Symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal can last for up to one week following the last dose and may include the following:
- Runny nose
- Excessive yawning
- Body aches and pains
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
Out of all prescription drugs, opioids are among the most regularly abused—especially oxycodone. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) about 75% of those who misuse opioids choose either hydrocodone or oxycodone, and nearly 45% of that group prefers oxycodone.
What Is Oxycodone Dependence?
Oxycodone is the active ingredient in OxyContin and Percocet, both of which are brand name prescription opioids. Oxycodone acts on the brain by binding to and activating opioid receptors, which in turn dramatically increases levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates feelings of pleasure and reward, and at high concentrations, it can modify pain perception and induce euphoria.
As the brain becomes used to the continuous presence of oxycodone, it also becomes increasingly less able to function correctly without it. When a dependent person stops using oxycodone or sharply reduces the dosage, the brain temporarily struggles to rebalance and renormalize itself, and withdrawal symptoms manifest as a result.
Abrupt cessation of oxycodone interrupts the whole system, causing a cascade of physical and psychological withdrawal effects. For this reason, it is not advised to stop using oxycodone “cold turkey,” without the help of a qualified addiction specialist.
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
Physically, withdrawals from opioids such as oxycodone are comparable to flu symptoms, as mentioned above. High blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and trouble breathing are more severe side effects that may also manifest in cases where someone has become profoundly dependent on oxycodone and suddenly stops using it. Still, side effects of withdrawal are not typically life-threatening, but serious complications can occur, so opioid withdrawal should be supervised closely.
Furthermore, an individual undergoing an oxycodone withdrawal will also experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, which are known to be quite unpleasant. These psychological effects manifest because the chemicals absent from the brain during withdrawal are the same ones involved in producing positive emotions and motivation, and they will take time to be restored to previous levels.
Emotional and psychological effects of oxycodone withdrawal may include the following:
- Suicidal ideations
- Impaired concentration
- Mental fog
- General malaise
A person experiencing oxycodone withdrawal may also encounter strong drug cravings and the desire to resort back to drug use as a means to alleviate the side effects of withdrawal.
Detox and Oxycodone Withdrawal Duration
It is important to note that withdrawal syndrome and detox are not identical. Withdrawal is characterized by a collection of side effects that manifest when a person who is dependent on a drug stops using it abruptly. Detox, on the other hand, refers only to the process of clearing the substance from the system.
Withdrawal from oxycodone usually begins within 8-12 hours of the last use, and peaks in the first 72 hours. Symptoms usually subside in about one week, although some of the psychological effects and drug cravings may be more persistent. Overall, the time frame associated with oxycodone withdrawal symptoms is mostly determined by the average dose of oxycodone used and the typical method of administration.
Compared to everyday oral administration of a pill, injecting, snorting, or smoking oxycodone transports it more rapidly into the bloodstream. These illicit methods of administration result in a faster onset of effects but also cause the drug to be active in the body for a shorter period. Moreover, immediate-release formulations of oxycodone have a half-life of 3-4 hours, while extended-release has a much longer half-life of about 12 hours.
Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction
Medications used during medication-assisted therapy, such as Suboxone, are now available to help patients find relief from many of the most problematic oxycodone withdrawal symptoms. That said, most addiction professionals recognize that medications alone do not provide a complete answer for preventing relapse and sustaining long-lasting abstinence. This is because addiction is considered to be a chronic disease that affects many aspects of a person’s physical and emotional health, and an intensive, comprehensive approach is often needed to treat it effectively.
Moreover, evidence-based psychotherapies, counseling sessions, peer support groups, and health and wellness programs should be included in an integrated addiction treatment solution. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers these services, expertly managed by caring addiction professionals. We provide clients with the tools and support they need to cope with everyday stressors, prevent relapse, and experience a sustainable recovery indefinitely.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to oxycodone, other prescription opioids, illicit drugs, or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible. Discover how we help people liberate themselves from the grip of addiction and reclaim the fulfilling and healthy lives they deserve!