A considerable percentage of the world’s population suffers from chronic illnesses such as cancer, or deep injuries that change their day to day lives. If you are among such persons, it is obvious that you experience a high level of pain too, which can be described as chronic pain.
Its management so that you can proceed with your usual life is through prescription drugs, precisely pain killers. Among such medications is oxycontin, which doctors authorize to take with caution.
The prescription drug, oxycontin, falls under the category of pain killers for it is very effective in reducing severe pain that is also long lasting. It has an active ingredient known as oxycodone, which came into the medical market in 1917. After advancements in technology, this semisynthetic opioid that is extracted from thebaine enabled the production of oxycontin, which came into the medical market in 1995.
Thebaine is one of the multiple alkaloids that the opium poppy houses and an opioid alkaloid that the Persian poppy contains. In understanding oxycodone, it is important to acknowledge that it is not only an opioid but also a relative of other drugs, some of which are pain relievers too, like morphine, heroin, codeine, methadone and fentanyl.
Oxycontin contains high levels of the synthetic opioid and thus seems to be its controlled-release formulation. It functions by altering the working of the brain, whereby it changes the response formula between the brain and the nervous system.
Consumption And Usage
Since the clinical use of oxycontin began, it has made a positive impact in people’s lives in diverse ways. For example, utilizing this prescription medication to calm your pain allows you go on with your life. Therefore, you can attend work as usual, and be productive.
In doing so, you earn money to feed yourself as well as those depending on you. Additionally, you benefit the company or organization you work for hence making an impact on your country’s economy. This cycle is dependent on how well you consume the drug.
The correct consumption of the drug is taking it orally in tablet form and in accordance to your doctor’s prescription. Among the available doses are milligrams of 15, 30, 60 and 160. The tablets have a coating that ensures the controlled and timely release of the drug, thus allowing it to be effective for longer periods, 12 hours, than other usual pain killers that must be taken several times daily.
Oxycontin is advantageous since it is used for medical reasons. As mentioned above, it helps improve the lives of people suffering from chronic pain, due to illnesses like arthritis, cancer, major surgeries and trauma. As a result, it is motivates you to forget your problems and instead live the life that you desire.
Unfortunately, like other good things, this prescription drug has its down side. The following are some of the downs that accompany the medical use of oxycontin.
It has limitations
Just because oxycontin is helpful in the management of multiple conditions, it does not mean that it is good for every patient. There are some conditions that could lead to worse problems if you consume the drug.
Among such conditions is pregnancy. Whether you suffer from tremendous pain, you cannot consume oxycontin while pregnant or even if you are at the age of child bearing. The drug puts your unborn child at risk of acquiring birth defects. Additionally, long-term consumption of the drug while in the child bearing age can still affect your child even if you do avoid it while pregnant.
If you do contrary to this advice, your child may develop multiple withdrawal symptoms after birth. They include irritability, shallow breathing, weight gain, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, poor feeding and non-stop crying.
Other conditions that restrict the consumption of oxycontin include the following:
- Psychosis and mental disorder
- Morbid obesity
- Worsening asthma
- Shock and seizures
- Intense abdominal pain
- Enlarged prostate
- Cor Pulmonale
- Kidney disease with kidney dysfunction
- Intestinal tract or stomach operation
- Liver problems
- Drug abuse and addiction
- Alcohol intoxication
- Gallbladder and Addison’s disease
- Loss of body water
- Low heart rhythm and blood pressure that is abnormal
- Untreated decreased levels of thyroid hormones
- Slow heartbeat
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Brain tumor
- Suicidal thoughts
- Decreased lung function
- System mastocytosis
- Ulcerated colon
- Weakened patient
- Mood changes
- Causes drug abuse and withdrawal symptoms
Despite having long-term conditions, consuming oxycontin for a long time is risky. Your body begins developing a tolerance for the drug, which leads you to abuse it as you increase your dosage to make it effective. With time, quitting its consumption becomes a challenge since avoiding the drug results to some withdrawal symptoms that encourage you to continue taking it.
Results in addiction
If the abuse of the drug continues for a lengthy period of time, you are likely to develop an addiction. The tolerance that your body builds up comes from the opioids in oxycontin. They cause you to feel the need to have the drug in your body frequently and in higher dosages.
Risk of overdose and death
Most of the time, you will increase your dosage without directions on how to do it from your doctor. In doing so, you risk overdosing on the drug. What’s worse, lack of access to treatment after the occurrence of an overdose can lead to your death.
Causes side effects
The oxycodone in oxycontin is a strong component that affects your body’s functionality. It causes some side effects that result in further discomfort. These issues include sedation, nausea and vomiting, weakness, dizziness, appetite loss, constipation, dry mouth, itching, headaches, somnolence and sweating.
