How to Detox from Oxycodone
Detoxing from oxycodone is done the most safely and effectively when under a doctor’s care. Whether you decide to have your personal physician care for you during this time or you choose to go to a detox center, you will be much safer during the process than if you decided to go through oxycodone detox alone. Below are the general steps highlighting the best way to detox from oxycodone.
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Step One: Talk to Your Doctor
Many individuals who go on oxycodone for pain treatment do not realize that the drug can cause dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms if it is stopped suddenly after they have been taking it for at least a few weeks or months. According to the National Library of Medicine, you should “not stop taking oxycodone without talking to your doctor.” If you do decide you want to stop, “your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.”
If you have been abusing oxycodone, it can be more difficult to reach out to a doctor but it is still important to do so. Many treatment clinics have detox programs that can help you withdraw from oxycodone safely, and you can choose whether you need to stay at an inpatient center or if you can be given treatment daily at an outpatient center. If you decide to choose the latter, make sure that you have a family member or friend who can stay with you for the duration of your detox.
Step Two: Decide on a Medication Plan
Medically-assisted detox, with the use of pharmaceuticals, is recommended for opioid withdrawal. This is because opioid withdrawal without the use of medication can be extremely painful. As many oxycodone users and abusers have a lower tolerance for pain, these withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and lead to relapse even before detox has ended. It is much safer to work out a medication plan with your doctor and manage your symptoms.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the management of opioid withdrawal with medication is most commonly achieved through the use of methadone, buprenorphine, or clonidine. The latter of these is the most common medications used to treat opioid withdrawal, but methadone and buprenorphine are often used to manage withdrawal symptoms in those who have already been abusing or become addicted to opioids. You and your doctor can decide on a plan based on your personal situation.
As stated above, many individuals also choose to merely taper off their oxycodone dosage, which can be done effectively under the supervision of a doctor. However, doing so without a doctor’s help can be dangerous. Normally, a person’s dosage is lowered gradually so they will not experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Still, in each scenario, a level of these symptoms will likely be experienced.
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Step Three: Understand What Oxycodone Withdrawal Entails
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, “Withdrawal symptoms [caused by oxycodone] may be severe and can include anxiety, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, fevers, and other flu like symptoms.” It will often feel like you have a very bad case of the flu. Oxycodone withdrawal can also cause irritability, sweating, excessive yawning, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, and restlessness.
Symptoms usually last about a week or so, unless your doctor decides you need to be on medication for a longer period of time. The flu like symptoms and muscle pain will often occur within the first few days of withdrawal, followed by the gastrointestinal symptoms. Sometimes, it will seem like your withdrawal symptoms have subsided, but it is important to take it easy until you know for sure that you are through detox.
Because of the intensity of the symptoms, someone must be with you while you are going through oxycodone detox, so make sure a friend can stay with you if you do not decide to stay at an inpatient clinic. For the most part, the symptoms are not dangerous, but depression can sometimes occur, especially if you have been abusing oxycodone.
Step Four: Take a Break from Your Routine
If you are working or going to school, take some time off––at least a week or longer––in order to take care of yourself during your detox. This will be a very difficult time both emotionally and physically, and you shouldn’t put any more stress on yourself than necessary.
Treat yourself as if you actually have the flu.
- Take time off of work and school.
- Get a lot of rest.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Try to be positive and do things that make you feel good (watch movies, read, play video games, etc.)
Step Five: Seek Out Further Treatment
If you are being treated by a doctor during your oxycodone detox, you will likely receive the treatments necessary to make sure you transition safely out of the detox phase. According to the NLM, “Those withdrawing from opiates should be checked for depression and other mental illnesses. Appropriate treatment of such disorders can reduce the risk of relapse.” If you are in need of antidepressants or counseling, it is important that you receive them, as relapse could be a possible consequence of opioid withdrawal. The person staying with you during this time and helping you through your detox period should also be aware of the possible signs and symptoms of depression.
If you have been abusing oxycodone, you will need further help than just detox treatment. After you detox from the drug, your cravings for it and your desire to abuse it will not go away. You will need counseling and possibly medication in order to fight those feelings and build a strong recovery. According to Harvard Medical School, detoxification “by itself” is not a solution to addiction “because most addicts will eventually resume taking the drug unless they get further help.” The healthcare professionals at a detox center or your own personal physician should refer you to an addiction treatment program that will be beneficial to you if you need further treatment.
Going through oxycodone withdrawal is not easy, but you can do so safely with the help of a doctor or detox clinic. Doing so alone can be dangerous, which is why it is important to follow these steps and to ask for help during your withdrawal syndrome.
We can help you find the best treatment center for your needs; call 800-483-2193(Who Answers?) today!
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018). Oxycodone.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018). Treatments for Substance Use Disorders.
- Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013). Oxycodone.
- Harvard Health Publishing- Harvard Medical School. (2005). Treating Opiate Addiction, Part I: Detoxification and Maintenance.