Oxycodone Withdrawal

Withdrawal Symptoms of Oxycodone

With the US currently in the midst of an opioid epidemic, the public needs to be aware of the dangers of prescription drugs like oxycodone.  Used to help treat moderate to severe pain, the drug has a high risk of addiction and dependency.  Incorrect use, especially with other substances or alcohol, can cause respiratory distress and even death.

When an individual stops or reduces their dosage of oxycodone, withdrawal occurs. Because the body has become accustomed to a certain level of the drug, symptoms that could be quite violent may occur as the body begins to function without.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Recent data suggests that approximately 10.3 million people over the age of 12 have abused opioids in the last year.  The majority of those opioids are in the form of prescription pills.  With that staggering statistic, it’s easy to see why it’s so important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of opioid use.

What are Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

However, trying to get clean can have its own problems.  Withdrawal can be uncomfortable and illicit a long list of painful and distressing symptoms.  So what are the symptoms of withdrawal from oxycodone?  Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Muscle aches

After a few days of withdrawal, other more severe symptoms could develop as the body adjusts. They include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increase heart rate
  • High blood pressure

Withdrawal symptoms tend to develop in the first 24 hours after the last usage.  The severity of symptoms usually depends on how long and how frequently the drugs have been abused.

Side Effects of Oxycodone Withdrawal

Oxycodone is typically prescribed for a short period of time to help reduce pain.  However, if a patient continually abuses the drug, besides addiction, what are the other side effects of oxycodone withdrawal?  Things like excessive drowsiness or stomach troubles are common in those addicted.

What are the Side Effects of Oxycodone Withdrawal
Side Effects of Oxycodone Withdrawal

Prolonged usage can wreak havoc on the body, and besides the withdrawal symptoms of oxycodone, other problems may include:

  • Severe gastrointestinal issues like chronic constipation, diarrhea, and even bowel obstruction are common issues.
  • Cardiac events — Studies have found that oxycodone usage shows an increased risk of cardiac events like heart attacks and heart failure.
  • With all the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal, another side effect of oxycodone is its ability to provide respiratory distress.  Trouble breathing or swallowing can be exacerbated by the anxiety and agitation associated with the withdrawal process.

Overall, long term abuse of oxycodone can cause adverse effects to many parts of the body.  When overuse occurs, the body’s nerve receptors change how they work, and more and more of the drug is needed to feel any relief or “high.”  This is when an individual is most at risk for a deadly overdose.

Oxycodone Detox

An oxycodone detox occurs as soon as the last drug was taken.  Withdrawal symptoms may not follow for up to a day later, but the patient is still considered to be “detoxing.”  If someone is looking to detox, they shouldn’t do it alone.  There are medical professionals and rehabilitation centers that can aid in withdrawal symptoms and help keep the patient on the road to recovery.

There are various medications available to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms.  Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Methadone — Used to help with the severity of withdrawal symptoms, methadone can be used for long-term maintenance.  Over time, the dosage can be reduced until it’s no longer needed.
  • Clonidine helps treat the anxiety, agitation, and muscle aches associated with withdrawal.
  • Naltrexone is used to prevent relapse and is available in pill or injection form.  It helps to reduce cravings, upping the odds for a successful recovery.
  • Other medications may be given to help with stomach issues and nausea, as well as any sleep issues.  However, all medication should be provided by a knowledgeable medical professional.
Help for Oxycodone Detox
Oxycodone Detox

Initial medication to help with withdrawal symptoms is one thing, but in order to succeed with staying sober, it’s important to seek long-term treatment like counseling or group therapy.  Groups like these can aid in avoiding relapse and also set up safe spaces for those with addictive tendencies.  Reporting feelings of depression or anxiety to a doctor helps to treat such disorders and increase the chances for a successful recovery.

How Long is the Withdrawal From Oxycodone?

While withdrawal seems like it lasts forever, the typical range is anywhere from 1-2 weeks.  There are many factors that depend on the withdrawal timeline, such as frequency of use, how long the person has been a user, and if the drug was mixed with other substances.  The most intense symptoms peak around 48-72 hours of the last dose and generally begin to subside after that.

While the physical symptoms are present those first few days, psychological ones can occur shortly thereafter.  Depression and anxiety are common in the first few weeks, along with remorse for actions taken while high.  Relapse is common if a solid support system isn’t in place.  This can include group therapy or individual counseling.  A few physical symptoms like nausea and tiredness are common and can still occur until the body readjusts.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) can occur for months after the initial detox.  It’s common as the body recalibrates and learns how to function without drugs.  In fact, it’s estimated that 90% of opioid users experience some symptoms associated with it.  Mood swings, anxiety, and insomnia are common symptoms and can be easily controlled with the help of counselors and a medical team.

Consistent ongoing therapy to help avoid relapse usually helps to eventually eliminate the symptoms of PAWS, but many people feel the effects for several years.  Stressful situations may also increase symptoms and cause flare-ups to happen out of the blue.

Dealing with oxycodone withdrawal is uncomfortable and very stressful.  However, there are various treatments available to help the patient through such a tough time.  With the proper counseling and follow-up care, it’s possible to kick an opioid habit.