What is OxyContin?
While the use of illegal street drugs like heroin and cocaine have been slowly declining over the past decade or so, the abuse of prescription pain relievers like OxyContin continues to rise. Spurred on by the false notion that prescription narcotics are safe and non-habit forming has led to an alarming increase in addiction to OxyContin and other prescription pain medications. However, the harsh reality is that the abuse of OxyContin is just as addictive and dangerous as any of its illegal counterparts.
OxyContin is a brand name of the prescription pain reliever Oxycodone. OxyContin is an extended release formulation of oxycodone that is prescribed to treat moderate to severe chronic pain. Oxycodone is an opiate-based medication that can induce a heroin-like type of high when taken in larger amounts than prescribed or in methods other than prescribed. All opiate based drugs, whether OxyContin, morphine, or heroin, have a serious potential for addiction.
Why is OxyContin so Addictive?
OxyContin is so addictive for a number of reasons. First of all, when opiates enter the system, they attach to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal column, blocking pain and creating a feeling of pleasure. When taken as directed, OxyContin’s extended release formulation allows for pain relief for up to 12 hours, with only a slight feeling of euphoria. If the pill is crushed and ingested, snorted, or injected, the extended release properties are disabled, allowing for greater impact of the pleasure feeling that mimics the euphoric high felt with heroin.
OxyContin, like other opiates, does not have a threshold for their effectiveness like non-narcotic pain relievers. While a person can only take a certain amount of Aspirin or Tylenol before the extra amount becomes non-effective, opiate based medications have an increased effect with each subsequent dose. This can quickly lead to the development of higher drug tolerance, necessitating the need for larger amounts of the drug, which in turn leads to addiction.
Signs of OxyContin Addiction and Withdrawal
One of the first signs of OxyContin addiction is the development of a tolerance to the drug. Because the addict will need to increase the dosage to experience the same effect, this often leads to higher and higher doses, which can be extremely dangerous. Other signs of addiction are irritability, anxiety, compulsive use of the drug, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the stop using the drug.
OxyContin withdrawal symptoms include:
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Hot or cold sweats
- Confusion and/or anxiety
- Muscle spasms
- Heart palpitations
Addiction to an opiate based drug like OxyContin is one of the most difficult addictions to get over. Many OxyContin addicts have found success and long term recovery utilizing an inpatient rehabilitation center. Inpatient OxyContin rehab combines medically assisted drug detox and therapy to help addicts stay drug free. To find an OxyContin rehab facility, contact us at (866) 531-4569.