Detoxing from OxyContin: What to Expect
What makes OxyContin so addictive? Why does the body develop dependence on OxyContin? And if you’re addicted to Oxy, how do you break the vicious cycle? Here, we will explore what the drug is, what detoxification looks like and how to identify and cope with withdrawal symptoms.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin was introduced in 1995 to help control or relieve moderate to severe pain. It’s classified as a narcotic analgesic. The Oxycodone in the medication works by binding itself to the opioid receptors in the nervous system, interrupting the ability of the body to receive pain signals. Like other opioids, it stimulates the mesolimbic dopamine system in the brain with an artificial feeling of pleasure. Serious addiction occurs when the opioids corrupt this pathway to promote continued use.
Because it is a “time-release” version of Oxycodone, OxyContin is able to provide pain relief for up to 12 hours consecutively. This further increases the risk of addiction in the patient by way of continued exposure. The withdrawal symptoms produced by a dependence on OxyContin can be severe, making effective detoxification difficult.
Detoxing from OxyContin
There is no official, standard method for treating addiction to OxyContin. However, IV therapy Medical Detox is a common type of detoxification treatment because of the safety and relative comfort provided to the patient. Here, professional treatment is based on a slow reduction of dosage rather than complete cessation, and is almost always accompanied with the administration of other drugs such as Clonadine or Methadone. It may also be recommended for the patient to simultaneously undergo therapy; this can help with the psychological impact of addiction and withdrawal.
Other approaches to detoxification may involve immediate discontinuation of OxyContin, along with the administration of other approved drugs. It is critical to remember that detoxification should always be done with the help of trained medical professionals, never on your own.
OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms from OxyContin can be painful and frightening. The opioids alter the neurological and chemical systems in the body, changing the way nerve receptors operate and forcing them to become dependent on the drug to function. Within 24 hours of discontinuing use of OxyContin, the addicted person will begin to experience symptoms of withdrawal, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular breathing/heartbeat
- Hot/cold flashes including sweating or chills
- Feelings of weakness/fatigue
In more extreme cases, withdrawal from OxyContin can cause seizures and convulsions. While many people attempt to manage these symptoms on their own, this is not advisable. Always seek professional treatment when discontinuing use of an addictive substance.
Medicine for OxyContin Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms can be treated with a variety of medications. Mild symptoms can be effectively managed with non-habit forming drugs, including acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen or naproxyn (Aleve). Loperamide (Imodium) is often used to treat diarrhea or nausea. It is very important to regularly drink water and rest if you are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, as dehydration can intensify withdrawal symptoms.
As discussed above, Methadone can be used to assist in the detoxification process, resulting in less severe withdrawal symptoms. However, Methadone is still classified as an opiate like OxyContin, and can result in a transfer of addictions. Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, is another option for medically-assisted opioid detox treatment.