How Oxycodone Makes You Feel | What Is An Oxycodone High?

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid medication used by physicians to relieve moderate to severe pain. It is also commonly abused for its euphoric effects, sometimes leading to the development of opioid use disorder (oxycodone addiction).

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Oxycodone medications are widely abused for the drug’s pleasurable effects, which can be similar to those of the illicit opioid drug heroin in higher doses.

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid/opiate drug produced by modifying natural substances found in the opioid poppy. It is sold as a Schedule II prescription drug under brand names like OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet, and others.

Oxycodone is a common choice for healthcare providers when prescribing medications for the short-term management of acute pain, or longer-term management of chronic pain in extended-release formulations.

Just as with heroin, fentanyl, and other strong opioids, getting high on oxycodone is dangerous, potentially triggering life-threatening drug overdose symptoms and increasing one’s risk of becoming addicted to this highly potent painkiller.

What An Oxycodone High Feels Like

If you were to listen to honest, unfiltered testimonies from those who have abused ‘OCs’ or ‘Oxy’ in the past, you would learn that the drug brings extreme pleasure, bliss, relaxation, and an encompassing feeling of safety.

Some have compared it to being held in a warm, safe cocoon where no stress, worries, or pain can exist.

However, these feelings of well-being are false and temporary. All too soon the drug wears off and its effects are reversed as the body and mind rebound. You must once again face the painful reality of your current circumstances, or else take another dose.

Pattern Of Oxy Abuse

Over time, a repeating pattern of oxycodone abuse has led many to disengage from co-workers, friends, and loved ones. Relationship, financial, and legal problems may become more common and your mental and behavioral health decays while the need to continue using the drug becomes more and more intense.

Many individuals, at this point, may begin snorting or injecting the drug to increase its effects, or swap to heroin or fentanyl despite the risk of using street drugs.

Many may also experience an inability to feel pleasure or satisfaction from other sources, along with a profound sense of depression and severe cravings if oxycodone, other pain medications, or illicit narcotics are not available.

Oxycodone’s Euphoric Effects

Oxycodone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal column, and elsewhere in the central nervous system, the mechanism used by all opioid analgesics. This binding changes how the body senses and responds to feelings of pain and stress.

At higher doses, however, oxycodone can trigger a surging release of dopamine, a pleasure and habit-building neurotransmitter.

This euphoric release trains the brain to continue seeking out the experience of oxycodone abuse, even as the body becomes increasingly tolerant to the drug’s effects with gradually increasing tolerance towards them over time.

Oxycodone also acts as a strong central nervous system depressant, meaning that it tends to reduce physical and mental activity while active in the body. This is similar to the relaxing, drowsy, and sedating effects of drugs like benzodiazepines and alcohol, but stronger.

This is why opioids are so dangerous in larger doses or when mixed with other CNS depressants or stimulants.

Short-Term Symptoms Of Oxycodone Abuse

The symptoms of oxycodone abuse can vary from person to person depending on one’s individual responses, how the drug was taken, and how much was taken.

Some of the most common immediate or short-term effects and side effects of oxycodone can include:

  • euphoria (feelings of happiness and well-being)
  • pain relief
  • sedation and drowsiness
  • reduced heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • head nodding
  • slurred speech
  • feelings of warmth and heaviness
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • confusion
  • disorientation
  • itching
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • pupil constriction

Long-Term Risks Of Oxycodone Abuse

Long-term use of oxycodone, especially at higher than recommended doses, is strongly associated with:

  • increasing tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction
  • increased risk of bone fractures
  • increased risk of depression or anxiety disorders
  • cardiovascular complications
  • sleep apnea
  • constipation and related conditions
  • increased pain sensitivity
  • reproductive and sexual dysfunctions
  • opioid overdose
  • reduced overall longevity and quality of life

Oxycodone Overdose

Oxycodone overdose is a potentially life-threatening condition caused when high doses of the drug overwhelm the body’s natural internal balance.

It can be recognized through signs and symptoms that may include:

  • respiratory depression (slow, shallow, or interrupted breathing)
  • gasping or gurgling
  • pinpoint pupils
  • cold, clammy, or pale skin
  • blue-colored lips or fingernails
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal spasms
  • weak or unsteady pulse
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • limpness
  • becoming unresponsive (coma)
  • seizures/convulsions

If you suspect an opioid overdose has occurred, immediately call 911 and provide first aid until help arrives. Administer the life-saving opioid antidote drug naloxone (Narcan) if it is available to you.

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment Programs

If you or a loved one have been struggling with opioid addiction or some other form of substance abuse, consider inpatient treatment at Bedrock Recovery Center.

We offer personalized, compassionate, and comprehensive care for all substance use disorders, built around evidence-based treatment options.

Treatment approaches include:

To learn more about our treatment plans, please contact us today.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: August 25, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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