Oxycontin Withdrawal

by pgh on February 18, 2014

quit oxycontin Oxycontin withdrawal makes individuals feel sick and in pain. The symptoms do subside, and treatment can help you cope.

People who’ve taken Oxycontin for two weeks or more typically start to notice a range of symptoms that develop when doses are missed or when attempting to reduce dosage amounts. These are more than likely symptoms of Oxycontin withdrawal.

The widespread use of Oxycontin as a pain treatment has introduced yet another drug of abuse that carries extremely high addiction properties. Whether taken as a pain treatment or for recreational purposes, continued use of the drug will undoubtedly bring on Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms.

As with all addictive drugs and medications, the body develops a tolerance and dependency for Oxycontin’s effects. Oxycontin withdrawal episodes point to a clear sign of growing dependency on the drug. Long-term Oxycontin users place themselves at risk of developing dangerous and even life-threatening Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms as the severity of addiction increases.

Oxycontin Uses

Oxycontin, the brand name for oxycodone hydrochloride, works as a time-release drug that delivers strong pain relief for up to12-hours, according to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Common pain treatment uses for Oxycontin include –

  • Cancer
  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Neuralgia
  • Post-op surgery

Oxcontin comes in 10, 20, 40 and 80-milligram tablets. Typically used to treat conditions involving severe or chronic pain symptoms, Oxycontin’s analgesic strength equals that of 50 percent of morphine. As a powerful analgesic medication, Oxycontin falls within the Schedule II class of narcotic drugs, which indicates how easily a person can become dependent and eventually addicted to the drug.

In addition to its pain relieving properties, Oxycontin also induces feelings of elation and well-being. No doubt, these effects contribute to the widespread abuse of Oxycontin drugs. Rather than ingest it in tablet form, people who misuse the drug crush it up into powder form and snort or inject it.

This practice overrides the tablet’s built-in time-release features and delivers the full effects of the drug all at once. As a result, Oxycontin withdrawal periods and Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms can be considerably worse when the drug is abused.

Oxycontin Tolerance

As an opiate-based medication, Oxycontin withdrawal develops out of the natural tolerance the brain and body develop with ongoing use of the drug. The brain itself contains specialized cell receptor sites that secrete endorphin chemicals in response to pleasurable or positive experiences. Endorphin chemicals, such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin work as part of the body’s own natural pain-relief system. They also play pivotal roles in a person’s learning process as part of the brain’s reward system network.

Oxycontin effects on brain cell receptors causes high levels of endorphins to be released. When this happens repeatedly, the brain enacts a compensatory mechanism that automatically reduces the amount of endorphins it releases on its own. Eventually, the brain becomes dependent on Oxycontin to maintain normal brain functions, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In the process, the brain’s tolerance levels have increased, as larger doses of the drug are needed to produce the same pain-relieving /”high” effects.

As these designated brain cell receptors normally regulate essential bodily functions, such as respiration, digestion and heart function, Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms result from the drug’s disruptive effects on normal brain function. In effect, Oxycontin withdrawal indicates the presence of a growing physical dependency on the drug. As a person’s tolerance levels increase, so does the body’s dependence on the drug.

Oxycontin Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and duration depending on how long a person has abused the drug. Even in cases where a person takes Oxycontin for two to three weeks, mild withdrawal symptoms will likely develop.

On average, a person will start to experience Oxycontin withdrawal anywhere from six to 30 hours after ingesting the last dose. Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms will also develop whenever a dosage amount reduction is made.

As an Oxycontin withdrawal period unfolds, two stages or intensities of symptoms will develop.

Early stage Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms include –

  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety

Late stage Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms include –

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps

Oxycontin Withdrawal Rates

Oxycontin tolerance level increases happen at different rates within different areas of the body. Likewise, the severity of Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms can vary within different areas of the body. Since Oxcontin makes direct contact with brain cell structures, tolerance levels increase fairly quickly within the brain. Tolerance levels for the bodily processes regulated by the brain increase at slower rates.

This difference in tolerance rates accounts for why a person may start to experience pain symptoms even though they’re taking Oxycontin as prescribed. In effect, weakening brain functions limit the drug’s ability to manage pain symptoms once a certain tolerance level is reached.

Likewise, someone in good physical health will likely experience less intense withdrawal symptoms than someone who has existing medical conditions. For example, a person prone to digestive problems already has weakened or “less than healthy” digestive functions. This “pre-weakened” state makes his or her digestive system more susceptible to severe Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms, while someone with a healthy digestive tract may only experience mild digestive problems from Oxycontin withdrawal.

Potential Risks

Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms can make it all but impossible for addicts to stop using. Oxycontin withdrawal can even drive a person to start abusing the drug after having taken it as a pain treatment. People who do succeed at break an addiction may well continue to experience Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms and ongoing drug cravings.

Stopping Oxycontin use can pose serious risks in cases where a person relapses after staying off the drug for a while. In the absence of the drug, brain and body tolerance levels decrease considerably. In effect, an increased sensitivity to Oxycontin develops during abstinence periods.

Oftentimes, when recovering addicts relapse, they tend to return the same dosage level they were at when they stopped using. With lower tolerance levels in place, any one dose can easily become an overdose that sends the body into respiratory failure, stroke or cardiac arrest.

People who try to break an addiction or dependency may want to consider seeking professional help. Like every other opiate addiction, Oxycontin withdrawal experiences are often the single biggest barrier standing between a life of addiction and a drug-free existence.


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