Much has been made about the opioid crisis, and many will argue that OxyContin is the drug that started the whole issue plaguing the entire nation. In the past two decades, we have seen an unprecedented rise in deaths attributed to prescription and illicit opioids. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have succumbed to their addiction.
In 2015, opioid abuse was one of the main culprits for overall deaths.
OxyContin contains the active ingredient, which is known as oxycodone, that is found in several prescription drugs. Despite being used to treat chronic pain, it is highly addictive and should be avoided.
Those living with addiction know that withdrawal symptoms are a part of using drugs. Many continue using to avoid these symptoms, despite the consequences that may arise. It is one of the main signs of addiction. Withdrawal indicates the body is adjusting to life without foreign substances in the body.
OxyContin withdrawal symptoms, while not deadly in nature, are notoriously difficult to overcome. Trying to overcome an opioid addiction alone is challenging, but freeing yourself from dependence and active addiction can be the difference between life and death.
OxyContin addiction is deadly, and in many cases, someone who is unable to obtain more of the drug can turn to other dangerous substances. Drug-seeking behavior can push someone down the path of heroin use, which is an entirely different scenario. The process required to stop using OxyContin will not be easy to do alone.
In fact, it can be an excruciating process that requires weeks or months of your time. You need to become familiar with these symptoms to start on the road toward recovery. Sobriety is possible with the right help.
Due to its classification as an opioid, the symptoms OxyContin produces are similar to what you’d find with other opiate substances. There are distinct phases of withdrawal, and the first will come with symptoms that mimic a common cold. The second set of symptoms, however, are much more severe and are described as having the worst flu someone can have. Opioid drugs call under a category of depressant drugs, which means they will suppress your central nervous system (CNS), reduce pain, and relax the body and mind.
When chemical dependency appears, someone attempting to stop OxyContin cold-turkey will see symptoms rebound once the body is no longer depressed. Once the body acclimates to chemical reactions produced by depressants, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and agitation can become more prominent as the body struggles to create its own chemicals.
While the symptoms are not deadly, they can be intense enough to cause a relapse in someone trying to stop alone. Even when used for medical purposes, it can be difficult to overcome on your own. Studies indicate that prescription opioid abuse is linked to heroin addiction. The only way to detox is under the care of medical professionals.
The physical symptoms will appear shortly after the last dose of OxyContin. They will continue to increase in severity over the coming days. Medical intervention during this time can reduce the symptoms drastically. Those who go through this process alone are setting themselves up for failure, which can lead to an overdose due to a decreased tolerance.
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What must be taken into consideration is that everyone is different. With that said, those who use OxyContin recreationally or as prescribed are going to experience a different timeline and symptoms. The severity of the symptoms will be dependent on many factors. The longer the drug has been abused will dictate the severity of these withdrawals. OxyContin is considered a short-acting opiate, and the symptoms can develop in as little as six hours. They typically appear around 12 hours of the last dose.
The worst of the symptoms should appear around the 72-hour point, and they will feel like you are catching a cold. You may experience muscle weakness, a runny nose, and some fatigue. The symptoms will continue to get worse with time, which can lead to severe diarrhea, vomiting, and depression. Those at this point may experience trouble sleeping as well.
The physical symptoms will start to slow down around the five-day mark. The psychological symptoms, however, may continue to persist months after you’ve stopped. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is common in opioid users, and can last for months, and in rarer cases, years.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released sobering statistics that highlight the deadly consequences of opioids. Nearly 46 people die from a prescription opioid overdose every day. Opioid addiction is a major topic, and something that causes severe withdrawal symptoms must be addressed accordingly.
The most efficient way to transition into sobriety is with professional help. Medical detox will involve doctors that can immediately respond to your current needs. It can mean medication, hydration, or anything that occurs during this phase.
They will help in any way to make it as painless as possible.
The team will ensure not only your comfort but most importantly, your safety. You will be tended to around the clock for a period of three-to-seven days. The timeline may vary based on your needs.
Once you have completed detox, the medical team will determine your next course of action. Despite your newly founded sobriety, you must consider treatment that addresses the reasons why you started abusing drugs in the first place. The continuum of care has been proven as the most effective means of relapse prevention.
Prior to being moved into a less intensive phase of care, clinicians will assess your current needs. It will determine the best level of treatment. It could mean placement in a residential treatment center. If the team finds you can manage your life outside of treatment, they could recommend intensive outpatient (IOP) or outpatient care. Despite where you end up, therapy offered in all levels of care will help you learn new habits to cope with addiction.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid Overdose. (2018, December 19). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/prescribing.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/overdose.html
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/relationship-between-prescription-drug-heroin-abuse/prescription-opioid-use-risk-factor-heroin-use
Opiate and opioid withdrawal: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
Treatment, C. F. (1970, January 01). Chapter 3. Intensive Outpatient Treatment and the Continuum of Care. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64088/
Kleber, H. D. (2007). Pharmacologic treatments for opioid dependence: Detoxification and maintenance options. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202507/