If you suspect that you might be addicted to Oxy, you might want to watch out for the various signs of OxyContin use. These signs could point out the fact that you have been struggling with an opioid use disorder involving this drug.
OxyContin is a branded formulation of the strong, semi-synthetic opioid painkiller Oxycodone. It acts as a potent painkiller bringing relief to people suffering from bone or neurological degeneration, end-stage cancer or similar illnesses.
When taken in prescribed doses, OxyContin works as a safe and efficient medication providing relief from excruciating pain. However, the overuse or abuse of this drug can be extremely dangerous leading to addiction and even mortal peril. OxyContin can be taken orally in the form of pills, through snorting in the shape of a powder produced by crushing the pills, or intravenously by injecting the powder.
The abuse of OxyContin leads to severe physical anomalies and complications, which are some of the signs of OxyContin use. Moreover, continued abuse of opioids may easily lead to heroin addiction. OxyContin is a highly addictive drug and even those who started taking this drug according to doctor's instructions develop tolerance. When the dosage prescribed by the doctor stops being enough for the individuals, they start looking out to obtain the drug illegally, heralding addiction.
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OxyContin is the brand name for a generic opioid narcotic called oxycodone. The brand name version was developed and is still made by Purdue Pharma. It comes in multiple doses and is an extended release drug, which means that it is approved to treat pain in patients who need 12 hours of constant pain management.
OxyContin is a Schedule II controlled substance, as listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Schedule II drugs are dangerous and habit-forming. An investigation by the LA Times found that while Purdue claimed OxyContin would provide lasting pain relief for 12 hours, this proved untrue for some patients, causing them to experience withdrawal and cravings.
That same investigation uncovered the fact that Purdue knew about the problem and that it could lead to addiction, but continued to market it for 12-hour pain relief. Eighty-one percent of the oxycodone in the world, brand name or generic, is prescribed in the U.S.
The number of overdose deaths caused by prescription opioids tripled between 1990 and 2010. Since 2010, abuse of prescription opioids like OxyContin has declined, while abuse of heroin has increased. This trend came after an abuse-deterrent form of OxyContin was introduced.
Opioid painkillers like Oxycontin produce a short-lived euphoria, but they are also addictive. Long-term use of painkillers can lead to physical dependence. The body adapts to the presence of the substance and if one stops taking the drug abruptly, withdrawal symptoms occur. Or the body could build up a tolerance to the drug, meaning that higher doses have to be taken to achieve the same effects.
Like all drugs, painkillers like Oxycontin simply mask the pain for which they are taken. They don't "cure" anything. Someone continuously trying to dull the pain may find himself taking higher and higher doses—only to discover that he cannot make it through the day without the drug.
Symptoms of withdrawal can include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps (known as "cold turkey"), and involuntary leg movements. One of the serious risks of opioids like Oxycontin is respiratory depression—high doses can cause breathing to slow down to the point it stops and the user dies.
Because it reacts on the nervous system like heroin or opium, some abusers are using one brand of oxycodone painkiller, OxyContin, as a substitute for, or supplement to, street opiates like heroin.
OxyContin, widely known as "hillbilly heroin" because of its abuse in Appalachian communities, has emerged as a major crime problem in the US. In one county, it was estimated that addiction to this drug was behind 80% of the crime.
One of the first signs of OxyContin use and addiction is developing a tolerance—requiring more of the substance to achieve the desired effect. Someone prescribed OxyContin may become dependent on the drug due to chemical changes in the brain after prolonged usage, causing him or her to experience withdrawal symptoms if use is ceased or reduced. A dependency can turn into an addiction if left unchecked. In many cases of OxyContin addiction, users will turn to illicit means of obtaining the drug once the doctor's prescription runs out.
OxyContin, like many opioids, can lead to powerful dependencies. Once a dependency forms, people will go through extreme lengths to get more. People secretly struggling with an opioid use disorder may go to their doctor and make up a reason to ascertain a prescription for a drug like OxyContin.
Doctors and pharmacists must walk a fine line because they want to avoid acting like a legal drug dealer, but if they become overly skeptical, someone in need may go without the medicine that improves their quality of life. Some people caught up in the grip of opioid addiction can resort to serious self-harm in order to receive another prescription.
As doctors, pharmacists, and hospitals improve in identifying and stopping OxyContin seeking tendencies, people are forced into illegal means to satisfy their opioid use disorder. They may try to convince loved ones to hand over any opioids they've been prescribed if they still have them.
Armed robberies of pharmacies have occurred where the robber demanded only OxyContin, not cash. In some areas, particularly the Eastern United States, OxyContin has been the drug of greatest concern to law enforcement authorities.
When abused, OxyContin tablets or capsules are often chewed or crushed and snorted, mixed into a solution and injected, or smoked on tin foil. These techniques override the pills' time-release feature and flood the brain with the drug.
This engages special neuroreceptors to produce an intense "high" or euphoric state similar to that of heroin or opium. Since 2010, OxyContin has been manufactured in tamper-resistant, crush-proof tablets that are impossible to snort or inject. However, the drug can still be abused.
