Oxycodone Abuse History
Due to the popularity of prescription opioids starting in the 1990s, oxycodone addiction has become a major problem in the US. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency due to the opioid epidemic. The opioid crisis continues to this day.
Oxycodone can be found in a few brand-name opioid medications, including:
Thankfully, there are many addiction treatment programs available for opioid addiction, including the abuse of oxycodone. While this article will focus on oxycodone addiction treatment specifically, many of the types of treatment discussed will apply to all prescription opioids.
Know the Signs of Oxycodone Addiction
Oxycodone abuse can occur when a person starts to use oxycodone outside of what a prescription specifies. Eventually, oxycodone abuse can lead to addiction.
If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one’s use of oxycodone, you can look for these common signs of addiction.
Using Oxycodone Differently Than Prescribed
Oxycodone is designed to provide chronic pain relief or severe pain relief to individuals recovering from surgery, dealing with a terminal illness, or similar situations. However, using oxycodone outside of what the prescription entails can be a warning sign of a deeper problem.
- Using oxycodone without a prescription
- Taking oxycodone for something other than pain relief
- Crushing, snorting, or injecting oxycodone
- Taking more oxycodone than the prescribed dosage
- Continuing to use oxycodone longer than advised
While these signs of misuse may not immediately indicate oxycodone addiction, they are certainly red flags.
Obsession or Craving Oxycodone
Obsessing over oxycodone can be a major addiction warning sign. When used correctly, oxycodone provides pain relief, so an individual that is consumed with obtaining more or even craving more is cause for concern.
Obsession with oxycodone would look much different than a person experiencing pain despite their oxycodone prescription. Someone with persistent pain would talk to their doctor about changing their dosage or medication.
However, a person that goes to more than one doctor to obtain multiple oxycodone prescriptions due to their craving or obsession is likely addicted.
“Doctor shopping” is the term used to describe a scenario where a person visits multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for oxycodone.
Unlike an individual who might need to adjust their oxycodone dosage under their physician’s guidance, someone that is doctor shopping is intentionally acquiring more oxycodone than they need. These multiple oxycodone prescriptions are very likely fueling this person’s addiction.
Many states have passed laws over the last 20 years to try to discourage or eliminate doctor shopping in their states. For instance, in 2003, Florida made it a felony for people to acquire more opioid medication before their previous prescriptions ran out.
Thinking or behaving differently
Someone who is addicted to oxycodone may begin to think or behave differently than normal. Besides doctor shopping, individuals that are dealing with drug addiction of any kind (including oxycodone) will often participate in risky or even illegal behavior that they might have avoided in the past.
In some cases, a person’s personality will shift as a result of their addiction. With oxycodone, this individual may start to show mood swings, agitation, preoccupation with acquiring or recovering from oxycodone, and other out-of-character behaviors.
They may also be relatively defensive or secretive about their oxycodone abuse. Many people that are struggling with substance abuse are in denial that they have a problem, and confronting them can result in uncharacteristic defensiveness or aggression.
The first step in receiving treatment for oxycodone addiction is often detoxification or detox. Detox is the process that your body goes through to rid itself of any remaining oxycodone in its system. However, one of the potential side effects of detox is withdrawal.
While oxycodone withdrawal symptoms are usually not life-threatening, there are still instances where a recovering addict would benefit from medical intervention during the process.
Medical Detox for Oxycodone
Medical detox is a specialized detox program intended to provide oxycodone addicts with medical supervision during the process. Medical detox is considered the safest way to detox and can be performed on both an inpatient and an outpatient level, depending on the individual’s needs.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
The side effects people can experience during oxycodone withdrawals will be in-line with the withdrawal symptoms of most other opioids. While oxycodone withdrawal is not dangerous in many cases, it is best to seek medical advice regarding your detox and withdrawal process.
In addition, sometimes the withdrawal symptoms for any opiate (including oxycodone) are incredibly uncomfortable, and many individuals return to using the same drugs as before just to halt the withdrawal feelings.
Early physical oxycodone withdrawal symptoms will include:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
Later during the withdrawal process, some additional symptoms can appear:
- Nausea, vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilated pupils
Cognitive Withdrawal Symptoms
During oxycodone withdrawals, a person’s cognitive or mental function may also be decreased.
The cognitive impairment during oxycodone withdrawals can include:
- Brain fog
- Memory problems
- Decreased problem-solving ability
These cognitive function issues are present only in the early stages of opioid abstinence.
