It can be difficult living with an Oxycontin addiction. Struggling with such an addiction can be life consuming. Those who are addicted can lose themselves to constantly seeking their drug, "doctor shopping" and living in fear. Today we take a much closer look at the drug, its makeup and the problems of its abuse.
What is Oxycontin?
Oxycontin abuse and addiction is a fairly new problem facing Americans. Oxycontin® is a brand name for the pain reliever oxycodone (an opioid) and hydrochloride. It is a fairly new drug which was approved by the FDA in 1995. This drug, available by prescription only, is mainly used to relieve severe, chronic pain usually associated with injuries, arthritis, bursitis and cancer. It helps relieve pain by blocking the pain messengers sent to the brain and by releasing dopamine, a chemical that the body produces to relax or cause feeling of euphoria. Because of this, addictions are becoming more common because of its misuse. The tablets have become a favorable pain reliever because of its time-release capsules. This drug is only taken every twelve hours, instead of other pain relievers that are taken every three to six hours. Oxycodone hydrochloride is prescribed to decrease pain, and help to improve function and mobility. What was not anticipated was the numbers of individuals that would become addicted to this medication, or the need of a drug rehab program
to address this dependence.
Oxycontin is classified as an Opioid
|Other Brands of Abused Opioids|
An opioid is a class of drug that is prescribed for its pain relieving properties. Used in a prudent manner to manage pain, opioids
have not been shown to cause addiction. It is when this class of drug is used beyond the prescribed doses that addiction is likely to occur.
Some other more commonly known drugs that are classified as opioids include Percocet®
, Lortab® and Roxicet®. Morphine is a very powerful pain reliever and is typically used either before or after surgery. It is also used in terminally-ill patients to provide a level of comfort for those patients in their final stages of a disease. Oxycodone is a less powerful pain reliever, and is typically prescribed for milder pain management, such as after a visit to a dentist or to help relieve coughing. Other well-known opioids are Darvon, Vicodin
Opioids are effective for pain management because they attach to certain proteins, called opioid receptors. These receptors are found throughout the body, specifically in the brain and spinal cord. When an opioid attaches itself to the brain or in the spinal cord, it modifies the way the body responds to pain. The brain will also respond to an opioid by providing a sense of pleasure or euphoria. Since an opioid can cause drowsiness or depress breathing, overuse could lead to respiratory failure, even with a single large dose.
Abuse of Oxycontin occurs when the drug is taken in any other way than as prescribed. Because of Oxycontin's time-release capsule, it contains a higher dose of oxycodone hydrochloride. By abusing this drug, the body develops a tolerance to its affects. The individual soon needs to take more and more of the drug to get the pleasurable feeling that one or two doses previously provided to relieve the pain. This practice of prescription drug abuse
can lead to addiction.
Abuse is taking the drug to get high. Problems occur when the capsule is chewed or crushed, which destroys the time-release feature. The effects create a euphoric high. Abuse usually happens as a result of misuse and leads to needing addiction treatment.
- Hot/Cold Sweats
- Heart Palpitations
- Joint and Muscle Pain
- Runny Eyes / Nose
Dependence occurs when the prescription drug is abused. An individual may be addicted to this drug if the pain is gone, yet he/she may still seek for the medication. The body yearns to have the pleasurable effects of the drug. It soon becomes an obsession that consumes an individual's mind and body. A good indication of OxyContin addiction is when pills are crushed and snorted or injected into the body. The effects are similar to those of heroin and the high is much faster. The pain messengers to the brain are blocked. Also the amount of dopamine is increased, causing feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
On the street, Oxycontin is also referred to as "Oxycotton," "O.C.," "Killer," and "Hillbilly Heroin". However, if taken as prescribed, will not usually cause addiction. Dependence develops mostly in individuals who are already addicts of other kinds of drugs. These individuals usually seek out drugs to obtain the spectacular high when it is crushed. Addictions can be accompanied by physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and tolerance. The sudden absence of opioids in the body of an addict can lead to signs of withdrawal, including anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, vomiting, and severe stomach cramps.
Individuals who take large doses of Oxycontin are at risk of developing respiratory depression, which can lead to death. It can also be proved fatal if abused with any other chemical substance, including alcohol. A major concern with prescription drug abuse is for new users of the drugs. If an individual’s body has not built up a tolerance to the oxycodone hydrochloride, and the drug is abused by crushing, snorting, or injecting, it can prove to be fatal.
Treatment for OxyContin
For individuals and/or families that are concerned about prescription drug abuse, we offer a personalized prescription drug treatment plan. Upon admittance, each individual receives a comprehensive assessment
. This provides a starting point for how to move forward with Oxycontin rehabilitation. Our treatment staff will then develop an addiction treatment program
that is individualized to best help the resident on their road to recovery.
OxyContin addiction is treatable and we encourage anyone in need of help for prescription drug abuse to call us today at 1-877-997-3422.