Experiencing physical pain, especially chronic pain, can become quite challenging. Fortunately, there are opioid medications that can help decrease or alleviate severe pain. Oxycodone is a helpful prescription drug for those who are suffering from such pain. However, as a Schedule II controlled substance, it is highly addictive both physically and psychologically.
Belonging to the opioid family, oxycodone is regularly prescribed by physicians for patients who have severe chronic pain or have just gone through surgery.
It works well to reduce pain by binding to the brain’s opioid receptors, interfering with pain messages. Essentially, it hijacks the part of the brain that would normally send pain signals to the body, leaving a person feeling less or no pain. It also gives them a feeling of euphoria.
It’s exactly this feeling of euphoria and relaxation that causes the addiction. They may begin taking the medication as prescribed, but enjoy the feeling of euphoria or the feeling of numbing out emotionally. So, they take oxycodone even when they’re not in pain or they increase the amount in an attempt to feel even better, oftentimes increasing their tolerance. This often leads to drug abuse and addiction.
Over 2 million people in the United States abuse oxycodone, its branded forms OxyContin, Percocet, and Roxicodone, and other pain pills, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse. In fact, statistics report that almost 100 people die every day directly related to opioid overdose. As the opioid epidemic reaches every city, more and more people are now stepping forth to admit that they’ve become addicted and desire to reach out for help to overcome the addiction.
When trying to get off oxycodone, most people experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, which is one reason individuals find it challenging to remain sober. However, with the help of addiction specialists at qualified treatment facilities, overcoming oxycodone addiction is possible.
The following are a range of oxycodone withdrawal symptoms:
Withdrawing from oxycodone isn’t usually life-threatening, but it can be quite uncomfortable. The most significant potential danger is when someone quits oxycodone medication for a period of time and then decides to start using it again.
This is dangerous because when one goes through the withdrawal process, that person’s tolerance is reduced. When that person decides to start using the drug again, if they take the same dose that they were taking before they stopped, that dose can be too much for the body to handle, causing an overdose. The body has lowered its tolerance and cannot handle the larger amount.
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When trying to come off of oxycodone, one may face a range of withdrawal symptoms. The severity and duration of these symptoms will vary from mild to severe, depending on the following factors:
Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms may begin as soon as 8 to 12 hours after the last dose and usually peak within three days. Within a week, the majority of symptoms will have subsided, but some can linger on for several more weeks or months depending on the severity of the addiction.
The following is a general oxycodone withdrawal timeline:
The first two days can be rather tough. Generally, this is when flu-like symptoms will present, including muscle aches, fever, runny nose, watery eyes, chills, stomach cramping, bone pain, and fatigue. It’s best to already have social and professional help before trying to get through days one and two.
The second phase of withdrawal is not likely to be as uncomfortable, but symptoms can still be present. Heavy users may continue to experience physical discomfort for days three through five, like muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and psychological symptoms like anxiety, cravings, and depression. After day five, symptoms should be much better.
Withdrawal symptoms should largely be gone after the first 10 days, though some psychological symptoms may continue such as cravings, anxiety, or depression. The brain and the body are doing their best to return to a balanced state, so continued support from physicians or addiction experts is recommended to contend with any remaining symptoms.
Whether a doctor prescribed you oxycodone for pain or you have been abusing it for recreational purposes, it is important not to stop using the drug cold turkey or abruptly. Stopping the drug suddenly can cause some very uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Rather, it’s advised to allow a doctor to supervise a medical detox, lowering the dosage over time or tapering off the drug.
This helps minimize some of the withdrawal symptoms and decrease the chances of relapse.
Getting off of oxycodone, or other opioids, involves more than just detoxing from the drug. Detox is important, as it’s the first step toward getting free from addiction. However, many people wanting to get sober and stay sober from pain pills find that they need long-term addiction recovery treatment. This can involve various levels of care such as residential or outpatient treatment centers, support groups, and counseling.
A safe and effective withdrawal from oxycodone oftentimes includes medication-assisted therapy in an outpatient treatment center. This means that medication can be administered to help patients get through the severe withdrawal symptoms as comfortable as possible. Two such medications to assist those who are tapering off oxycodone are methadone and buprenorphine.
For those who are able to leave home for the duration of treatment, residential treatment is recommended, where around-the-clock monitoring can occur. This is helpful for those who are heavily addicted to oxycodone or those who would benefit from leaving home to focus solely on their recovery.
For those who cannot reside at the treatment center, outpatient treatment is a great option. They’ll receive the same types of services, but get to return home after each session throughout the week.
Undergoing an oxycodone detox may be challenging, but you certainly don’t have to try to get through it alone. Please reach out to us so we can assist you in getting the quality care you need in order to get free from opioid addiction. You deserve to have your life back, free from the compulsion to keep taking pills. The good news is that opioid addiction is treatable, and we are ready to help you get on your recovery journey today.
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Mayo Clinic. (2020, February 4) Tapering off opioids: When and how. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/tapering-off-opioids-when-and-how/art-20386036
verywellmind. (2020, March 25) Oxycontin Withdrawal Symptoms. Buddy T. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/oxycontin-withdrawal-symptoms-67708
Alcohol and Drug Foundation. Oxycodone. Retrieved from https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/oxycodone/