OxyContin Addiction, Side Effects, Abuse, and OxyCotin Treatment

OxyContin Side Effects And Sales – Addiction HopeWhat Is OxyContin?

OxyContin is the brand name of a legal drug containing oxycodone, a strong form of pain reliever. Other drugs from the opioid class include heroine and morphine. While oxycodone offers short-term relief from pain, OxyContin is formulated to give pain relief for an extended period of time. This is possible due to the sustained-releasing coating of the pill, which offers a controlled amount of oxycodone over time.

OxyContin is only available by prescription from a physician. It comes in various doses in tablet form, and is often prescribed to those who suffer chronic pain. OxyContin was originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995, meaning it’s still one of the newer painkillers on the market.

Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 1996, OxyContin has been restructured with additional binders to prevent users from crushing the tablet for injection or insufflation purposes. The newer form of these tablets are more commonly prescribed by physicians today, and they are identified with the stamp of “OP.”

Men and women who are addicted to OxyContin commonly abuse the substance due to its having effects similar to heroin, such as an induced euphoric feeling (“rush”). OxyContin can be easier to obtain than heroin, and abusers will typically destroy the time-released coating on the tablet to achieve a rapid release of the medication.

Addiction to OxyContin can be detrimental, as it can cause serious side effects, both short-term and long-term. If you or a loved one is struggling with an OxyContin addiction, it is important to seek professional help to break this life-threatening cycle.

OxyContin Sales and Abuse Statistics

Around the turn of the millennium, OxyContin sales began routinely topping $1 billion annually, according to The New York Times. More recent data shows that annual sales of the drug in the U.S. now eclipse $2 billion. However, quarterly sales slowly declined from $706 million in early 2011 to $585 million in late 2013, according to Drugs.com. OxyContin is still a top-20 prescription drug in the U.S. by sales volume, as of the end of 2013.

The following statistics related to OxyContin abuse are also worth noting:

  • According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, at least 5 percent of all drug addicts have used OxyContin before abusing a more potent narcotic [2]. This demonstrates how OxyContin is typically used as a “gateway drug” for more serious drug abuse.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 16 million Americans over the age of 12 have used some form of prescription medication for a non-medical purpose at least once in the past year [3]. This reveals the danger of uncontrolled prescription drugs within society.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported in 2006 that roughly 4 million Americans over the age of 12 had used OxyContin in specific for nonmedical reasons at least once.
  • According to The New York Times, New York saw an 82 percent spike in prescriptions for oxycodone-based medications between 2007 and 2010.
  • In 2010, more than 180,000 visits to emergency rooms in the U.S. were attributed specifically to oxycodone use or misuse, according to SAMHSA.
  • A Monitoring the Future survey in 2011 found that nearly 22 percent of high school seniors at the time had abused prescription drugs at least once.

Many Levels of OxyContin Side Effects

Addiction to OxyContin can cause many short- and long-term consequences on the abuser. These side effects can temporarily (and sometimes permanently) change a person physically, psychologically, and socially. The following OxyContin side effects can impact many facets of the abuser’s life:

Physical Effects

The abuse of the drug OxyContin can compromise the normal behaviors of the body by interfering with various mechanisms. Here are some negative physical consequences that can result from using OxyContin:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness or lack of stability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushing of skin
  • Compromised mental cognition
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Liver damage
  • Death – due to accidental overdose or depressed breathing rates

Psychological Effects

Abusing OxyContin can also have a negative impact on mental health. Here are some possible negative psychological and mental effects from abusing OxyContin:

  • Altered perception of reality
  • Increased anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Personality shifts
  • Low self-esteem, including negative body image
  • Feelings of rage and bursts of anger
  • Confusion and/or disorientation
  • Paranoia

Social Effects

The abuse of OxyContin can result in multiple negative social effects as well. These can include the following:

  • Withdrawal or isolation from friends and family
  • Damaged relationships with loved ones
  • Division or separation within a family unit
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

What Are OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms Like?

If someone who is addicted to OxyContin were to stop taking the drug suddenly, dangerous withdrawal symptoms could occur, as the body can physically become dependent on the substance.

