OxyContin is an opioid painkiller that originated from oxycodone and is primarily used to treat those who have severe, chronic pain. The drug is designed to release slowly into the body over time–usually about 12 hours. This helps those who struggle with intolerable pain such as cancer patients or those with severe arthritis. The drug works by binding with receptors both in the brain and the nervous system, causing a general feeling of wellness and pain relief.

Though quite effective at minimizing pain, OxyContin (like other opioids) is very addictive.

It’s not unlikely that many people innocently become dependent on the drug, building tolerance as they take it as prescribed for pain. Then, when they try to come off the drug, they face withdrawal symptoms, which can make it challenging to get free from OxyContin.

There are still others that abuse the drug recreationally, enjoying the relaxed and euphoric feeling they get from taking the drug. This abuse can cause serious problems for the user in several areas of their life such as their health, relationships, jobs, and more. They also run the risk of overdosing if they quit using OxyContin for a period of time and then begin taking it again at the same dose.

What Are Oxycontin Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms originating from OxyContin addiction can be wide-ranging. The withdrawal is similar to that from heroin, codeine, and morphine addictions. The actual symptoms will vary depending on the severity of addiction and the length of time spent addicted to OxyContin.

In general, common oxycontin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Increased anxiety
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Stomach cramping
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills

These symptoms are normally not life-threatening, although vomiting may induce choking if the patient aspirates some of the debris ejected from the digestive system. In addition, once the withdrawal is in effect, even a small dose of OxyContin may be enough to throw the biological system into shock, causing overdose or even death.

What Are the Stages of the Oxycontin Withdrawal Timeline?

Withdrawal from OxyContin addiction tends to last between several days on the low end, to as long as a week for more intense addictions. The pace at which you go through withdrawal, as well as the intensity of symptoms, can vary depending on the following factors:

  • The severity of the addiction
  • How frequently the drug was used
  • The tolerance level
  • The method of detox or tapering schedule
  • Whether or not other drugs were being abused
  • How supportive of an environment you’re surrounded with
  • Overall health condition
  • Dietary habits
  • Age

Generally, OxyContin withdrawal will be as follows:

DAYS 1-3

The first symptoms may begin to be felt within 72 hours and will usually encompass the lighter, more uncomfortable symptoms such as agitation and anxiety. Your mood is likely to be affected and cause mental discomfort in addition to the physical symptoms. More physical symptoms such as the runny nose or tearing up of the eyes may follow.

DAYS 4-6

The peak of the withdrawal period is likely to come during this stage. It is here that you may experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This stage is often the most uncomfortable for patients and may result in the strongest cravings for OxyContin. This is one reason it’s important to seek support from addiction specialists, for help minimizing psychological and physical symptoms.


Most withdrawal symptoms should subside by this point, growing infrequent or weak enough to fade from your awareness. However, some psychological symptoms can persist for weeks or months for some people. It’s best to continue treatment long-term in a facility that specializes in recovery to contend with any lingering symptoms.

Why Should I Detox?

OxyContin possesses a fatal flaw in its treatment of pain. The drug works by changing pain receptors in the brain and spinal column, but each use of OxyContin tends to increase the user’s tolerance to its effects. This causes a rapidly-growing cycle of increasing dosages to acquire the same pain-killing effect. This can create dependence and eventual addiction.

Detoxing can be dangerous if done poorly. People who rush into detox without researching run the risk of quitting “cold turkey”, which may lead to severe consequences due to the shock on the\ nervous system and body.

The body has often built up a biological dependence on OxyContin, so removing it entirely may cause worse symptoms than withdrawal.

A more measured “tapering” approach under the care of a physician often works better. This means that the physician will lower the amount of OxyContin taken dosage by dosage until the body learns to function without the drug. This approach takes more time, but is often safer and done under the supervision of medical professionals, allowing assistance to be nearby in case of emergency.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

There are two main types of addiction treatment rehabilitations: residential and outpatient. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, as they both provide care depending on each individual’s unique situation and needs.


Residential care involves living at the facility while undergoing daily therapy sessions and activities. This method has several advantages, including on-hand staff for emotional and physical support no matter the time of day, supervision to prevent relapse on the part of the patient, and a positive environment for stimulation of positive habits and healthy activities. Residential treatment is an excellent choice for those with a high possibility of relapse.


Outpatient rehab allows you to live at home while visiting a facility for treatment at appointed times during the week. Scheduling is flexible and allows you to continue your life with a minimum of change or interruption, which can be a good choice for those with financial or family obligations. Those who take this path should be careful that they have a minimal chance of relapse and adopt a supportive network outside of outpatient rehab, such as attending 12-step meetings. A strong family or friend network can also help patients undergoing outpatient rehab.

Start Your Journey To Recovery Today!

No matter how one oxycontin addiction started, it’s never too late to start on the path to recovery. It’s always possible to recover your life, no matter how difficult it might seem at first or no matter how many times you’ve tried to get free on your own.

The addiction specialists here at Family Recovery Specialists are here to help. Take your first step today and give us a call so we can talk to you about your options regarding treatment for OxyContin addiction. We’ll answer your questions and help you determine the best recovery path for you, taking into consideration your unique circumstances and desires. The time to get free begins now, and we’re excited to be part of your recovery journey.

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