Learn About The Symptoms & Signs of Oxycodone Abuse

The signs, symptoms, and effects of Oxycodone addiction can be different for every person impacted. Learning about Oxycodone is one of the first steps towards getting better.

Understanding Oxycodone

Learn about Oxycodone and substance abuse

Oxycodone is a synthetic opioid that can be found in many prescription painkillers including OxyContin, Percocet, and Percodan. These medications are most often prescribed to those who have been struggling with moderate to severe pain that comes from injury, cancer, surgery, or other issues. When someone consumes a prescription painkiller that contains oxycodone, he or she will likely experience alleviation of pain. When an individual consumes this medication in an amount and for a period of time recommended by a doctor, a person can benefit from the positive effects of the medication.

Sadly, however, oxycodone is highly potent and is now a commonly abused substance by those who want to achieve a mind and mood-altering high. Regardless of the reasons why one begins abusing oxycodone, the resulting effects can be catastrophic. Oxycodone interacts with parts of the brain that are responsible for automatic functioning, such as heart rate and respiration. Therefore, individuals who ignore the recommended dosage of this medication place themselves at risk for suffering these detriments, which can be deadly.

In addition the possibility of death, oxycodone abuse also puts and individual at risk for a number of short and long-term risks, including the development of addiction. Clinically referred to as oxycodone use disorder, an oxycodone addiction can stop one from being able to manage the amount and frequency with which he or she is abusing this substance. It will also cause an individual to place the use and acquisition of oxycodone before all other responsibilities.

When someone tries to overcome his or her addiction to oxycodone by stopping his or her abuse of it, he or she might begin suffering many painful symptoms of withdrawal. If the individual does not get professional care, these symptoms can be overwhelming to the point where the individual falls right back into a deadly pattern of oxycodone abuse. Fortunately, there is treatment available for those who seek it, and it is possible to end one’s addiction to oxycodone once and for all.


Oxycodone addiction statistics

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), nearly 1.9 million Americans are afflicted with a substance use disorder that includes prescription painkillers like oxycodone. They have also reported that women are more likely than men to suffer from chronic pain and be prescribed painkillers, and that 48,000 women died due to painkiller overdose between 1998 and 2010. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that 81% of all prescriptions for oxycodone are written for citizens of the United States. NIDA also reports that between 2001 and 2015, the annual rate of death caused by prescription painkiller overdoses rose throughout the country by 340%.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Oxycodone addiction

One’s risk for abusing and then becoming addicted to oxycodone might be impacted by a series of genetic and environmental factors, including:

Genetic: Having a family history of substance abuse can increase one’s risk for developing an opioid use disorder. This risk is heightened most in those who have a parent or a sibling with addiction and/or mental illness. Heritable traits, such as impulsivity and novelty-seeking, can also increase one’s chances of becoming addicted to oxycodone or similar opioids.

Environmental: Early exposure to substance abuse within one’s family and/or social circles can serve as an environmental factor for one’s chances of developing opioid use disorder. Trauma, poverty, and pain due to injury or disease can also increase one’s risk of developing this condition.

Risk Factors:

  • Poverty
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Early exposure to substance abuse
  • Receiving a prescription for oxycodone
  • Trauma
  • Prior substance abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Family history of mental illness

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Oxycodone addiction

Those who have abused or who have become addicted to oxycodone might show a number of symptoms including, however, not limited to the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Trying to fraudulently obtain a prescription for oxycodone or attempting to acquire this drug via other 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 about one’s whereabouts or activities
  • Declining performance at work
  • Attempting but failing to end one’s use of oxycodone
  • Trying to borrow or steal oxycodone that has been prescribed to someone else
  • Abusing oxycodone even after experiencing negative outcomes from prior use
  • Being absent from work
  • Trying to borrow or steal money or goods to exchange for drugs

Physical symptoms:

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

Cognitive symptoms:

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

Psychosocial symptoms:

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


Effects of Oxycodone addiction

When oxycodone abuse goes untreated, a number of negative outcomes can develop, including the following:

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

Co-Occurring Disorders

Individuals who are addicted to oxycodone might also be at increased risk for suffering from the following co-occurring mental health conditions at the same time:

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

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Oxycodone withdrawal and overdose

Effects of oxycodone withdrawal: A person who is addicted to oxycodone might begin displaying the following withdrawal symptoms when he or she attempts to stop the use of this substance:

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

Effects of oxycodone overdose: Someone suffering from the following symptoms after consuming oxycodone might have overdosed and is in need of immediate medical attention:

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

This was the best place I could have ever chosen to go get help at! Unlike other behavioral health places in the Memphis area, Crestwyn is a very nice facility staffed with the kindest and most helpful people ever!

– Former Patient