If you happen to overdose, some of the side effects that you experience include respiratory arrest, slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, respiratory depression and circulatory collapse.
Lowers sex hormone levels
A healthy sexual life is dependent on the levels of your sex hormones. If they are adequate, your sexual life is great. Unfortunately, consuming oxycontin affects these hormone levels by lowering them thus causing you to have a terrible sexual life.
Oxycontin Abuse and Addiction
Cocaine, alcohol, heroin and marijuana are not the only abused drugs. So long as a substance causes some euphoric effects, it is quite addictive and thus can be abused. The United States Food and Drug Administration consider drug abuse and addiction as an issue that continues to creep into society.
All types and ages of people are victims either as abusers, relatives of abusers or the affected parties due to actions by addicts. Therefore, drug abuse and addiction is not only a personal problem, but also a social one as well.
As mentioned above, one of the disadvantages of consuming oxycontin is the risk of abusing it and later falling into addiction. Therefore, it is among the group of substances that continue to claim millions of lives annually. The American Society of Addiction and Medicine believes that about 1.2 million of the American population abuses such medications, leading to also 50 deaths on a daily basis.
The majority of the abusers and addicts of oxycontin were once patients that required help in dealing with their pain. As they continued taking it, they became dependent on it and could not stop even after healing.
If you land into this addiction, you will probably consume the drug through other means, to experience the euphoric effects faster and in higher intensity. You will probably snort the tablets, chew them and even inject it into your blood stream.
What’s more, it is highly likely that you will mix it with other brain depressant substances like alcohol, which will cause you to have dangerous effects that could claim your life. These effects include drowsiness serious breathing problems. Abusing oxycontin like this and in extended measures could lead to your death.
Additionally, since your doctor will not be part of this consumption, you acquire prescriptions illegally and consume them wrongly. Acquiring them will force you to use street names like O.C, hillybilly heroin, oxy, oxycotton, oxycet or percs to avoid suspicion from the law enforcement personnel.
Therefore, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition) considers abusing oxycontin as having an opioid use disorder. It involves taking the prescription tablets for the wrong reasons such as getting high, which is also misusing them. It is also a pattern that is quite problematic since it causes clinically significant impairment or distress.
By breaking, crushing, chewing or dissolving the tablets to consume them in whatever means, you disable the pill’s time release mechanism. As a result, the oxycodone becomes released into your body all at once, causing a high feeling.
Abusing heroin and abusing oxycontin is almost the same, since they share the effects they cause upon you. As a result, you may abuse heroin if you are addicted to oxycontin since it is cheap and more available than the latter.
If you are already addicted to oxycontin, stopping is an option but also a milestone due to the withdrawal symptoms that will hit you. Unfortunately, getting to this point of acknowledging the problem is quite tricky because you may hardly notice that the drug actually controls you.
Nevertheless, there are the signs and symptoms that will actually help you realize your mistakes, or help you notice the mistake in another person.
Signs And Symptoms Of Oxycontin Abuse and Addiction
It is obvious that continuing to abuse oxycontin will eventually lead to an addiction. When this prescription drug controls you this much, you are likely to possess some signs as well as symptoms. You will change your priories to suit your addiction habits and thus could develop alterations in your personality.
Among the new habits are visiting multiple doctor to treat your problem, thus have ample supply of the drugs from their multiple prescriptions. You could also attain them illegally in the streets as soon as you know the suppliers.
The noticeable signs and symptoms include:
- Neglecting work and other obligations
- Confusion and disorientation
- Losing interest in enjoyable activities
- Concentration and memory problems
- Sleep apnea
- Pinpoint pupils
- Extreme drowsiness
- Weight loss
- Persistent interpersonal problems
- Severe itching
- Slurred speech
- Dry mouth
Other signs that can help you realize drug abuse among family members include discarded pill bottles, complains about missing pills or white powder stain in unusual places. You may also lose your job due to neglect or low and continuous unproductive. Since you will still need the pills to function, you could up stealing to get the resources to purchase more of them.
Oxycontin Abuse And Addiction Effects
The issues that arise from the misuse or addition to oxycontin will affect you socially and physically. The following are some of these effects.
As mentioned above, it is highly possible that you will abuse this prescription drug by consuming it wrongly. You may end up being a needle user or intranasal. Combining the both is also possible.
If you become a needle users, you will consume oxycontin in three forms, which are intramuscular, subcutaneously or intravenously. These means are very dangerous since they increase the chances of you acquiring diseases that are hefty or impossible to cure. They include HIV, Hepatitis and heart lining infection, due to the sharing of needles, collapse of the abscesses and veins and cellulitis.
Being a nasal user as well is not safe either since you could suffer from perforated nasal septum and sinusitis. Therefore, all the wrong means of oxycontin consumption generally put your health further at risk.
