It may have begun with an innocent desire to alleviate pain following surgery or injury, but at some point in the weeks that followed you became addicted to oxycodone. Oxycodone, sold under the brand names OxyContin and Percocet, is a powerful prescription painkiller made of a highly addicting synthetic opioid. The drug is so potentially addicting that the DEA has classified it as a Schedule II Controlled Substance.
The early effects of using oxycodone for managing pain are usually thought of as a lifesaver, quickly squelching pain, inducing deep relaxation, and even providing a sense of euphoria. Over time, however, these initial benefits fade as tolerance builds and addiction sets in. Addiction to oxycodone can have devastating effects on many facets of the individual’s life, impacting physical and mental health, relationships, career, and finances. In addition to the short-term consequences of oxy addiction, the long term side effects of oxycodone addiction are very serious as well.
Of course, not all oxycodone addiction originates with legitimate intent. Oxycodone misuse is rampant, with individuals obtaining the drug through illicit means and using a variety of means to ingest it. Some may crush the pills and snort the opioid, while others may liquefy the drug and inject it intravenously, bypassing the time-release intent of the medication.
Signs of Oxycodone Addiction
Behavioral, psychological, and physical symptoms emerge when someone acquires an addiction to oxycodone. Although these signs and symptoms will vary based on the amount of the drug being consumed and for how long, the following are often present:
- Hiding from others the extent of use
- Lying about use of the drug
- Doctor shopping after the prescribing doctor cuts them off
- Stealing pills from friends or family members
- Purchasing the drug online or on the street
- Neglecting family or work responsibilities
- Relationship problems
- Financial problems
- Nodding off
- Intense drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constricted pupils
- Dry mouth
- Reduced respiratory rate
- Withdrawal symptoms if drug is not available
- Physical tolerance to the drug
- Mood swings
- Symptoms of mental illness
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
When it is time to get help for the oxycodone addiction the first step is to complete a detoxification program. It is always recommended to seek a medically monitored detox program to help mitigate the very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that can quickly derail plans for sobriety. A medical detox will provide the necessary medical interventions and emotional support needed to make it through to the other side.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle, bone, and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Panic attacks
- Deep fatigue
During detox the individual will be provided with various medications that can greatly minimize these uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Long Term Side Effects of Oxycodone Addiction
There are serious long term side effects of oxycodone addiction that can pose health problems for years to come. These long-term effects include:
- Liver damage and failure
- Kidney damage and failure
- Serious cognitive difficulties
- Problems related to chronic constipation
- Serotonin syndrome, when the body produces excessive serotonin
- Risk of passing the addiction to an unborn baby
- Risk for overdose and death
Comprehensive Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction
After the individual completes a medical detoxification they can begin to participate in a variety of therapies provided in rehab. The treatment elements will be selected for each individual client to meet his or her own unique needs and might involve:
Psychotherapy. Unwinding an oxycodone addiction involves retraining the way the brain has been wired while in the addiction. A therapist will help the client identify the disordered thoughts that result in reaching for the drug, and then create new healthy thought and behavior patterns using cognitive behavioral therapy.
Group therapy. Peer support is an essential component in recovery, so group therapy sessions with a clinician leading the discussion can be a helpful source of support. The therapist facilitates discussion topics and guides the group participants towards sharing their feelings, fears, and experiences together.
Family therapy. Family group is helpful for those whose addiction has impacted the family members adversely. Family therapy can assist family members to communicate better, set boundaries, and to rebuild trust.
Addiction education classes. It is critical that the client has a good understanding of how addiction develops so they can be mindful of the risks to recovery. Relapse prevention planning is a key piece in these classes.
Recovery group participation. Active participation in a 12-step or non 12-step recovery community is an important source of social support and is recommended following rehab as part of the continuing care piece of recovery.
Adjunctive therapies. Biofeedback, neurofeedback, and eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) are sometimes utilized as complimentary therapies.
Holistic therapies. Holistic activities, such as yoga, massage therapy, meditation, mindfulness training, and art therapy can enhance the effects of traditional therapy.
Solutions 4 Recovery Leading Treatment Program for Oxycodone Addiction
Solutions 4 Recovery is a premier addiction and dual diagnosis treatment center serving Southern California. Using a multi-modal approach to treating oxycodone addiction, Solutions 4 Recovery tailors each client’s treatment plan according to his or her unique recovery needs. When struggling with an oxycodone addiction, it is important to get treatment as early as possible to avoid the long term side effects of oxycodone addiction. For more information about the program, please contact Solutions 4 Recovery today at