Detox from oxycodone (OxyContin / Percocet) and other opiates at South Florida’s leading opiate addiction treatment facility.
Compass Detox, a Florida-based drug & alcohol detox facility
Oxycodone addiction and withdrawal treatment is something that Compass Detox has helped many people break free from. The dangers and discomfort that come along with oxycodone addiction and withdrawal can be challenging to overcome on your own.
Here at Compass Detox, you will be surrounded by an industry-leading team of medical and therapeutic professionals who will support you and provide you with a firm foundation of solutions that will not only bring you through your withdrawal but prepare you for the longterm sobriety that you seek far beyond that withdrawal. At Compass Detox, oxycodone addiction has met its match.
Unfortunately, addiction can be a common result of taking opiates and is especially true with oxycodone, even when prescribed as a medication by a doctor and not the result of substance abuse. Oxycodone addiction almost always requires a medical detox program to overcome both the short-term withdrawal symptoms and long-term psychological effects. At Compass Detox, our oxycodone detox program always begins with an evaluation to find the safest path possible towards your sobriety. We treat mind, body, and spirit to set you on the right path.
Are you or a loved one struggling with oxycodone or other opiate addiction and in need of detoxification? Compass Detox can help! Contact us today for your risk-free consultation and find out how we can help you begin your journey to recovery.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone belongs to a class of prescription drugs called opioids, which are primarily used to treat pain. This opioid medication is often available under the brand names of OxyContin and Percocet.
While oxycodone does have legitimate medical uses, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) warns that this medication can make people feel relaxed and high, so some people may abuse it. With ongoing abuse, people may develop an addiction and experience oxycodone withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.
Why is oxycodone so addictive?
Before learning about oxycodone withdrawal and detox, it is important to understand why this drug is so addictive in the first place. According to NIDA, oxycodone acts on areas of the brain that are linked to pain and pleasure, and when a person uses this drug, the brain releases large amounts of a chemical called dopamine. This chemical creates a rush of pleasure, which makes users want to take oxycodone again and again to achieve the same pleasant effects.
Some people may abuse oxycodone by purchasing it on the streets, taking a prescription that does not belong to them, or taking larger doses than a doctor prescribes. All of these patterns of oxycodone use can lead to addiction and then withdrawal when drug use is stopped. NIDA reports that people can become tolerant of oxycodone even if they take it under the care of a doctor and adhere to recommended doses.
When a person becomes tolerant to oxycodone, he or she will need larger doses to achieve the same pleasant effects. Over time, the body can become dependent, meaning it does not function without oxycodone. This is because the brain adapts to the presence of oxycodone and, therefore, cannot release pleasure-producing or pain-relieving chemicals on its own.
People will therefore continue to take oxycodone, sometimes in larger doses than intended, to feel normal. If oxycodone use is discontinued after a person has become dependent upon the drug, withdrawal symptoms will begin.
Signs of Oxycodone Addiction
Withdrawal can occur when someone becomes addicted to oxycodone, but this is not the only symptom of addiction to this drug. The clinical term for oxycodone addiction is opioid use disorder, and a professional will diagnose this condition when a person meets certain criteria. An opioid use disorder can range from mild to severe, depending upon how many symptoms a person displays.
Symptoms of an opioid use disorder involving oxycodone include the following:
- Using larger doses of oxycodone than intended
- Being unable to reduce oxycodone use
- Giving up important activities to use oxycodone
- Failing to meet expectations at work or home because of oxycodone use
- Spending a significant amount of time using or obtaining oxycodone
- Experiencing intense oxycodone cravings
- Continuing to use oxycodone despite relationship difficulties
- Using oxycodone even when it results in physical danger
Continued oxycodone use even when it causes physical or mental health problems.
For example, someone who has an opioid use disorder may continue to use oxycodone even when it is causing ongoing arguments with a spouse or significant other. He or she may also spend a great deal of time traveling to various doctors to get more oxycodone prescriptions and may skip work to obtain more drugs or to recover from drug use.
A person with an opiate use disorder involving oxycodone may also use excessive amounts of the drug and then drive while under the influence, placing him or herself in danger. He or she may also begin missing deadlines at work or failing to assist with housework or parenting tasks because so much time is spent using oxycodone or being under the influence of the drug.
An opioid use disorder may look different for everyone, but the above are just some examples of behaviors a person may display if addicted to oxycodone.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline
It is helpful to understand what oxycodone addiction looks like, and people who want to learn more about oxycodone withdrawal and detox are probably curious about the duration of withdrawal from this drug. According to the World Health Organization, withdrawal from short-acting opioids typically begins within 8 to 24 hours after a person stops using and lasts for four to 10 days.
The effects of immediate-release oxycodone typically last for three to four hours, with the drug having a half-life of 2.5 to three hours, according to a report in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Based upon this information, oxycodone is considered a short-acting opiate, meaning that its effects wear off relatively quickly.
A person who is undergoing oxycodone withdrawal can therefore expect withdrawal symptoms to begin within a day or sooner of discontinuing drug use and to pass within slightly less than a week to slightly over a week.
According to a 2017 report in the journal Addiction, withdrawal symptoms usually peak about two to three days after a person stops using opioids. That begin said, an oxycodone withdrawal timeline may include symptoms that appear about a day after a person stops using, become severe after two to three days, and then taper off over the next few days to a week.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Side Effects
Beyond the oxycodone withdrawal timeline, it is important to understand the side effects of withdrawing from this drug.
- Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Sleep Disturbances
- Pain in the Muscles and Bones
- Cold Sweats
- Goose Bumps
- Involuntary Leg Movements
- Extreme Drug Cravings
- Gastrointestinal Symptoms Like Nausea and Vomiting
A frequently asked question surrounding oxycodone withdrawal is, “Can you die from oxycodone withdrawal?” Experts writing for Addiction report that fatal opioid withdrawal is rare, especially when compared to alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawal, but it is possible to die because of oxycodone withdrawal.
