Oxycontin Addiction and Abuse

OxyContin is a painkiller with powerful addictive properties. If you abuse the drug for an extended period, there’s a high chance you’ll become addicted. The progress of addiction can be rapid, and without help, you could be at risk of fatal complications.

If you or a loved one have been struggling to quit OxyContin, help is available to end the cycle of dependence. Professional assistance is required to safely break the hold of a potentially dangerous drug such as OxyContin. So it’s vital you seek help as soon as possible.

OxyContin addiction occurs for a number of reasons. Legitimate use of the drug via a prescription to treat pain can easily lead to abuse and addiction if not managed carefully. This is as a result of OxyContin’s interactions with the brain and its addictive nature. However, recreational use of the drug is a direct route to addiction and dependence.

What is Oxycontin?

OxyContin is a brand name of the generic drug, Oxycodone, which is also found as part of a combination in other branded formulations such as Percodan (oxycodone and aspirin) and Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen).

Oxycodone is mainly prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. It has similar chemical properties to other opioids (such as morphine), being synthesised in part from molecules derived from the opium poppy. Oxycodone however is a more potent painkiller.

OxyContin is an effective medication when taken as directed by a physician. The drug has proven helpful in people suffering from discomfort due to pain. However, it has a high potential for abuse and has similar addictive properties to heroin.

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Various Forms of OxyContin

OxyContin is a branded formulation of oxycodone. There are other formulations with oxycodone as a main ingredient, in conjunction with other drugs. Oxycodone can be found in Percodan and Percocet. Its immediate release branded formulations areOxyfastand OxyIR. However, OxyContin comes in both the controlled and immediate release formulations of Oxycodone.

Immediate release formulations of Oxycodone (or any other drug) travel quickly to the bloodstream and create an almost-immediate effect on the body. The controlled release (also called sustained release, extended release,and time-release) variations are technologically modified to gradually travel into the bloodstream over a long period of time.

Immediate release drugs present high-risk of abuse, addiction and overdose. To curb these and promote convenience, time-release versions are created. That said, time-release formulations of OxyContin also possess high potential for abuse. So, it’s important you don’t take more than the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

Oxycontin Addiction and Abuse: What is it?

Abuse of OxyContin occurs when you use the drug beyond your doctor’s prescription. This happens a lot given the nature of the drug and its effects on the brain. OxyContin inhibits pain sensations by causing alterations in the brain’s neurochemical activity and opioid receptors. Use of OxyContin is accompanied by feelings of euphoria, along with pain relief. However, after a fewhours, the effects of the drug will wear off, and as a consequence, you may want to repeat usage.

Continued use will lead to tolerance. This means your body becomes desensitised to the drug’s effects. You’ll also require an increased dose than previously to achieve the original effects of OxyContin. This situation can easily lead to abuse of the drug.

While OxyContin is mainly a prescription-based drug for treating pain, it is also used for recreational purposes to induce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Use of the drug for non-medical purposes puts users at higher risk of abuse and dependence.

The more you use OxyContin in incremental doses, the more your brain makes adjustments for the presence of the drug. OxyContin produces increased amounts of chemicals in the brain (such as dopamine and Endorphins) which it can’t produce on its own. When the body becomes used to the level of chemicals produced by OxyContin, it becomes reliant on the drug for normal function. At this point, you’re in a state of dependence.

The need for increased doses of OxyContin, coupled with the brain’s dependence on the drug to function properly, will lead to compulsive drug-seeking behaviours. This obsessive and compulsive behaviour toward OxyContin is known as addiction.

What Causes Oxycontin Addiction and Abuse?

Addiction to (and abuse of) OxyContin occursasa result of the habit-forming effects of the drug. OxyContin produces a powerful ‘high’ and pleasurable feeling when it fills opioid receptors in the brain. This alone serves as temptation for continued use.

However, you might want to repeat using the drug if you’re in severe pain. The effects of OxyContin (especially pain relief) will wear off after a few hours of your last dose, but extended use will lead to tolerance. As such, your body will require higher doses of the drug to recreate its original pain-relieving effects (and euphoric highs).

You could also become dependent, despite adhering to your prescription. Notwithstanding, always consult your doctor on any decisions relating to OxyContin.

