Last updated: 12/2/2021
Author: Ruben Bermea, LPC
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) is a prescription opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is in the same class of drugs as hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, and the illegal opioid, heroin. Drugs with addictive qualities like oxycodone are often prescribed to people with severe medical concerns that cause chronic pain. Oxycodone is typically safe when taken as directed for a short period. However opioid misuse can lead to hazardous consequences, including oxycodone addiction. If you or someone you know needs oxycodone addiction treatment, it’s important to know your treatment options.1,2,3,4,5,6
In this Article:
Identifying The Need for Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
Identifying your need for oxycodone addiction treatment usually requires an assessment by a licensed professional.1 Still, tell-tale signs exist that can let you know that your oxycodone use has become problematic.3
First, recognize when oxycodone use turns into misuse. Understanding the difference between substance use and misuse can lay the groundwork for recognizing the need for oxycodone addiction treatment. Oxycodone misuse occurs when you:
- Take higher or more frequent doses than prescribed
- Mix oxycodone with other substances like alcohol or cocaine
- Take oxycodone without a prescription
- Take oxycodone in a way other than directed (e.g. snorting or injecting)
Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Addiction
Oxycodone addiction, also known as opioid use disorder (OUD), is a diagnosis that involves a spectrum of signs and symptoms. OUD can develop when a person misuses opioids, such as oxycodone, or takes them in a way that goes beyond recommended medicinal purposes.1,3 The American Psychiatric Association provides a list of symptoms of OUD that can help you and a licensed provider recognize the signs of oxycodone addiction. These include:3
- Taking more oxycodone than you originally planned to
- Using oxycodone for longer than intended
- Spending a significant amount of time acquiring and using oxycodone
- Spending a large amount of time recovering from the effects of oxycodone
- Doctor shopping or attempting to obtain oxycodone prescriptions for misuse
- Giving up on activities, hobbies, or socialization to use or recover from the effects of oxycodone
- Continuing to misuse oxycodone even though doing so causes challenges in relationships, friendships, and other areas of life
- Continuing to misuse oxycodone at the expense of school, work, and other essential obligations
- Developing a tolerance to the effects of oxycodone
- Experiencing oxycodone withdrawal symptoms when you abruptly reduce or quit use
- Continuing to misuse oxycodone despite the physical or mental health complications caused or worsened by use
- Using oxycodone in situations where physical harm could occur
A qualified treatment professional can provide a diagnosis and refer you to the appropriate level of addiction treatment. Once you receive a formal diagnosis and recommended treatment setting, you can begin researching opioid addiction treatment options.
Oxycodone Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal
Tolerance refers to a person’s sensitivity to a specific substance. The more oxycodone a person uses, the less sensitive they become to its effects. Over time, a person needs to use higher doses of oxycodone to achieve the effect they once experienced at lower doses. Tolerance is not necessarily a sign that a person needs oxycodone addiction treatment, but it can contribute to the development of an addiction as someone may begin taking larger doses or switching to other methods of administration, such as injecting or snorting—both of which can speed up the progression of an oxycodone addiction. Additionally, tolerance can increase the risk of experiencing an oxycodone overdose, since you are taking ever increasing doses.
Dependence and Withdrawal
Physiological dependence means that a person needs a substance to continue functioning normally.3 Over time, as a person continues to use oxycodone, their body and mind may adjust to the presence of the medication and certain neural adaptations may occur. When they attempt to quit taking oxycodone, painful withdrawal symptoms are likely to emerge due to these adaptations. These symptoms can be extremely distressing and may lead people to seek out more oxycodone or other opioids to relieve these symptoms. Although oxycodone dependence does not necessarily indicate that a person needs oxycodone addiction treatment, it is a sign of addiction and can also contribute to the development of an addiction.
Oxycodone Addiction Treatment Options
Oxycodone treatment can help build the foundation for lasting recovery.1,4 Oxycodone addiction treatment programs provide support in a variety of ways.1 These programs may offer a myriad of various interventions to meet your individual recovery needs.
Detox, which is an important first step on the continuum of oxycodone addiction treatment, refers to a system of services known as withdrawal management.1 During detox, the body removes toxic levels of medications and chemical substances, such as oxycodone. Detox services involve interventions and close monitoring to ensure a person is medically stable during the detox process.
