In the award-winning limited TV series Dopesick, the speed of how quickly someone can become addicted to the opioid oxycodone is a large part of the story told through fictional characters. At the same time, the story accurately reflects the real risks of developing a substance use disorder from this form of medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. Understanding the timeline of oxycodone addiction and recognizing the symptoms early is essential for lowering your risk of experiencing harmful, if not deadly, outcomes.
Anyone who uses oxycodone can become addicted to this opioid pain medication, even if you have a prescription for it. Opioid addiction can develop in a few days, depending on the dosage, the frequency of its use, and any history of drug misuse and mental health issues. The CDC recommends tapering off use by 10% per month if you’ve been using the drug for more than a year and 10% per week if you’ve been on oxycodone for several months or less. You’ll want to discuss any change to your use with your physician first. Experiencing cravings, using more oxycodone than prescribed, and struggling financially because of its use are signs that you need treatment. A safe medically-supervised detox is an essential first step for recovery.
Timeline of Oxycodone Addiction
Think about the last time you tried to stop using oxycodone and how many hours had passed since your previous dose before you started feeling the need to use it again. This initial sign of withdrawal is a clue to the timeline. By the time you’re seeing a physical dependence, increasing your use, and using it in riskier ways, you may have already become addicted. Keep in mind even following prescribed use doesn’t prevent you from developing an addiction to an opioid.
Developing an addiction to oxycodone is influenced by several factors. The amount you’re taking at once, the number of additional doses (if any) you’re taking, and the form you’re taking them in can contribute to becoming addicted. For example, crushing pills to snort or turning them into a substance to inject increases addiction risk.
In 2022, the CDC provided a guideline for opioid use, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, “recommend(ing) that when opioids are needed for acute pain, they should be prescribed at the lowest effective dose and for no longer than the expected duration of pain severe enough to warrant opioids.” For someone starting on a 9 mg dose, prescribed use for acute pain could be up to one month. Even during those four weeks of use, it’s possible to develop an addiction. In addition, there are documented cases of people becoming addicted to oxycodone within a few days.
Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifies 11 criteria for diagnosing an oxycodone addiction. The severity of your oxycodone use can be estimated by the number of symptoms you’re experiencing. As you review the list below, take note of what looks aligned with your relationship with the drug.
1. My use of oxycodone has been dangerous to myself and/or others
2. My oxycodone use has led to conflicts with others and relationship problems.
3. I neglect major roles at work, home, or school due to my oxycodone use.
4. I experience withdrawal when I cut back or stop using oxycodone.
5. My tolerance for oxycodone has increased lately so I use more.
6. I occasionally use larger amounts of oxycodone for extended periods of time.
7. I have made repeated attempts to taper off my oxycodone use and quit, but it hasn’t worked.
8. Much of my time is devoted to using oxycodone.
9. My oxycodone use has created physical and mental health problems for me.
10. I have given up doing some of my favorite activities so I can use oxycodone.
11. I experience cravings for oxycodone.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Abruptly changing the amount of any opioid you take can lead to a variety of withdrawal symptoms, some creating more discomfort than others. Most symptoms on their own are not considered life-threatening. One potential outcome to be aware of is dehydration from a loss of fluids. Dehydration can be fatal.
● Changes in blood pressure
● Heart palpitations
● Muscle aches
● Sleep disturbances
Getting Detox Help for Oxycodone Addiction
Restored Path Detox can help you safely detox from Oxycodone use in a setting with 24-hour medical supervision. This detox option allows you to have withdrawal symptoms managed with medication and avoid the complications that can potentially develop in the days after your last opioid use. Individual and group therapy sessions during your stay at Restored Path are other fundamental pieces of starting your recovery journey here.
Restored Path Detox addresses more than the harm to your body from oxycodone. A medical, mental health, and whole-person assessment shapes the individual care you will receive, and continuing care planning helps set you up for success in recovery when you’re ready to take the next step. A comfortable environment also supports the work you’re doing in detox to reclaim your life. At Restored Path, private rooms, gourmet meals, outdoor courtyard and garden areas, massage, and more help you focus on this first step in healing yourself.
Restored Path Detox is DFW’s premier location for sophisticated medical detox. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s board-certified medical professionals and highly qualified RNs have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: 561-841-1268.