Footprints to Recovery

Oxycodone Signs, Symptoms, and Effects

Medically Reviewed by Lisa Tomsak, DO

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Oxycodone is an opioid drug that is sometimes prescribed for pain relief. It can be highly addictive. In fact, about 21% to 29% of people prescribed opioids for persistent pain misuse them. Oxycodone produces feelings of relaxation and euphoria, which may explain its high potential for misuse.

Oxycodone is often prescribed under the brand name OxyContin., but it’s also available in combination with acetaminophen under brand names such as Percocet and Roxicet. It comes in pill or tablet form. Street names for Oxycodone include:

  • Oxy
  • Roxy
  • OC
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Ox
  • Kicker

It is extremely dangerous to abuse oxycodone. In a review of overdose-related deaths from the past two decades, it was found that more than 230,000 Americans died from an overdose involving prescription opioids. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction early.

If you are concerned that a loved one is misusing oxycodone, learn more about what warning signs of addiction.

Oxycodone Signs, Symptoms, and Effects

Physical Oxycodone Side Effects

Oxycodone abuse can have lasting harmful effects on the body. Some of these symptoms are immediate; others may occur after long-term use.

Short-term physical signs of oxycodone addiction include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Slowed breathing
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Dry mouth

Long-term physical signs of oxycodone addiction include:

  • Liver damage
  • Physical dependence on the drug
  • Lower levels of testosterone
  • Cravings for the drug

Behavioral Oxycodone Side Effects

Oxycodone addiction can greatly impact the user’s behavior. At times it may feel like you don’t recognize your loved one. They may start to keep secrets, lie, and withdraw from activities, family, and friends. If your loved one is struggling with an addiction, they may exhibit some of the behaviors below.

Short-term behavioral signs of oxycodone addiction include:

  • Poor decision-making
  • Sleepiness
  • Taking more medication than prescribed
  • Withdrawing from family or friends

Long-term behavioral signs of oxycodone addiction include:

  • Seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Giving up activities they once enjoyed
  • Ongoing conflicts with family and friends
  • Borrowing or stealing medication from others
  • Problems fulfilling responsibilities at home, work, or school

Mental and Emotional Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

There are several mental and emotional signs of oxycodone misuse. While an oxycodone addiction can impact an individual’s mood, evidence also suggests it can cause damage to the brain. If you notice changes to your loved one’s mood coupled with any of the physical or behavioral oxycodone side effects, they may be struggling with addiction.

Short-term mental and emotional signs of oxycodone addiction include:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Anxious feelings

Long-term mental and emotional signs of oxycodone addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Continued drug use despite psychological problems
  • Irritability

Self-Assessment: Am I Addicted?

Other Features of Oxycodone Abuse

Women using prescription opioids while pregnant can cause harm to their babies. Babies can develop neonatal abstinence syndrome, which means they become dependent on the drug and can experience withdrawal symptoms. Using prescription opioids while pregnant can also lead to low birth weight and miscarriage.

You should also be aware of the relationship between heroin and prescription opioids. These drugs are chemically similar and can have similar effects. Since heroin can sometimes be cheaper and easier to get, some users switch from using prescription opioids to heroin. Alternately, some people start with heroin and move to prescription opioids. Regardless of which comes first, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of heroin use as well.

If you’re worried your loved one is at risk of an overdose, you may be able to obtain naloxone to have on hand. Naloxone is an injectable liquid that can be given to people overdosing on opioids. It’s usually administered by first responders, paramedics, and doctors, but some states allow friends, family, and community members to give naloxone to a loved one experiencing an opioid overdose.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Oxycodone

One oxycodone side effect is that users can become dependent on the drug. If your loved one develops a drug dependency, they can experience symptoms of withdrawal when they stop taking it. Common oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Leg movements
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Don’t Wait to Get Help

The effects of oxycodone addiction can be dangerous and deadly. Prescription opioids are highly addictive, and they’re tied to a number of overdose-related deaths. It’s important to know the symptoms and serious side effects of oxycodone abuse and make a plan to address it with your loved one.

When a loved one chooses to seek treatment for oxycodone addiction, the first step is usually detoxification. Withdrawing from drugs and alcohol should take place in a medical setting where detox specialists use research-medications to ease painful withdrawal symptoms and monitor vital signs They will make sure your loved one is safe and as comfortable as possible.

The next step is an addiction treatment program where your loved one can learn more about the reasons why they’re abusing substances and develop healthy coping skills. Footprints to Recovery offers evidence-based, trauma-focused treatment that will prepare your loved one for long-term recovery. We have several levels of care:

If your loved one is struggling with oxycodone addiction and you would like more information, contact Footprints to Recovery treatment center. Calls are free and confidential.

Questions about treatment options?

Our admissions team is available 24/7 to listen to your story and help you get started with the next steps.

Jenna Richer
Medically Reviewed by Jenna Richer, MSW, LCSW
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