OxyContin is the brand name of a prescription medication that contains the opioid narcotic painkiller oxycodone. Its intended purpose is the relief of moderate to severe pain that doctors don’t expect to subside quickly. Because of its ability to produce a highly pleasurable sensation called euphoria, OxyContin acts as a fairly common source for drug abuse; many of the people who abuse the medication will go on to develop an addiction. Doctors diagnose OxyContin addiction as part of a larger condition called opioid use disorder.
Oxycodone is produced in pharmaceutical laboratories from a formula based on naturally occurring opioid substances. It achieves its legitimate medical usefulness by disrupting the pain signals that travel back and forth between the brain and body. Simultaneously, its presence alters the brain’s chemical balance and triggers euphoric sensations. OxyContin, the most well known of more than a dozen available oxycodone-containing medications, comes in tablet form and produces its drug effects fairly slowly over time. When the medication first appeared on the U.S. market, it was very easy to crush. Abusers of the medication took advantage of this crushability to inhale or inject OxyContin and make it work much faster than intended. The makers of the medication eventually changed its composition and made it much more difficult to break apart. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Scottsdale Recovery Advisor at 888-478-0036.
Oxycodone / OxyContin Addiction
Some people who receive OxyContin prescriptions from their doctors abuse the medication by taking it more often or in greater amounts than instructed. Depending on the individual, the goal of this abuse can be either the pursuit of a euphoric mental state or a desire for more pain relief. People without legitimate prescriptions for OxyContin can also abuse the medication for the same reasons. Unfortunately, repeated OxyContin abuse changes the brain’s long-term chemical makeup and sets the stage for opioid dependence. In turn, an opioid-dependent abuser can go on to develop the classic symptoms of drug addiction, which include a recurring urge for further drug/medication intake, an inability to control drug/medication intake, increasing resistance to the effects of a drug or medication, the onset of withdrawal symptoms when drug or medication intake falls off or ceases altogether, and the establishment of a disruptively dysfunctional behavioral pattern that centers on the drug or medication in question.
As of May 2013, opioid use disorder is the official diagnosis used for people affected by OxyContin abuse, OxyContin addiction or any other form of opioid abuse or addiction. This marks a change from previous guidelines, which treated drug abuse and drug addiction as separate issues. Doctors can consider making an opioid use disorder diagnosis whenever an OxyContin user or other opioid user has at least two to three abuse- or addiction-related symptoms. The maximum number of symptoms that can appear in a person diagnosed with the disorder is 11. In order to help ensure that their patients receive proper treatment, doctors indicate the severity of the disorder when making a diagnosis.
Treatment for OxyContin addiction is similar to the treatment for most other forms of opioid addiction. Medication options include buprenorphine, an opioid replacement medication that helps recovering addicts escape the worst effects of opioid withdrawal; and naltrexone, a non-opioid medication that stops opioid substances from producing their drug effects). Doctors may also sometimes prescribe methadone, another opioid replacement medication usually given to people recovering from heroin addiction. In order to help modify the behaviors of people participating in OxyContin addiction treatment, some programs use a therapeutic technique called contingency management. Contingency management-based programs reward participants for such things as regularly attending program meetings, complying with program guidelines and successfully avoiding a relapse back into substance use. Speak Confidentially with a Promises Scottsdale Recovery Advisor at 888-478-0036.