OxyContin was released to the public in 1996 as a powerful painkiller that was designed to help patients manage overwhelming chronic pain. This time-release version of oxycodone not only helped to subdue pain, but it also activated a number of pleasure receptors in the brain with medical-grade opiates. Unfortunately, this resulted in OxyContin becoming just as addictive and abusable as similar drugs such as morphine and heroin. While OxyContin detox is not a pleasant experience, anyone that feels as if they may be dealing with an addiction to this medication must seek medical attention immediately.
OxyContin’s Effect on the Body
When used correctly, OxyContin has become one of the only painkillers that can help those with chronic and overwhelming discomfort. It is often prescribed for patients that are experiencing major medical problems such as the late stages of cancer and neurological degeneration. It is suggested that patients only take this medication for a limited amount of time because of the powerful effect that it has on the human body. Within just weeks of use, patients may begin to develop a tolerance to the drug and feel as if they need more and more OxyContin in order to produce the same effects.
The tolerance that one can build to the painkiller as well as the euphoric feelings that this drug produces make it exceptionally addictive. Modern estimates show that upwards of 9 percent of all Americans will use prescription opiates for non-medical reasons at some point in their life. Some of these addictions do start out when the medication is prescribed, but others will make the transition from using illegal opiates such as heroin to OxyContin simply because it can be easier to acquire.
Withdrawal and Detox
The other reason that OxyContin is so dangerous is due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Any time that a person develops a tolerance to any foreign substances and continues to use them frequently they will most likely experience withdrawal symptoms when they are no longer exposed to that substance. This is especially true for opiates as the body will “forget” how to produce certain chemicals and hormones unless a drug such as OxyContin is in their system. When the individual stops taking OxyContin, then their body will go into a state of shock.
When carried out specifically to break an addiction, this withdrawal period is known as detox and it should always be overseen by a medical professional. The severity of the addiction as well as the overall health of the individual will determine exactly what takes place during detox, but going “cold turkey” can be exceptionally difficult and even dangerous when done without supervision. The initial symptoms will often become apparent within a few hours of no longer using. The overall length of detox takes from 4 to 12 days. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, irritability, and insomnia. Many describe it as a very bad cold or flu tied in with emotional and psychological issues.
The chance of breaking an addiction to opiates on one’s own is very small. Instead of throwing away the drugs and hoping for the best, addicts must have a support system in place in order to create long-term results. Detox should always be overseen by medical professionals, but addicts also want to consider an inpatient center after the physical effects of detoxing have begun to wear off. Inpatient treatment programs last from 30 to 90 days and will actually address some of the root causes of the addiction instead of only treating the side effects.