Oxycontin, used in the treatment of severe pain disorders is a long acting formulation of oxycodon. It was first introduced in 1995, and since then it has been widely used as a powerful pain killer. The drug is commonly used to treat moderate to severe pain associated with trauma, fractures, low back pain, muscle pain, arthritis, neuralgia, and pain related to cancer. However, the mood altering effects of the drug can cause illicit usage and Oxycontin addiction. Unlawful possession of the drug is illegal, but the usage of the drug is rising dramatically. Although many states have introduced strict measures to prevent its illegal use and online sale, the addiction is at an all-time high. Even fake Oxycontin drugs are available in the market these days.
Nature of Oxycontin Addiction
Oxycontin acts on the opioid receptors present in the brain and spinal cord, and block the passage of pain signals to the brain. The drug is actually slow acting due to the controlled release of the chemicals. However, addicts usually break, chew, or crush the drug in order to facilitate rapid release of the drug. If you have never been on opioids before, you will be given the lowest dose which is more than enough to relieve pain to prevent addiction to the drug.
Effects of Oxycontin Addiction
This highly addictive drug, similar to morphine is usually administered by oral ingestion, snorting, or injecting. Short term effects of addiction to Oxycontin include:
- Dry mouth
Long term use of Oxycontin can cause your body to develop a tolerance for the drug, and an increased dosage may be necessary to achieve the desired effect. Sudden withdrawal from the drug may also result in:
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle pain or myalgia
- Runny nose
- Abdominal cramps
- Increased blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate
Dangers of Oxycontin Addiction
- Respiratory depression
This is one of the severe complications of the Oxycontin addiction. People who are taking other opioids and the elderly patients are at a high risk for respiratory problems. It can also be caused by excessive use of the drug along with alcohol or benzodiazepines. Presence of underlying respiratory disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pre existing respiratory disorders can also worsen the effect of the drug on your body. Even normal dose of the drug can cause respiratory arrest in such patients. So, extreme caution must be taken while prescribing the drug.
- Severe hypotension
Oxycontin can cause vasodilatation or widening of blood vessels which in turn lowers the blood pressure. So if you already have low blood pressure, administration of this drug can reduce the cardiac output as well as the blood pressure.
Oxycontin Addiction Treatment
As majority of addicts develop the problem through a prescription, you may not notice the addiction problem during the initial stages. The normal dose of Oxycontin is 15 milligrams to 60 milligrams every four hours. It is easy to shorten the time between doses and take an extra pill. If you have a psychological craving for more drug and experience withdrawal symptoms when Oxycontin is stopped, you should suspect addiction.
Drug dependence can affect all aspects of your life including physical, emotional, financial and social. The most effective way for getting rid of Oxycontin addiction is entering in to a drug rehab program where you can receive individual attention for your specific problem. You can undergo detox programs to withdraw from the physical dependence on the drug. The withdrawal symptoms you may experience are unavoidable, but they can be treated in two ways. If you are planning to go ‘cold turkey’, you will be given medications to lessen the symptoms. Methadone maintenance or Suboxone treatment is another form of treatment in which your body is tricked to believe that you still have few amounts of Oxycontin in your system. This way, you will not need to experience the withdrawal symptoms, but at the same time you will be recovered from addiction gradually.
Once your body is free of drug, you will not crave for the drug constantly. You will feel invincible and optimistic about the recovery. This phase of the treatment is known as pink cloud phase. This phase is usually followed by an emotional crash stage where you realize that nothing can be achieved without hard work. Oxycontin addiction recovery is a slow process, and it will not happen in a day.