Opioid medications like Oxycodone are beneficial for addressing severe to moderate pain in patients. However, they can also lead to addiction and dependence in the user when abused.
Oxycodone works by binding to the opioid receptors in the body, which are made to attach to naturally occurring opioids called endorphins. These endorphins regulate the body’s pain response by restricting pain signals throughout the system. Nevertheless, endorphins might not be strong enough to address severe to moderate pain caused by chronic illnesses, surgery, or injuries.
This medication is more potent and better at blocking these pain signals more efficiently. Oxycodone binds to the body’s opioid receptors to activate them, resulting in euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief.
However, when one takes Oxycodone in high doses or uses it regularly for an extended period, the body may become accustomed to it. When you start depending on the drug, your body starts modifying the brain chemistry leading to an imbalance which can result in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Oxycodone withdrawal can be so challenging and uncomfortable to get through that it can hinder the sobriety of anyone suffering from an opioid use disorder.
Opioid withdrawal is less dangerous than depressants to the central nervous system. However, the symptoms can be dangerous if the user does not take sufficient fluids. Withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, sweating, diarrhea, and the flu can make the individual dehydrated at a faster rate which is why it is essential to stay hydrated throughout oxycodone detox.
Oxycodone Detox Timeline
The stages of oxycodone detox typically vary based on the individual’s experience with the medication. Generally, someone taking a large dose for an extended period will experience intense withdrawal symptoms early in the detox process. However, the timeline for withdrawal symptoms looks like this:
- The initial withdrawal symptoms will occur within the first 24 hours of taking the last dose of Oxycodone. Someone taking a very high amount may experience these withdrawal symptoms much sooner. These early symptoms might include teary eyes and yawning, and the user may feel like they are coming down with the flu.
- Two days after the last dose, the symptoms will intensify and reach their peak after a few days. When oxycodone withdrawal symptoms peak, they will be most intense, and the person might feel a strong urge to use Oxycodone again. These symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and fever.
- Two weeks into the oxycodone detox, the symptoms will have peaked and started subsiding, improving the individual’s condition. Physical symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are typically the first to disappear, while psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression may remain.
- After one month or longer, the individual may still experience symptoms such as drug cravings, anxiety, and irritability unless they are handled through comprehensive treatment. If any of the other symptoms last, you might need to undergo addiction treatment to learn how to manage them.
The duration of oxycodone detox will depend on several factors, such as:
- The user’s history of opioid use
- The amount of medication the person has been taking
- How long they have been using Oxycodone
Typically, the most intense part of Oxycodone detox lasts for about 5 to 10 days. On the other hand, a doctor may need to prescribe long-term replacement drugs to prevent any withdrawal symptoms that still occur long after stopping oxycodone use.
The withdrawal symptoms usually peak within 3 to 5 days of oxycodone detox. They can occur as soon as 8 hours after the last dose. Early withdrawal symptoms are expressed by high blood pressure, runny nose, fever, sweating, an irregular heart rate, yawning, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and agitation.
After the first 3 to 5 days, the individual shifts into late-stage oxycodone detox, which includes additional withdrawal symptoms. Late-stage detox will result in the onset of trouble with concentration, depression, drug cravings, chills, cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. These symptoms tend to stay for a few days to one week at most, but the psychological side effects of this medication will last much longer.
Detoxing from this medication can take about 1 to 2 weeks, while the most acute withdrawal symptoms will clear up in roughly three days. The other withdrawal symptoms will go away in 2 or more weeks.
What Happens After Detox?
The patient’s customized treatment plan will follow a timeline that’s entirely based on their needs. Additionally, once you complete the oxycodone detox process, this is not representative of recovery. Detox is merely the beginning of recovery from oxycodone abuse or addiction. When you are almost done with detox, you will prepare to transition into the rehabilitative stage of oxycodone abuse/addiction treatment.
Medical detox is the first of three oxycodone addiction/abuse treatment stages. During the rehabilitative stage, the patient will receive various therapies and tools to support their long-lasting recovery. This phase of the treatment usually includes peer support groups and talk therapy, but the overall plan will differ for each person.
The recovering individual may also receive guidance in critical areas of concern such as goal-setting, nutrition, wellness, and anything else pertaining to recovery. This stage aims to understand the reasons and triggers for the person’s drug abuse and determine the steps they need to take to avoid it.
As the individual completes the structured rehabilitation stage, they will move into the third and last stage of oxycodone abuse treatment, which is continued care. For most people, this stage requires continuous efforts where they keep trying to improve themselves and their lifestyle while utilizing the lessons incurred during treatment.