Many people suffering from various chronic illnesses like cancer often experience some amount of pain that is quite unbearable. Such agony is what medical professional call chronic pain, which if not dealt with, may leave you, the patient, in worse situations. As a result, doctors opt to prescribe oxycontin to help you bear the pain and have a better life.
What Is Oxycontin?
Oxycontin is a prescription pain reliever that is very strong, and hence capable of helping you if you suffer from long-lasting and severe pain. The most active ingredient in this drug is oxycodone, which is a semisynthetic opioid that comes from thebaine.
Thebaine is among the alkaloids that are present in the opium poppy, as well as an opioid alkaloid present in the Persian poppy. Aside from being an opioid, oxycodone seems to be a close relative of methadone, heroin, morphine, fentanyl and codeine.
Due to the high amounts of oxycodone in oxycontin, it seems that the latter is a controlled-release formulation of the former. The drug relieves your pain by changing the mode by which the nervous system and brain respond to pain.
Oxycontin Consumption and Usage
The clinical use of oxycontin began in 1916, and has made patients illnesses manageable, while improving the quality of life. You must consume it in tablet form that you should take orally, after a physician’s prescription. The available doses are in milligrams of 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80 and 160.
While you must consume the majority of other pain medications in every 3 to 6 hours, oxycontin is only needed once in every 12 hours. It is effective in such a long time period because the tablets contain a formulation that allows timely release of the medication in controlled amounts. This controlled release takes place due to the coating in the drug.
Advantages Of Oxycontin
As mentioned earlier, Oxycontin is a very good pain reliever for people suffering from illnesses like cancer and arthritis. Other conditions that require the drug may include major surgery and trauma pains. It helps you to have better quality life since your nervous system and brain are not in agony. Therefore, this drug makes you want to hold on to the little time that you have left alive and also motivate you to conduct daily activities as usual since your pain diminishes with a great percentage.
Disadvantages Of Oxycontin
- Causes Addiction
Despite all the above benefits, consumption of oxycontin comes at a price. It causes addiction, which puts you at the risk of abusing the drug. This addiction takes place because the opioids present in oxycontin cause your body, as the consumer, to build a certain level of tolerance for the drug. Therefore, for you to achieve the same results as before, you will have to take higher doses from time to time. Eventually, you will get addicted to oxycontin
- Results To Drug Abuse And Withdrawal Symptoms
The addiction situation worsens if you consume the drug for a lengthy period of time. You begin to be dependent and addicted to the medication since your body adapts to the effects and presence of oxycontin. If you give in to this addiction, you will end up abusing the drug and later suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you decide to stop using it.
- Can Cause Overdose And Death
Oxycontin is further disadvantageous because addiction highly leads to an overdose that could eventually cause your death. As you continuously add the doses of intake under addiction, you could go overboard and feed your body more than it can handle. If you suffer from an overdose and also not have access to urgent medical attention, there are high chances that you will die.
- Users Are Limited
What’s more, the medication is not recommended for all illnesses that cause chronic pain as well as other conditions accompanying your illness.
For example, pregnant mothers or women at child bearing age cannot consume oxycontin regardless of their health issues. During the first two months of pregnancy, consuming oxycontin is risky since it increases the chances of the occurrence of birth defects. Similarly, as you approach the delivery date, it is a very bad idea to consume oxycontin in high doses, as it may cause harm to your unborn child.
If you are a woman and in the age of child bearing, avoid long term usage of oxycontin due to the issues it may cause upon your children even if you do not consume it while pregnant. Your babies could develop severe withdrawal symptoms like gaining weight, crying non-stop, vomiting, irritability, diarrhea, shallow breathing, poor feeding and shaking.
If you suffer from the conditions below, you are also at risk of health complications or death if you consume oxycontin.
- Mod changes
- Weakened Patient
- Ulcerated Colon
- Systemic mastocytosis
- Suicidal thoughts
- Brain tumor
- Decreased Lung Function
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Decreased levels of thyroid hormones that are untreated
- Abnormal low blood pressure and heart rhythm
- Slow heartbeat
- Loss of body water in extreme measures
- Alcohol intoxication
- Drug addiction and abuse
- Gallbladder and Addison’s disease
- Liver problems
- Kidney disease that is accompanied by kidney dysfunction
- Cor Pulmonale
- Stomach or Intestinal Tract Operation
- Enlarged prostrate
- Shock and seizures
- Worsening asthma
- Intense abdominal pain,
- Morbid Obesity
- Psychosis and mental disorder
- Has Side Effects
Oxycontin may relieve your pain to the point that you will not wish to miss a dose. However, it will also cause you to experience some side effects that could further cause some discomfort, due to the presence of oxycodone. These side effects are also signs that could help you identify a person that consumes oxycontin pills.
Such side effects include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, constipation, itching, somnolence, sweating, dry mouth, headache, appetite loss, sedation and weakness. In the event of an overdose, you will experience a slowed heart rate, respiratory depression, circulatory collapse, low blood pressure and respiratory arrest.
