Oxycontin, or oxycodone, is a prescription opioid designed to treat pain. Oxycontin, just like other opioids are used in modern medicine due to its chemical properties produce relaxation and alleviate pain. Oxycontin may be prescribed for moderate to severe pain and often used post surgeries or to treat injuries. This opioid can also create pleasant relaxation effects and is often misused for recreational purposes. The non-medicinal use of Oxycontin may be dangerous, due to its habit-forming qualities.  Prescription opioids, in general, are very addictive, and using them without doctors prescription may result in coma or death. Oxycontin has very similar effects as heroin, the most dangerous opioid in the world, that is not legal in the US.

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Oxycontin effects on the brain

Oxycontin, like any other opioid, attaches to the receptors in the brain areas, spinal cord and other body organs, associated with the reward system, that is responsible for pleasure and pain. When opioid binds to these receptors, it releases a large flow of dopamine through the body. This process can intensify a person’s desire to repeat taking the drug, and make it impossible to stop.

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Oxycontin and addiction

If a person is exposed to prescription Oxycontin for a long time, even if the doctor monitors the intake, it can result in developing a tolerance. Tolerance to opioids means that the person may need to take higher dosages, and even more frequently in order to get similar effects.

A person becomes may develop dependence on Oxycontin if the misuse of this drug continues. In this case, the changes in the brain occur and making a person not able to perform their daily activities without using the drug. Lack of drugs may cause serious and often life-threatening physiological and psychological effects, similar to heroin.

Addiction to Oxycontin is a final and most devastating result of opioid use. Addiction is a chronic mental health disorder, associated with compulsive drug seeking and use, inability to stop using the drug, permanent changes in the brain function, and continues use of opioids despite damaging consequences and a detrimental threat to a person’s life.

Withdrawal symptoms of oxycontin addiction

If a person addicted to oxycodone medication decides to stop or taper opioid misuse, it may result in severe and often life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. The severity of symptoms vary for each individual and can be very uncomfortable. They may begin as early as several hours after taking the opioid and make it impossible for addicts to stop using them. The withdrawal symptoms include:

  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • severe cravings
  • muscle stiffness and bone aches
  • tremors
  • abdominal cramps
  • slowed breathing
  • cold flushes
  • confusion

Detox and Treatment for Oxycontin addiction

The signs of addiction and withdrawal symptoms are the indications that the person needs medical intervention to help with this chronic disease. The only safe way to treat addiction to Oxycontin is to seek medical help and undergo a comprehensive treatment in a medical setting.

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First step is to undergo a complete medical and mental health evaluation and examination to determine a level of addiction to oxycodone, identify any other medical conditions that may be associated with opioid abuse. Any additional mental health disorder, called co-occurring disorders, need to be addressed to complete treatment plan. Treatment plan needs to be based on patient’s personal and individual needs, and initial evaluation and testing will help the recovery specialist to find the best treatment option. Additional medical testing, like blood and urine tests, toxin panels, vitals may be performed to identify the patient’s current physical condition.

The next step is the detoxification process.  Detox procedure for Oxycontin addiction has to be medically supervised and performed in a medical setting. Presence of medical professionals will ensure safe and effective detox.

Detox Procedure includes:

  • patient’s system is flushed from harmful toxins
  • medications are used to help with painful withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • other medications used to block opioid receptors to reverse to a normal brain function and stop drugs from having effects.

Once the patient is medically stabilized, the transition is made to the next phase of treatment-behavioral therapy.

Behavioral therapy is critical in treating any type of opioid addiction, and it has been proven to be the most effective. it is important the patient follows through with it right after the detox is completed.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy includes: 

  • help to change behaviors towards drug use
  • learn healthy lifestyle
  • help to adjust patient’s drug-use expectations and attitudes
  • learn coping skills to help with life’s stress
  • learn to manage triggers and prevent relapse
  • individual and group counseling to learn from other peers how to change drug use behaviors.
  • family support to help to overcome the opioid disorder