Fatal oxycodone withdrawal is usually a result of extreme diarrhea and vomiting. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to dehydration and increased sodium levels in the blood, eventually ending in heart failure. There have been case reports of people in jail settings suffering from extreme dehydration during opiate withdrawal, eventually leading to brain damage and cardiac arrest. This is not a common reaction, but it can happen, making it essential that people contact a medical professional to assist with oxycodone withdrawal and detox.
Oxycodone Detox Programs
Given the fact that oxycodone withdrawal creates unpleasant symptoms and can, in rare cases, be fatal, it is important that people who are withdrawing seek out treatment in a professional oxycodone detox facility. These programs provide medical supervision and support as people are cleansing their bodies of oxycodone.
Detox treatment can occur in either an inpatient or an outpatient setting. Some patients with severe symptoms may be treated in a hospital setting, where they can receive around-the-clock care and monitoring. Others may work with a doctor to detox from oxycodone on an outpatient basis while checking in regularly with the doctor to ensure the detox process is working effectively.
One aspect of oxycodone detox is managing symptoms as they arise. Even in mild cases of withdrawal, it is necessary that patients undergoing detox consume a significant amount of water each day, as fluids are lost in cases of diarrhea and vomiting. This can lead to complications such as dehydration. Experts from the World Health Organization also recommend that people take vitamin supplements during the detox process.
In more severe cases of opiate withdrawal, medications may be necessary to help people manage their symptoms. According to NIDA, medications like buprenorphine and methadone are often used to help people cope with withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from opioids like oxycodone. Both medications can alleviate drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, as they work on the same areas of the brain that oxycodone does.
Per the World Health Organization, buprenorphine is typically the drug of choice for treating withdrawal from opiates like oxycodone. Doctors will adjust patients’ doses until withdrawal symptoms are reasonably controlled. In some cases, additional medications may be used to address any symptoms that do not resolve with buprenorphine use.
Methadone is also an option for treating symptoms during opioid detox, but it may be more beneficial for those detoxing from longer-acting drugs like morphine. There is a risk of overdose with methadone, so people may divide their doses through the course of the day.
Codeine is another option for reducing unpleasant oxycodone detox symptoms, but it may be ineffective for some people. Like buprenorphine and methadone, it can reduce cravings and withdrawal severity.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug, lofexidine, to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. Those who are withdrawing from oxycodone may benefit from taking this drug during detox, as It can alleviate withdrawal. In fact, it is the first drug the FDA has approved specifically for opioid withdrawal.
While a detox program utilizing medication for withdrawal relief may be necessary, some people who have developed a dependence upon prescribed oxycodone may work with a doctor to slowly taper their oxycodone use until they are completely detoxed from the drug. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that patients taper oxycodone when it is not providing pain relief or when they are showing signs of an addiction.
The specific oxycodone tapering schedule will differ based upon how long a person has been taking the drug. For example, someone who has been taking oxycodone for a year or more will likely benefit from tapering doses by 10 percent each month, whereas someone who has taken it for a week weeks to several months can likely taper doses by 10 percent each week per the CDC.
Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction
After completing an oxycodone detox program, it is important that patients receive ongoing psychological care for addiction. Even those who have been taking oxycodone as a doctor has prescribed may find that they experience depression or anxiety after completing detox. Programs that provide psychological support and counseling are, therefore, beneficial for ensuring that patients can remain abstinent from oxycodone.
Those who have been illegally using the drug and who have developed an addiction also require ongoing psychological support to address their underlying oxycodone addiction. Some people may be able to complete oxycodone treatment on an outpatient basis, attending appointments several times per week. Others may require more intensive inpatient programs to meet their needs. Regardless of the form of treatment, people who are recovering from oxycodone addiction will likely complete a combination of group and individual counseling.
Some people may also take medications, including buprenorphine and methadone, in conjunction with psychological treatment. These medications can assist in the treatment process by keeping cravings at bay. Even if people are taking these medications, psychological treatment is still necessary to address underlying issues that contributed to the addiction. In fact, a review of the research, published in 2016 in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, suggests that a combination of medications and psychological interventions is effective for treating opioid addiction.
Specific therapy protocols used in treatment for oxycodone addiction may include cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management programs. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, people learn new ways of thinking about drugs, as well as healthy coping skills that do not involve drug use. In contingency management programs, people receive rewards and incentives for remaining abstinent from opioids. Other forms of therapy may also be effective, and addiction treatment professionals can work with individual patients to determine the best type of intervention.
Life After Oxycodone Detox and Treatment
While oxycodone detox programs can manage the worst withdrawal symptoms, it is important to be aware of a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) that occurs after a person completes detox and begins treatment. Symptoms of PAWS can last for several months after a person stops using oxycodone.
Common symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) include the following:
- Depressed Mood
- Difficulty Solving Problems
- Drug Cravings
- Negative Outlook
- Sensitivity to Stress
These symptoms can make it difficult to remain abstinent and can lead to relapse. It is, therefore, important that patients who are undergoing treatment for oxycodone addiction are educated about PAWS and realize that it is a normal part of the treatment process. Relapse prevention programs can help them learn ways to identify things that trigger a desire to use oxycodone and develop healthy stress management and coping skills.
Detox truly is the first step in recovering from oxycodone addiction. While this is a prescription drug, it can be highly addictive and lead to consequences with long-term abuse. Withdrawal symptoms can make it difficult to stop using oxycodone, but with oxycodone detox programs and ongoing treatment, it is possible to give up this drug and achieve a sober lifestyle.
Help With Detoxing From Oxycodone
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