How Addiction Develops

Addiction to OxyContin occurs when you ingest large doses of the drug for an extended period of time. This is the result of tolerance and dependence.

Most cases of OxyContin addiction can be traced back to a legitimate prescription for pain management. If you continue taking Oxycontin, your body will likely become used to a regular dose, and as a result, increased doses will be required to achieve the same effects experienced previously.

Coupled with tolerance, your body’s dependence on the drug will push you to obtain OxyContin by any means necessary.

Who Becomes Addicted to Oxycontin?

A number of factors combine to increase the chances of becoming addicted to Oxycontin. It’s difficult to point out exactly who will become addicted to the drug, but studies have made suggestions.

Addiction to Other Drugs : If you’ve been addicted to other drugs such as cocaine -and substances such as alcohol -you face a higher risk of addiction if prescribed OxyContin.

Age : According to studies focusing on drug abuse, people with a higher chance of developing addiction to prescription meds are young adults. In fact, research has shown that 12% of people within the age range of 18 to 25 have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.

Family History of Addiction : Another factor that will increase your likelihood of becoming addicted to OxyContin is any family history of addiction. Studies suggest that half your chances of becoming addicted are connected to genetic factors; that is, genes that could put you at risk may have been passed down to you.

Other factors that may increase your risk of addiction are mental illness, your lifestyle, and your access (and proximity) to OxyContin.

Teen OxyContin Addiction

Oxycodone formulations such as OxyContin are not abused by adults alone. Teens can easily access OxyContin,as the drug can be found inmany home medicine cabinets. Teenagers can also be introduced to the drug by friends at parties, school and other social settings.

Teenagers mostly take OxyContin for reasons that are not medically related. As a result, the risk of addiction is high. Medical experts have stated that those taking OxyContin as per their prescription are virtually free from the risk of addiction. However, ingesting the drug above what has been prescribed - and for non-medical purposes - will heighten the metabolic process in the brain and lead to addiction.

Most teenagers even snort and smoke the drug by crushing the time-release pills to enjoy a near instant high.

Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Oxycontin Abuse and Addiction

A major sign and symptom of OxyContin abuse and addiction is compulsive and obsessive behaviours towards it. You’ll find yourself spending the majority of each day trying to obtain the drug and subsequently using it. Most users will try to source prescriptions from different doctors or acquire OxyContin through illegal means.

If you can’t recognise yourself or your loved anymore due to changes in character as a result of OxyContin, please reach out for help immediately.

OxyContin can have adverse effects on your health as well as your social life. Severe, long-term effects may even lead to death. Means of taking the drug – such as using non-sterilised needles -could also put you at risk of diseases such as HIV.

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Short-Term effects of Oxycontin on the body

Taking OxyContin will change your perceptions of pain during the short-term. This is because it causes a reduction in the body’s GABA activity and an ensuingspike in dopamine release. This interaction with the brain will also lead to an upswing in euphoria and relaxation.

Taking OxyContin has associated short-term side effects. These include:

  • Poor reflexes
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils

Long-Term Effects of using Oxycontin

Flooding your body with OxyContin for a long period of time will lead to distressing health effects that may rise in severity. Your organs may be affected and you could suffer psychological impairments.

Here are some dangers of using OxyContin for a long period:

  • Myoclonus (jerky motor movements)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor reaction to stimuli
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe constipation
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Repressed breathing
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Physical Signs and symptoms of Oxycontin Abuse and Addiction

Some physicalsymptoms and signs of abusing OxyContin include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Day mouth
  • Slurred speech
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep apnea
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Memory issues
  • Confused and disoriented appearance

Psychological signs and symptoms of Oxycontin Abuse and Addiction

The main psychological telltale sign of OxyContin addiction and abuse is compulsive drug-seeking behaviours towards it. Other impairments will occur as a result of chemical changes in the brain.

Common psychological signs and symptoms include increased agitation and restlessness, severe depression, irritation, cravings, mood disorders, panic attacks, hallucinations, and delusions. Suicidal ideations may also arise as a result of depression.

