Substance Use

OxyContin Use Disorder Treatment

Oxycodone Prescription Bottle with Pills Spilling Out.

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Addressing an OxyContin addiction requires a comprehensive strategy that tackles both the physical and mental components of dependency. Through medication-assisted treatment (MAT), individuals receive support via medications approved by the FDA, such as buprenorphine or naltrexone, which are paired with counseling sessions and various behavioral therapies to foster recovery. (1)

Therapeutic approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing play a crucial role in equipping individuals with the strategies needed to manage cravings and delve into the root causes of their addiction. Additionally, joining support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can offer valuable solidarity from peers on similar journeys. (2)

The key to successfully navigating OxyContin addiction lies in receiving care that’s tailored to each person’s unique situation alongside continuous encouragement and assistance throughout their recovery journey.

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What is OxyContin?

OxyContin is a prescription drug that is intended to treat moderate to severe pain. Known commonly as Oxy, it contains Oxycodone HCL, a synthetic opioid analgesic that works to release Oxycodone over a period of time. Purdue Pharma manufactures it under the trade name OxyContin.

The active ingredient is oxycodone hydrochloride. It is a long-acting formulation, with a single dose of oxycontin lasting for hours. It is designed for a controlled release of the medication over a longer duration of time. (3

How Does OxyContin Work?

OxyContin works in several different forms, including slow and fast-release tablets, by binding to opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This causes them to relax, as well as work as a muscle relaxant and pain management option, and reduces pain signals from traveling through the nerves.

When taken as prescribed, OxyContin helps relieve moderate to severe pain for up to 12 hours. However, when people take too much of the drug, they can experience euphoria and other symptoms associated with an opioid overdose, for which they need medical help immediately.

Why Is OxyContin So Addictive?

OxyContin contains oxycodone, which is an opiate. Opiates are naturally occurring substances found in opium poppy plants. They bind to specific receptor sites in the brain and body.

These receptor sites cause the brain to produce endorphins (natural pain relievers) and other chemicals that make us feel good. (4)

However, taking too much of this substance can block the natural production of endorphins. This leads to feelings of euphoria and relaxation and can lead to physical dependence. (4)

The high feeling produced by taking large doses of opioids can be very pleasurable. Many people who use OxyContin report that it makes them feel happy and relaxed. But this pleasure comes at a cost. Many users experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

OxyContin Abuse and Addiction Treatment Options

Oxycontin is a powerful narcotic painkiller that has become a major problem in America. The drug was originally designed to treat severe chronic pain but is now being abused at alarming rates, causing opioid addiction. It is a Schedule II drug.

These prescription opioids became extremely popular because they worked well and had fewer side effects than its predecessors. It was widely prescribed for pain from serious injuries, like a head injury or back injury.

Unfortunately, the drug was heavily marketed and overprescribed and became highly addictive. Today, millions of Americans struggle with OxyContin abuse or dependence. (5

Misrepresentation of the Risks Associated with OxyContin

Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, paid $6 billion to settle criminal charges related to misleading claims about the addiction risk posed by the opioid. The company allegedly misrepresented the pharmacology to patients and caregivers to keep sales high. But it still faces civil lawsuits alleging that Purdue Pharma misled regulators and doctors about how addictive the drug is.

The risk of addiction to OxyContin is very high. If healthcare professionals had been aware of the risk, they might have stopped prescribing it as often as they did. (6

OxyContin also has a risk of drug interactions if taken with the wrong medications. Many people were deceived about these risks as well, resulting in many negative drug interactions and medical interventions.

OxyContin has a range of side effects as well. Since it acts as an inhibitor, combining it with other medications, like phenytoin (which is an antagonist), can cause negative interactions. It can be damaging to the nervous system since phenytoin is used to prevent seizures and similar problems. It is also not safe to take while breastfeeding or while taking blood pressure medication. (7

OxyContin can be combined with some medications. For example, it is regularly prescribed with acetaminophen, which also kills pain, for a combined painkilling effect. Strangely, the effects of long-term OxyContin use can lead to a greater chance of developing hepatitis later in life. (8)

OxyContin Abuse and Effects

The opioid painkiller OxyContin contains oxycodone, a powerful narcotic analgesic. The abuse of OxyContin can be life-threatening.

Some chew, dissolve, inhale, inject, or smoke the pill. They do this to bypass the time-release mechanism that makes the drug less potent over time.

When you or your loved one takes too much OxyContin, the drug floods your brain with opiates and triggers a feeling of euphoria.

You can experience:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Many people begin using OxyContin because they need a powerful painkiller. Back injuries can require strong painkillers like OxyContin. They can become addicted to OxyContin if they take it for long enough.

Unfortunately, this has happened to a lot of people over time. OxyContin addiction is a major problem since many people become addicted accidentally.

They need a professional treatment program, including a medical detox, to see a significant reduction in drug use and abuse. 

Signs Of an OxyContin Addiction

Anyone who uses opioids long-term could develop drug abuse. One of the first signs of OxyContin abuse is developing tolerance, which means a person requires more of the drug to achieve the same level of relief. This is common among those abusing OxyContin because pills are usually administered orally rather than injected.

Continuing to take more and more pills can lead to a fatal overdose.

Another sign of an OxyContin addiction involves experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued or reduced. These include:

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Sweating

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Muscle aches

• Constipation

• Headaches

• Insomnia

• Irritability

• Restlessness

• Seizures

If someone stops taking OxyContin abruptly, he or she may suffer from intense cravings, which makes quitting the drug extremely difficult.