- Lowers The Levels Of Sex Hormones
Adequate levels of sex hormones are important since they enable you to have a healthy sexual life. After consumption of oxycontin, these hormone levels may decrease and thus affect your sexual abilities.
Drug abuse has been a problem affecting societies for centuries. It has led to personal and social issues that further affect others, especially the immediate family members. The most abused drugs are alcohol, marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Currently, oxycontin has joined the group of abused drugs, especially in the United States of America.
According to research conducted by the American Society of Addiction and Medicine, one million and nine hundred thousand people living in the United States abuse or are dependent on opioid painkillers like oxycontin. What’s more, 46 daily deaths in America are related to these painkillers.
The major reason why oxycontin has become abused is because currently, it has become readily available to persons that do not suffer from chronic pain. Additionally, those that suffer from chronic pain refuse to acquire the correct prescriptions and instead opt to treat themselves, which is very risky.
As a result, the popularity of oxycontin has led it to become a recreational drug. It has also acquired slang names like oxy, O.C, oxycotton, percs, oxycet and hillbilly herion that are common in the streets.
What Is Oxycontin Abuse
Abuse of oxycontin is the misuse of the oxycontin tablets, either by consuming them wrongly or by taking in unadvisable high doses. Persons that do not suffer from chronic pain abuse the drug since it causes an immediate and powerful opiate high.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders refers to oxycontin abuse as an opioid use disorder. It is a problematic pattern that leads to distress or clinically significant impairment.
Consuming the drug wrongly involves chewing, breaking, dissolving or crushing the tablets. While in such state, you can smoke, inject or snort the drug. These processes disable the time release mechanism of the pills, causing an extended release of oxycodone into your body. Abuse of oxycontin also involves intentional consumption together with alcohol or other abused drugs.
In the event of mixing oxycontin with alcohol or other drugs, you may suffer from serious breathing problems and drowsiness. If this takes place in extended measures, you risk causing death.
If you abuse oxycontin, you are also likely to abuse heroin because the effects of the two drugs is very similar. You will tend to switch to heroin because it is less expensive and more easily available compared to oxycontin.
Abusing oxycontin is risky and not advisable since it causes addiction, may result to an overdose since you do not use prescriptions and may eventually lead to death. If you are lucky and find the error in your drug abuse behavior, you may opt to stop consumption, which is another milestone since you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, treatment to recovery will cost you as you seek professional help, since dealing with withdrawal symptoms alone is risky as they are life threatening.
Oxycontin Abuse Signs And Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, continuous abuse of oxycontin eventually leads to addiction. When you are addicted to something, your behavior changes to the point of affecting your personality. Therefore, oxycontin addiction causes you to change your schedules since you mostly want to spend time high on the drug.
Change of behavior may also include getting different doctors to prescribe multiple doses, so that you may have plenty at your disposal. If this approach fails, you will tend to acquire it illegally.
Others signs and symptoms, which are also similar to other forms of opioid abuse, include:
- Dry mouth
- Slurred speech
- Persistent interpersonal problems that lead to depression
- Weight loss
- Severe itching
- Extreme drowsiness
- Pinpoint pupils
- Sleep apnea
- Memory or concentration problems
- Disorientation or confusion
- Loss of interest in hobbies, or enjoyable activities
- Neglecting home, work, or school obligations
From the above sign and symptoms, it is clear that you may change into a totally different person. Your loved ones will tend to notice white powder stains, discarded pill bottles or even complain of missing pills in their supply since you may have taken them while desperate to get high.
Additionally, if you continuously neglect your work, you could lose your job. Consequently, you will have challenges paying your bills ad could opt to steal to get the oxycontin tablets.
Effects of Oxycontin Abuse
Abusing oxycontin comes with a chain of effects ranging from social to physical effects and risks due to the dependence and addiction that takes place.
As mentioned earlier, oxycontin abuse tends to change you in a negative way. If you are a distributor as well, you are prone to arrests for illegal possession of the drug. Dependence on this drug makes you commit other crimes like robbery, burglary, forgery and possession of stolen goods; all in the name of finding means to cater for your addiction.
Your personal relationships will hardly survive the oxycontin abuse tendencies such as those mentioned above and therefore, you may break important interpersonal relationships. The same takes place with professional relationships; whereby you will lose employment thus end up in irregular employment or lack an income source all together. If you are married, you risk causing marital difficulties that often lead to divorce.
As you continuously become addicted to oxycontin, you tend to consume it through whatever means available. Therefore, you can either be an intranasal or needle user, or even both.
As a needle user, consumption takes place in three forms, which are subcutaneous, intravenous and intramuscular use. This approach of oxycontin consumption is risky as it may result to the infection of the heart lining, contraction of Hepatitis or HIV especially if you share needles, cellulitis, collapse of the veins and abscesses.
On the other hand, consuming high doses of oxycontin as an intranasal user is also bad for your health. You risk acquiring sinusitis and perforated nasal septum.
