Every year, we are seeing more and more people dying from fatal overdoses than ever before. Overdose has now become the leading cause of death for individuals under 50 years old. It has overtaken other high casualty sources, which include violence by firearms or car accidents. Many factors have contributed to this spike in overdoses, but opioids seem to be one of the most prominent reasons.
Opioids are psychoactive substances used medicinally and recreationally. In a medical setting, a medication like OxyContin is used to treat pain symptoms. When opioids like heroin are used recreationally, they cause intense euphoric effects. The two areas in which these are used are not as far apart as one might assume, and opioid addiction rates are high. Nearly 130 people die each day from an opioid overdose in the United States.
Prescription drugs like OxyContin have become a significant source of the opioid crisis, and are the first substance commonly used before heroin. An estimated 80 percent of heroin users used prescription opioids like OxyContin before trying heroin. Unfortunately, opioids are prescribed in large quantities each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 17 percent of American’s filled, at least, one opioid prescription in 2017.
When someone becomes addicted to prescription opioids, it’s a challenging addiction to maintain. When someone is desperate to get their next fix, they will seek alternative drugs. Unfortunately, heroin is a drug that is readily available at a much cheaper cost. As we described above, prescription drug use is a significant factor in heroin addiction.
If you or someone you know is prescribed OxyContin, or if you have been abusing the drug without a prescription, you must be aware of the signs and symptoms of OxyContin addiction. Read on to learn the signs of an opioid use disorder and how it’s treated.
OxyContin is a brand new for its active ingredient oxycodone, which is used to treat pain from surgery, illness, chronic illness, or cancer. OxyContin is an opioid, but when it is compared to other drugs, it is relatively mild. Yet, it’s still a powerful pain reliever commonly abused as a recreational drug.
Opioids interact with natural opioid receptors that stop pain signals from reaching the brain. Opioids attach to these binding sites that are reserved for naturally occuring endorphins. Medicinal and recreational opioids are much more potent than endorphins, which leads to feelings of sedation, relaxation, and euphoria.
OxyContin has the potential to cause both chemical dependency and addiction when abused. If you stop using the substance after becoming dependent, you can experience flu-like withdrawal symptoms accompanied by intense cravings. It is challenging to stop using opioids by yourself after you’ve developed a chemical dependency. You must always seek treatment.
OxyContin addiction is a potentially severe disease, but fortunately, it comes with distinct warning signs. Learning these signs can help you or a loved one get the help you need immediately. The first sign of addiction will be a growing tolerance. As the body adjusts to the intake of OxyContin, it requires more to reach the desired effect.
If you sense that your usual dose is weaker than it once was, you should speak with your physician about cutting back until your tolerance is reduced. If that does not work for you, you may be chemical-dependent, which is another sign of addiction.
Chemical dependency is characterized by feelings of uncomfortable symptoms or intense cravings when you try to stop using. When it comes to opioids, the signs will mimic flu-like symptoms, which consist of nausea, vomiting, and body aches. If you continue using without medical advice or treatment, you risk developing a severe addiction.
Addiction is related to dependency, but are two very different factors in the equation. Addiction is characterized as continued use despite negative consequences. For example, if you are arrested for a charge relating to OxyContin, but you continue to use, it is a sure sign you have become addicted. Fortunately, treatment exists to overcome your addiction.
Despite the complexity of treating addiction, the goal is simple: address and resolve the issues standing in the way of recovery. The problems can range from biological, social, psychological, legal or financial, and addiction treatment must cover all of these categories.
The first step in addiction treatment is to address any medical conditions, which can equate to medical treatment. While OxyContin is not deadly during withdrawal, symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, so much so that it is a significant barrier to long-lasting recovery.
Opioid withdrawal consists of flu-like symptoms, which can lead to dehydration. This is why medical detox is the safest initial step in addiction treatment. Medical detox will provide you with medications and 24-hour care that ensures your safety throughout the detox process. On average, detox will last a week before you are stable. Medical detox is the ideal situation for those with infection or injuries requiring immediate care.
Once detox is completed, you will be connected to a level of care that will fit your specific needs. It can include residential services if you have ongoing medical needs that require a 24-hour clinical setting. If you can live alone, you may be placed into an intensive outpatient or outpatient setting.
Treatment will allow you to go through therapies that will help you move forward. A combination of group therapy, individual therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapies will motivate you as you build confidence in yourself. The therapies will also address how to prevent relapse.
- 49,000 people died in opioid overdose deaths in 2017
- 17 percent of American’s were prescribed opioids in 2017
- 19,000 deaths involved prescription opioids in 2017