Warning Signs, Symptoms and Side Effects of Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone is a common ingredient of many opioid bases painkillers such as Percocet, OxyContin, Roxicodone etc which are frequently prescribed in United States. Most of Oxycodone addictions start with medicinal use of the drug. For this reason, it is only prescribed for a short term use. If abused, the potential of development of addiction is further increased. Addicted individuals then turn to street dealers to acquire the drug. Most of the addicts try to hide their addiction either due to shame or to avoid the painful treatment. However, as the addiction progresses, its signs and symptoms become obvious that serve as an indication that a loved one needs help.

Signs of Oxycodone abuse:

Oxycodone addiction can be difficult to detect. A user might become addicted to it without even realizing it. However, some signs and symptoms of addiction can help pinpoint it. The problem starts with development of tolerance. Gradually, the user starts increasing the dosage amounts of the drug to deal with tolerance. Taking the drug in amounts more than prescribed is considered abuse. Abuse finally develops into addiction as the body is no more able to function without the drug.

As the addiction progresses, a number of behavioral, physical and mental signs can be observed in the addict.

Behavioral signs:

  • Suspicious behavior
  • Lying when questioned about behavior
  • Lack of interest in activities the addict previously enjoyed
  • Poor performance at school or office/ skipping school or office frequently
  • A change in company/ antisocial behavior
  • Inability to maintain healthy relationships with loved ones
  • Faking severe pain and making frequent visits to the doctor to get a prescription for Oxycodone

Physical signs:

  • Sedation
  • Pain relief
  • Constipation
  • Persistent headache
  • Redness of skin
  • Stomachaches
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cough suppression
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils

Psychological signs:

  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings
  • Euphoria
  • Apathy

Immediate side effects of Oxycodone:

Oxycodone is a potent opioid which produces strong euphoric and relaxant effects upon consumption. Apart from these desirable effects, some unpleasant effects are also produced by the drug which may range from mild to fatal. Some common short term side effects of Oxycodone include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Nightmares
  • Seizures
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Depressed respiratory rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Itching
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hives/rashes
  • Lightheadedness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations

Long term side effects of Oxycodone:

If the abuse of Oxycodone is prolonged, the damaging effects produced by it on the body and mind can be permanent. Some common long term side effects of Oxycodone include:

  • Depression
  • Heart failure
  • Other heart problems such as endocarditis
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Liver damage
  • Collapsed veins
  • Brain damage
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Body aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swelling in limbs
  • Increased spinal fluid pressure that may give rise to more problems
  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Coma
  • Death

Liver damage is caused when Oxycodone is taken in the form of Percocet and Tylox because these drugs contain acetaminophen with Oxycodone. Acetaminophen is very damaging for liver; it has even been known to cause liver failure. It is because acetaminophen is metabolized by liver, so when it is taken in large amounts, the liver has to do additional work. For this reason, the amount of acetaminophen has been limited to 325mg in all drugs.

Oxycodone overdose:

When Oxycodone is taken in significantly high amounts, there is a great risk of an overdose. Overdose is actually toxicity which results when the drug is taken in amounts higher than the capability of the body to process. If severe, or left unattended, organs shut down and eventual death is resulted.

Some symptoms of Oxycodone overdose include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blueness of skins, specially fingernails and lips
  • Pinpoint pupils or dilated pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Labored breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

If a person is spotted with these symptoms, it is important to provide them immediate medical care by calling 911. After initial care, the person may be shifted to hospital for further treatment.

Staging an intervention for Oxycodone problem:

Most of the addicts tend to deny their addiction when questioned. There can be so many reasons behind this behavior such as shame, guilt or an attempt to avoid long, painful treatment. However, it is important to confront the addict about his problem to make the further treatment possible. Intervention is a planned process involving friends and family of the addict. It is important to be prepared to talk him. Compassionate behavior should be maintained to ensure the addict doesn’t become aggressive. Professional interventionists can be very helpful to facilitate the process. They can not only help the family members to effectively talk to the addict but also convince him to seek further treatment. If a loved one is fighting with drug addiction, it is important to ensure they get the treatment they need or the results can be deadly.