Because oxycodone withdrawal symptoms may be very severe and unpleasant, medical detox is often beneficial for keeping patients safe and comfortable throughout the process. At a medical detox program, you will receive opioid withdrawal medications, such as buprenorphine or methadone, to alleviate symptoms and cravings. You will also receive 24/7 medical oversight and supervision, which includes supportive care like intravenous fluids.
Each person’s experience of withdrawal will require a unique approach.1,8 The presence of medical or mental health conditions can complicate the withdrawal management process, resulting in more intensive interventions.1 Polysubstance use can also complicate the withdrawal process as your treatment provider may have to adjust their approach to address the adverse effects of multiple substances on your body.
Withdrawal management can occur in several settings, including inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities. The level of care required for detox depends on the intensity of a person’s withdrawal experience.1
Oxycodone inpatient rehab offers the highest level of care and typically serves those with the greatest need.1 Inpatient care involves living at the facility for between 30 and 90 days, during which you receive a combination of treatment modalities based on your biopsychosocial assessment and individualized treatment plan.
For those with dual diagnoses, also called co-occurring disorders, inpatient care is often the preferred level of care. Inpatient treatment is recommended when symptoms of dual diagnosis make safety a priority concern. Co-occurring conditions develop when a person with an oxycodone addiction also has a mental health disorder, such as clinical depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some people may benefit from starting their recovery at a less intensive setting than inpatient or residential treatment programs provide, such as in one of several types of outpatient programs.
Outpatient treatment is offered in varying intensities, each serving a different level of need.
Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) offer the highest level of outpatient care, with services occurring most days of the week.1 This level of oxycodone addiction treatment may provide medication management services and many of the services involved in residential treatment such as group and individual therapy, addiction education groups, and more.
Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) include therapeutic services several days of the week.1People can continue to receive counseling, therapy, and other interventions in IOP with the support of their providers.
Outpatient services may continue well after completing a PHP or IOP program.1 An outpatient program can serve as a starting point for people beginning to recognize the severity of their oxycodone addiction. People who engage in these services benefit from the flexibility of the schedule, which allows them to continue working, attending school, or fulfilling other obligations.
Therapies for Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
Each program you encounter, including inpatient, residential, or outpatient treatment programs, may offer different therapeutic modalities, although they all tend to employ evidence-based practices, meaning they are backed by extensive research.1
Services that recovery programs offer include:1
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Peer or mutual support groups
- Family therapy
- Medication management (i.e., oxycodone addiction treatment drugs)
- Case management services
- Motivational and mindfulness interventions
- Connection with community support
Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), solution-focused therapy, and person-centered approaches can help you build coping skills that support long-term recovery.1 Medication like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone may be given for opioid and oxycodone addiction treatment.4
Some treatment facilities may take a holistic approach to oxycodone addiction recovery, which means they view recovery from a whole-person perspective—healing the mind, body, and spirit.10
Many evidence-based recovery programs integrate holistic modalities into oxycodone addiction treatment to provide comprehensive care.
Holistic, or complementary practices, work alongside traditional approaches to treatment and may include:9
- Music therapy
- Dance therapy
- Tai chi
- Art therapies
- Arts therapy
Support After Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
Although a rehab program can help build the foundation for recovery, you’re going to want to continue receiving ongoing support to help nourish your recovery from oxycodone addiction. Your treatment team will work with you to create an aftercare plan that best meets your suits and preferences. Aftercare options include:
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Celebrate Recovery
- SMART recovery
- Sober living homes
- Ongoing individual therapy
- Step-down care at an outpatient facility
No one program fits every person’s needs. To find out what approach might work best for you, call (800) 662-HELP (4357) today and discover what oxycodone addiction treatment has to offer.
- Miller, W. R., Forcehimes, A. A., & Zweben, A. (2019). Treating addiction: A guide for professionals. The Guilford Press.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, February 15). Oxycodone. MedlinePlus
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). . American Psychiatric Association Publishing.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Treatment approaches for drug addiction.
- S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, May 25). Opiate and opioid withdrawal. MedlinePlus.
- Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice. (2020). Drugs of abuse: A DEA resource guide/2020 edition..
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, June 03). Opioid overdose. MedlinePlus.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, June 27). Treating opiate addiction, Part I: Detoxification and maintenance.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2021). Complimentary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?
- Adedoyin, C., Burns, N., Jackson, H. M., & Franklin, S. (2014, June 30). Revisiting holistic interventions in substance abuse treatment. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 24(5), 538–546.