Understanding OxyContin

OxyContin is a popular prescription drug used to treat symptoms of moderate and severe pain. It is also generally prescribed to those who have built a tolerance to other narcotic painkillers.

OxyContin belongs to a class of drugs called semi-synthetic opioids; its main ingredient is a drug called oxycodone. A drug which itself derives from the sap of the opium poppy plant.

Like other opioids, OxyContin carries a significant potential for abuse which can for a portion of the population lead to opioid use disorder (OUD) also known as opioid addiction.

Opioid dependency occurs as a result of how the drug stimulates opioid mu receptor sites in the body. Once activated cells are triggered to release dopamine in the brain.4 This overtime can have an inhibitory effect in areas of the brain controlling self-control, reward and pleasure. This is also the primary reason why those addicted to opioids continue to abuse them despite a variety of negative consequences.

While manufacturers claim that the newer generation of prescription opioids are less-addictive, new evidence along with the current opioid epidemic casts doubt on assertions that drugs like OxyContin are ultimately safe for long-term use.

OxyContin Addiction Side-Effects and Symptoms

Tolerance plays a critical role in Oxycontin abuse. The longer a person uses Oxycontin the more they will need of the drug to experience the same pain relief. From there it is all too easy to begin misusing the drug.

Those regularly taking OxyContin can expect side effects such as:

  • Confusion
  • Exhaustion
  • Constipation and Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty Beathing
  • Mood Swings

If you believe you may be developing a tolerance to Oxycontin, talk to your doctor. Doctors play a critical role in assessing dosages and timeframes to prevent addiction from occurring.
All medications have side-effects but when a person begins abusing their medication these side -effects can become more severe and frequent.

Dependency for Oxycontin can occur as quickly as a couple of weeks. Users of OxyContin/Oxycodone can experience withdrawal symptoms when they can no longer obtain their medication. Oxycontin withdrawals include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Distress
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Heightened Blood Pressure
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Runny Nose
  • Shaking
  • Body aches
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Difficulty Falling Asleep
  • High Blood Pressure

    Abuse Statistics

    • In 2017, over 11 million people misused prescription opioids like OxyContin.1
    • Double blind studies involving oxycodone and controlled release morphine have yielded similar results in terms of safeness and effectiveness.7
    • Over 175,000 people were taken to the ER as a result of Oxycodone abuse.3
    • One survey associated with NIDA found that 1 in 30 of seniors in high school had at one time abused OxyContin.5


    Treatment for OxyContin Addiction

    Usually, medical, and psychological interventions are needed to get clean from oxycodone/OxyContin especially because the early stages of recovery are usually fraught with physical discomfort and intense urges to use.

    From overcoming chemical dependency to learning the skills necessary to identify and avoid harmful situations, opioid rehabilitation can significantly increase your odds of maintaining long term sobriety.

    Inpatient Treatment

    Inpatient rehabilitation programs are live-in solutions that offer medication assisted detox, medical assistance, treatment planning, nutritional support, and access to various types of counseling and psychological support. Programs of this type are ideal for those in the early stages of recovery for opioid addiction who often struggle with relapse and treatment engagement.

    Inpatient programs typically last for 30-90 days. When in an inpatient treatment, patients have less freedom than in other types of rehabilitation programs. They are for example, expected stay on the premises, limited to what they can bring with them, and live in a highly structured environment.

    Outpatient Treatment

    Part of the continuum of care, outpatient programs are a long-term solution for those who have gone through detox or inpatient rehab.

    In outpatient treatment, individuals continue to receive weekly counseling, clinical support for mental, health and treatment planning but in a flexible format with a low hourly commitment (generally 4 hours a week for a few days a week).

    Need a more substantive program to ease the transition back to full independence?

    For OxyContin users who need additional resources, intensive Outpatient rehab (IOP) offers education, community resources, workshops and counseling. They also place more emphasis on individualized treatment planning.

    Unlike basic outpatient programs, IOPs tend to be more engaging and require a sizable weekly commitment. In a typical situation, an IOP program coordinator, might start a person off at 9 hours a week. These weekly commitments are often subject to change– usually contingent on a person’s progress and needs. IOP weekly commitments can range anywhere from 6-20 hours a week.

    Get Help Now

    Are you or a loved one struggling with opioid addiction? Dugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) can dissolve a person’s ability make safe and healthy choices. To avoid the disastrous consequences of drug abuse it is often necessary to rely on addiction professionals. For more information on addiction treatments available in your area see the link below.

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