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Oxycontin Addiction Treatment

oxycontinOxyContin, also known as oxycodone, is an opioid painkiller generally prescribed to those experiencing moderate to severe pain. For those suffering from chronic pain conditions, cancer, arthritis or injuries, OxyContin offers hours of pain relief.

Similar to morphine or heroin in its effects, it is a profoundly addictive drug. Those who abuse it are able to bypass the slow release effect of the drug by snorting it or injecting it, so they experience the full effects of the narcotic all at once.

What are the dangers of abusing OxyContin?

Addiction to OxyContin involves a wide range of psychological, physical and behavioral symptoms. The most common signs of addiction are hiding the drug and taking it in secret, lying to others about it, going to extreme means to access it, stealing or borrowing money to fund the habit, and neglecting work and relationships.

As OxyContin is only available on prescription and most doctors will only provide it if pain is particularly chronic, it is commonly sold illegally. OxyContin actually become the first prescription drug to be considered a cause for concern by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Like all drugs that can be injected, users also run the risk of contracting Hepatitis, AIDS, and other diseases when they swap needles.

Psychological symptoms of OxyContin abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoid
  • Delusions

Physical symptoms of OxyContin abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Respiratory problems

Why is OxyContin so dangerous?

As well as the unpleasant physical symptoms, OxyContin can be lethal. Overdose is always a risk, especially when injected. Excessive amounts can be difficult for the liver and kidneys to process over time, causing them to fail, and the sedative effects can damage the respiratory system too.

Opiates stimulate the brain’s pleasure center, which is what makes prescription painkillers like OxyContin so addictive. Those who mix it with other substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines run an even greater risk of damaging their respiratory system in the long term as well as increasing risk of overdose. Mixing OxyContin with stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, as some addicts do, increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

What to expect from treatment for OxyContin addiction

OxyContin dulls pain and changes moods, causing chemical changes in the brain. When use of the drug stops abruptly, withdrawal can be particularly tough on the individual, causing any of the following:

Abdominal pain

  • Changes in body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Muscle pain
  • Sweating
  • Increased blood pressure

The symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal cannot be limited to a short list, and this is only a snapshot. Opiate withdrawal is particularly unpleasant, and various medications can be used to calm the physical symptoms and improve the success rate of treatment. The worst period of withdrawal is usually the first 1-3 days after taking OxyContin, this is referred to as ‘acute withdrawal’.

Psychological symptoms can develop during withdrawal at OxyContin treatment centers too:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation and irritation
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression

The withdrawal period will feel never-ending to the individual, but it is rarely life threatening if managed properly. Psychological withdrawal symptoms are much more long lasting, however, and can continue for weeks, months and often years after the initial withdrawal period is over.

What to expect after getting clean

Due to the highly addictive nature of opiate painkillers like OxyContin, it’s crucial that patients understand their addiction and how dangerous cravings can be. Group therapy and psychiatric help can increase the success rate of post-recovery treatment for OxyContin addiction, as well as maintaining positive relationships and feeling able to ask for help if necessary.

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