The following symptoms might be experienced by an oxycodone abuser should use of the drug be suspended:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Muscle pain
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Depression

Any individual who has become reliant on OxyContin is at risk for relapse once withdrawn from the drug. This means that reoccurring use of the drug could happen, even after a period of abstinence from it. This is common for men and women trying to “stay clean” from OxyContin abuse for the first time. Having the support of an OxyContin treatment facility can prevent relapses while building long-term recovery success.

What Are the Causes of OxyContin Addiction?

An addiction to OxyContin could be induced by numerous factors. Superficially, it may appear that OxyContin addiction progressed out of a simple need for the drug, but there are often major underlying concerns related to this form of substance abuse. Biological, psychological, or social factors all can come into play.

Biologically, some genetic factors may be linked to OxyContin abuse. OxyContin addiction might also be an attempt to “numb” emotional pain caused by trauma, such as mental or physical abuse, or by feelings of depression or anxiety. These instances are examples of psychological causes of addiction to OxyContin.

Finally, societal or environmental situations such as poverty or having family members with prescriptions can increase the likelihood that an individual would be susceptible to abusing OxyContin.

Addiction to OxyContin can be instigated by one or more of the above factors and can also be co-occurring with other addictions or disorders, such as an eating disorder or alcohol abuse. It is not uncommon to find an individual who struggles with OxyContin addiction also suffering from other forms of substance abuse.

OxyContin Addiction Symptoms and Signs

Perhaps you or a loved one is struggling with OxyContin addiction. If you are unsure about the presence of addiction, it might be helpful to look for the various signs and symptoms of abuse.

While not all individuals display the same signs, you might notice one or more of the below symptoms in the case of addiction to OxyContin:

  • Repetitive thoughts about using OxyContin
  • Agitated or restless behaviors
  • Experience of “phantom pains” when drug is not in use
  • Secretly storing or hiding the drug to avoid disclosure
  • Excessive OxyContin prescriptions
  • Increased isolation or withdrawal from others to use the drug in secret

Look for these signs and symptoms to identify if you or a loved one might be dealing with OxyContin addiction.

What’s Involved in OxyContin Addiction Treatment?

If you or a loved one has been suffering from addiction to OxyContin, you may have come to the decision that you are ready to search for help. OxyContin addiction can rapidly become overpowering as the various physical, emotional, and psychological consequences take their toll.

An accredited OxyContin treatment center is a critical resource in the recovery process, but in order to best address addiction, it is necessary to take the first step by identifying the root problem, as outlined in the “Symptoms and Signs” section above. It is possible that one’s OxyContin addiction may be related to other challenging disorders, such as eating or mood disorders. These diseases and the addiction itself may be connected to unsolved emotional issues or trauma. In these instances, it may be necessary to seek out a treatment center that is equipped to handle a wider breadth of addiction and behavioral issues.

Abuse of OxyContin is a difficult and complex problem that should be handled with the support of an OxyContin rehab center. Throughout the process of recovery, a specialized treatment facility can offer the guidance and support needed for healing, especially through the many trials and tribulations that may arise along the way.

How to Search for OxyContin Addiction Rehab Centers

At Addiction Hope, we recognize how confusing and overwhelming the process of finding a reliable OxyContin addiction rehab facility can be. This is why we have established a carefully compiled directory that provides info on some of the best OxyContin rehabilitation centers across the U.S.

Please click on the map directly below to be taken to our national Treatment Locator tool, which will help you decide which treatment center would best help you overcome OxyContin addiction.


Overcoming Hesitation in Getting Help for OxyContin Addiction

Recognizing one’s problematic addiction to OxyContin is the first and most essential step for the recovery journey to start. If you are struggling with addiction to OxyContin, you may find it difficult to confess your problem and you may feel discouraged from doing so. But, be bold as you take this first step toward overcoming addiction!

In the same manner, if someone you care about is hurting from OxyContin addiction, you may think about expressing your feelings and concern for them. If you do decide to address it, try your best to do so in a loving and supportive way. Having a private setting that is comfortable and familiar may also be helpful for these types of discussions. Likewise, having the support of family and friends can make acknowledging the problem and starting on the path to seeking treatment much easier.

When you reach the point where you are able to speak openly about the struggles that may have resulted from OxyContin addiction, it is time to create a solid treatment plan. This should be conducted with a professional therapist or counselor who can help you by generating a recovery plan that addresses the person’s unique needs.

