Oxycodone addiction

Oxycodone, sold under the brand name Oxycontin, is a potent prescription opioid that has seen a surge in recreational use and addiction in recent years. While it can be used to effectively treat acute and chronic pain, such as that caused by arthritis and cancer, the euphoric effects of oxycodone also make it a target for abuse and misuse. Unfortunately, oxycodone is highly addictive and once you become addicted, it can be very hard to break the cycle. Recovery Lighthouse offers evidence-based treatment for oxycodone addiction and we are dedicated to helping you get your life back on track.

Oxycodone addiction - pills

How does oxycodone addiction develop?

Oxycodone addiction is when you feel a compulsive need to take oxycodone, despite it causing harm to your health, relationships or other aspects of your life.

The risk of Oxycodone addiction is real, with the most frequent causes being either improper use of a valid prescription or using it recreationally.

Prescription oxycodone addiction…

An addiction to prescription Oxycodone often begins when you misuse the drug, either by taking more of it than prescribed or using it more frequently. This misuse often results in you becoming more tolerant of oxycodone and needing higher doses just to get the same effects. Eventually, this can lead to a physical dependence where you need to take oxycodone just to avoid withdrawal symptoms and feel “normal”. If you cannot obtain a legal supply of Oxycodone then you may turn towards illicit opioids like heroin which can be easier to access and this can lead you down a path with devastating consequences.

Recreational oxycodone addiction…

Oxycodone is often abused recreationally because it creates a blissful high, increased self-esteem, relaxation and a sense of contentment. Recreational users typically snort or inject it hoping for an intensified experience. The resulting flood of dopamine that occurs within the brain triggers pleasure signals which can lead to cravings that cause you to seek more of the drug. As with the abuse of prescription oxycodone, this can eventually result in tolerance, physical dependence and addiction.

Facts about oxycodone in the UK

Oxycodone is known by a number of street names including Oxy, Hillbilly Heroin, OC and Kickers.

In the UK, it is illegal to possess oxycodone without a valid prescription.

The illegal supply of oxycodone carries a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

There have been more than 400 deaths in the UK due to oxycodone in the last five years:

  • 2017: 61
  • 2018: 79
  • 2019: 95
  • 2020: 102
  • 2021: 72

Lies your oxycodone addiction will tell you

Oxycodone addiction can be very deceptive and will attempt to convince you that your oxycodone use is not a problem. Here are some of the lies your addiction may tell you which you need to learn to see through:

  • “It’s only recreational use, you’re not addicted”
  • “You can stop using oxycodone any time you want”
  • “You don’t need professional help, you can overcome oxycodone addiction yourself
  • “Oxycodone is a prescription drug so it’s not dangerous or addictive”

All of these lies are intended to keep you trapped in your addiction and away from seeking the help that you need. That is why recognising that these are lies and admitting that you have an oxycodone addiction are the first and most important steps to recovery.

Am I addicted to oxycodone?

It is very important to identify the signs of oxycodone as soon as possible so that you can avoid the most serious consequences. To help you see through the deception of oxycodone addiction and recognise that you need help, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I take oxycodone recreationally or without a prescription?
  • Have I lied to doctors to get a prescription for oxycodone?
  • Have I gone to multiple doctors to get more than one oxycodone prescription? (doctor shopping)
  • Do I take oxycodone more often or in higher doses than prescribed?
  • Have I ever taken money from family or friends to buy oxycodone?
  • Do I experience powerful cravings or withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking oxycodone?
  • Do I use oxycodone to cope with or self-medicate for underlying mental health issues or trauma?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it is likely that you are addicted to oxycodone and need professional help. The faster you begin your recovery journey, the better your chances of a successful outcome and lasting sobriety.

The health impact of oxycodone abuse and addiction

Oxycodone abuse and addiction can have a number of negative effects on both your physical and mental health.

Physical health effects of oxycodone addiction include:

  • Vomiting, nausea, constipation
  • Overheating and sweating
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Itchiness
  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest

Oxycodone addiction - woman with insomnia

Mental health effects of oxycodone addiction:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Uncontrollable mood and erratic reactions
  • Confusion
  • Nightmares
  • Erratic thoughts
  • Hallucinations

Oxycodone overdose is also a serious risk which can be potentially lethal. If you notice any of the following signs of oxycodone overdose, it is vital that you seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible:

  • Bluish skin or lips
  • Vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing, shallow breaths or complete absence of breath
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Loss of consciousness

The impact of oxycodone on your life

In addition to the health risks of oxycodone addiction, it can also have a profound effect on your life, relationships and career as you find that your ability to function in day-to-day life is impaired by your reliance on oxycodone.

You may experience financial struggles as your addiction takes precedence over paying bills or supporting yourself or your family. You may become isolated from friends and family as they get tired of seeing you struggle with substance abuse or cannot continue to provide help. There may also be legal consequences to using oxycodone illegally including fines and potential imprisonment, and you could even find yourself homeless as a result of your life unravelling.

All of these can further increase the mental health impact of oxycodone addiction, creating a downward spiral of negative consequences that can be incredibly hard to break away from without professional help.

How to overcome oxycodone addiction

If you’re struggling with oxycodone addiction, Recovery Lighthouse’s inpatient recovery clinic focuses on addressing both your physical and psychological needs to ensure that you have the best chances of healing. Our proven oxycodone addiction recovery programmes involve three main stages:

  • Oxycodone detox – This is the process of removing all traces of oxycodone from your body in a safe and comfortable environment so that your physical dependence is broken.
  • Oxycodone rehab – This addresses the underlying psychological and mental health issues that led to or exacerbated your addiction, enabling you to understand why substance abuse happened and how to prevent a relapse in the future.
  • Aftercare – This is the final stage of recovery and helps you adjust to living without oxycodone after you leave treatment. At Recovery Lighthouse, we provide all clients with one year’s free weekly group therapy sessions to provide vital support during difficult moments when relapse is most likely.

Oxycodone addiction - therapy embrace

How to help a loved one with oxycodone addiction

If you have noticed the symptoms of oxycodone addiction in a loved one, approaching them can be a daunting prospect. However, your intervention could be the difference between life and death so it is crucial that you take action.

It is very important that you choose the right moment to approach your loved one and that you do so in a safe place when they haven’t been taking oxycodone. Try to remain calm and focus on the deeper issues underlying their addiction, rather than getting angry or accusing them. Explain why you are worried about them and listen to what they have to say without judgement.

To prepare yourself for this conversation, learn as much as possible about oxycodone addiction so that you are equipped with the knowledge you need to help them get the treatment they require. Show them this page and offer your support during every stage of their recovery.

It is also crucial that you do not enable your loved one’s oxycodone addiction. This means not giving them money or providing them with shelter if they have been using oxycodone. Whilst this may seem harsh, it is a necessary step to help them break the cycle of addiction and move forward.

If your loved one is resistant to getting help, you may need to be patient and wait for them to be ready. You cannot force somebody to get help, but you can continue to love them and provide support when they are ready.

How to get help with oxycodone addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with oxycodone addiction, Recovery Lighthouse can help. Our team of dedicated and experienced professionals are on hand to guide and support you throughout your recovery journey. Through our guidance and support, we will help you to form repair relationships with your loved ones, achieve goals and ambitions which currently seem impossible and generally live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.