OxyContin Manages Pain, yet Can Prove Addictive

by Dr. Rich on June 1, 2013

OxyContin is a strong synthetic opioid that works in the body much like morphine to control people’s pain. Although the drug has proven extremely helpful for pain management, it can bring additional problems to people taking it. OxyContin is highly addictive.

Called oxycodone in its generic form, OxyContin is considered a controlled substance. Physicians who prescribe it for pain control stress how important it is for patients to monitor their intake. In spite of legal and medical precautions, addiction to OxyContin has increased over recent years.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a study of U.S. high school seniors in 2009 and 2010, revealing that more than five percent of them used OxyContin without holding legitimate prescriptions for it. Of course it is not only young people abusing the drug. Physicians want to help people rid themselves of chronic or severe pain, yet some are erring on the side of under-prescribing pain medications because of drug abuse.

Addiction can sneak up on people, taking them from recreational drug use to dependency before they realize the trouble they are getting into. Often people will deny their addiction. Some spend months or years claiming that they take drugs such as OxyContin on occasion in order to relax.

They believe or say that they believe they are choosing how often they take drugs. They cannot see that the drug has taken control over their lives. OxyContin users can cover a simple checklist to evaluate whether they are addicted.

One warning sign is that the user must take more than the old amount in order to achieve the same effect. Drug takers should ask themselves whether they have ever had a legal problem or come close to getting in legal trouble because of drug use. Someone who prefers taking drugs to other activities has probably developed a drug dependency.

If withdrawal symptoms show up when the person skips the drug, addiction is present. Someone may have the best intentions of quitting drug use, but physical and emotional dependency make kicking the habit difficult. They promise themselves and their loved ones that they will quit yet quitting is something far out of reach.

Black-outs are an additional signal that someone has become addicted. When people cannot remember events that happened when they were under the influence or they realize that they blacked out, drug abuse can be at fault. Lying to friends and family about drug use can also signal drug abuse.

OxyContin abuse dismantles a person’s psychological well-being. Over time it can also cause havoc with someone’s physical health. People who fear they are in trouble with the drug, or for the loved ones of someone who might be hooked on OxyContin, knowing the signs of addiction in detail may help start the process of seeking recovery help.

Eating habits that change drastically, leading to either weight gain or loss, can sometimes signal OxyContin addiction. Changes in sleep patterns can also signal addiction. If someone starts sleeping too much or skipping sleep, substance abuse may be present.

Other indicators include: lack of care in appearance and hygiene, slurred speech, impaired coordination, and shaking. In addition, bloodshot eyes, changes in eye pupil size, and foul body odors can provide further clues. Behavioral changes can also signal OxyContin addiction.

Mood swings or violent and sudden fits of temper can hint at drug abuse. Other symptoms that may be noticed are bouts of mania in which a person goes from feeling extremely energetic to becoming quite depressed. If someone has been a good student or worker, then drops off in performance at school or work, problems with drugs may be present.

Other behavioral changes include a sudden secretiveness about activities and absences that cannot be explained. A loss of interest in favorite pastimes may be part of the picture as well as tendency for the drug abuser to shut out old friends and family who disapprove of drugs. Financial problems combined with theft from loved ones is sometimes part of the pattern.

Taking OxyContin above prescribed doses can lead to serious side effects. It is important for the person who suffers such symptoms to seek medical help instead of simply going cold turkey off the medicine. Symptoms include: dizziness, fainting, and swelling of the eyes or tongue.

The throat may also swell which can cause hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. Rash or hives may also appear. The heart may begin beating either more or less rapidly, and respiration problems may set in including difficult or reduced breathing.

Another dangerous side effect of OxyContin is seizures. Other problems that are experienced rarely include impotence, decreased testosterone, and enlarged prostate. A very rare side effect is circulatory collapse. Although OxyContin is a wonderful medicine for pain treatment, its use can lead to abuse and addiction. Help is available.

 

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