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Oxycodone and Your Brain: Can It Heal?

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Oxycodone, also referred to as OxyContin, is an opiate and as such, the effects of continued use or abuse have been studied extensively. One of the greatest areas of study has centered around the impact of oxycodone on the brain. There are many effects of oxycodone, both short and long term that require prescription drug addiction treatment.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is the primary ingredient in numerous painkillers prescribed for adults with moderate to severe pain. Like other opioids, oxycodone is usually safe and effective when used short-term and as prescribed. 

Oxycodone is available as both brand-name drugs and generic drugs, coming in five different forms, all oral: 

  • Immediate-release tablets
  • Extended-release tablets
  • Immediate-release capsules
  • Extended-release capsules
  • Oral solution 

Oxycodone is frequently prescribed as a combination product along with other drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin. 

Three of the most common branded forms of oxycodone are: 

  • OxyContin: One of the most commonly abused of all prescription drugs, OxyContin has a controlled-release formula. This means the medication provides chronic pain relief for 12 hours. To bypass this time-release mechanism, many people crush and snort OxyContin, or alternatively dissolve the tablets in water then inject the solution. In this way, the full effect of the drug is felt immediately.
  • Roxicodone: Roxicodone is a rapid-release oxycodone formula that’s used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Typically administered before surgery for calming or sedation, the drug delivers powerful effects and a rapid high when abused. When Roxicodone is abused, it is normally crushed or melted and then smoked or injected.
  • Percocet: Percocet is a combination medication containing both oxycodone and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient found in Tylenol. Prescribed for a range of pain from mild to severe, Percocet is routinely abused in the same way as OxyContin, with Percocet tablets crushed and snorted. Other modes of Percocet abuse include exceeding the recommended dosage or taking Percocet for longer than prescribed.

Is Oxycodone an Opioid

Oxycodone is made by chemically modifying thebaine, a chemical that occurs organically in opium. 

This drug is designated as a semi-synthetic opioid. Classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, oxycodone has a definite medical utility, but it also has a high potential for abuse. 

Oxycodone is usually prescribed to treat severe pain in the following circumstances: 

  • Post-surgery
  • Following a serious injury
  • For cancer treatment
  • For the treatment of arthritis and other physical disorders 

In prescription form, oxycodone is designed to deliver around-the-clock relief.

Signs of Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone abuse can quickly and easily lead to dependence and addiction, signified by any or all of the following symptoms of oxycodone addiction: 

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Irritability
  • Anxiousness
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Accelerated breathing rate
  • Yawning excessively
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite loss
  • Dilated pupils
  • Teary eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache 

Other common signs of Oxycodone abuse and addiction include:

  • Taking more oxycodone than prescribed
  • Taking oxycodone even if you don’t feel like you need pain relief
  • Continuing to use oxycodone despite a raft of negative outcomes
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Losing interest in favored activities and hobbies
  • Taking oxycodone secretly or lying about your consumption 

Oxycodone Overdose

An oxycodone overdose can occur from accidentally taking more of the medication than prescribed. It is also possible to overdose on oxycodone after using the drug recreationally as outlined above. 

If oxycodone overdose occurs, this can be dangerous and potentially deadly. You should call 911 or head to the nearest ER if you suspect you or a loved one has taken too much oxycodone. 

Risk factors for oxycodone overdose include: 

  • Overlapping medications
  • History of substance abuse
  • Using oxycodone daily
  • Obtaining prescriptions from several doctors
  • Taking high doses of oxycodone

Normal side effects of oxycodone are numerous and include nausea, constipation, and drowsiness. Oxycodone overdose, though, tends to have more acute symptoms, including: 

  • Vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shallow breathing
  • Pinprick pupils
  • Unconsciousness 

Seek immediate medical assistance in the event of oxycodone overdose.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms will differ depending on the level of withdrawal you are undergoing, as well as personal variables. 

These symptoms nevertheless unfold along similar lines. 

Early opioid withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 24 hours of last using the drug. These immediate side effects include: 

  • Frequently yawning
  • Inability to sleep
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches 

After the first day of abstinence, more intense withdrawal symptoms often develop, including: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dilated pupils
  • Blurry vision
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

While these withdrawal symptoms are often very unpleasant and uncomfortable, there’s some good news. Symptoms normally start improving after just 72 hours, and it should take no more than a week to notice a dramatic decrease in all the acute symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal. 

What can you do, then, if you feel you have been abusing oxycodone to the point of dependence or addiction?

OxyContin Rehab

 If you or a loved one is struggling with an OxyContin addiction there are oxycodone treatment centers in California and around the country that can help you conquer this addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. 

During your stay at an OxyContin drug rehab, clients will be exposed to multiple different types of treatment and therapies to help them learn more about their addiction and develop the tools and strategies that they need to overcome these issues. Some common forms of therapy that you will likely go through include cognitive behavioral therapydialectical behavioral therapyholistic therapy programs, and more.

Oxycodone Treatment at Renaissance Recovery

Here at Renaissance Recovery Center, our prescription drug treatment program or opiate addiction treatment center can help you to move beyond oxycodone addiction. 

We offer personalized outpatient treatment programs at varying degrees of intensity, including both intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). 

FDA-approved medications can be prescribed to help mitigate the oxycodone withdrawal symptoms highlighted above. Medications can also help to reduce cravings for opioids. 

In combination with medication-assisted treatment as appropriate, you’ll also have access to counseling, psychotherapies like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), and a range of holistic therapies. 

All you need to do if you want to reclaim your life from oxycodone abuse is reach out to the friendly Renaissance team today at 866.330.9449.866.330.9449

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

Paige R

“Renaissance Recovery truly changed my life.”

Courtney S

” I’m grateful for my experience at Renaissance, the staff are very experienced, they gave me the hope I needed in early sobriety, and a variety of coping mechanisms that I can use on a daily basis.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country