Oxycontin Symptoms and Warning Signs
Oxycontin is a strong synthetic pain killer that was formulated to manage long-lasting pain. Derived from Oxycodone, its effects can last for up to 12 hours in the body. It works by blocking pain receptors and increasing dopamine levels in the brain to induce feeling of euphoria.
Oxycontin is invaluable for relieving pain when taken at the prescribed dosage. However, many people abuse it because of the ‘high’ they experience. To feel the effects more intensely, some users crush and then snort or inject it. Meanwhile, others swallow more than the prescribed dosage.
Abusing Oxycontin is dangerous and may even prove fatal. It is highly addictive because of the euphoric effects it provides users. This addictive nature has made it a tightly controlled substance and doctors are constantly trying to inform people of the risks involved and the importance of following prescriptions.
What is Oxycontin Abuse?
Abuse and addiction are quite different, even though the former leads to addiction. In this instance, abuse comprises the use of Oxycontin in any way other than prescribed by a doctor. This could be as a result of misusing it by snorting, injecting or taking more than the prescribed number of pills. It can also be abused by continuing to take the drug, even after the pain for which it was initially prescribed has passed. Taking Oxycontin in irregular dosages is also considered to be abuse.
Very few people start out with the intention of abusing Oxycontin. Some people use it as prescribed and then gradually abuse it for its effects, and eventually become addicted. Others get the drug from family or friends who had it prescribed to them and get addicted themselves.
Abuse of Oxycontin is often the first step towards getting addicted to it. When you abuse Oxycontin for a while, you body starts to develop a tolerance towards it. When your body builds tolerance for a drug, the drug becomes less effective with the regular dose. This would prompt an abuser to increase the dosage to feel the same effect.
How you can tell you’re addicted to Oxycontin
Opioid addiction comes with signs. You could answer the following questions:
- Do you follow your doctor’s prescription?
- Do you keep taking Oxycontin, even though the pain for which it was prescribed is no longer evident?
- Do you ever experience withdrawal symptoms after you don’t take it for a while?
- Have more than two attempts at quitting Oxycontin failed?
- Have you had to forge prescriptions just to source Oxycontin?
- Have you ever gone ‘doctor shopping’ to acquire multiple prescriptions for Oxycontin?
- Do you make efforts to hide your dependency on Oxycontin from family and friends?
You can also tell you’re addicted when you start snorting or injecting Oxycontin to speed up its effects.
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People who are at risk of abuse and addiction
Everyone in contact with Oxycontin is at risk of abuse and addiction. Many are still unaware of the addictive nature of some opioids and don’t make the necessary efforts to avoid them, as they do illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. However, there are other risk factors that can increase the chances of abusing Oxycontin.
Genetic factors: people with character traits like impulsiveness are more prone to substance abuse. Furthermore, someone with a family history of drug abuse is also likely to abuse opioids.
Environmental factors: Stress is a contributory factor in opioid addiction; this can be related to relationships, the workplace, as well as finances or emotions. People who are stressed might seek escape in the euphoria Oxycontin can provide.
Other risk factors include anxiety, schizophrenia and existing health issues such as depression. Someone who has been addicted to another substance (such as alcohol for example) could likely become addicted to Oxycontin as well.
Short-term side effects of Oxycontin abuse
There are various side effects you can experience when abusing Oxycontin. The manner in which you feel these symptoms may be affected by your age, weight, how long you’ve been using Oxycontin and the amounts you’ve taken.
Short-term side effects of abusing Oxycontin include:
- Swelling in the throat or on the face
- Pinpoint pupils
- Dry mouth
- Rash or hives
- Cold sweats
- Tightness in the chest
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Long-term side effects of Oxycontin abuse
Long-term effects of Oxycontin abuse include:
- Liver damage
- Brain damage
- Memory Problems
- Panic attacks
Dangers of Oxycontin abuse
Abusing Oxytocin is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Besides long-term effects like liver damage, brain damage and depression, there are other risks that come with abusing Oxycontin.
For instance, you could easily overdose, which could prove fatal. Oxycontin could leave you in no condition to drive; if you do so, this would endanger the lives of people around you.
Most people who abuse Oxycontin inject or snort it (after initially crushing the pills) for speedier effect. Any solid traces of such substances entering the bloodstream can cause serious organ damage. There’s also the risk of blood supply to vital areas in the body being blocked. You also risk becoming infected by incorrectly exposed pills or non-sterile needles.
Intervention for Oxycontin abuse
If you have a family member, friend or loved one who is addicted to Oxycontin, you could be considering an intervention. This might just be the push an Oxycontin addict needs to get help. However, interventions sometimes go wrong, so you might need to talk to intervention staging professionals to guide you through.
