Do I Need Detox for Oxycodone If I Just Took It For Post-Surgical Pain And Now I May Be Addicted?

Addiction to oxycodone and other strong opioids can happen without warning and in many different ways. These drugs can be seductive, and there is no way to know for sure who is at extra risk for addiction and who isn’t. You won’t know that until you are already addicted. You likely won’t realize you’re even physically dependent until you have to stop the drug and withdrawal symptoms set in. However, risk for addiction in general has a strong genetic component. If you have a number of family members addicted to various substances, then that may indicate a higher risk for you. Certainly you should be cautious.

True addiction to prescribed opioids isn’t that common. Most people take them as prescribed and only when needed for pain. However, anyone who takes opioids regularly for any period of time exceeding a few weeks will definitely become physically dependent upon the drug. This isn’t the same as addiction. Addiction occurs when someone takes oxycodone for reasons other than for what it was prescribed. For example, people may take the drug to relieve their emotional pain. Others may take oxycodone for the high it provides. These are both examples of addictive behaviors.

Most addicted persons also have developed very high tolerances. This means that their bodies have become so used to the presence of the opioid that normally high doses no longer have any effect. More and more must be taken to achieve any effect at all. At this point, overdose becomes a real concern. The body’s tolerance will protect the user from overdose up to a certain point, but if enough opioid is taken, death is always possible, regardless of the person’s tolerance level.

The patient who has taken oxycodone after surgery and hasn’t developed an addiction to it should be able to stop the drug on their own with minimal or no help from their physician. On the other hand, the patient who has developed an addiction will likely be unable to stop on their own. They are always thinking about getting more oxycodone and will go to herculean lengths to do so. They will need professional help. It makes no difference that the addiction started with a medically prescribed, legal opioid such as oxycodone. Addiction is addiction, no matter how it began.

Why is Oxycodone So Addictive?

There has been a lot of negative press about oxycodone recently. It’s blamed for many emergency room visits and deaths. But the truth is, oxycodone can be good or bad. It just depends on how it’s used. It allows many chronic pain patients to live normal lives, free from terrible pain. It allows patients to heal at home without having to live with severe post-surgical pain. Pain destroys lives, too.

That said, there is a likely reason why oxycodone is so addictive. This reason relates to its extreme bioavailability. Bioavailability, or BA, refers to the amount of an opioid drug that is actually absorbed by the body. With many opioids, such as morphine, the BA is less than 50%. Oxymorphone’s oral BA is a dismal 10%. That means that 90% of the taken oxymorphone dose is lost! But oxycodone has a phenomenal 88% BA when taken orally. Almost the entire dose makes it to the brain, where it works by attaching to special brain receptors. In some persons, this much oxycodone reaching the brain’s receptor sites all at once triggers a rush of subjective euphoria. This euphoria has reinforcing actions. The person wants the same rush over and over, so they keep taking more and more. Before they even realize it, they are addicted. Worse, they are taking the drug for the entirely wrong reasons.

Are you Addicted?

Have you increased your oxycodone dosage on your own without your doctor’s permission or knowledge? Do you take the drug more often than what the directions on the bottle’s label say? If the answer is yes, these are two red flags for addiction. If you suspect that you’ve become addicted to oxycodone, there is a simple way to tell for sure. Can you stop on your own? If your doctor has told you to reduce the dose and has given you a dose reduction schedule to follow, can you follow it with little difficulty? If the answer to these last two questions is no, then you’ve almost certainly developed an addiction. You should seek professional help to stop before the addiction becomes even more ingrained into your psyche and life. You also don’t want to attempt to deal with oxycodone withdrawal symptoms on your own. Especially if you have never done this before, you have no idea what you’re up against.

Conversely, if you’ve taken your oxycodone as prescribed and have simply become physically dependent on it, you likely don’t need any kind of rehab services. Physical dependence on opioids happens to everyone who takes them regularly. It’s not your fault. Just ask your doctor for a dose reduction schedule. Follow it exactly. If you reduce your dose slowly enough, most of the worst withdrawal symptoms should be held at bay. If withdrawal symptoms are still too much for you, even though you’re following your doctor’s schedule, speak up. Your doctor can alter it. Be patient. It will take time to eliminate the oxycodone entirely.

For those addicted, oxycodone withdrawal can be particularly nasty. For one thing, it tends to last longer than withdrawal from most other opioids. You can fully expect certain withdrawal symptoms to linger for up to six weeks. Sleep is near impossible. This insomnia can persist for weeks. You may vomit near non-stop for days on end. The diarrhea is relentless. The combination of vomiting and diarrhea may leave you severely dehydrated. Oxycodone withdrawal is best managed by professionals in a medical detox setting. There you will receive medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. You will also get counseling to help stop you from ever going through this again in the future.

No matter how it started, if you’ve developed a true addiction, you will need help. If you’re ready to seek that help and need some assistance, please give us a call at 877-978-3125. We have trained staff on duty 24 hours a day, and we can help you find the right facility for you. It’s all confidential. We look forward to your call.

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B. Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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