Oxycontin is the brand name for the medication Oxycodone. Oxycontin is in the class of drugs called opioids. Opioids are mainly derived from the poppy plant. Some, such as Oxycontin, can be partially synthesized. Oxycontin is used for relief of moderate to severe pain. It is available by itself or combined with anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.
Like all opioids, Oxycontin use produces euphoric effects and is highly addictive. Opioids misdirect a person’s reward pathways making the drug become the main way the user derives pleasure. It is unclear precisely what predisposes a person to addiction, but genetics, environmental factors, brain chemistry, and psychology may all play a role.
Mood, behaviour, physique and psychology change when a person is addicted to Oxycontin. Individuals may become irritable, anxious, depressed, euphoric, or swing between moods. He or she may begin to lie about use, steal to pay for drugs, or hide drugs around the house. Individuals often have interpersonal, work, and financial problems. They may appear drowsy and have track marks on their body. They may attempt to divert medication from family or friends, seek prescriptions through emergency rooms or multiple doctors, forge prescriptions or report losing prescriptions. Physically they may “nod out,” itch, vomit, have constricted pupils or headaches and sweat excessively. Psychologically, hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia are possible symptoms.
Addiction to Oxycontin may cause a person to lose friends, family, and relationships. Those addicted to Oxycontin often experience divorce, job loss and homelessness. Some may commit abuse or become victims of abuse. Oxycontin addiction exposes a person to great physical danger as well. Oxycontin abuse may cause heart attacks, liver damage, seizures, coma, respiratory failure, and death.
Oxycontin addiction is difficult to overcome. Quitting often produces withdrawal symptoms. Weakness, insomnia, panic attacks, fever, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and depression are all common.
Treatment for individuals who want to stop abusing Oxycontin is readily available. It is likely a person attempting to quit Oxycontin will encounter withdrawal symptoms, and many facilities recommend a medically-supervised detoxification program. Usually, this is completed at an in-patient treatment facility to ensure the patient’s safety and comfort.
Oxycontin addiction is unique because Oxycontin is routinely prescribed for a wide variety of reasons. Leading up to the current opioid crisis, there have been major increases in prescriptions for drugs like Oxycontin. Drug companies aggressively market these medications. These factors have created an environment where Oxycontin is regularly available.
Oxycontin addiction is a serious health problem. Experts estimate that over 2 million people in the United States are addicted to opioid pain medications. The social consequences of this epidemic deeply impact communities. The personal impact is even more devastating; prescription pain medication overdose deaths have quadrupled in the last fifteen years.