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OxyContin Addiction & Treatment: Signs, Symptoms & Solutions

Last Updated: November 6, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

OxyContin is a potent opioid with a high risk of addiction, abuse and dependence. Treatment for OxyContin addiction can help you learn to live without the medication.

OxyContin is a powerful opioid often prescribed for pain. However, the drug is a Schedule II controlled substance with a high risk of addiction, abuse and dependence. In 1995, OxyContin became one of the primary drugs at the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis, fueling many addictions and deaths. OxyContin addiction continues to be a problem, but treatment can help you learn to live without the medication.

What Is OxyContin?

OxyContin is the brand name for a long-acting form of the opioid oxycodone. The drug relieves pain by activating the brain’s mu opioid receptors. Oxycodone is a common ingredient in short-acting painkillers like Percocet and Endocet. While short-acting forms of oxycodone are often prescribed “as needed” for pain, OxyContin is prescribed around the clock and typically taken two or three times daily.

OxyContin Abuse

OxyContin carries a high risk of abuse and addiction because it activates the brain’s reward circuit causing your brain to release the feel-good chemical dopamine. When the drug wears off, you may seek more OxyContin to maintain that feeling, possibly tempting you to take more of the drug than prescribed or more often than prescribed. When someone begins the cycle of OxyContin abuse, many signs often emerge.


OxyContin Addiction Signs

When a person struggles with OxyContin, it often affects their daily lives. Relying on the drug impacts responsibilities and relationships and can quickly become problematic. Experts have developed a list of signs to help determine if a person is addicted to OxyContin. Having more than two symptoms within a year can indicate an OxyContin addiction:

  1. Taking more OxyContin than desired or for longer than intended
  2. Previous unsuccessful efforts to cut down on or quit OxyContin
  3. Spending a lot of time obtaining, taking or recovering from OxyContin
  4. Craving OxyContin
  5. Problems meeting obligations at school or work because of OxyContin
  6. Interpersonal issues related to OxyContin
  7. Quitting or cutting back on other activities due to OxyContin
  8. Taking OxyContin even when it is dangerous, like before driving a car
  9. Taking OxyContin even though you are aware it is harming you
  10. Needing increasing amounts of OxyContin to get the same effects you initially got
  11. Withdrawal symptoms if you try to cut back or quit OxyContin

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, you are not alone and help is available. Call 833-939-0318 today to speak to our Recovery Advocates and learn more about your treatment options.

Treatment for OxyContin Addiction

OxyContin addiction treatment starts with medical detox, when your body rids itself of the drug, and continues through professional rehab and ongoing recovery. In rehab, you explore why you began to rely on OxyContin and learn coping skills to help you avoid it. Rehab offers a continuum of support, starting with extra and tapering off to allow you more freedom as the program progresses. Rehab options include:

  • Inpatient rehab: You live full-time at the facility to focus entirely on your recovery in a sober environment without outside distractions.
  • Partial hospitalizationAfter inpatient rehab, you’ll have more free time and independence to manage your own recovery while still receiving several hours of care each day.
  • Intensive outpatient rehab: While many clients continue living onsite in intensive outpatient care, others attend treatment then return home. These clients receive fewer hours of care as they transition to life in recovery.

OxyContin Detox

Medical detox is the first step in OxyContin recovery. When your body is used to an opioid like OxyContin, quitting it cold turkey can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose or eyes
  • Yawning
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea

Many people try to detox without support. Because withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming, there can be a strong temptation to quit detox and go back to using OxyContin. A professional medical detox program can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings to ensure a safe and successful detox.

OxyContin Abuse and Mental Health

Mental health can be impacted by substance abuse disorders like OxyContin addiction. More than 25% of people who struggle with substance abuse also have a mental health disorder. The most common mental health disorders in substance abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Personality disorders

When seeking treatment for OxyContin abuse, it is also important to treat any underlying mental health disorders to reduce the risk of relapse. Dual diagnosis programs address both issues in tandem, which can help increase your chances of a successful recovery from your mental health issues and your OxyContin addiction.

Aftercare and Relapse Prevention

Because addiction is a lifelong disease, aftercare focuses on your recovery to help you avoid relapses and provide you with resources to help maintain your sobriety. Components of an aftercare program can include relapse prevention planning, online teletherapy through Nobu, medical referrals for continued care and support groups.

Is OxyContin Addiction Treatable?

Although addiction is lifelong, OxyContin addiction is treatable and can help you live a healthy, OxyContin-free life. Following the recovery steps can increase your chances of quitting OxyContin and lead you to recovery.

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