Oxycodone is a prescription pain-relief drug that’s available alone and in combination with other pain relievers. There are several brand names, including:
Oxycodone is an opioid and can be addictive. Read on to learn the signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction and how to get help for a loved one or yourself.
There are physical, psychological, and behavioral signs of oxycodone addiction. They include:
- using oxycodone too often or in too high a dose, even without the intent of misuse
- an inability to cut back or stop using oxycodone
- spending a large amount of time acquiring oxycodone, using it, and recovering from it
- craving oxycodone
- an interference of home life, work, school, or recreational activities from the use of oxycodone
- an inability to stop using oxycodone even though the person knows it’s causing problems
- continuing to use oxycodone even though the person knows they’re putting themselves in dangerous situations, such as driving while under the drug’s influence
- the inability to stop using oxycodone even though the person has physical or psychological difficulties as a result of overuse
- developing a tolerance to oxycodone, therefore requiring a higher dose for the required result
- having withdrawal symptoms when reducing regular intake of oxycodone
Symptoms of oxycodone misuse can include:
- loss of appetite
- dry mouth
- abnormal thoughts and dreams
- slowed breathing
Oxycodone can trigger a rush of dopamine in the brain. This causes a euphoric high. Although many people use oxycodone to manage pain following injury, illness, or surgery, some find themselves craving the euphoric effects.
When their prescription expires, they tell their doctor that they still need oxycodone to deal with the pain, though it might be more about its mood-altering capabilities. This is one of the first signs of dependence.
Oxycodone vs. morphine addiction
Both morphine and oxycodone are drugs that alter the way you perceive pain. They’re both highly addictive and routinely misused. However, their origin is different:
- Morphine, like codeine and heroin, is a natural derivative of the flowering opium poppy plant. These natural drugs used to be classed as opiates.
- Oxycodone, like methadone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, is a synthetic drug made to have the effects of the natural drug. Lab-made drugs used to be classed as opioids.
Today, the term “opioid” is used to describe both natural and synthetic types of these drugs.
Regardless of their origins, both morphine and oxycodone have identical properties:
- They work by attaching to proteins called opioid receptors. Opioid receptors are found in your brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. When opioids attach to opioid receptors, they change the way you experience pain.
- They also interact with the reward system found in your brain. The drugs activate neurotransmitters that create a feeling of euphoria.
The nature and symptoms of a dependence on morphine or oxycodone are virtually the same.
Opioids like oxycodone address a medical necessity: persistent pain. However, their addictive qualities have caused controversy and confusion about the role they should play in pain management.
Only use opioids under the direct supervision of your doctor. They’ll monitor your dosage and response to the drug, including the potential for misuse and addiction.
You can also monitor and record your pain levels to see how you’re progressing and let your doctor know whether your pain is decreasing.
If you think you or a loved one has an oxycodone addiction, speak with a healthcare provider. They can answer any questions, perform a physical examination if necessary, and refer you to a treatment center.
You can also learn more about the side effects and risks of opioid use disorders, including the signs of intoxication and overdose.
The more you know about oxycodone and how you react to it, the more likely you can avoid addiction.