Teen OxyContin Abuse Symptoms

Teenagers are also prone to abuse OxyContin. There are different signs and symptoms that will signal abuse of OxyContin in a teen. Though these may vary from teen to teen, common symptoms include:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Criminal behaviours (such as theft)
  • Absence from home
  • Tolerance to OxyContin
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Unusual disappearance of OxyContin in home medicine cabinets
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OxyContin Warning Signs and Dangers for Women

The warning sings of OxyContin abuse in women are consistent with what’s seen in general cases of abuse and addiction. However, the case may be different when pregnancy is involved.

Using OxyContin – as well as other opioids – could prove harmful to the growth and development of the foetus, particularly when taken within the first few months of pregnancy. This is because anything a woman consumes reaches the baby through the placenta. It’s important that pregnant women consult their doctors before taking OxyContin.

Researchhas stated that women have a higher sensitivity to pain than men. This contributes to high rates of drugs like OxyContin being prescribed to females of productive age. In turn, this increases the Oxycontin Withdrawal and Overdose

Signs of Oxycontin Withdrawal and Overdose

When you discontinue using OxyContin, withdrawal symptoms will occur. If you notice any of the following symptoms a few hours after your last dose, you are likely in withdrawal and possibly on the verge of an overdose:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Painful abdominal cramps
  • Profuse sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Shakiness
  • Tics
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Dangerous Effects of Oxycontin Abuse and Addiction

Using OxyContin can be potentially dangerous. Extended usage can lead to life-threatening complications such as repressed breathing, organ inflammation, coma, and slowed heart rate. Please consult your doctor when you notice signs of abuse.

Physical, Psychological, Emotional, Behavioural and Mental Effects of Oxycontin Abuse

Physical effects and side effects of OxyContin include:

  • Pain relief
  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting nausea
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Euphoria
  • Psychological/mental effects and side effects are:
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Cravings

Behavioural effects include seeing numerous doctors to obtain multiple OxyContin prescriptions; continued use of the drug despite knowing the consequences; inability to keep up with engagements and maintain relationships; loss of interest for activities previously enjoyed.

The Social Impacts of Oxycontin

Abuse to (and addiction of) OxyContin will have numerous effects on your social life. These include:

  • Irregular employment and inability to hold down jobs
  • Possible Incarceration due to illegal possession of the drug
  • Strain on relationships
  • Inability to enjoy activities and social engagements that were once pleasurable
  • Financial issues

Teen OxyContin Abuse Effects

While OxyContin will impact teenagers identically to adults in some respects, there are a number of effects that are specific to teenagers. They include:

  • A drop in performance at school
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Irregular mood swings
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Lack of direction and concentration
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Coping with Withdrawal

Withdrawal is a series of unpleasant symptoms that occur when you abruptly stop using OxyContin or drastically reduce your normal dose. It’s a factor that will keep you hooked on the drug, even though you are psychologically ready to quit.However, you mustpull through withdrawal if you’re going to quit OxyContin. Fortunately, there are waysin which you can safely achieve this.

The best method for dealing withwithdrawal is under medical care and monitoring. With the help of professionals, your withdrawal symptoms will be managed and medications may be administered to help soften their effects.

It’s also important you receive emotional support through family and friends, as well as support groups.

How to treat OxyContin Withdrawal

OxyContin withdrawal is best treated by medical professionals in a medically controlled environment. Symptoms will be treated as they occur and complications will subsequently be averted. Pharmaceutical drugs will be administered to prevent and alleviate symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea, as well as depression and agitation.

Therapy, Treatment and Rehab for OxyContin Abuse

OxyContin can be very difficult to quit. However, there are treatment options and stages that can assist in breaking the cycle of addiction successfully.

The first stage of your treatment involves a process called detox: this is where the drugs are flushed out of your system with medical assistance. The next stage involves rehab, where you’ll be put through various forms of therapy that will address issues that caused your addiction and equip you with skills to live without OxyContin.

Your treatment plan from detox to rehab will be devised based on your unique addiction situation. This is because every addict has different needs.

OxyContin Addiction Treatment Prices

Treatment prices for OxyContin addiction will vary, depending on the length of treatment and the facility in which you’ll be treated. We can help you find out the prices of rehab and detox centres that are just right for you. Contact us now for an idea of what you’ll be paying and to determine whether your insurance company covers you.

Staying off OxyContin

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong commitment. Your treatment will arm you with the skills necessary to kick your OxyContin habit and fight off relapse triggers, but it will not immunise you against relapse. Staying off OxyContin requires a resolute commitment on your part and adequate help from friends and family, licensed psychologists, and support groups.

