Learn about all of the signs, symptoms, and side effects of abusing Oxycodone. This prescribed pain killer can become an addiction with many side effects.

Oxycodone has many effects on a person’s body and mind, which usually — sooner or later — result in outwardly showing symptoms. At first, it may be difficult to tell if a person is using the narcotic. Friends and family who suspect their loved one may be abusing oxycodone can clarify their hunches by looking for certain signs and symptoms. Even if the person is keeping their addiction a secret, they will often show marked changes in behavior, appearance or mood that may give away their drug misuse. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in a loved one, it’s time to confront them about their oxycodone problem and seek out help.

 Signs of Oxycodone Abuse

Often before a person begins showing symptoms of oxycodone abuse, they will exhibit several social changes. These signs of oxycodone abuse can include multiple elements of a person’s life, and are all a result of the person craving more and more oxycodone, at the sacrifice of their other priorities.

It’s common for those addicted to oxycodone to exhibit changes or problems in these areas of their life:

  • Work
  • School
  • Finances
  • Personal relationships
  • Hobbies, clubs or activities

Oxycodone addiction is defined as the physical and psychological need to use oxycodone. Psychologically, a person will crave the drug. Physically, the person will go into withdrawal without the drug. As a result, the person’s main focus in life is obtaining more oxycodone, getting high off of it, and repeating the process.

When this happens, the person will often begin to perform poorly at school or work. They may avoid their normal routines, such as arriving at school or work by a certain time. Students may skip classes in order to go buy or use drugs, or employees may cut out of work early or in the middle of the day for the same purpose. Because of oxycodone’s effects on the body, the person addicted to the drug may also have problems thinking or focusing while at school or work. As a result, students may earn poor test scores, failing grades or possibly be excluded from graduation. Similarly, full-time workers may be reprimanded for low job performance or let go from their position.

Loss of job will cause serious money problems for most people who misuse oxycodone, but it is only one of several financial issues they will likely experience. Depending on how much oxycodone they are taking and how frequently they get high, a person could be spending an exorbitant amount of money on drugs. When high, people are also more likely to make impulse purchases, such as buying food to satisfy the “munchies.” These expenses can quickly add up, especially when added to a person’s existing bills and financial responsibilities.

After losing their job, it’s not unusual for a person to be evicted from their home or have to declare bankruptcy when they are misusing substances. Some people will also cash out savings accounts, retirement accounts and sell treasured family heirlooms to pay for oxycodone or similar drugs. If they get caught with or are selling the drug, the person may also have to pay for bail or legal fees.

As this is happening, it’s not uncommon for personal relationships to become strained. A person using drugs may face questions or criticism from loved ones or may ignore friends and family entirely, choosing to spend time getting high with new friends instead. They may also become more distant with friends from their hobbies or activities as they drift away from these interests, choosing to get high instead.

Physical Symptoms of Oxycodone Use

Oxycodone use and abuse can cause many changes in the body. While a few of these symptoms are “desirable,” and are the reason why a doctor may prescribe the drug, oxycodone abuse can lead to many adverse health effects. Many of these symptoms are physical, but some are also psychological.

Physical symptoms of using oxycodone include:

  • Sedation
  • Pain relief
  • Cough suppression
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Flushed complexion
  • Dry mouth
  • Respiratory depression

Psychological symptoms of using oxycodone are:

  • Feelings of relaxation
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Mood swings

For some people, oxycodone can also cause more adverse reactions. Some of the most serious side effects of oxycodone include:

  • Heartbeat changes
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sex drive
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Hives or rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • Diarrhea

Coupled with the social changes in a person’s life, noticing these symptoms makes it easier to confirm a hunch and confront someone who may be misusing oxycodone. If you think a loved one is abusing oxycodone, and they’ve shown several signs and symptoms of abuse, it’s time to have a conversation with them. In some cases, they may admit to the problem. In other cases, they may insist they don’t have a problem, act insulted or put the blame on you. It’s important to remember you did the right thing by confronting the person, and if they don’t come around, an intervention may help you get through to them.

Relationship Between Mental Health and Oxycodone

Using oxycodone may influence mood and anxiety disorders and exacerbate symptoms of existing mental health conditions. It’s essential to use oxycodone as prescribed, or talk to a physician if side effects are severe and resemble mental health disorders symptoms. If you or someone you know has an oxycodone use disorder and a co-occurring mental health disorder like depression or anxiety, it’s critical to get both conditions treated at the same time.

A study by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that mood and anxiety disorders are highly associated with long-term recreational opioid use. The study also reported that people with anxiety and mood disorders use opioids without a prescription to treat their symptoms. Researchers are concerned that this self-medicating behavior may lead to an opioid use disorder.

If you or a loved one live with addiction or are using drugs recreationally and want to stop, The Recovery Village can help. Reach out to one of our representatives today to learn how you can start on your path to recovery.

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Editor – Renee Deveney
As a contributor for Advanced Recovery Systems, Renee Deveney is passionate about helping people struggling with substance use disorder. With a family history of addiction, Renee is committed to opening up a proactive dialogue about substance use and mental health. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Christina Caplinger, RPh
Christina Caplinger is a licensed pharmacist in both Colorado and Idaho and is also a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.