Oxycontin (oxycodone) addiction
OxyContin, a common brand name for the powerful opioid painkiller oxycodone, was marketed as a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain by the Purdue Frederick Company in the early 2000s. However, the company downplayed its addictive potential, leading to a surge in oxycodone addiction and overdose deaths. While lawsuits resulted in the company paying millions in settlements, Oxycontin addiction cruelly remains. In fact, opiate addictions like this make up 51% of cases seeking support, which demonstrates just how prevalent this issue is in the UK.
How does Oxycontin work?
Just like other opiates, Oxycontin works by binding to specific opioid receptors present in the brain and spinal cord. This binding activity leads to the reduction of pain perception and the amplification of feelings of relaxation and euphoria.
Oxycontin also affects the levels of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters responsible for reducing pain sensations and they play a vital role in regulating our emotions.
The pleasurable feelings experienced after the release of endorphins can encourage you to repeatedly take Oxycontin, eventually leading to tolerance and dependence. Tolerance refers to the need to take increasingly higher doses of the drug to feel the same effects, and dependence defines the need to take the drug just to function normally.
How do I know if I’m addicted to Oxycontin?
It can be difficult to recognise Oxycontin addiction in yourself, especially if your drug use started out with a genuine prescription. It is therefore important to know what signs to look out for and be honest with yourself if you think you need help.
Take a moment to answer the following questions to see if your Oxycontin use warrants concern:
- Do I take Oxycontin outside of the ways in which it was prescribed, for example, more often or more frequently than prescribed?
- Do I often think about my next dose of Oxycontin or where I can acquire it?
- Do I need Oxycontin in order to get through the day?
- Have I visited multiple doctors to try and get Oxycontin prescriptions?
- Have I tried to reduce or stop taking Oxycontin but been unable to?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when I try to quit Oxycontin?
- Do I purchase Oxycontin illegally, either online or from the streets?
- Do I try to downplay or hide my Oxycontin use?
If any of these questions strike a chord with you, it is possible that you have an Oxycontin addiction. In this case, seeking the help of professionals can put a stop to the downward spiral and get you back on your feet.
The effects of Oxycontin
Oxycontin has the potential to cause numerous side effects that can have devastating physical and psychological consequences.
Some of the physical side effects of Oxycontin include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Itchy skin
Some of the psychological side effects of Oxycontin include:
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and depression
- Feelings of confusion
- Dissociation or feeling detached from your body
- Vivid nightmares
It is also possible to overdose on Oxycontin, especially if the drug is consumed alongside other substances such as illicit drugs or alcohol. The signs of Oxycontin overdose include:
- Difficulties breathing
- Extreme drowsiness or unconsciousness
- Pinpoint pupils
- Pale and clammy skin
- Blue tint on lips or fingernails
If you suspect an Oxycontin overdose, you should call the emergency services immediately.
Who is at risk of Oxycontin addiction?
Anyone who takes Oxycontin is at risk of addiction, whether it is via prescription use or taken recreationally.
It is possible to become addicted to Oxycontin after being prescribed the drug for pain relief. You are at a high risk of addiction if you take Oxycontin more frequently than prescribed, at higher doses or for longer than instructed.
Many people try to manage their pain by taking more Oxycontin than advised, however, this inevitably leads to tolerance. In the long run, taking more Oxycontin can actually worsen your pain as it will become ineffective at the recommended doses. Self-medicating in this way is, in reality, very dangerous.
If you use Oxycontin recreationally, in other words, for the purpose of getting ‘high’, you are also at a high risk of addiction. This is especially true if you:
- Suffer from mental health issues
- Have experienced past trauma
- Have a history of substance abuse
- Have addiction in your family
- Live in a stressful environment
For many, Oxycontin is used as a way to escape negative emotions or to cope with difficult circumstances. However, this leaves you exposed to the danger of Oxycontin addiction. If you fall into one of these categories, it is important to be mindful of the signs of Oxycontin addiction and reach out if you need support.
Oxycontin addiction: know the facts
The many misconceptions around prescription drugs like Oxycontin make it difficult to know what is real and what is not. However, by dispelling the myths, you can understand more about Oxycontin addiction and take steps to protect yourself from its potentially harmful effects.
Myth #1: Oxycontin addiction only affects people who abuse the drug…
Fact: Anyone who takes Oxycontin for an extended period, even under a doctor’s care, can develop an Oxycontin addiction. Oxycontin is highly addictive and can cause physical dependence, even when taken as prescribed.
Myth #2: Oxycontin addiction is easy to overcome…
Fact: Oxycontin addiction is a chronic condition that requires long-term management and support. Detoxing from Oxycontin can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult to quit the drug without professional help.
Myth #3: Oxycontin addiction only affects people with a history of substance abuse…
Fact: Anyone can become addicted to Oxycontin, regardless of their history with drugs or alcohol. Some people may be more susceptible to addiction due to genetic factors, environmental influences or underlying mental health issues.
Myth #4: Oxycontin is a prescription drug so it cannot be dangerous…
Fact: Oxycontin can have a detrimental impact on your well-being, presenting risks to your physical and mental health as well as the possibility of fatal overdose. In fact, in 2020, there were a total of 102 recorded deaths relating to Oxycontin.
Freedom from Oxycontin addiction
Breaking free from a prescription drug addiction to Oxycontin can be a challenging but life-changing experience. In doing so, you will benefit from improved physical and mental health, strengthened relationships, increased productivity and a sense of control over your own life. Ultimately, the journey towards freedom from Oxycontin addiction is one that requires courage and determination, but the rewards are immeasurable.
At Banbury Lodge, you will be supported through Oxycontin detox as your body begins to heal. Therapy is another critical component of breaking free from the grips of Oxycontin. The therapists at Banbury Lodge will help you to change negative thought and behaviour patterns that lead to drug use. You will gain a greater understanding of your Oxycontin addiction, your triggers and how to avoid relapse.