What Is OxyContin?
OxyContin is a brand name for oxycodone — a prescription opioid pain reliever — and it is likely the most popular of all in its class among drug abusers. The drug was first synthesized in 1916, but it didn’t make its way to America until 1939, where variants of it would show their addictive potential in decades to come. By 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was passed and included OxyContin as a Schedule II drug.
Since then, it has been a favorite among both prescribing physicians and those suffering from substance use disorder. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, there were 58.8 million prescriptions filled for oxycodone in 2013.
OxyContin is the prescription version of an opioid narcotic pain medicine called oxycodone. This opioid is used for the treatment of moderate to severe, around-the-clock pain, and unlike some other prescription painkillers, OxyContin is not intended for as-needed pain relief. This is a time-released version of oxycodone, and it can be used to relieve pain resulting from surgery, injuries, cancer and sometimes arthritis.
Similar to morphine, oxycodone is in some other prescription pain medicines, including Percocet, which is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen.
This time-released formula provides up to 12 hours of relief for people who suffer from chronic pain. This around-the-clock pain treatment is one of the things that sets OxyContin apart from other opioid pain relievers. As compared to OxyContin, other painkillers tend to last only around four hours. Unfortunately, despite the fact that opioids like OxyContin are effective in treating pain, they are frequently abused.
OxyContin abuse is incredibly common. Street names for OxyContin include OC, Hillbilly Heroin, OxyCotton, and Kicker. The concept of Oxy addiction and OxyContin abuse isn’t new — the DEA says it’s been a problem for more than 30 years, but it has been on the rise in recent years. There is also a high level of concern about OxyContin abuse and OxyContin addiction among teens and young adults.
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.
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 synthesized 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.
Various Forms of OxyContin
OxyContin is a branded formulation of oxycodone. There are other formulations with oxycodone as the 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 a high potential for abuse. So, it’s important you don’t take more than the dosage prescribed by your doctor.
How Is OxyContin Used?
To avoid OxyContin addiction, it’s important that patients take this opioid analgesic exactly as directed by their doctor. OxyContin, even when taken as prescribed does have a high potential for abuse and addiction, but when you follow instructions you lower those risks. Patients are warned never to take more OxyContin than they’re prescribed, to take it more often than they’re told by their doctor, or to take it in ways other than how it’s intended to be used.
OxyContin extended release dosages are meant to be taken orally, and they shouldn’t be crushed, opened or broken.
If someone misses a dose of OxyContin, they’re instructed to skip it if it’s almost time for their next rather than trying to make up for it with extra medicine, and people are also warned not to drink alcohol while using the drug because it can result in fatal side effects.
Some of the side effects that are potential with OxyContin include drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness. People may also experience constipation, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth and itching.
The initial dosage for this controlled release opioid usually starts at 10 mg taken every twelve hours, and the average daily dose is around 105 mg per day. Geriatric patients may follow different dosage guidelines.
OxyContin abuse doesn’t necessarily indicate OxyContin addiction, but when someone does abuse this controlled substance, they are more likely to become addicted. With OxyContin addiction, a person often experiences strong and often uncontrollable cravings for the drug. Opioids alter the brain’s chemistry in a way that leads to addiction relatively quickly, which is why OxyContin abuse so often leads to OxyContin addiction.
Some of the signs of OxyContin addiction include changes to behavior or lifestyle, taking the drug in ways other than how it’s intended to be used and seeming tired or detached. Getting OxyContin illegally may indicate an OxyContin addiction, as can secretive behavior.
It’s also important to realize that OxyContin abuse occurs when people mix this drug with other substances to heighten the effects. For example, people may pair OxyContin with other opioids or alcohol. Not only is this dangerous, but it is an indicator of OxyContin abuse.
The high from OxyContin is often compared to that of heroin, and people with an OxyContin addiction can quickly develop a tolerance to the drug. When this happens, users feel as if they need larger amounts of the drug for the same effect, and that’s often when it becomes a lethal situation.
People who take OxyContin for legitimate reasons and follow their prescription may build up a tolerance to the drug, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have an OxyContin addiction. For those struggling with addiction, there are many OxyContin addiction treatment centers throughout the United States that can help transform lives. By attending rehab for OxyContin addiction, those suffering from substance abuse can learn new habits and thought patterns for a healthier life free from substance abuse.
Risks of Abuse
Opioid drugs are highly addictive. Prescription variants are no safer than illicit heroin. In fact, because of its legality, overdose is far more common for drugs like OxyContin than it is for heroin. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy reports 3,635 people died as the result of a heroin overdose in 2012 across 28 reporting states, compared to 9,869 people who died from prescription opioids. Side effects that often stem from OxyContin abuse include:
- Body aches
- Muscular pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Depressed mood
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.
Signs of OxyContin Addiction
OxyContin addiction and abuse are not the same. Some people abuse drugs for short periods of time without becoming dependent. People in the grips of OxyContin addiction often exhibit telltale signs, such as tolerance. While they may have easily attained an extreme high on a small dose at one point in time, they’ll usually continue to raise that dose as tolerance grows as the body requires larger amounts of the drug to produce the same effects. Withdrawal is highly uncomfortable, so those struggling with substance use disorder will often use as soon as they start feeling any sign of it bubbling to the surface.
If someone in your life is abusing OxyContin and seems to continually bail on plans with friends and family members to use the drug instead, she may be hooked on the potent painkiller. Failed attempts at cutting back or quitting are also red flags of OxyContin addiction. Using OxyContin despite suffering from serious side effects such as arrests, custody issues, lost relationships, or financial strain, is also indicative of OxyContin addiction.
