Orange County, CA OxyContin Addiction Treatment
Table of Contents
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin (aka generically as Oxycodone) belongs to the class of drugs known as opioid analgesics, which are prescribed for pain management, especially in cancer patients. By blocking calcium receptors in certain nerve cells, these drugs dampen the effect of pain or eliminate it altogether. Like other opiates, Oxycodone is habit-forming, and should only be taken in the smallest possible effective dose. It should only be prescribed for situations where other options are ineffective or infeasible.
In most cases, OxyContin is taken in the form of a time-release capsule. By taking such capsules at regular intervals (often twice daily), the patient can receive even amounts of the drug throughout the day, and thus avoid the possibility of overdose. This approach ensures that there is always enough OxyContin in the system to inhibit pain.
How do People become addicted to OxyContin?
When people abuse Oxycodone or OxyContin, they tend to take more of it than prescribed. As a consequence, their body develops a tolerance for the drug, and they need more and more of it to feel the desired effect. This craving is quite similar to heroin, also an opiate. If the individual continues to use the drug at levels over their prescribed amount, it is dangerous and can lead to an overdose.
Oxycontin Abuse and Overdose
Though OxyContin is a prescription drug and therefore controlled, criminals sell it illegally. Those able to get their hands on prescription pills will crush them and snort them as powder, or liquefy them and inject them. This enables users to avoid the time release strata within the pills, resulting in an immediate intense, pleasurable high. This is very dangerous, as overwhelming one’s system with too much of an opiate can lead to overdose. And given that opiates are known for their intense high and withdrawal symptoms, abusers of OxyContin or Oxycodone (referred to as Oxy on the street) can easily become addicted.
Symptoms of OxyContin Addiction
There are several other lifestyle-related indicators that someone may be addicted to OxyContin. The biggest sign is that the individual will do almost anything to get more of it. They may attempt to steal it from others, or steal money to acquire it. If the individual has several prescription bottles for Oxycodone from different doctors and pharmacies, that also is an indication of addiction. Also, the individual may continue to use it, despite having a previous bad experience while on it. Or, they may use it in circumstances where it is not advised (like when driving, e.g.).
Unless you have guidance from an experienced healthcare professional, never combine Oxycodone with another medication. Certain medications cause very harmful side effects when combined with Oxycodone, and many others cause side effects which are less severe, but still merit careful consideration. Again, these kinds of remedies should be used when no other option exists for the patient. People who take Oxycodone recreationally should never combine it with other drugs or other opioids like Norco, Fentanyl, or Heroin as it can be fatal.
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The symptoms of overdose for OxyContin are:
If you believe that someone has taken an overdose of OxyContin, call 9-1-1 immediately. Paramedics carry medications for counteracting an opioid overdose. If they arrive at the scene soon enough, they can spare the individual the long-term effects of an overdose, and even save the individual’s life.
OxyContin Withdrawal Phases and Symptoms
As a user comes off of OxyContin (or Oxycodone), there are generally two phases of withdrawal, which are similar to those of any opiate. The early withdrawal symptoms, though milder, are still serious: flu-like symptoms, changes in sleeping patterns and mood, even muscle aches and cramps. The individual may also be unable to stop yawning.
After a few days the user will experience more significant symptoms. Intestinal distress, such as stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, and reduced appetite are common. Blurred vision, dilated pupils, shivering and goosebumps, rapid heart rate and high blood pressure are likewise typical. These later symptoms will last for 1-2 weeks.
Even those who take OxyContin responsibly may experience symptoms. Always follow your doctor’s recommended steps when coming off any habit-forming medication. If the dose was high, or if the user was abusing the drug, then there is more need for special care and oversight to get the user off of the drug safely and back to normal life.
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The Right Way to End OxyContin Addiction
Because opiates like OxyContin are so powerful, it is often recommended that any individual found with an addiction undergo a thorough mental health evaluation in order to assess the effects of the drug on the person’s overall mental well-being, living space, biochemistry, and social life. This is necessary because individuals with severe addiction truly are not themselves; they can cause a lot of damage in their lives which must later be addressed with humility and wisdom. A proper evaluation from the right mental health professional will result in a customized plan for the individual to overcome their addiction and return to a normal life.
Here are some of the tools used to control opioid addiction:
In-patient treatment is an excellent resource for those coming off of opiates. Living at a controlled facility throughout the addiction process will enable caregivers to monitor withdrawal symptoms closely, administer medication on time, and control various factors that influence the success of withdrawal, such as diet, sleep, distractions, etc. Users who enter a reliable detox facility stand a much better chance of completing the withdrawal process and avoiding relapse.
Certain medications act as a surrogate for opiates during the withdrawal process, tying up the same receptors that opioids do, and thus dramatically reducing the body’s craving for the drug. Buprenorphine is such a drug; it does not create the harsh side effects that opiates do, and once the patient is on it, the dosage can be tapered to nothing, like turning a volume dial on the addiction down to zero. When used correctly, the right medication can dramatically reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction must be treated as a mental illness, particularly if it goes on for a while. Even though an addict might get free from the physical effects of the drug, opioids have a way of staying with a person’s psychology, calling them back to the drug in moments of desperation. Therapy is the best weapon for dealing with this problem. The right mental health professional will offer keen insight into the kinds of steps that the addict must take in order to get free of his or her addiction over the long term.
Find OxyContin Addiction Treatment Today
If you or someone you know is in need of help overcoming addiction to OxyContin or other opioids, call our office. Dr. B has helped countless recovering users of opiates and other habit-forming medications in Orange County for years. He will know what medications and strategies are necessary to get you completely clear and give you the confidence you need to stay free from addiction in the future.
We know this is not easy, and that you are much better off with the right person in your corner. Give us a call today. Your life is worth it.