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Oxycodone Abuse Signs And Getting Help

What Is Oxycodone? 

Oxycodone is classified as a narcotic and an opioid. An opioid is the classification that is used for a natural or synthetic compound derived from the opium poppy plant.  This differs from an opiate, which is just a naturally occurring compound derived from the opium poppy plant. Oxycodone is synthetically derived and considered an opioid.  This particular opioid binds to receptor sites, such as those where dopamine would normally bind to. Additionally, it produces an excess of dopamine which begins the dangerous cycle that leads tolerance, dependence, and addiction. As an analgesic (narcotic pain reliever), it simply blocks pain messages that the brain sends. Oxycodone can be administered orally, or through extended release tablets. Oxycodone is an opioid that is much stronger than morphine.


Use & Abuse

With oxycodone, an individual can develop a tolerance to the drug. Oxycodone tolerance occurs when the body produces less and less natural dopamine (due to oxycodone signaling the body to release an excess or flood of dopamine). Therefore the user has to take more oxycodone to achieve the same initial effect and will continually need higher doses of the drug to achieve the same effects.


Symptoms of use can also be the same as abuse in the beginning stages. Symptoms of oxycodone use include:

  • feeling less pain
  • elation or happiness
  • muscle aches &/or relaxation
  • difficulty with respiration
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • confusion
  • sporadic sleep patterns


Once a person is abusing Oxycodone, and has developed a tolerance for the drug, the risk for overdose becomes extremely high.  Signs and symptoms of overdose can include:

  • reduced pupil size
  • no change when exposed to light
  • not easily roused
  • no response to external stimuli
  • lack of breathing
  • bluish tinge to extremities and lips


Oxycodone users can also develop a dependence on the drug. The dependence can be physical, mental, and physiological.  Though someone may be dependent on oxycodone, they may not be addicted. This is because physical dependence can occur even when properly taking the drug based on the length of the prescription.  However, once a person becomes dependent and oxycodone is stopped, then they will experience withdrawal symptoms.


If dependence is not addressed then addiction may follow. Addiction to oxycodone has additional symptoms as the individual will seek to maintain their use of the drug at all costs. Addiction behavior can include:

  • secrecy
  • theft
  • dishonesty
  • moodiness or behavioral issues (without cause)
  • loss of finances
  • large amounts of time alone
  • seeking out new friends or avoiding good ones



There are many types of treatments available for oxycodone addiction. They depend on an individual’s needs, the duration, and frequency of use of oxycodone. If drugs need to be flushed from the system, a detox or medical detox will be necessary. This will occur before inpatient or outpatient treatment.  If there is a psychological/mental dependence as well, an individual may benefit from inpatient treatment before outpatient treatment.


During the detox, there should be professionals on hand to help manage the oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, which may include:

  • sensitivity to pain
  • insomnia
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • abnormal sweating
  • feeling cold and shivering


Following a detox, if an inpatient treatment is not necessary, then an individual may choose from a day treatment, intensive outpatient program, or a traditional outpatient program.


A day treatment program offers an individual a high level of care and a lot of support. Treatment, groups, and therapy span an entire day, and the treatment itself consists of a higher level of intensity and management to assess how well the individual is progressing.


Intensive outpatient treatment and outpatient treatment may be an option for those with mild or moderate addiction issues. In addition to addressing the problems of addiction, intensive outpatient treatment will be able to accommodate and treat those with certain co-existing medical or mental health conditions. Outpatient treatment is a great option for those with other obligations to jobs, family, etc. With this type of treatment individuals are able to continue with their daily life while also placing supports to withstand addiction.  Outpatient treatment will be most beneficial for those who have more manageable symptoms, issues that are not increasingly detrimental, and are able to partake in a treatment plan.


Freedom From Oxycodone

These treatment programs are very helpful, as individuals spend a majority of their day receiving the care and support that they need. This support helps to gain freedom from addiction and live a healthy lifestyle. Individuals are also afforded the opportunity to be amongst their family, friends, and other individuals who may offer assistance during this transition. These types of addiction treatments also allow the familiarity of daily life and surroundings to offer comfort and ease during the changes. It is possible to live a life free from oxycodone, with solutions that are tailored to fit an individual’s lifestyle.

Additional References: WebMDEveryday

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