A physician gives prescription drugs such as Oxycontin for the relief of pain and discomfort. Many times when these drugs bring such pleasure and comfort from soreness and injury, people continue using the drug and frequently increase the dosage despite the harm it may cause.
Oxycontin can easily be misused, leading to a drug addiction. Dependence on this or any drug is an addiction that many times causes a loss of self-control. The only focus is the bliss this drug provides, so much so that the addiction triggers an intense continual craving for it.
Addiction can result in grave long-term consequences affecting you physically and mentally. Addicts become estranged in their personal relationships, school, work and often have trouble with the law. Becoming and staying drug-free usually requires a rehab and medical intervention along with support from friends and family. Prescription drugs like Oxycontin are one of the leading causes of addiction.
What is Oxycontin?
Oxycontin is a potent prescription narcotic or opiate with the trade name oxycodone hydrochloride. According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Oxycontin is a Schedule II narcotic which is at the top of the list of restrictive prescription medications. The FDA does allow the use of the drug to treat moderate to acute pain such as a headache and other common pain through a doctor’s prescription. Many people can’t let go of the feelings achieved from the Oxycontin and find ways to continue its use to the point of becoming addicted to the drug. Some of the street names of it are Kicker, OC, Hillbilly Heroin and Oxy-Cotton. The drug has been abused for over 30 years as stated by the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), escalating tremendously in popularity since the mid-1990s.
How is it used?
Oxycontin is a morphine-type drug that is typically prescribed for the relief of pain resulting from injuries, cancer, arthritis and other medical conditions. This is a time-released narcotic that contains 10 to 80 milligrams of oxycodone that allows long-term effects. It is the substance of the oxycodone that brought extreme popularity to Oxycontin on the streets in an abusive manner. Typically, the drug is used through:
- Time-released tablets, primarily as prescribed by a physician to be taken six to eight hours apart.
- To get the drug to the bloodstream quicker, the tablets are chewed.
- Pills are often crushed to create a powder that is snorted
- The crushed pill can be dissolved in water and injected into the veins.
When the tablets are altered, the time-release effect is destroyed, giving a full and immediate consequence of the narcotic. An addict compares the use of the Oxycontin to the euphoria of heroin. However, this drug can be lethal to the abuser.
How many are affected by Oxycontin Use?
People of all ages and walks of life abuse Oxycontin. Studies show that nearly a million individuals in the United States age 12 and above use the drug inappropriately at least once throughout their lives. One of the biggest problems is with high school students. In the past year, research shows a four percent use of Oxycontin by high school seniors alone.
Symptoms and effects of Oxycontin Use
Oxycontin is a miracle drug for those in debilitating and severe pain from cancer, arthritis, bone or neurological degeneration and other types of illness. When misused and abused, Oxycontin can cause some disturbing symptoms and side effects such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry Mouth
- Respiratory suppression and distress
- Low blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Injection increases risks of contraction HIV, blood born viruses, bacteria and hepatitis B and C
Oxycontin can repress and alter your natural endorphins in the body that triggers the feel-good sensations. An addict requires larger or more frequent doses to feel such elation beyond the initial treatment. All it takes to become addicted is three to five doses of the drug.
Rehab Treatment Options for Oxycontin use
If you or a loved one has become addicted to oxycontin, there are options in getting help to be clean and drug-free. Your physician, a mental health specialist or nearby hospital can advise you on appropriate treatment options and best rehabilitation facility to deal with and cure the addiction. The first step in recovery is to admit to misuse of the drug since addicts don’t like to feel any pain such as physical, familial or emotional discomfort.
Other options in treating an Oxycontin addiction include:
- Medical detox – Sometimes medical therapy is necessary to ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. There are increased odds against a relapse in such care. It is something to be discussed with your doctor since it does not heal the addiction but more of a preparatory stage before addiction treatment.
- Rapid opiate detox – Medications are given while under anesthesia for an accelerated progression of the withdrawal symptoms. Rapid drug detox does not work the same for everyone and may not be the best or safest option.
- Rehab treatment in conjunction with a detox program – Treatment of addiction does not begin until after detox treatment. While in a treatment facility, you are thoroughly monitored through detox and withdrawal symptoms for the most efficient, safer and long-term effects.
- Detox in conjunction with an outpatient treatment program – Not as successful as inpatient care but works with a professional on designated days each week while going through withdrawal and healing of the addiction.
The best treatment option is an inpatient rehab. One of the hardest components to rehab treatment is the detox program and the effects sustained through withdrawal of the drug that caused the addiction; in this case, the oxycontin. Although severe, an individual is thoroughly monitored in rehab while going through withdrawal. Symptoms experienced may be:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Heart palpitations
- Continual sweats and chills
- Extensive negative emotional changes and brain function
- Restlessness and agitation
- Bone pain
- Leg cramps or involuntary leg movement
- Depression of the respiratory system that can lead to suffocation
To ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, you may be prescribed medications such as methadone or Suboxone. Rehabilitation treatment not only treats you through the physical and emotional side effects associated with withdrawal of the drug, but they also treat you to:
- Use new cognitive strategies to stay drug-free long-term
- Reduce all cravings
- Recover from all physical withdrawal symptoms
- Cope with personal issues that led to the addictive behavior
- Techniques for managing health conditions, finances, stress, work issues, school, legal or other problems that may otherwise cause a relapse
- Involve family in your recovery to build upon the support system necessary for long-term success
Finding the right rehab facility and treatment for your addictive personal needs is the key to becoming drug-free with little fear of a relapse. Choose a facility that is clean and highly recommended; a rehab with licensed and accredited professional staff. A place that accepts your insurance and works with you through payment plans is an important aspect when choosing addiction therapy. Also, you also want a facility that has continuing care once you are back into the real world so that you can be successful in staying healthy and drug-free.