OxyContin Addiction

OxyContin addiction, substance abuse & prescription drug abuse are very difficult to overcome on your own. Contact a professional rehab specialist today to safely detox off them and start your recovery!

What is OxyContin?

OxyContin is the brand name for a timed-release formula of oxycodone, a narcotic analgesic. Oxycodone is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the United States, and OxyContin is one of the most prevalent sources of this substance. Oxycodone, the primary ingredient in OxyContin, is a semi-synthetic opiate manufactured by modifying the chemical thebaine, an organic chemical found in opium. Aside from pain relief, the drug can also cause feelings of euphoria and a “high” for the user, which is the reason it ends up getting abused. However, addiction can also occur for individuals who have a prescription, the longer the drug is used, the more tolerance a person builds. Once a tolerance is built up, the pain-relieving effects lessen, and the person may begin to start feeling pain again despite taking the drug as directed. 

How does it Work?

OxyContin primarily affects the central nervous system by altering the user’s physical and emotional response to pain. Neurons are covered in proteins called “opioid receptors”, which slow down the neurons’ ability to send pain signals to the brain. When your body is injured, your brain releases natural painkillers called endorphins which activate these opioid receptors. The chemicals within opioids are almost identical to our natural endorphins, and act in the same way, unlocking the opioid pain receptors to slow pain signals. 

At the same time, however, this process affects the area of the brain called the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) which is full of neurons that produce dopamine. When dopamine is released, it gives the person a feeling of pleasure. Under normal circumstances, inhibitory neurons prevent too much dopamine from being created, and only releases the chemical when something good happens. These neurons are also covered in opioid receptors, so when an individual ingests OxyContin, this area is affected as well. In this case, the inhibitory neurons release the “breaks”, which causes the brain to flood with dopamine in response. 

OxyContin Tolerance

Over time, the brain will attempt to balance itself back out again after it realizes that there is an overflow of endorphins and dopamine being produced in response to the opioid. To do this, the inhibitory neurons begin working overtime to slow the production of dopamine. This is called building a tolerance, and most people respond by increasing their dose of the opioid, which can be extremely dangerous.   

What is OxyContin Abuse?

OxyContin abuse occurs when a person begins ingesting more of the drug than has been prescribed to them, or taking the drug without a prescription at all. The user does this in order to get high, or to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Abuse can open a person up to grave consequences.

Is OxyContin Dangerous?

OxyContin is one of the most dangerous substances because of its high likelihood to cause an overdose. Since 2000, the Center for Disease Control has seen an increase in opioid-related overdoses of 200 percent. It can also cause symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsy feeling

Should I Stop Taking It?

If you believe that you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, do not try and take matters into your own hands. Under no circumstances should you attempt to detox alone. This is extremely dangerous and will likely end in relapse, or worse. You absolutely should make a commitment to cutting the substance out of your life, but there are certain steps you can take to make the process go much smoother and safer for yourself. Entering into a recovery center for professional treatment is the best way to approach detox. Treatment centers have 24/7 medical professionals and counselors on staff to help guide you through the process of withdrawal and the journey to sobriety. 

Who Abuses OxyContin?

Anyone is susceptible to developing an addiction to OxyContin, but the most likely victims are those who have undergone surgery or have an ailment that requires a prescription for the drug. Repeated exposure/consumption of the drug often leads to addiction. 

Quitting Is Possible

Detoxing from OxyContin is a process of incrementally decreasing dosage under medically supervised staff members that are specifically trained on how to deal with the withdrawal symptoms of the drug. The rapid withdrawal brought on by OxyContin detoxification can be dangerous, so it is important to lower the dosage according to the current mental and physical condition of the patient.  After detox has been successfully completed, behavioral therapy is the next step on the road to substance abuse recovery. In behavioral therapy you will learn to cope with the emotional root of your addiction with both group & individualized therapy time. There are many great and affordable addiction treatment options available, such as outpatient rehab & group therapies. Get help overcoming an OxyContin or prescription drug addiction today.