Oxycodone Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Understanding Oxycodone Abuse

Learn about oxycodone addiction & abuse

Oxycodone is a highly addictive prescription medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. This medication is typically prescribed to individuals who are suffering from medical conditions or ailments that require regular management of pain in order to live healthy, well-functioning lives. When an individual is taking oxycodone, it is imperative that he or she is closely monitored by his or her physician in order to prevent abuse of this drug. There are individuals, however, who consume this drug in a way that goes against their doctor’s recommendations or take oxycodone for recreational purposes.

Abusing oxycodone can be extremely costly to a person’s health. Additionally, those who regularly abuse this drug will likely have a difficult time stopping, as the withdrawal associated with this medication can be quite unpleasant, locking a person into a vicious cycle of addiction. Furthermore, the high produced by oxycodone is enticing enough to also keep an individual entwined in the pattern of abusing this painkiller. Fortunately, there are treatment options in existence that can help people combat and addiction to oxycodone so that they may be able to lead happy, healthy, and sober lives.


Oxycodone abuse statistics

While many people are prescribed oxycodone to alleviate pain, the number of individuals abusing this prescription medication is staggering. The United States Department of Justice estimates that more than 13 million Americans take oxycodone recreationally, and that about 9 percent of the adult population in the United States has abused oxycodone or another prescription opiate at least once.

Causes & Risks

Causes and risk factors for oxycodone abuse

The reasons why and how an individual comes to abuse prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone, are dependent on a certain underlying causes and risk factors. The causes and risk factors could make a person vulnerable to abusing medications like oxycodone:

Genetic: It is a widely held belief among professionals in the fields of addiction and mental health that a person’s genetic history plays a role in the development of an addiction to substances, such as oxycodone. This belief is rooted in research that supports the notion that substance abuse and addiction can be inherited from one’s biological parents if those individuals have a history of such concerns.

Environmental: A person’s environment can greatly affect whether or not an individual will come to abuse oxycodone. If an individual is exposed to drug abuse of this kind, is able to easily attain oxycodone, and lacks the skills needed to successfully manage emotional and/or physical pain, there is an increased risk for oxycodone abuse. Additionally, if a person is not closely monitored by a physician while being treated with an oxycodone prescription, there is also a chance that that individual will use this medication outside of the parameters set forth by his or her doctor.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of addiction
  • Personal history of addiction
  • Suffering from a chronic or complex pain condition
  • Having easy access to oxycodone
  • Personal history of a mental illness or illnesses
  • Lack of a strong support network
  • Lack of healthy coping skills

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of oxycodone abuse

Close friends and family members may not always be aware of their loved one’s abuse of oxycodone. Depending on the longevity of the abuse, the amount of this medication that is consumed, and the measures taken to acquire oxycodone, it may not necessarily be obvious that an individual is battling an addiction to this habit-forming medication. However, if you suspect that you or a loved one is addicted to oxycodone, it will be helpful to note the presence of any of the following symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Borrowing or stealing money from friends and family
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work or home
  • Socially isolation
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Lying
  • Borrowing or stealing pills
  • Visiting many doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Hiding Oxycodone in various places around one’s home

Physical symptoms:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Hypotension
  • Headaches
  • Troubled breathing
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Delusions
  • Restless thoughts
  • Increase in mental illness symptoms
  • Hallucinations
  • Constantly thinking about the drug
  • Paranoia

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Euphoria
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression


Effects of oxycodone abuse

Long-term abuse of oxycodone can make an individual vulnerable to a whole host of adverse effects of treatment is not sought and received. Several areas of a person’s life are known to be affected, including the following:

  • Loss of interpersonal relationships
  • Divorce
  • Failure to meet responsibilities at work or in one’s personal life
  • Financial difficulties
  • Job loss
  • Development of numerous health concerns as a result of oxycodone abuse
  • Vital organ damage
  • Development or exacerbation of symptoms associated with a mental illness or illnesses
  • Homelessness
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Unintentional overdose

Co-Occurring Disorders

Oxycodone abuse & co-occurring disorders

In many cases, people turn to prescription medications, such as oxycodone, in order to mentally escape the turmoil that is caused by the presence of a mental health disorder. For this reason, it is not uncommon for an individual to be diagnosed with one or more of the following mental health conditions while battling an addiction to oxycodone:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Additional substance use disorders

Everyone at Galax was so helpful! They worked with me and my family to understand the extent of my oxycodone abuse.

– Emily
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