OxyContin Addiction Treatment Levels

The initial treatment level needed for recovery is established by the acuteness of the addiction to OxyContin and by factoring in any co-occurring disorders. The initial phase of treatment can determine if a higher level of care is needed. The OxyContin treatment team can make changes to the individual’s level of care as necessary.

In order of severity, here are the most common levels of treatment for OxyContin addiction:

  • Inpatient/Hospital Treatment: Continuum of care for 24 hours per day in a hospital or residential treatment setting. The primary focus of this level of care is medical stabilization. Most patients stay less than 3 weeks.
  • Transitional Living: Facilities that provide low-cost housing and continued structure for men and women making the transition from treatment back to home life.
  • Intensive Outpatient Care: Treatment occurs at a dedicated treatment facility or in a hospital setting. Patients typically attend 2-3 times per week and have access to multiple services at one location, such as counseling, nutritional therapy, support groups, etc.
  • Support Groups: An assembly of men and/or women who gather to provide support and help for one another for drug and alcohol addictions. Support groups typically meet in person but have also can be conducted via teleconferences or internet forums.

Getting treatment at the appropriate level of care for the needs of yourself or your loved one is crucial to addressing and prevailing against OxyContin addiction. Additionally, having ongoing support – particularly in transitioning from an inpatient or residential treatment center to a less restrictive level of care – is necessary for the continuum of care and for maintaining recovery.

Types of Medication-Based Treatment for OxyContin Abuse

The treatment direction for OxyContin addiction is usually two-fold:

  1. Medication-based treatment and detox to help wean individuals off the drug
  2. Behavioral treatment to address the underlying issues and triggers of the addiction

Medical detox is the process of using medications in the detoxification process as an attempt to evade the discomforting side effects of withdrawal. In some instances, medication is required to help a patient stabilize from withdrawal effects. The detoxification process should always be monitored by a reputable OxyContin rehab center.

The following medications are used to assist the OxyContin detoxification process:

  • Naltrexone: This treatment works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, but it has potential for abuse.
  • Methadone: Used as an effective treatment for OxyContin dependence, this medication assists patients in making the transition towards abstinence by mimicking some of the effects of harder opioids.
  • Nalaxone: Counters the effects of OxyContin overdose, and is used to reverse any kind of opioid overdose.
  • Buprenorphine: Similar to methadone, this medication assists in relieving moderate acute pain due to OxyContin withdrawal.

Withdrawal from OxyContin usually proceeds through several phases, lasting anywhere from 36-72 hours.

Types of Therapy for OxyContin Addiction

Though medication is a helpful and often a necessary part of the detox process, behavioral therapies also play an important role in the treatment of OxyContin addiction. Behavioral therapies focus on root issues by working through any underlying causes that may have influenced the progression of the individual’s addiction.

The following behavioral therapies are commonly used alongside medicinal forms of OxyContin addiction treatment:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Allows a therapist to guide an individual in learning about how his or her thoughts, feelings and behaviors interact together.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Teaches psychological skills that allow an individual to effectively cope with painful thoughts and feelings. ACT also encourages mindfulness skills.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Encourages the practice of mindfulness and emotional regulation as an approach to coping with painful emotions.
  • Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): Concentrates on working through interpersonal problem areas, such as unresolved grief or role transitions.
  • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy: Promotes abstinence from substances through behavioral, spiritual and cognitive principles of 12-step self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). This form of therapy focuses on two main goals: abstinence and surrender.

Though the road to overcoming OxyContin abuse is often defined by difficulty, it leads to the hope of finding freedom from addiction. Treatment for an OxyContin addiction may last for longer than expected, but regardless of how long it takes, it is worthwhile because it will help you or your loved one reclaim your life.

There is nothing more precious than your own life and wellness, and YOU are worthy of recovery and freedom. At Addiction Hope, we firmly believe that recovery is possible for anyone who might be struggling with addiction, no matter how impossible that may seem. We encourage you to take the first step toward recovery by accessing our resources to find a desirable OxyContin treatment center today. To get started, please visit our Treatment Locator, as linked to above.


[1]: “Details for Oxycontin”. http://www.Drugpatentwatch.com
[2]: Carise D., et al. Prescription OxyContin abuse among patients entering addiction treatment. Am J Psychiatry 2007 Nov; 164 (11): 1750-6.
[3]: “Prescription Drugs”. http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/prescription-drugs