Treating Dependency for the Narcotic, Oxycontin

by Dr. Rich on September 18, 2012

Often, individuals who experience chronic pain are prescribed narcotic pain killers.  Whether it is from illness or injury, long term use of opioid narcotics like oxycontin may become habit forming.  Once addicted to oxycontin, it may become necessary to receive long-term professional assistance to overcome dependency.

While pain medication may be necessary to control chronic pain, this becomes a tricky situation for doctors.  The primary goal is to keep the patient out of pain while not encouraging dependency.  This is problematic because no two patients are alike.  One may use a medication for and extended time and have no problem with dependency, while another may become addicted fairly quickly.  Instead both patient and doctor need to communicate and discover when dependency is becoming an issue and work to avoid or correct this situation.

Oxycontin, also referred to as oxycodone, is a narcotic pain reliever.  It is usually prescribed to those who have experienced and injury or acquired an illness that will expose them to long term pain.  It is used to treat mild to moderate chronic pain.  Oxycontin gives a euphoric feeling and this medication can become addicting with long term use.

Dependency is classified with a strong desire to take the medication and when an individual begins to use this medication habitually and cannot control when and where they take it, or how often they use it.  Furthermore addiction may affect personal lives and relationships, as well as affecting work habits.  Sometimes relationships are irreparably damaged as a result of drug abuse.  This drug is particularly dangerous because it is a nervous system depressant.  Often those who use this drug need more and more to obtain that euphoric feeling, and as this is a depressant, it slows down body functions, including breathing.  For those who abuse this drug and take more than is indicated may risk  coma or death from accidental overdose.

Dependency is treated through various options and no one way will work for everyone.  Of course the first step in treatment is the recognition of a problem and the willingness to seek help.  Detoxification is typically where the healing process starts.  Detoxification may be attempted alone but this is not recommended.  It can be dangerous as there are many side effects of detoxification, and it may be a comfort to have a professional nearby in case of an emergency.  A professional may also offer comfort measures to help the process become more tolerable.

Withdrawal symptoms include severe cravings, nervousness and tremors, as well as nausea and vomiting.  As the anxiety intensifies, insomnia, muscle aches, cramping and diarrhea are also possibilities.  Patients may also have a fever or lose consciousness during this process.  It is important to undergo the detoxification process in a facility where professionals can administer medications to control symptoms like nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea, this ensures the individual will not become dangerously dehydrated.  Medications can also be given to control anxiety and tremors.  Detoxification may take anywhere from 4-8 days, and a medically assisted detox may increase the likelihood of beating the addiction.

Once detoxification is done, the next step is to find the right form of care for each individual to avoid a relapse.  This can be done by attending meetings where individuals can discuss their dependency and what

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