Make sure you open up to those around you, whenever you feel vulnerable and are on the brink of using again.

Individual Counselling

Individual counselling involves one-on-one therapy sessions with a professional therapist. You will talk through your problems with a counsellor and will be coached on lifestyle changes that will help you overcome your addiction and maintain sobriety.

You’ll go through individual counselling whilst in the rehab facility, but it’s advisable to schedule appointments once your treatment is over.

Support Groups

Support groups involve communities of recovering addicts (like you) coming together to share their experiences in order to help each other.

A helpful support group for OxyContin addiction and abuse is Narcotics Anonymous. This group follows the 12-step programme which is modelled on the principle and guidelines of Alcohol Anonymous. The programme will help you recognise faults in your behaviour and guide you on steps to correct them.

Family Therapy

Family therapy was created on the premise that dysfunction in the family unit is unhealthy for the recovering addict; repairing the broken components in the family dynamic can play a pivotal role in the success of addiction recovery.

Addiction treatment has always involved seclusion from society in a dedicated treatment facility, but there has been a recent shift towards an integrated treatment approach that involves family members. Over the years, this approach to treatment has proven helpful.

Facts / Statistics

Prescriptions for opioids have seen a 100% increase over the past decade, according to the National Health Service, and Oxycodone has also seen an upswing during the years leading up to 2016.

Deaths connected to Oxycodone increased to 75 in 2016 from a stable 51 three years prior, according to the ONS.


FAQs

What Is Oxycontin?

OxyContin is the branded formulation of the generic painkiller, Oxycodone. It is partly synthesised from molecules obtained from the opium poppy. It is similar to morphine, but more potent.

What Is It Used For?

It is used to manage moderate to severe pain in people with medical conditions associated with chronic pain. However, the drug has a high potential for abuse given its ability to deliver euphoria and relaxation.

What is the Annual Fatalities rate?

The annual fatalities rate of Oxycodone (asof2016) was 75, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Who Becomes Addicted to Oxycontin?

People that take OxyContin beyond what has been prescribed - and for non-medical purposes - are prone to addiction.

What are OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms are a series of temporaryphysical and psychological health effects that occur when you drastically reduce your dose of OxyContin or abruptly stop using the drug after your body has grown dependent on it. They include: intense cravings for OxyContin, depression, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, and watery eyes amongst many others.

What are the Effects of OxyContin Abuse and Addiction?

OxyContin abuse and addiction will lead to a number of adverse physical and psychological complications. It will also lead to negative lifestyle changes and harm your social life.

Is there a normal level of Oxycontin usage?

The best way to take OxyContin is by using the drug as prescribed by your doctor. This will substantially reduce the risk of abuse and addiction.

What are the Various Forms of Oxycontin?

The various forms of OxyContin include the immediate-release and controlled/time-release forms. Immediate-release forms of the drug travel quickly to the bloodstream after ingestion, which can quickly lead to addiction. Meanwhile, the time-release forms are designed to enter the bloodstream gradually over a longer period.

Can Oxycontin Be Abused?

Yes. Oxycontin has a high potential for abuse because of its addictive nature.

Oxycontin addiction symptoms: Can they be treated?

Addiction symptoms can be managed and alleviated during the course of your treatment. However, as you recover from the drug, the severity of these symptoms will continue to dissipate and most of them will completely disappear overtime.

How much Oxycontin does it take to overdose?

Overdose of Oxycontin can result in fatal consequences. The amount of OxyContin that will result in overdose depends on the level of tolerance your body has developed for the drug. You can easily overdose if you repeat use midway into withdrawal or detox. This is because your tolerance has been reduced.

A higher tolerance for OxyContin will require a large dose for overdose to occur. Similarly, low tolerance to the drug can result in overdose if a relatively larger dose than prescribed is taken.

Do Suboxone and OxyContin really work to treat addiction?

During treatment for addiction, quitting ‘cold turkey’(that is,abruptly quitting the drug) may result in severe withdrawal symptoms. To avoid this, you may be tapered off OxyContin or Suboxone.

Do you get high on OxyContin?

Yes. OxyContin’s interaction with brain chemicals results in a powerful ‘high’ alongside pain relief.

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