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 an 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 in many 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.
OxyContin Warning Signs and Dangers for Women
The warning signs 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 fetus, 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
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
- 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
Physical Signs and symptoms of Oxycontin Abuse and Addiction
Some physicalsymptoms and signs of abusing OxyContin include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Day mouth
- Slurred speech
- Weight loss
- 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.
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:
- Intense cravings
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle spasms
- Painful abdominal cramps
- Profuse sweating
- Runny nose
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
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.
What Do I Do If I Have an OxyContin Addiction?
OxyContin is a powerful, opioid painkiller. This medication is highly addictive, so physicians typically only prescribe it to terminally ill patients or those experiencing severe pain. OxyContin abuse is on the rise, which increases the need for OxyContin rehab centers. If you’re addicted to OxyContin, you may want to find a structured inpatient treatment program that can help you obtain and maintain sobriety.
When OxyContin is abused, it creates a dependency that is similar to heroin addiction. This is the reason why individuals who have prescribed the medication are closely monitored. An individual who takes OxyContin for more than a few weeks at a time, or those who take the medication more often than recommended, will develop an addiction and a physical dependency on the drug. Once you become addicted to OxyContin, you usually require assistance in dealing with the withdrawal symptoms. You will also need help in dealing with the cravings of the drug in order to avoid suffering from a relapse. OxyContin rehab centers are the best place to receive treatment for addiction.
Symptoms of Addiction
The symptoms of OxyContin addiction can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the addiction. Some signs of addiction include, but are not limited to:
- Physical dependency
- Muscle and bone pain
- Intense cravings
- Heart palpitations
- Secretive behaviors
- Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed
- Poor performance at work and at school
- Change in sleep habits
- Weight loss
Choosing an OxyContin Rehab Center
The first step in overcoming an addiction to OxyContin is admitting that you need help. Cooperation from the addict is not always needed for successful rehabilitation, though it is usually helpful. Once you recognize that you need help for an OxyContin addiction you should look for a rehabilitation center that can best suit your needs. Not all rehab centers are the same. You should consider several things when you begin looking for a facility.
- How close do you want the facility to be? For an outpatient program, it is often best to choose a facility close to home so you will not have to travel far. For residential programs, the closer the facility is to your home, the more likely your friends and family will be able to visit you.
- How strict is the OxyContin rehab center? Will the facility allows you to keep your cell phone and other electronics, or will you be unable to have contact with anyone during your treatment?
If possible, tour each rehab center beforehand and make sure you are completely comfortable before you commit to the program. If you are unable to visit the facility in person, many centers offer virtual tours on their websites. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you will be successful.
I Want to Find an Executive or Luxury Rehab Center
If management responsibilities have kept you or your loved one from getting help for a drug use problem or behavioral addiction, executive rehab programs are the answer. By combining great narcotic, prescription drug or behavior addiction treatments with the ability to connect as needed to a computer or cell phone, an executive or CEO can receive treatment in seclusion and style.
Many contemporary drug, alcohol or behavior addiction treatment centers offer the luxury amenities you'd normally enjoy in the nation's finest hotels, with your success and health being the top priorities. From private rooms and 5-star chef-prepared meals to fine linens and gym facilities, you can get the best narcotic, prescription drug or behavior addiction treatment for yourself or your loved one while relaxing in style. If you need assistance in determining the greatest luxury treatment facilities for OxyContin addiction, dial our toll-free helpline today.
Types of OxyContin Rehab Centers
Rapid detox centers advertise a shortened withdrawal period and a more comfortable detox process. This type of program is more dangerous than other programs and, as a result, a bit controversial. During rapid detox, the individual is placed under anesthesia and given medications to accelerate the detox process. This type of treatment can have many complications, such as heart attack. Detox typically takes up to 48 hours depending on the exact method that is used. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 55 percent of addicts who used rapid detox will relapse within six months of treatment.
Outpatient rehab centers allow the individual to return home at the end of the treatment day. This is often a good option for those who suffer from only one type of addiction. It also works well for individuals who need to stay in school or go to work while in treatment. Outpatient rehabilitation is also a good choice for those who have families and children who need them at home. One problem with this choice is the individual may be faced with distractions and temptations while at home. You also are less likely to form a strong bond with fellow patients who can help you get through the treatment process.
Inpatient rehab centers remove the addict from their daily life and place them in a 24/7 treatment program. This type of program is often superior to other treatment programs due to its intensity. With inpatient programs, the individual leaves the harmful environment that contributed to their addictive lifestyle. This type of treatment process often has a higher success rate than other options.
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs offer professional monitoring, and individual and group therapy. An OxyContin rehab center that offers detox assistance will monitor you while you are going through detox. You will be made as comfortable as possible during withdrawal. Detox can take several days to several weeks depending on the severity of your addiction. Once you have completed the detox phase, the facility will provide you with behavioral therapy. You will learn about your old habits and discover new ways to deal with triggers that contribute to your addiction. Behavior therapy helps you discover new hobbies or revisit old ones. You will learn time management skills so you can use your time more wisely and have less idle time on your hands to think about drug use.
OxyContin rehab centers generally provide their members with group therapy. Small groups of individuals are encouraged to share their own experiences with drug use and rehabilitation. A therapist facilitates the group and helps members support and encourage each other in their path towards recovery. Once you have been released from an inpatient or outpatient program, it is important that you continue to attend all group meetings and individual counseling sessions. Your rehab center can help you locate a support group in your area, such as Narcotics Anonymous.
If you or someone you love needs assistance in locating OxyContin rehab centers in your area, call us for more information. All calls are free and confidential.
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