When you think about someone having a substance abuse disorder, illegal substances may immediately come to mind. But addiction can occur even with medicines that are prescribed. This is especially true with OxyContin. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over 13 million Americans abuse OxyContin. 1 Whether people are using OxyContin prescribed for themselves or others, it is a problem that needs to be addressed. As we look at how this type of abuse occurs and the symptoms, we’ll also explore oxycontin prescription addiction treatment and how Clear Life Recovery can help.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin falls under the class of drugs known as opioids. It is the brand name for the drug Oxycodone. OxyContin is a prescribed medication typically used to treat moderate to severe pain for any of the following conditions: 2
- Various Injuries
OxyContin is prescribed for short-term use to relieve pain and is not intended for long-term use. This is mainly because it is more potent than morphine or heroin and has extremely addictive qualities.
How Does OxyContin Prescription Addiction Occur
Opioids, such as OxyContin, can become highly addictive because of the way they activate the reward centers in your brain. Opioids trigger the release of endorphins which cause your brain to feel good. 3 They diminish pain and boost feelings of pleasure. This is a temporary fix because those good feelings tend to disappear once the dosage wears off.
Taking OxyContin repeatedly builds tolerance, leading people to want to increase their doses to get the same effects. This is why people often try to renew prescriptions or get higher dosages. Since many doctors know the drug’s addictive potential, they will not renew these prescriptions. This leads some people to look to illegally obtained opioids to get the same feelings. This can be extremely dangerous and lead to opioid overdoses.
Another important thing to know about OxyContin is that the tablets have a controlled-release feature and are made to be swallowed whole. Their effects are meant to be released over a period of time, not all at once. When people get addicted to OxyContin, they may try to get the effects faster by either crushing the pills and snorting them or dissolving them in water and injecting them into their bloodstream. 2 This can lead to dangerous consequences because the drug is not being taken as it was intended.
OxyContin Prescription Addiction Risk Factors
Not everyone who is prescribed OxyContin will become addicted to the drug. Many people can take it to manage their pain and stop when it is no longer necessary.
Other people become addicted to the feelings that OxyContin can produce and continuously want more even when they no longer medically need it.
There are several risk factors when it comes to OxyContin addiction. These include: 3
- Family history of substance abuse
- Personal history of substance abuse
- History of criminal activity
- Regular contact with high-risk people or high-risk environments
- History of severe depression or anxiety
It’s also important to mention that women are more likely to be prescribed opioid medications, such as OxyContin because they are more likely to have chronic pain.4 Those with high pain levels are more likely to be prescribed higher doses and to use opioids for longer periods. Women may also be more biologically prone to become dependent on prescription pain relievers more quickly than men.
Symptoms of OxyContin Prescription Addiction
There are several symptoms to be aware of when determining whether someone has an addiction to opioids, such as OxyContin.
An opioid use disorder is described as a problematic pattern of opioid use that can include symptoms such as: 4
- Taking larger amounts of the drug than prescribed or taking it longer than intended
- Having strong cravings for the drug
- Unsuccessful efforts to control opioid use
- Problems fulfilling obligations
- Giving up on other activities
- Spending a lot of time trying to get the drug
- Using opioids in physically hazardous situations
- Continued use despite having relationship problems
While everyone’s symptoms will differ, these are just a few that can point to a problem needing OxyContin prescription addiction treatment. Ignoring the symptoms will not make the addiction go away. On the contrary, the situation will only continue to get progressively worse.
OxyContin Addiction Effects
When someone becomes addicted to OxyContin and develops an opioid use disorder, the body can experience dangerous effects, including: 2
- Respiratory distress
- Exposure to HIV, Hepatitis (if injected)
- Blood-borne viruses
If someone takes too much OxyContin, they can also overdose, which is why seeking OxyContin prescription addiction treatment is so important. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 75% of drug overdose deaths in 2020 involved an opioid.
OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms
People experiencing an opioid use disorder involving OxyContin can experience severe opioid withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop independently. These can include: 2
- Muscle and joint pain
- Cold flashes
These symptoms can not only become uncomfortable but also dangerous. This is why seeking professional help and supervision is important when trying to end an OxyContin addiction.
How to Prevent OxyContin Prescription Addiction
OxyContin may not be the safest and most effective treatment if you have long-term pain because of its addicting potential. Ask your doctor for less-addictive medications or alternate therapies to control your pain. If possible, aim for an opioid-free treatment. This is especially true if you know you are at high risk for developing an addiction or have had an addiction to medication in the past.
It’s also important to store your prescription drugs safely to prevent others from gaining access. Also, be sure to safely and legally dispose of unused pills to prevent the urge to use them when unnecessary. This can also work to keep them out of the hands of those who should not have them.
Taking these steps may help to lower the risk of becoming addicted to OxyContin and other opioids.
Seek OxyContin Prescription Addiction Treatment at Clear Life Recovery
At Clear Life Recovery, we help to treat people with an OxyContin addiction. We understand how addictive this drug can be and what needs to be done to help people overcome their opioid use disorder successfully.
Medically supervised OxyContin detox is typically the first step so people can stop using the drug. As mentioned above, withdrawal from OxyContin can be dangerous, which is why having medical supervision is so important.
Once the drug is out of the body, treatment can begin. At Clear Life Recovery, we understand that everyone’s path to OxyContin addiction will differ, so we tailor their treatment plan to reflect that. Treatment at Clear Life Recovery can include a variety of therapies, including holistic approaches that aim to heal the mind, body, and soul. These holistic therapies can involve fitness, art, or other hobbies.
If you’re ready to seek OxyContin prescription addiction treatment, call Clear Life Recovery today or reach out to us online. We are here 24/7 to help you start your road to recovery. You’ll find our staff to be knowledgeable, caring, and attentive to your needs as you break free from your opioid use disorder.