Oxycodone Abuse Signs, Symptoms & Effects

Red River Hospital helps individuals struggling with oxycodone addiction build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving Wichita Falls, TX, Red River is the leading provider of oxycodone addiction treatment.

Understanding Oxycodone

Learn about oxycodone and substance abuse

Oxycodone is an opioid medication that is either used on its own or combined with other medications. This substance can be found in OxyContin, Percodan, and Percocet, which are most commonly prescribed to individuals who have been grappling with moderate to severe physical pain stemming from cancer, injury, or surgery. When a prescription painkiller like oxycodone is consumed, an individual is going to experience a decrease in physical pain, along with additional symptoms including increased mood and a sense of relaxation. When the individual using oxycodone only consumes it as prescribed by a medical professional, he or she can benefit greatly from it.

However, oxycodone is highly attractive to people who do not need it for medical purposes, and those who use it for self-medication or recreational purposes. Regardless of why oxycodone is being abused, the results can be devastating. Oxycodone works with parts of the part that are in charge of automatic functions such as breathing and heart rate. When those who are taking oxycodone ignore the recommended dosage of this medication, they can easily begin struggling with negative detriments within their lives, up to and including the risk of death.

More specifically, abusing oxycodone can lead to the development of many short and long-term benefits, including addiction. Referred to clinically as opioid use disorder, an addiction to oxycodone can prevent an individual from being capable of managing how much oxycodone is being consumed in a given period of time. Additionally, use can become so consuming that the individual begins putting it before all other things in his or her life.

When an individual makes an effort to defeat his or her oxycodone addiction by stopping use, he or she can experience painful symptoms of withdrawal. If the individual does not receive professional treatment, these symptoms can become so powerful that he or she begins abusing oxycodone once more.


Oxycodone addiction statistics

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) reports that almost 1.9 million Americans are personally affected by substance use disorder, which includes the abuse of oxycodone. ASAM has also stated that women are more likely than men to experience chronic pain, meaning they are more likely to be prescribed painkillers. As a result, 48,000 women died because of prescription painkiller overdoses between 1998 and 2010. Also, 81% of all prescriptions for oxycodone are written within the United States, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIDA also states that the annual rate of death caused by prescription painkiller overdoses increased nationwide by 340% between 2001 and 2015.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for oxycodone addiction

An individual’s risk for abusing and then developing an oxycodone addiction can be affected by many different factors, including the following:

Genetic: Those who have a family history of substance abuse are more likely to struggle with substance abuse themselves. This risk is increased when immediate family members like parents or siblings have experienced substance abuse. Additionally, heritable traits such as impulsivity and novelty-seeking can lead to one developing an addiction to oxycodone or other opioids.

Environmental: Being exposed to opioids and/or other drugs within family or social settings can impact one’s chances of abusing drugs like oxycodone in the future. Additionally, trauma, pain due to injury, poverty, and/or disease can also raise one’s risk of addiction.

Risk Factors:

  • Gender (women are more likely than men to be prescribed oxycodone)
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Receiving a prescription for oxycodone
  • Trauma
  • Poverty
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Early exposure to substance abuse
  • Prior substance abuse
  • Mental illness

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction

Individuals who have abused or who have become addicted to oxycodone might display many different symptoms, including the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Abusing oxycodone even after experiencing negative outcomes from prior use
  • Habitual absences from school or work
  • Trying to borrow or steal money or goods to exchange for drugs
  • Declining performance in school or at work
  • Attempting but failing to end one’s use of oxycodone
  • Trying to fraudulently obtain a prescription for oxycodone or attempting to acquire this drug via another illicit means
  • Abusing oxycodone when it is obviously risky or reckless to do so, such as when also abusing another substance or when driving a car
  • Lying, secrecy, and deception
  • Trying to borrow or steal oxycodone that has been prescribed to someone else

Physical symptoms:

  • Problems with balance, coordination, and reflexes
  • Itchiness
  • Faint pulse
  • Numbness to pain
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weight loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Excessive yawning
  • Shallow, slow, and/or labored breathing

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Difficulty with concentration or focus
  • Poor spatial relations
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired judgment

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Uncharacteristic anger
  • Panic
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in significant activities
  • Paranoia


Effects of oxycodone addiction

When oxycodone abuse does not get treated, many different outcomes can occur, such as:

  • Damaged or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Academic failure
  • Marital strife, including separation and divorce
  • Loss of child custody
  • Family discord
  • Job loss
  • Damage to heart and lungs
  • Social withdrawal
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Financial ruin
  • Damage to vision
  • Suicidal actions
  • Unemployment
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Physical injury due to impaired judgment and coordination

Co-Occurring Disorders

Oxycodone addiction and co-occurring disorders

Those who are addicted to oxycodone may also be at a greater risk for suffering from one or more of the following co-occurring conditions:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of oxycodone withdrawal: When someone who is addicted to oxycodone attempts to stop his or her use of it, he or she can begin displaying the following symptoms:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painful abdominal cramps
  • Watery eyes and runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tics, tremors, and shakiness
  • Intense cravings for oxycodone

Effects of oxycodone overdose: Someone who shows any or all of the symptoms listed below after he or she has abused oxycodone should obtain immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage and/or death:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Bluish tint to skin near lips and/or fingertips
  • Slow, shallow, or labored breathing
  • Slow or shallow heartbeat
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Pupillary constriction or dilation
  • Disorientation or confusion

What sets us apart?

We understand the many pressures, concerns, and frustrations that can accompany the effort to find the best treatment option, and we are dedicated to doing all that we can to make this a more efficient and effective process.

Understanding, Expert Staff
Individualized Treatment Plan
Optional Family Involvement

I was treated with respect and staff showed me love, and understanding from day one till leaving out the door! I received courage, motivation, open eyes, and my heart. Thank you staff, for bringing me back to life.

– Former Resident
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