Substance Use

What Are the Options For Oxycodone Addiction Treatment?

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Overcoming oxycodone addiction can be a challenging but transformative process. Detoxification, the initial step, involves safely managing withdrawal symptoms as the body adjusts to reduced opioid levels. (1) Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be recommended, involving medications like methadone or buprenorphine to aid in recovery by reducing cravings and withdrawal discomfort. 

Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management, play a key role in addressing the psychological aspects of addiction.

These therapies help individuals understand the root causes of their addiction, develop coping strategies, and make positive life changes. Aftercare is a vital component, providing ongoing support and resources to help individuals maintain their recovery journey beyond the initial treatment phase. (1)

Together, these comprehensive treatment options offer a holistic approach to addressing oxycodone addiction and supporting individuals in achieving lasting recovery.

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What Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone, a powerful opioid, is derived from thebaine, a natural substance found in the opium poppy plant. This medication works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, disrupting pain signals and altering the perception of pain. (2)

Ultimately, it’s a painkiller. It is available in various formulations, including immediate-release and extended-release forms, allowing for different durations of pain relief.

Despite its efficacy in managing pain, oxycodone carries a risk of side effects, such as drowsiness, constipation, and nausea, and the potential for misuse, dependence, and addiction. (2) Healthcare providers carefully assess the patient’s pain needs and medical history when prescribing oxycodone or other painkillers such as naloxone.

Short-Term Effects of Oxycodone Use

When someone takes oxycodone, the short-term effects typically involve powerful pain relief. As an opioid pain medication, oxycodone works by attaching to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord, diminishing the perception of pain.

Beyond pain relief, individuals may also experience:

  • A sense of euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Drowsiness (3)

However, these effects are accompanied by potential side effects like:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness (3)

Individuals must use oxycodone as prescribed by healthcare professionals, as misuse or excessive use can lead to serious health risks, including addiction and respiratory depression. 

Regular communication with healthcare providers is essential to manage pain effectively while minimizing potential adverse effects.

Long-Term Effects of Oxycodone Use

Long-term use of oxycodone, a powerful opioid pain medication, can lead to a range of significant effects on both physical and mental health. One of the primary concerns is the development of tolerance, where over time, the body becomes accustomed to the drug, requiring higher doses to achieve the same pain-relieving effects. (3

Prolonged use may also result in physical dependence, meaning the body relies on oxycodone to function normally, and abrupt cessation can lead to withdrawal symptoms. (4) Beyond the immediate physiological impact, long-term use of oxycodone poses a heightened risk of addiction. 

The euphoric effects initially sought for pain relief can evolve into a compulsive need for the drug, leading to detrimental consequences in various aspects of life. (5

Chronic use may impair cognitive function, affecting memory and decision-making abilities. Furthermore, the risk of respiratory depression increases with prolonged use, emphasizing the importance of closely monitored and regulated prescription practices. 

It is essential for individuals using oxycodone over an extended period to regularly consult with healthcare professionals to assess the ongoing need for the medication, explore alternative pain management strategies, and mitigate potential risks associated with long-term use.

Signs of an Oxycodone Addiction

Identifying signs of oxycodone addiction involves recognizing both behavioral and physical indicators that suggest an individual may be struggling with substance dependence. Observable behavioral changes may include a heightened preoccupation with obtaining and using oxycodone, neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school, and difficulties in maintaining relationships. (6)

Individuals with an oxycodone addiction may display secretive behavior regarding their drug use, trying to conceal the extent of their consumption.

Physical signs may manifest as:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Fluctuations in weight
  • An overall decline in personal hygiene

Moreover, the development of tolerance, where higher doses are required to achieve the desired effects, is a hallmark sign of addiction. (6)

Withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, nausea, and anxiety when attempting to cut down or stop oxycodone use, indicate physical dependence. Engaging in risky behaviors, such as doctor shopping to obtain multiple prescriptions or resorting to illegal means to acquire the drug, are also red flags. 

Recognizing these signs early is essential for intervention and seeking appropriate professional help to address the complexities of oxycodone addiction effectively.

Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone is a powerful opioid prescribed to treat severe or chronic pain. When taken as directed, it can be an effective way of managing pain. However, when misused or abused, the drug can cause serious health problems.

Treatment options include detox, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies, and aftercare. But, as a disclaimer, some cases of drug abuse will vary, with various treatment options.

Types of Treatments for Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone addiction is a serious condition requiring professional medical care. (7)

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), short-term use of oxycodone can provide feelings of relaxation and euphoria, as well as relief from pain. (8)

However, when oxycodone is misused or used chronically at high doses, it can have severe consequences. Prolonged use of oxycodone with acetaminophen may cause severe liver damage, and an overdose can result in coma or possibly death. (8)

Oxycodone is also highly addictive, meaning that effective inpatient treatment options are essential.

