muscles or tremors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Depression, anxiety, or mood swings

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Withdrawal symptoms can start within an hour after taking the last dose and can last about a week depending on the person and the degree of severity of addiction. Symptoms like depression, anxiety, or mood swings may last months or longer.

Getting Help with Oxycodone Withdrawal

Trying to detox off oxycodone can be dangerous and highly ineffective for the user if doing it alone. Getting the right medical attention and treatment when detoxing off of oxycodone is extremely vital in recovering without extreme withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, with clinical help, one can get the psychological treatment needed to transition from addiction to sobriety without going back to the drug in the future. At Infinite Recovery, we don’t want your detox to be any more difficult than it needs to be. With our medical and clinical professionals, along with our board-certified psychiatrist with over 20 years in addiction medicine, we set the foundation for someone with oxycodone dependence to heal holistically. Reach out to our compassionate staff for further information. We are here to help guide you so that you can get the recovery you or your family member needs and deserves.

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