Oxycontin is an addictive drug that is available with a prescription.
It is used to treat severe pain but many drug addicts use it for recreation, as the high it produces is somewhat similar to that of heroin.
Signs and Symptoms
Oxycontin is an opiate drug, similar to morphine, heroin, vicodin, and so on. It is a painkiller that works by flooding the brain with opiates. When a person takes an excessive amount of opiates, they will generally just be extremely relaxed and appear to be fatigued. They might nod out after taking large amounts of Oxycontin.
It is probably easier to spot the problem in terms of behavior than it is to observe the acute effects of the drug.
Here are some of the classical OxyContin addiction signs
1) An obsession with doctors, doctor visits, getting prescriptions filled, and so on.
2) An obsession with pain, people who seem to manufacture their own pain, even when no injury exists. An over sensitivity to pain.
3) Buying opiate drugs off the street or from sources other than the pharmacy.
4) Doing illegal things to obtain medications. Going to multiple doctors and emergency rooms to try and get multiple prescriptions.
5) Injuring oneself purposefully in order to obtain pain medication.
Treatment for Oxycontin addiction generally consists of detox followed by residential treatment. This is the traditional form of treatment and in most cases the treatment center will also be 12 step based, meaning that addicts will attend either AA or NA meetings.
Detox usually consists of about 3 to 5 days in a medically supervised setting. The nursing staff will normally treat Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms using medication such as Suboxone. This is a synthetic opiate that basically fills up the starving opiate receptors in the brain in order to relieve withdrawal symptoms without getting the client high. Other medications might also be used to treat symptoms like stomach cramping, body aches and pains, and anxiety. Normally after about 5 days of
OxyContin addiction detox the addict is ready to move on to residential treatment so that they can learn how to live a life of sobriety without resorting back to their drug of choice.
Residential treatment for drug addiction generally consists of lectures, group therapy, meetings, and other various groups. The idea is to teach peer support, give solid information about recovery, and introduce addicts to a support system that can help them after they leave treatment. Most residential programs will generally last from a few weeks to 28 days.
Long term treatment might be a good choice for someone who has been to treatment several times but continues to relapse.
Long term treatment could last from a few months up to a few years, and normally the addict would be held accountable while living in treatment and tested to make sure they are not using drugs. This form of treatment tends to be the most successful, here are some OxyContin addiction statistics.
Another form of potential drug treatment for Oxycontin addiction is drug maintenance therapy. This would consist of taking either Methadone or Suboxone on a daily basis over the long term. The idea is that the addict is taking another opiate pill every day that will help them to avoid reverting to their drug of choice. This is a highly controversial approach, as some people believe that taking a maintenance drug is no better than using other opiates. But for some people, maintenance drug therapy has done wonders for them and allowed them to live a much more normal life. It all depends on the individual and finding the right treatment to meet their needs. Most people who become dependent on Oxycontin will not need long term drug therapy in order to live a normal life, and they should be able to abstain entirely from opiates without any problems.
Recovering from Dependency
Many Oxycontin addicts are regular people who suffered an illness, an injury, or have chronic pain issues that led them to being put on the medication to begin with. If this is the case then recovery will not be complete until the person has learned an alternative measure to address their pain issues. This is up to the responsibility of the recovering addict to seek out pain management in a responsible way, instead of merely relapsing back to opiates when the pain becomes unbearable. One way to do this is by consulting with a doctor and exploring alternative medications other than opiates. Another way to do this is to be referred to a pain clinic that can treat the pain in a more local way, rather than numbing the entire body with opiate drugs.
Addressing issues such as chronic pain could therefore be an important part of a recovery plan.
It is important to find alternatives that work for the individual, so that they can stay free from addictive substances in recovery while still keeping their pain in check at a functional level. If you get a chance check out our OxyContin rehab guide for more information on OxyContin addiction 101.