Some of the effects of this drug might include:
OxyContin is a powerful, highly addictive substance that can be abused to the point of overdose. Ingesting OxyContin at unsafe levels can cause permanent brain damage or depress the respiratory system to the point of failure.
The overdose risks, drug seeking habits, and other changes in someone's life all fall under the mental health disorder of addiction. Although OxyContin was marketed as a safer opioid when released in 1996, it's still linked to serious health risks, including opioid use disorder. The manufacturer Purdue Pharmaceuticals even lost a case and had to settle based on their false low risk advertising strategy. Opioids can also influence other mental health issues like mood disorders.
Anxiety and depression are both considered mood disorders. They hold profound influence over a person's day to day life and the additional variable of OxyContin can further destabilize someone struggling with one of these disorders. Even if you don't currently suffer from a mood disorder, a study found that 10% of people prescribed opioids reported the development of a depressive disorder.
Signs of abuse of OxyContin include taking the drug when it hasn't been prescribed, taking more than was prescribed, or taking it more often than directed. Another sign of abuse is using OxyContin in a way that is not recommended. For instance, people who abuse the extended release drug figured out that crushing and inhaling or consuming the powder would result in getting the full dose at once and a quicker, more intense high. The introduction of the abuse-deterrent formula was designed to discourage this practice.
OxyContin addiction signs include signs of abuse as well as an intense focus and a lot of time spent on trying to get more of the drug. A person addicted to OxyContin will begin to develop a tolerance to it and seek out larger and more frequent doses.
This person may try to stop using the drug but experiences withdrawal and cravings and continues to go back to it. Here are ten warning signs of OxyContin use to watch for if you think someone you know may be experiencing a dependency on these drugs:
1. Usage increase: increase of one's dose over time, as a result of growing tolerant to the drug and needing more to get the same effect.
2. Change in personality: shifts in energy, mood, and concentration as a result of everyday responsibilities becoming secondary to the need for the drug.
3. Social withdrawal: withdrawal from family and friends.
4. Ongoing use: continued use of painkillers after the medical condition they were meant to relieve has improved.
5. Time spent on obtaining prescriptions: spending large amounts of time driving great distances and visiting multiple doctors to obtain the drugs.
6. Change in daily habits and appearance: decline in personal hygiene; change in sleeping and eating habits; constant cough, running nose and red, glazed eyes.
7. Neglects responsibilities: neglect of household chores and bills; calling in sick to school or work more often.
8. Increased sensitivity: normal sights, sounds and emotions becoming overly stimulating to the person; hallucinations.
9. Blackouts and forgetfulness: forgetting events that have taken place and experiencing blackouts.
10. Defensiveness: becoming defensive and lashing out in response to simple questions in an attempt to hide a drug dependency, if users feel their secret is being discovered.
Abuse of opioids like OxyContin can cause a fatal overdose. An overdose requires emergency medical treatment that includes the injection or nasal spray of naloxone, a substance that can reverse the overdose. OxyContin and other opioids can be fatal because they depress the central nervous system and can cause a person to stop breathing.
Signs of an overdose include:
When OxyContin addiction takes over your loved one's life, it's important to find professionals who can help. The best rehab programs offer an array of therapies, educational sessions, and support. However, it may take some work in getting your loved one to accept help.
For your best chance of getting them to understand the importance of rehab, ensure that they're sober for the conversation. When they're under the influence, they have little motivation to stop using oxycodone.
Psychological and physical dependence usually accompany oxycodone addiction. This type of addiction includes psychological and physical dependence. When individuals aren't using, they'll generally experience uncomfortable mental, emotional, and physical withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms often scare people away from getting the help they need.
When talking to your addicted friend or relative, be compassionate. Don't blame them for their disease. Lacking understanding or blaming them will only push them further away from you and the hope for recovery.
The right OxyContin addiction treatment for you or your loved one depends on various factors. These include how much substance use occurs, how long it has been used, the frequency of use, personal health, family history, and strength of at-home support.
For lasting recovery, treatment requires the help of experienced professionals. The first step is an addiction assessment that clarifies individual needs for treatment. Drug detox is usually the next step, followed by a quality addiction rehab program which includes an individualized treatment plan.
A quality rehab program includes:
Because oxycodone is a prescription painkiller, it's also important for clients in rehab to learn how to manage their pain without using these drugs. This may be part of a rehab program, just as these programs offer ways to enjoy recreation and socialization without using drugs or alcohol.
In addition to the months of active treatment for addiction, good relapse prevention should include a plan for ongoing care. This could mean making lifestyle changes like avoiding old friends, building up a strong social support system and attending support meetings, engaging in self-care and healthy habits, treating any mental illnesses, and continuing with a regular outpatient program for addiction.
OxyContin addiction recovery rates are good when patients take treatment seriously and commit to long-term lifestyle changes. This prescription painkiller can be very dangerous, even to patients using it as directed. It should be used with caution and never misused in order to avoid dependence. This is why you should always watch out for the various signs of OxyContin use.