Into Action Recovery’s customized addiction treatment programs are designed to effectively treat the unique challenges faced by OxyContin addicts. Into Action can get you started on the path toward freedom from OxyContin addiction, so you can live your life to the fullest. Our focus is you and your sobriety, whether you are seeking treatment on your own or for court-ordered treatment.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is a narcotic opiate painkiller that helps relieve severe ongoing pain often associated with conditions such as cancer. Also known as “Oxy,” OxyContin contains the extended-release form of oxycodone which helps individuals suffering from chronic pain for up to 12 hours per pill.
Unfortunately, OxyContin has a high risk of abuse and addiction. According to Medicine Net, misuse of OxyContin rose more than 152% between 2004 and 2008, leading to more than 105,000 emergency room visits each year in the US alone. The number of people misusing and becoming addicted to OxyContin continues to rise.
Signs and Symptoms of OxyContin Abuse
Signs and symptoms of OxyContin use can vary depending upon the length of the addiction as well as how frequently and how much users consume. The most common signs and symptoms of OxyContin show up as changes in a person’s mood, behavior, body, and psyche.
When using OxyContin, individuals can show a variety of emotions, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Panic attacks
People using OxyContin on a chronic basis tend to exhibit risky behavior, which can include:
- Stealing and borrowing prescriptions from friends
- Forging prescriptions
- Robbing pharmacies
- Isolating themselves from friends and family
- Taking more OxyContin than prescribed
- Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities
- Crushing or chewing prescribed pills to achieve a greater high
Physical symptoms of OxyContin abuse may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Heart attack
- Cardiovascular complications
- Loss of appetite
- Respiratory depression and hypoventilation
- Low blood pressure
Psychological symptoms of OxyContin abuse may include:
- Panic attacks
- Worsening of mental illness
How Does OxyContin Affect the Brain?
As an opioid, OxyContin binds to specific opioid receptors in the brain in order to block the perception of pain. Opioids also affect the ventral tegmental area (VTA) region of the brain which contains neurons that help to produce dopamine. Without these inhibitory neurons in place, dopamine floods the brain, temporarily relieving patients’ pain, depression, and anxiety.
Due to these effects, patients initially feel calm and euphoric after taking OxyContin. Over time, however, the brain becomes adapted to the presence of the drug and it becomes harder for neurons to release dopamine naturally. As a result, patients tend to increase their dosage of painkillers in order to feel comfortable again. When OxyContin is not present, pain can return, often alongside depression, anxiety, and other withdrawal symptoms.
How Does OxyContin Affect the Body?
OxyContin also affects the body. Although opioids like OxyContin initially evoke feelings of euphoria and relaxation, their ability to slow down activity in the central nervous system has adverse effects, too. Individuals who misuse OxyContin may experience slurred speech, a lack of focus or concentration, and shallow breathing. Sometimes, when taking high doses of OxyContin, people go in and out of consciousness, known as “nodding out.”
Other physical side effects of opioid use can include nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, weakness, lightheadedness, and constipation. When misused consistently over a long period of time, OxyContin can lead to brain damage and other long-term effects like lung infection, seizures, and cardiac arrest.
The short-term effects of OxyContin may include:
- A sense of euphoria
- Decreased perception of pain
- Low blood pressure
The long-term effects of OxyContin may include:
- Erectile dysfunction in men
- Menstrual irregularities and fertility issues in women
- Chronically inflamed nasal passages from snorting pills
- Respiratory depression and irregular breathing
- Heart failure
- Impaired mental and physical abilities
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Swelling of the throat which can lead to death
- Cold, clammy skin
- Circulatory collapse
- Death from cardiac arrest or slowed respiration
The Dangers of OxyContin
OxyContin contains the strongest variety of oxycodone, a Schedule II drug. Such a high level of potency makes it an incredible pain-reliever. But at the same time, OxyContin’s high potency comes with a variety of risks.
RxList describes several precautions and warnings for OxyContin, including the risk of abuse, misuse, and addiction, as well as life-threatening respiratory depression and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.
OxyContin may also worsen existing mental health challenges or disorders, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Depressive disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorders
- Bipolar disorders
OxyContin becomes even more dangerous and potentially fatal when combined with sedatives, benzodiazepines, and other central nervous system depressants like alcohol.
While it was originally marketed as a safer alternative to morphine due to its time-release properties, OxyContin is as highly addictive as morphine, and, if the OxyContin tablet is crushed, the time-release protection is minimized.
Addicts often switch to heroin or other opiates if their supply of OxyContin is unavailable, leading the addict to progress from oral dosing to snorting and injection to achieve the high from the drug.
There is a large underground market for OxyContin, leading to prescription fraud on the part of patients and doctors who provide the drug for sale. In addition, it is relatively easy for addicted patients to “shop” doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions to supply their increasing need for OxyContin in order to produce the same levels of euphoria or pain relief.
Common Symptoms of OxyContin Withdrawal
When a person stops taking OxyContin or significantly reduces the amount of OxyContin they’re taking, they will likely experience withdrawal. Often, the withdrawal is more severe when an individual quits the drug abruptly rather than tapers down. Nevertheless, withdrawal symptoms can still begin to emerge anywhere from 6 to 30 hours after the last dose.
Generally, OxyContin withdrawal symptoms include:
- Panic attacks
- Nausea followed by vomiting
- Muscle and bone pain
- Weak muscles
- Flu-like symptoms
- Cardiovascular problems
- Liver damage
- Agitation and irritability
Physicians who prescribe OxyContin try to limit the duration of the prescription to prevent addiction and the subsequent withdrawal.
Although people worn down by OxyContin use may want to quit the drug on their own, making a hasty decision to stop taking the drug is risky. Due to the severity of symptoms associated with OxyContin withdrawal, detoxification is best accomplished under professional and medical supervision.
Our on-site medical detox program provides individualized detox plans. Our supervised withdrawal treatment also helps minimizes pain and discomfort which increases the chances of successful treatment.
Treatment for OxyContin Addiction
OxyContin is a difficult addiction to treat, but effective rehabilitation treatment can help individuals obtain long-term recovery. Here at Into Action Recovery, we provide our clients with customized treatment plans. With a customized plan in place, our clients begin rehabilitation with our on-site medical detox program. During the detox process, our clinically-trained staff monitors clients’ vital signs and provides needed medical support. Once detoxification is complete, clients join either our residential or intensive outpatient treatment program.
Residential Treatment Program
- In our residential inpatient program, clients stay at our residential treatment facility based out of Houston. This safe, secure, and structured environment allows them to focus on achieving and maintaining their sobriety. During inpatient treatment, clients attend 12-step meetings and group and family therapy, receive counseling, and focus on recovering without any outside distractions.
Intensive Outpatient Program
- Our intensive outpatient program provides support for clients who do not need inpatient or residential treatment. It’s also a good option for those looking to continue treatment as they transition from our inpatient program. Outpatient clients live at home or in sober living but travel on a regular basis to our facilities to receive counseling, attend meetings and group and family therapy.
Many users feel that since OxyContin is a prescribed drug, they cannot become addicted, and, since they can continue to get prescriptions, they are not addicted. At Into Action, we recognize the difficulty in convincing the addicted person that help is needed to treat their OxyContin abuse.
Recovering from an addiction to OxyContin isn’t easy, but it is possible. It takes time, commitment, determination, and support. But our expert staff members are willing, ready and available to help you as you take steps toward long-term recovery. Call us today at 844-309-3969 if you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to OxyContin.
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