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Am I Addicted to OxyContin
An OxyContin addiction may have caught you completely by surprise when those innocent pain pills led to opioid use disorder. If you suspect you have built up a tolerance to it, and wonder if you are addicted to OxyContin, please read on.
What Is OxyContin?
OxyContin (oxycodone) is a potent pain reliever in the synthetic opioid group of drugs. Back in the 1990s, “Oxy” was touted as a highly effective analgesic with a low risk of addiction. Because of this marketing, OxyContin quickly became highly prescribed among dentists and doctors.
The introduction of OxyContin, as a time-released version of oxycodone, made it a perfect candidate for chronic pain management. The problem was that along with its pain relieving actions, OxyContin also produced a sense of euphoria and deep relaxation.
It is now known that the claims made in the early 90s were false. In fact, the drug has such a high risk of addiction that it is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance.
The nation has been entrenched in an opioid abuse epidemic ever since.
The Effect of OxyContin On the Brain
Our bodies are equipped with a system of receptors in the brain, including natural opioid receptors. When someone takes opioids like OxyContin, the drugs attach to these receptors and create a rush of dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that signals the body to feel pleasure. This sends a message to the brain that the effect of the drug caused pleasure and should be repeated.
Repeated use of OxyContin causes the body to form a tolerance to its effects. This prompts the person to increase their dosage of the drug. Over time, the body can no longer produce its own dopamine, so the person cannot feel pleasure without the drug. If they attempt to stop the Oxy, they will experience painful withdrawal symptoms.
Do You Have an OxyContin Addiction?
There is a difference between being dependent on OxyContin, caused by long-term pain management use, and addiction. When someone is addicted to pain meds they display drug cravings and a compulsive need to use the drug. Addiction is the most severe form of opioid use disorder.
Here are the signs to look out for that might indicate an Oxy addiction:
- Extreme drowsiness or nodding out.
- Pinpoint pupils.
- Skin rash
- Slowed breathing rate.
- Ringing in the ears.
- Chronic constipation.
- Muscle pain.
- Blurred vision.
- Itchy skin.
- Being obsessed with getting the drug.
- Doctor shopping to obtain more refills.
- Stealing pain pills from friends and family.
- Increased tolerance.
- Isolating behaviors.
- Mood swings.
- Mental confusion.
- Irrational fear.
If you notice these symptoms in yourself, you should not delay seeking out treatment. The sooner you address the opioid use disorder and get help, the better the recovery outcome.
What to Expect in OxyContin Detox and Withdrawal
Quitting Oxy is something that should not be attempted alone without support. When you abstain from the drug in a cold turkey manner, the withdrawal symptoms will be harsh. This only causes you to return to the drug to stop the pain and discomfort.
Detox is the best setting for you to safely detox from the opioid. Under a doctor’s care, the drug will be slowly tapered down. This helps your body to adjust to the reduced dosing in little steps over a couple of weeks.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Body aches.
- Stomach cramps.
- Teary eyes.
- Runny nose.
Withdrawal may also include these mental health symptoms:
- Foggy thinking.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Treatment for OxyContin Addiction
Having an opioid use disorder will involve a lifelong effort to remain clean and sober. This requires making substantive changes in thoughts and behaviors and gaining needed recovery tools. For these reasons, a treatment program helps you acquire these so you can succeed in recovery.
Treatment will include:
Psychotherapy. Therapy serves two important functions in the treatment process. It helps you to confront any underlying emotional pain that may be involved in addictive behaviors. Also, it helps you identify disordered thoughts and drug-seeking behaviors, and then change them using CBT.
Group therapy. Peer support in recovery is helpful for many reasons. The small group therapy sessions allow people to share their own experiences. Also, it helps people to bond while in treatment, and keeps them more engaged in the treatment process.
Education. Classes teach you how opioids affect the brain and cause addiction, which can help deter a relapse. The classes also teach coping skills, communication skills, conflict resolution skills, and how to create your relapse prevention plan.
Continuing Care. An extra layer of support can be added if the individual chooses to stay in sober living for a month or two. Other aftercare actions include outpatient therapy and joining a local recovery group.
Learning to Manage Chronic Pain Without OxyContin
Many people become addicted to OxyContin because they needed help with chronic pain. In recovery, you will need to explore other methods of finding relief. If you are in recovery from an Oxy addiction, but still need help with pain, here are some options:
- Tricyclic antidepressants.
- Chiropractic care.
A physical therapist can work with you by teaching you some movements or exercises that help relieve pain. There are also chronic pain related support groups that offer an outlet for emotions and struggles living with pain. There are some herbal remedies that can also provide some relief. Check with your doctor about taking vitamin D, turmeric, omega-3 fish oil, and magnesium for added pain relief.
Capo by the Sea Provides Treatment for OxyContin Addiction
Capo by the Sea is a trusted addiction treatment provider for those who are in the grip of an opioid use disorder. Using proven therapies combined with holistic methods, Capo by the Sea can guide you back to wellness. If you are addicted to OxyContin, call us with any questions about our program at (888) 529-2114.