Psychosocial Withdrawal Symptoms
The psychosocial symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal can include the following:
- Feeling withdrawn
- Mood swings
- Executive function issues (feeling severely unmotivated)
Oxycodone Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation
The next step after detoxification is generally some type of oxycodone rehab program. There are a variety of treatment options available to choose from, offering different levels of care depending on your individual needs.
Many people are under the assumption that “addiction rehab” only refers to residential treatment, but this isn’t the case at all. Both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment centers offer a variety of care, therapies, and additional types of treatment.
Inpatient rehab provides a more structured, in-depth type of rehabilitation for oxycodone addiction. Inpatient programs typically last between 30 to 90 days, and patients will live at the facility during their treatment.
During inpatient rehab, patients can receive medical treatment (if needed) alongside different types of therapy. Inpatient programs may also offer extracurricular activities such as yoga, meditation, nutrition counseling, and so on depending on the individual rehab center.
Outpatient Rehab provides recovering oxycodone addicts with a less-intense option for drug rehab. Outpatient treatment centers don’t require the same level of time commitment, and patients get to return home at the end of each day after their treatment is complete.
There are various levels of outpatient treatment, including both Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient programs.
A Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) will normally take up more time during the day. During PHP, patients can receive medical treatment if necessary alongside their various types of therapy. An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is similar to PHP but with a lesser time commitment.
Oxycodone Rehab Duration
The duration of your treatment will depend on your treatment plan. However, a general timeline of treatment types can be established based on average stays.
The average lengths for different programs are as follows:
- Detox process: 3-7 days
- Residential treatment: 30-90 days
- Partial Hospitalization: 3-4 weeks
- Intensive Outpatient: 90 days
Some people may also progress through more than one rehab program, making overall treatment last longer. Others may only require one type of rehab and have a much shorter experience.
Oxycodone Treatment and Therapy
Behavioral health is a major focus for any type of oxycodone rehab program because a major component of drug addiction is often tied in with mental health struggles. The following different types of therapies are most common in both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs.
However, if there is a particular type of therapy that you desire to receive during your treatment, it helps to check ahead with the individual rehab facility to be sure that type of therapy is offered.
Psychotherapy is an umbrella term used to describe various types of talk therapy. During talk therapy, individuals or groups will speak to a mental health professional about their concerns, experiences, and issues and the counselor will help them move past these struggles.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular form of psychotherapy. CBT focuses on helping the individual “re-wire” their brains by identifying negative thought patterns and then working to replace those habits with healthier ones.
Similarly, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) can also be very helpful during addiction treatment–particularly for high-risk individuals who may not yet have come to terms with their addiction. Through DBT, patients can acknowledge their current condition to then start working towards healthier future goals.
Group therapy is very common within oxycodone rehab programs. Group therapy not only provides a fantastic peer support group so that recovering addicts do not feel alone in their experiences, but it also provides a layer of support and accountability to help individuals remain abstinent from oxycodone.
12-Step Programs for Oxycodone Recovery
Twelve-step programs follow 12 linear steps to help recovering addicts continue moving forward with self-improvement during recovery. Common 12-step programs include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and, for oxycodone addicts, Narcotics Anonymous (AA).
Twelve-step programs are available during and after rehab, so patients can continue doing their internal work through local meetings at AA or NA once they complete their rehab program.
Continued Care Options for Oxycodone Addiction
In addition to 12-step programs, there are other options for recovering addicts to continue to receive ongoing care after they have completed their rehab program.
Sober living is an option for recovering oxycodone addicts that provide a post-rehab, safe place to live with over recovering addicts. These sober living communities still provide some of the same structure that you may have received during rehab.
Sober living can be a great option for recovering oxycodone addicts to help them transition from rehab back out into regular society again. Each sober living program will have its own specific rules, but overall sober living programs require clear drug tests and check-ins to help keep the overall community safe from relapse.
Many individuals will continue individual therapy after rehab to keep working through any emotional issues that may have contributed to their oxycodone addiction. Others may choose to continue working with a 12-step program (such as Narcotics Anonymous) that’s local to them so they can continue working through the steps.
In addition, the following programs may also provide beneficial aftercare once an individual has left rehab but wants to continue doing helpful internal work alongside similar individuals.
- Alumni programs
- Volunteer programs
- Family therapy
- Online support groups
Seeking Help for an Oxycodone Addiction?
If you need to find a treatment center near you for oxycodone addiction, you can use SAMHSA’s free program locator.