OxyContin is a controlled substance. Doctors and public health care providers cannot prescribe an unlimited amount of it to their patients. Due to its risk factors, if someone is caught stealing or forging prescriptions, they could face serious legal consequences with law enforcement. This will be considered prescription drug abuse.

Opiate Use Disorder

A substance use disorder represents a serious mental health problem that occurs when someone experiences problems related to their use of alcohol, drugs, medicines, or other substances. People who struggle with substance use disorders often experience withdrawal symptoms, such as muscle pain, dry mouth, and irritability. They may also experience cravings and find it difficult to control how much they consume. (9

The term substance use disorder is the preferred clinical term for the previous terms, such as substance abuse or substance dependence. These terms are used to describe people whose behavior patterns are characterized by repeated episodes of substance use despite harmful consequences.

OxyContin Addiction Treatment

OxyContin addiction treatment combines medical and therapeutic strategies to help individuals overcome dependence on this powerful opioid. The process often begins with a medically supervised detox, easing withdrawal symptoms in a safe environment.

1. MAT Medications

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved several different medications to help people suffering from substance abuse disorder.

These include:

These medications are known as medication-assisted treatments (MAT) because they reduce the physical and mental effects of addictive behaviors like drinking too much alcohol or taking opioids. They’re often prescribed along with counseling, support groups, and therapy to help patients overcome addiction. (10

Medication-assisted treatments don’t just replace one drug for another. Instead, they relieve the withdrawal symptoms and chemical imbalances caused by addictions. They also address the psychological cravings that lead some people to keep abusing substances such as OxyContin.

Methadone, for example, relieves both the physical and emotional aspects of opiate addiction. Naloxone reverses the effects of a fatal overdose. Buprenorphine, a partial agonist, reduces the euphoric effect of opioids while still allowing pain relief. Lofexidine blocks the brain receptors that trigger opioid cravings. (11)

2. Counseling and Behavioral Therapies

Counseling and behavioral therapies are important components of MAT programs because they help people identify triggers and coping strategies for managing cravings while providing education about drug use and recovery.

In addition, behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, contingency management, relapse prevention training, and family interventions can improve outcomes for individuals seeking MAT. (12

Examples of counseling and behavioral therapies include:

  • Individual, group, and couples counseling
  • Psychoeducation
  • Motivational enhancement
  • Self-help groups
  • Anger management
  • Assertiveness training
  • Life skills development
  • Relapse prevention
  • Family systems therapy

3. Relapse Prevention Training

Relapse prevention is an evidence-based approach to treating substance abuse disorders. It teaches patients how to recognize warning signs of relapse and avoid them.

Relapse prevention helps patients learn what led them to substance abuse in the first place and why they may have relapsed. It also teaches them ways to cope with urges and cravings when they arise.

4. Contingency Management

Contingent reinforcement refers to rewarding people for doing things that are good for them. For instance, if someone has been abstinent for two weeks, he or she might be rewarded with a small gift card. Contingent reinforcement works best when it’s combined with other forms of therapy.

5. Family Systems Therapy

Family systems therapy focuses on the entire family unit, not just the individual who is struggling with substance abuse. This type of therapy addresses family problems, including communication patterns, roles, values, expectations, and beliefs.

6. Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a nonjudgmental way of helping people change their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Motivational interviewing encourages clients to explore their own reasons for wanting to quit using drugs and alcohol. The goal is to get clients to make changes that will benefit them long term.

7. Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation involves teaching people about mental health issues and substance abuse. It includes information about the disease process, causes, consequences, and treatment options. Psychoeducational materials often include books, videos, audiotapes, and written material.

8. Aftercare

Aftercare involves assisting patients in maintaining sobriety once they have completed their course of treatment. It includes helping them find employment, housing, transportation, health insurance, and other resources. Because addicts have a high potential to use again, it’s important to follow the proper aftercare suggestions.

OxyContin Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

Addiction to prescription painkillers like OxyContin is often rooted in underlying mental health issues. Many people suffering from opioid use disorder have other mental illnesses – such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, or schizophrenia. These are just some of the conditions that are commonly found among those addicted to opioids. (13)

In addition to these co-occurring disorders, several other factors contribute to an individual’s vulnerability to developing an opioid use disorder.

Some of these include:

  • Family history of substance use disorders
  • Childhood trauma
  • Early exposure to addictive substances
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Lack of access to healthcare
  • Social isolation
  • Stressful life events

People turn to pills like OxyContin, which can numb both physical and mental pain. This begins a cycle of addiction that can end when the person gets into a qualified and effective treatment program.

The use of OxyContin or other illicit drugs to self-medicate a mental health disorder can be stopped with proper treatment.

Find Compassionate and Evidence-Based Care for OxyContin Addiction

At Zinnia Health, we understand that every patient is different. That’s why we’ve developed a variety of programs designed to meet the needs of those struggling with opioid abuse. We provide comprehensive medical assessment and diagnosis, personalized treatment planning, and compassionate support throughout the entire process.

Zinnia Health offers a full continuum of care, including outpatient rehabilitation, residential rehab, and intensive outpatient programs. Our caregivers are specially trained to help you through treatment.

Our goal is to give you the tools you need to live a healthy life free of drugs and alcohol. If you’re struggling with opioid use disorder, call us today at (855) 430-9439 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation and assessment. We’re standing by, ready to help.


Call us
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(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us