Understanding OxyContin Addiction
OxyContin is a synthetic opioid prescribed for the relief of moderate to chronic pain. Like all opioids, it is only available with a prescription and intended to only be used under the careful instruction of a medical professional. Even when taken in this manner, OxyContin presents a risk for addiction because of its potency and the way it alters the brain’s make up. When used recreationally and abused, the risk rises significantly. This is because of the euphoric high it produces, and the chemicals released in the body that are responsible for those feelings.
OxyContin differs from other prescription opioids as it is intended for long-term relief, whereas other opioids are typically used for quick pain relief. Most opioids are short-acting and their effects last for roughly three to six hours, while OxyContin is intended to be a slow release drug that lasts up to twelve hours.
If you or someone you know is currently abusing OxyContin, it is imperative to seek professional help immediately. Due to its potency and addictive properties, OxyContin can be a difficult addiction to break without the proper medical and clinical treatment from a reputable rehab center.
A life…recovered can be yours and it all begins with a call to our trusted Admissions Specialists. Call us now at 855-575-1292 to begin the process.
What is OxyContin?
As a synthetic opioid, OxyContin serves as an effective drug prescribed by doctors to patients struggling with pain from surgeries, major injuries, cancer and severe arthritis. It is one of the most popular opioids used in medicine and is valued for the duration of its effects. Unlike most comparable opioids whose effects last for a few hours and are intended to provide as-needed pain relief, OxyContin is intended to last up to half a day and meant to be taken before the relief is needed most.
The first record of OxyContin being synthesized dates back to Germany in 1916, although it was not until 1939 that the drug was introduced to the United States. Although it didn’t become popular in the decades to follow, it did become known for its addictive properties. As such, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classified it as a Schedule II controlled substance in 1970. This classification identifies the drug as a highly addictive substance with some important medical uses. In other words, it has positive potential but should be handled with extreme caution.
OxyContin became a widely used drug in 1996 when Purdue Pharma began producing it, and since has become a major influencer in the United States opioid crisis. In illegal recreational use, it is prized for the euphoric high that the drug creates when taken in larger doses.
Today, OxyContin is available as a slow-release capsule that is meant to be taken orally. When used recreationally, it is often crushed into a powder and snorted, as well as dissolved into water for intravenous use. These means are popular options among recreational users because they have been known to speed up the effects of the drug, creating feelings of euphoria much sooner. Considering OxyContin’s highly addictive qualities, these means of use greatly increase the chance of addiction and unintentional overdose.
Nicknames for OxyContin
Since the recreational use of OxyContin is illegal, drug dealers and users often use various street names for reference to decrease suspicion among authorities, family members, co-workers and anyone else the addict may want to hide their addiction from. The list of nicknames used is constantly evolving, but some of the most common names include:
The final two nicknames (40 and 80) seem random, but they are actually referencing two of the most common milligram sizes for OxyContin pills.
How Addictive is OxyContin?
OxyContin is an extremely potent drug that, when abused, presents a high risk of addiction. This is because with regular use, OxyContin alters the natural chemistry of the brain to make it crave the drug. Eventually, this changes the chemistry within brain, turning OxyContin use into an instinctual act rather than a conscious decision. When this happens, a user has developed a dependence to the drug, and if use abruptly stops, the individual will experience powerful withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, high anxiety and nausea until their next dose.
The reason this happens is related to the high that users feel when they abuse OxyContin. To create this high, OxyContin forces the body to produce a large number of endorphins, the most notable of which is dopamine. While these do occur naturally in the body, the amount prompted by OxyContin is more than the body would normally experience. The euphoric high stems from how the flood of chemicals overwhelm the central nervous system, and since the body is adaptative, it begins to alter itself to better cope with the rush. As the body becomes accustomed to the increased amounts of endorphins and loses its ability to function properly if they are not present, this creates a dependence to the substance.
Once a dependence has formed, the individual becomes truly locked in the throes of addiction. It will not only feel impossible to quit OxyContin, but due to painful and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms, it makes the task extremely difficult without the help of a qualified rehab center.
OxyContin Abuse Symptoms
Learning the symptoms of OxyContin is a valuable way to recognize an addiction. Some of these symptoms, such as the euphoric high, are the intended effects that users seek when they take the drug. However, there are many other side effects that are often not considered when someone begins to abuse the drug. Some of these adverse side effects include:
Nausea and vomiting
Everyone who uses OxyContin is at risk for an addiction, even if their use is related entirely to a genuine medical need. Although carefully following a prescription greatly reduces the chances of forming a dependency, it does not eliminate it. Furthermore, some people are naturally more susceptible to addiction due to factors such as age, family and personal medical history, genetics and other drug use, making OxyContin use a potential danger, even when done so under the advisement of a physician.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous details about OxyContin is that it is considered a gateway drug to more dangerous and illegal substances, such as heroin. As OxyContin is difficult and expensive to obtain, many choose to turn toward a more accessible, cheaper and more potent substance.
For an addict, quitting OxyContin may seem like an impossible task because whenever they come close to quitting, powerful withdrawal symptoms take effect, keeping them locked into addiction. At later stages, these withdrawal symptoms may be so severe that they present a serious health risk to those wanting to find recovery. Though it may seem like a lost cause at times, a life of sobriety is possible with the help of experienced and supportive staff at a rehab center like the Brookdale. Here, individuals can undergo treatment in a manner that is safe, effective and comfortable.
Treatment for a powerful addiction like OxyContin usually consists of various steps, or phases of care. Typically, treatment begins with a process known as detoxification, otherwise known as detox. Detox is usually regarded as one of the most difficult steps in the treatment process, but especially crucial for ongoing success. The goal during this phase of care is to help cleanse all traces of the drug from the patient’s system, under the supervision of medical staff. When withdrawal symptoms and other potential adverse effects present themselves, the doctor and nursing personnel utilize various interventions to mitigate these symptoms, such as medications, holistic therapy and clinical practices.
Once the patient has successfully completed detoxification, they can move onto to residential treatment. Here, they will participate in an array of clinical and holistic modalities aimed to teach them healthy coping mechanisms, as well as skills needed to resist future cravings. As each individual that comes to treatment is a unique case, it is especially important to create comprehensive treatment plans that address their needs. This is can include co-occurring disorder treatment for those suffering from both substance abuse and mental health, family education and vocational resources for those looking to return to work or school.
Regardless of each patient’s circumstances and needs, everyone will leave inpatient care with a customized aftercare plan. This can include extended care options, ongoing therapy and introduction into local recovery support groups, such as AA and NA. Addiction can never be cured but it can be managed; thus, recovery must be an ongoing process for each person.
Get Help Today for Your OxyContin Addiction
If you or a loved one is currently battling an addiction to OxyContin, it is a fight that you cannot win alone. But, with the proper help and support, you can break free from the bonds of addiction.
Here at Brookdale, we are dedicated in providing the highest quality of treatment services to those in need, while offering family members the necessary resources to begin the healing process. A life…recovered is possible and it begins by giving Brookdale a call today!
Call us today at 855-575-1292 to find out more about our programs, services, and how we can help.