These physical risks not only lead to diseases but also cause some effects before diseases develop. After consumption, it is likely that you will feel nausea that leads to vomiting. Later, you may experience constipation as well. Your muscles will definitely become affected by becoming rigid. The high levels of oxycodone will cause sedation too.
Proceeding with the abuse or addiction means that more physical issues will develop. You will have sexual activity difficulties, hormonal dysfunction, fractures and respiratory depression. Severely abusing oxycontin only cause more fatal effects like breathing difficulties and coma.
From all the problems or issues that arise from abuse or addiction, it is obvious that your social life will not be the same as before. It will change negatively since nothing good comes from abusing drugs. For example, during transaction if you are acquiring them illegally, you are likely to get arrested for the possession of drugs.
If you survive and escape the law enforcers during these transactions, your dependency on the drug could lead you into actions that jeopardize your freedom. Such actions include possession of stolen property, burglary, robbery and forgery.
As an addict your priorities will change since you provide more attention to the consumption of the drug. As a result, you might break interpersonal and professional relationships. You will begin to have problems in your marriage that often cause divorce. Moreover, your bad work habits like going to work while high may lead to loss of employment.
To survive, you may find irregular employment. Since these are not very dependable, you will not have sufficient income to cater for your bills and needs. Consequently, you may end up on the wrong side of the law.
Oxycontin Abuse And Addiction Treatment
Doing the right thing at all times is challenging in all aspects of life. This includes matters to do with your own life, like acknowledging a weakness or problem that you brought on yourself and taking the necessary measures to make corrections.
As an addict, the most important step is working towards a better you, who is not drug dependent. This involves several things like: first, acknowledging your addiction problem; second, accepting your mistakes; third, seeking professional help; fourth, pushing through the treatment period regardless of the challenges and fifth, avoiding relapse throughout the rest of your life.
Oxycontin abuse and addiction treatment has multiple phases that cater for various problems. The detox stage ensures that your body is substance free. The rehabilitation stage caters for your psychological problems and recovery targets your life after treatment.
The first 72 hours after arrival into a rehabilitation center are quite crucial to your recovery process. They entail multiple tests from doctors, psychologists and nurses to understand the extent of your oxycontin addiction. This includes determining the presence of health problems due to the abuse of the prescription drug as well as the possibility of having psychological issues.
The medical professionals must carry out this analysis on your body to know how to deal with you during your stay in the facility. Since all treatment is individualized, they will also take your family medical history because some of the problems that you have may be hereditary, and thus must be treated accordingly.
The stabilization stage focuses on taking your body back to normal so that treatment can be effective. This means that you cannot begin your recovery process while still intoxicated; the toxins in your body must go.
Stabilization involves the detoxification process that starts with withdrawing from the drug. Since some of the symptoms are hard to deal with and could probably threaten your existence, doctors are very careful with how you withdraw from oxycontin.
In the occurrence of severe withdrawal symptoms, the physicians will provide you with medication to reduce your agony. Otherwise, it is highly likely that you could relapse very first to escape the suffering.
Addiction to any substance causes your body’s functionality to fully depend on a drug. This dependency is what causes withdrawal symptoms, as a means to communicate the need for the drug. The severity of your withdrawal can never be the same as another person’s since it is dependent on three factors; the mode of drug abuse, the amount consumed each time and the period of drug abuse.
The withdrawal symptoms of oxycontin abuse include the following:
- Sleep changes due to insomnia
- Mood changes due to agitation
- Flu or cold
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Reduced appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Rapid heartbeat
- Abdominal cramps
- Blurry vision
Among the drugs that the medical professionals will provide to ease your pain include methadone or buprenorphine, which can alleviate your symptoms. Anxiety and depression are treatable using psychiatric medication. Clonidine can effectively treat flu or cold.
Successful completion of the stabilization stage leads you to the treatment period, whereby you receive counseling and therapy to deal with the problems that drove you into abuse and addiction. These programs may include individual, family and group therapy.
In individual therapy you open up to a psychologist or therapist about your emotions, feelings and thoughts privately. Group therapy gives you the opportunity to bond with others like you as you learn about matters like relapse prevention. Family therapy helps rebuild the broken bonds between you and your family members.
Leaving the rehab facility does not mean that you are done with treatment. Actually it means that your new life has officially begun. Since you will be exposed to the same environment and factors that triggered your addiction, you must remember the lessons learnt on how to continue with your new life without relapsing.
New hobbies and activities can help you avoid temptation, as well as new friends that are sober and positively influential.
In conclusion, oxycontin is a prescription medication that can either make your life better or worse. If you use it properly and follow the doctor’s instructions, you will eventually get better and thus it will be helpful. On the other hand, excitement over its euphoric effects will cause you to abuse it. Thus suffer from addiction in the long run.
Therefore, the consumption of oxycontin should not be taken for granted to prevent its control over you.