In staging an intervention, undiluted honesty is very important, but so is the message of love, care and support. You don’t need to sound judgmental or unkind. You also need to let the person know how their addiction affects everyone else around them. During interventions, some people also give ultimatums – like moving the kids out of the marital home or buying out their side of the business.
You also need to be prepared for a flat refusal to get help. At the end of the day, the choice to get help isn’t yours to make. If the addict in question refuses to get help, you should stick to your ultimatum.
Detox and withdrawal from Oxycontin
When you’re addicted, the body becomes used to functioning with Oxycontin in your system. In fact, you may need Oxycontin just to feel normal. Trying to quit at this point would cause withdrawal symptoms, which would simply be your body’s way of trying to readjust to not having the usual amounts of Oxycontin.
Withdrawal symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, runny nose
increased temperature, profuse sweating, chills and muscle aches. Detoxification (or ‘detox’) is the process of cleansing the body of all remaining toxins from the opioids you’ve been using.
There is no standard treatment exclusively for Oxycontin addiction. However, there is a remedy for addiction to opioids, which is detox. There are three methods of detox: the first is the ‘cold turkey’ approach, which is the immediate discontinuation of the drug. This method is rarely recommended, because it has a high chance of relapse.
When you suddenly stop using Oxycontin, your body will react by exhibiting intense symptoms, whereby taking the drug again to feel relief is a realistic proposition. At this point, your body has already begun to detox and taking your regular dose might just result in an overdose. These are reasons why the ‘cold turkey’ approach is often advised against.
There is also the tapering method, which is often applied during medically supervised detox. This involves reducing the dosage of Oxycontin, until usage can be halted completely. This method is sometimes undertaken alongside other drugs prescribed to help.
Meanwhile, the replacement method is no longer widely used. This painless process involves heavily sedating the patient whilst administering treatment. However, there are other risks attached and the chances of relapse are also high.
Therapy is often available and regularly recommended alongside treatment; both individual and group therapy are viable options. Individual therapy with a counsellor helps determine any underlying causes of addiction, while group therapy provides support from other addicts on the same journey, who are able to share their success stories and challenges.
Oxycontin and other drugs
Drugs react differently with each other. If you’ve been taking Oxycontin, you should talk to a doctor before taking other substances alongside it, in order to avoid any complications. You may know someone who has combined another drug with Oxycontin without experiencing any adverse effects; regardless, remember that your doctor will have considered your age, weight, medical history and any current ailments before prescribing Oxycontin.
Oxycontin is a central nervous system depressant and should not be mixed with other depressants like alcohol, so as to avoid serious health complications. For instance, alcohol can affect the reaction rate of the drug and cause increased sedation and breathing problems.
What does treatment for Oxycontin addiction entail?
The most common and recommended type of detox is the medically supervised variant, in which you will gradually be weaned off Oxycontin. Your dosage will be cut little by little, until it is halted altogether. This is often accompanied by the application of other drugs. Notably, many people choose medical detox because the withdrawal symptoms are less severe.
Therapy is also widely recommended alongside treatment to deal with the emotional and psychological side effects of addiction. Some treatment centres also offer post-treatment care, providing facilities to help you get used to living without drug dependency.
Recovery from any addiction does not end with just treatment and therapy. Rather, it is a lifelong process that requires effort and discipline. You will need to identify any triggers around you and remove them accordingly. You will also have to make an effort to be around people who understand your journey and will support and help you through it.
Can I detox at home?
It is possible to detox at home. However, it is not often recommended because of the notable risks attached. Most people who opt for home detox use the ‘cold turkey’ approach, which is very dangerous and carries a high risk of relapse and overdose.
Even if you consider the tapering method for home detox, you would still need information
with regards how to reduce dosage and how to manage symptoms. A medically supervised detox is also a very effective environment for ‘staying clean’.
How much does it cost to get professional treatment?
Getting treatment for Oxycontin addiction will vary in cost, depending on where you choose to attend. Other factors that will be considered are how long you’ve used the drug, how frequently, as well as your age and weight. All of this information will be used to tailor a treatment plan to fit your individual needs. This treatment plan comes at its own price.
Privacy is another factor that affects cost. For instance, treatment centres that offer maximum privacy can differ in cost, as would those that offer luxurious facilities.
What if I don’t undergo treatment?
Getting treatment is a choice you have to make yourself. If you don’t undergo treatment, you need to be fully aware of all the risks attached in abusing Oxycontin. It’s prudent to know how to prevent potentially fatal situations.
Can medications help with Oxycontin addiction?
Yes. There are some medications used to treat opioid addiction. These are methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Some medications also help to treat symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. You should not take any substance without first consulting a doctor to avoid any health complications.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.