1. Detox

Detoxification is often the first step in treating opioid dependence as it helps to rid the body of the opioid drug. (9)  It is essential, however, to seek professional medical care during this process, as withdrawal symptoms can be severe and dangerous. Typically, detox takes place as part of a specialized rehab program, and medications may be used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. (9)

2. Medications

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medications, such as buprenorphine and naltrexone, with counseling and other behavioral therapies to provide a “whole-patient” approach to recovery from opioid addiction or health conditions. (10)

This type of substance abuse treatment has been proven effective in helping individuals maintain sobriety over the long term. (10)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that thanks to buprenorphine, people struggling with opioid use disorder have improved access to the treatment they need. (11)

This medication is the first MAT for oxycodone addiction that can be prescribed or dispensed in American doctor’s offices, making it easier for those affected to get help.

3. Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are essential for treating oxycodone addiction as they help to address the underlying causes of substance use disorder and provide individuals with healthier ways to cope with stress and other triggers of drug use.

Common therapies include:

A study published in the National Library of Medicine states that CBT was developed by Aaron Beck. (12)

Beck observed that his patients with depression or mental health disorders often expressed illogical thoughts, prompting him to recognize the recurring “cognitive distortions” in their thinking and eventually leading to the development of CBT. (12)

Through his data-driven investigations, he began to perceive depression less as an emotional illness and more as a cognitive disorder. (12)

4. Aftercare

Once an individual has completed treatment for oxycodone addiction, it is important to have a plan in place to help them stay on the path toward recovery. Without effective aftercare, individuals are at an increased risk for relapse. Aftercare typically involves continued counseling and support groups to help maintain sobriety.

When To Seek Treatment?

A study published in the National Library of Medicine lists common side effects of oxycodone, and drug addiction as: (13)

  • Lack of energy
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching or tingling of the skin
  • Sleepiness
  • Sweating

Oxycodone is commonly prescribed for pain relief, but it is essential to be aware of the potential for addiction and seek help if needed. (13)

Signs that an individual may be struggling with oxycodone addiction include:

  • Increased tolerance or feeling like the oxycodone is not working as well
  • An inability to stop taking oxycodone even after trying multiple times
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when oxycodone use is stopped
  • Engaging in risky behaviors such as operating a vehicle or engaging in unprotected sex while taking the drug
  • Spending a significant amount of time trying to obtain and use oxycodone

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs of prescription drugs, it is essential to seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent further harm or addiction.

Recognizing When Someone Has Overdosed on Oxycodone

Oxycodone overdose occurs when an individual takes a higher dose of the drug than the body can effectively process, leading to potentially life-threatening consequences. (14) The drug, an opioid pain medication, affects the central nervous system, slowing down vital functions such as breathing and heart rate.

 In an overdose situation, these functions may become dangerously suppressed, putting users in severe pain.

When someone has overdosed on oxycodone, there are specific signs and symptoms to be aware of. (15) Common indicators include extreme drowsiness or difficulty staying awake, confusion, and slurred speech. (15)

Symptoms of an oxycodone overdose include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Clammy or cold skin
  • Pinpoint pupils

If left untreated, an overdose can lead to respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, and death. (15)

Physical signs may include slow or shallow breathing, a bluish tint to the lips or fingertips, and pinpoint pupils. Additionally, the person might experience nausea or vomiting. If you suspect someone has overdosed on oxycodone, it’s essential to seek immediate medical help. (15)

Call emergency services immediately and provide relevant information about the person’s symptoms.

While waiting for help to arrive, stay with the person and try to keep them awake and breathing. Do not attempt to administer any medications unless directed by medical professionals. Recognizing the signs of an oxycodone overdose and acting swiftly can significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome through timely medical intervention.

How To Find a Treatment Center

The proper treatment center can make a world of difference when it comes to overcoming an oxycodone addiction.

When selecting a treatment center, look for one that offers comprehensive services tailored to individual needs, such as detox, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies, and aftercare. It is also important to ensure the staff are experienced in treating opioid addiction and are committed to providing quality care.

Zinnia Health offers oxycodone addiction treatment centers across the country. Explore our locations to find one that is best for you.

Finding the right treatment center can be a daunting task, but there are resources available to help.

When you find a potential facility, ask them the following questions:

  • What type of treatment do you offer? Are there outpatient programs?
  • Are your staff experienced in treating opioid addiction?
  • Do you provide aftercare services?
  • What are the credentials and licenses of your staff?

These questions can help to ensure that you select a facility that is well-equipped to meet your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are frequently asked questions about oxycodone addiction or opioid overdose.

1. Does Insurance Cover Oxycodone Addiction Treatment?

In many cases, insurance will cover some or all of the costs associated with oxycodone addiction treatment. It is important to speak with a representative from your insurance provider to determine your coverage type.

2. Are Medications Used in Oxycodone Treatment?

Yes, medications such as buprenorphine or naltrexone may be used in oxycodone addiction treatment to help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. It is important that these medications are prescribed by a doctor and monitored closely for safety.

According to SAMHSA, unlike oxycodone, naltrexone is not addictive and does not cause withdrawal symptoms with discontinuation of use. (16)

It works by neutralizing the pleasurable and sedating effects of oxycodone.

3. Are Drug Treatment Programs Effective for Oxycodone Addiction?

Yes, studies have found that drug treatment programs are effective at helping individuals overcome oxycodone addiction. Treatment programs typically involve detoxification, counseling, and medications that can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and decrease the risk of relapse.


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