OxyContin is an opioid medication prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. One of the brand names for Oxycodone, this drug comes in tablet, capsule or liquid form and has a high propensity for abuse and addiction. Those who abuse OxyContin do so by either swallowing the pills, crushing them into a powder and snorting them, or injecting the liquid form intravenously.
OxyContin is abused in several ways. Users can orally ingest a larger dose than prescribed, and others choose to crush the medication so they can snort it or inject it. Those who abuse this drug, especially the ones who inject it, are at an increased risk of suffering from sever medical issues, including overdose.
Opioids such as OxyContin have long been used as an effective way to treat severe pain, but using more than you are prescribed or in a manner that was not prescribed, can lead to devastating consequences.
Addiction to this medication forms due to chemical changes that take place in the individual’s brain after constant abuse. The reward centers of the brain that control the feeling of reward or pain are altered. Pain is blocked while the feeling of euphoria or reward is induced.
The problem comes in when the brain tries to adjust to the unnatural opioids that are present by lowering its own production and even shutting down some of its receptors. Without the drug, the person is unable to feel any pleasure and withdrawals symptoms set in, causing aches and pains, depression, intensive drug cravings and sleeping problems. The problem can only be effectively rectified by undergoing detox and therapy.
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Assessment: Before any treatment can begin, the patient must first be assessed to understand their history of addiction, as well as their current physical and mental state. Once these things are established, an appropriate treatment plan can be created.
Detox: Medical detox is often the most rerecorded protocol for the treatment of physical opiate addiction. This process allows patients to be safely weaned off the addictive substance while under the care ans supervision of certified doctors and nurses. In order to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal, the patient may be prescribed medication or other forms of medical intervention.
Therapy: Many forms of therapy can be used to address the underlying causes of addiction. Behavioral therapy is one of the traditional treatment modalities. The goal of this therapy is to establish what behavior needs to be changed in order to achieve a state of mind that does not require the use use of drugs in order to function. Therapy is a crucial step in the rehabilitation process, as is addresses the psychological addiction caused by prescription drugs.
Treatment for a dual diagnosis : Some people who suffer from mental disorders such as clinical depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may try opioids and find relief from their symptoms for a short time. With lack of proper treatment, they continue to abuse the drug to self-medicate. Since opioids are physically addictive, they become dependent on taking ever increasing amounts of the drug to feel better for a short time. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses the mental health issues patients are facing to help them fully recover from their addiction.
Relapse prevention: Relapse prevention strategies help recovering addicts identify and understand their triggers in order to avoid future drug use.
- Oxycontin Fast Facts: Questions and Answers [PDF]. (n.d.). National Drug Intelligence Center.
- Prescription Opioid Overdose Data. (2016, December 16). Retrieved December 20, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/overdose.html
Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health [PDF]. (2015, September). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Last updated on July 7th, 2017 at 07:30 pm