Physical Side Effects
Due to the above physical risks upon your body, abusing oxycontin results to several physical issues. You may often experience nausea that eventually leads to vomiting, and further experience constipation. Your muscles could become rigid as you also experience sedation.
Your health may not get any better if the abuse proceeds. You could suffer from fractures, respiratory depression, hormonal dysfunction and also experience difficulties in sexual activity. The fatal side effects that happen in severe oxycontin abuse cases include coma and difficulty in breathing.
Oxycontin Abuse Treatment
The most important but challenging step in an addicts life is acknowledging their addiction and proceeding to seek treatment. Finding the courage to live a better life is not always easy since it could be a painful and challenging experience. However, it is the best approach to avoiding or escaping all the above personal and social issues, as well as premature death.
Oxycontin abuse treatment involves a detoxification process whereby you undergo through various stages, to get you to the recovery point where you do not need the drugs anymore. Addiction to these pain killer relievers is not only connected to health challenges, but also takes place due to emotional, social, psychological and cognitive issues. In order to fight the addiction completely and recover, you must also deal with these problems as well.
Undertaking oxycontin abuse treatment without medical intervention or professional help is risky. The withdrawal symptoms are life threatening and require you to be under constant surveillance and medical care, since complications could happen depending on the depth of your addiction.
Oxycontin Abuse Treatment Stages
For adequate and full treatment, the medical professionals must know your body and abuse by understanding various things. They need to know the complications that oxycontin has caused to your body as well as the reason behind your abuse. By identifying these reasons, doctors get a better perspective of your medical issues or psychological challenges.
Acquiring this knowledge requires the conduction of multiple activities, such as assessment of your social life, medical and psychological assessment, blood tests, screening for mental and physical issues and assessment for the need of supervision and withdrawal severity risks.
In the stabilization stage, you begin withdrawal from oxycontin with the hope that you will eventually be drug free. Various medical and psychosocial processes may take place in order to assist you in the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms.
The challenges that you could experience in this phase are the withdrawal symptoms, which will often trick you into giving up. Therefore, doctors help in lessening your pain by providing medication for these symptoms. Additionally, these professionals advice you to watch your nutrition and diet, and encourage your family and friends to stay by your side for financial and emotional support.
Oxycontin Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms are the reactions that your body exhibits due to the dependency on a substance. Since oxycontin is a form of opioid pain medication, its withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of opioid drugs. The severity of these symptoms depends on the mode of abuse, period and the amount abused.
Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms take place in two phases. In the first 1 to 2 weeks, you will experience sleep changes due to insomnia and mood changes due to agitation, irritation, anxiety and restlessness. Additionally you could suffer from flu or cold, accompanied by sweating, fever, congestion, runny nose and chills. Physical changes may also occur in the form of muscle cramps and aches.
As time goes by, the symptoms may change to high blood pressure, dilated pupils, nausea and vomiting, reduced appetite and diarrhea. Also, you may experience blurry vision, abdominal cramps, rapid heartbeat and shivering.
Withdrawal Symptoms Medication
Medical professionals may help you overcome the torment from the withdrawal symptoms because they can be overwhelming. Among the various medications prescribed include buprenorphine or methadone, which are effective in alleviating the symptoms.
In the occurrence of anxiety and depression, psychiatric medication eases the psychological ramifications. For the cold or flu, doctors may recommend clonidine. Naloxone as well is effective in dealing with oxycontin withdrawal symptoms.
- Treatment Transition
After overcoming the stabilization stage, you enter into the stage of acquiring treatment in order not to slide back into oxycontin abuse. This treatment involves therapy and counseling to deal with the issue that brought about the abuse and addiction. There are multiple programs that are helpful, since they use different treatment methodologies. It is advisable to choose the most appropriate for you.
Recovery from oxycontin addiction is not a complete process if you still feel the urge to abuse the drug. It is a lifetime commitment to follow the doctor’s advice and stay clear of any triggers that could cause your failure. Therefore, on a daily basis you need to be fully aware that you are still on a journey towards being continuously better and drug free.
Depending on your approach to oxycontin abuse treatment, you can acquire the services in multiple ways. By choosing residential treatment, you are required to live in the facility offering the treatment. On the other hand, outpatient treatment only needs you accommodate treatment in your daily schedule, while living in the same environment.
In conclusion, oxycontin is a medication that is both helpful and destructive. On one hand, it will assist you to live a better quality life if you have a chronic illness that causes you unbearable pain. On the other hand, long-term use of the drug is detrimental since it causes addiction, which could further encourage you to abuse the drug.
Oxycontin abuse is therefore, both intentional and unintentional. If you are consuming the drug to reduce pain, ending up in addiction may not be your fault since your body builds a tolerance that forces you to increase your dosage.
However, if you consume it to get high, you are intentionally destroying your life. Regardless of your reasons to abuse, remember the fatalities; coma and death.