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Article Summary

How To Stop Using Oxycontin

OxyContin is an extended release opioid drug used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. If used as prescribed, it is quite beneficial in controlling pain. However, many people abuse the drug and eventually become addicted to it. Eventually, they find that it is hard to stop using the drug. Luckily, there are a variety of recovery and treatment options that can help you return to a life free of drugs. Learning how to stop using OxyContin will enable you make the right choice about your rehabilitation and treatment.

At the moment, the safest way to stop abusing OxyContin is by gradually and slowly reducing your daily use under medical supervision. Although withdrawing from this drug is rarely life threatening, its symptoms are severe, intense, and uncomfortable.

With addiction treatment, you can overcome your dependence and go back to a life free of the drug. Read on to learn more about how to stop using OxyContin in the long term:

About Oxycontin

Containing a large percentage of oxycodone, OxyContin is an opioid painkiller prescribed for the treatment of pain. The drug works by acting on the body's opioid receptors, making it effective at pain management.

However, OxyContin comes with a high potential for abuse. Apart from its abilities as a painkiller, it also creates an euphoric high - which is similar to other opioids, such as heroin. Actually, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) reports that over 16 million people abused this drug in 2012.

Oxycontin Abuse

You need to be honest about the reasons why you use this substance while assessing your risk of a potential or actual drug problem. Although the basic signs of OxyContin use tend to be distinct and relatively easy to spot, you might require further soul searching and introspection to tell if you are definitely addicted to it.

Addiction refers to using a substance over a long period of time even when you realize that it is causing negative effects in your life and that it might lead to additional problems in your future.

Some of the common factors that show that you might be addicted to this drug include, but are not limited to:

  • After getting a prescription for OxyContin, you end up using more than the amount indicated by your doctor
  • Anytime you try to stop using OxyContin, you end up experiencing unwanted physical and mental health symptoms, including depression and agitation
  • It is becoming increasing difficult for you to hide the fact that you use OxyContin
  • OxyContin has been affecting your work, school, social, and/or home life negatively
  • When you use OxyContin, it cause an euphoric rush in your brain
  • You have been in more fights with loved ones
  • You have failed to devote enough attention and time to your responsibilities, such as paying bills and going to work
  • You have tried illegally trading and buying the medication
  • You have unsuccessfully try to stop or limit your use of this medication
  • You no longer take care of yourself, both mentally and physically
  • You place less value on most of your important relationships
  • You spend most of your time thinking about OxyContin as well as trying to get more of it
  • You tend to think about the drug and using it pretty much all the time
  • You try getting multiple prescriptions for OxyContin from different doctors
  • You use the drug to avoid mental and emotional problems

In case any of the factors listed above apply to you, it might be high time that you went for medical assessment to see if you have developed an addiction to the opioid. Although this might seem scary to you, remember that OxyContin is a potent prescription medication that comes with a high potential for abuse and eventual addiction.

To this end, you should not feel ashamed to report that you have a problem with it. In fact, once you recognize that you have started developing the typical patterns of drug abuse, you should consider getting treatment immediately.

Today, OxyContin is among the most prescribed pain relief medications on the market today. Additionally, it is ranked among the most abused drugs. For instance, NSDUH (the National Survey on Drug Use and Health) reported in 2013 that people between the ages of 18 and 25 were the most likely to report that they had abused the drug - compared to those above the age of 26.

Additionally, the Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health for 2016 reported that 1.7 million people above the age of 12 in the United States (which accounts for about 0.7% of the entire population) reported using OxyContin for non-medical reasons in the past year.

Therefore, you should never shy away from getting an assessment to check if you are addicted to this drug. This is usually the first step you need to take as you continue learning how to stop using OxyContin.

When you want to stop abusing painkiller medications like OxyContin, you might find that it is quite challenging. This is particularly if you try to do without the right information, resources, and support.

In fact, trying to quit this drug cold turkey can prove to be so difficult that you'll just start using it again. Doctors and addiction treatment professionals, for instance, do not recommend this method for health reasons.

Using OxyContin in the long term has also been shown to cause tolerance, dependence, and - eventually - addiction. When you try to quit, therefore, you may experience withdrawal.

Quitting Oxycontin

If you try to quit OxyContin through the cold turkey approach, you might experience strong and adverse withdrawal symptoms that might tempt you to start using the medication again. Although some people are successful through this approach, you may find that it is counterproductive and only causes you to take more of the drug than you used to.

This is because addiction to oxycodone often comes with serious underlying mental health issues that have to be addressed before you can fully quit. In most cases, therefore, when you to try to stop using OxyContin, you will experience the following:

  • Your body might adjust to having the drug in its system for long time periods
  • After stopping the drug, you may experience withdrawal particularly because your body can't function properly and normally without the presence of OxyContin
  • At this point, the withdrawal symptoms will show up

The recommended way to stop abusing OxyContin is through tapering. This involves reducing the doses of the drug gradually over a couple of weeks/months. To ensure that the taper approach works out well for you, consider talking to an addiction specialist or a doctor.

They will create dosage schedules that you can follow to taper off the drug safely without experiencing any negative or adverse repercussions. As far as possible, you should ensure that you follow the instructions from your doctor. This way, you can ensure that your quitting process is safe.

However, your doctor might also recommend medications that can support you as you try to give up OxyContin once and for all. Some of these medications will be discussed in the sections below.

Oxycontin Overuse And Abuse

Most people who are addicted to OxyContin start by using the drug legitimately after a doctor prescribes it for pain relief. Over time, however, you may become addicted to the drug after developing tolerance to this.

In this situation, you may have to take higher doses of the medication every time you use it. This is because your initial dose might not be effective at helping you achieve the positive and desirable effects that you are looking for - such as relief from severe pain.

After you develop an addiction to OxyContin, you may start taking more of the drug than your doctor prescribed or at closer intervals. This behavior is typical of substance abuse and it is a clear sign that the time has come for you to learn how to stop using OxyContin and to seek treatment for your addiction.

In other cases, however, the drug may be recreationally used by people who wish to get high. If you are affected by this form of use, it is highly likely that you might have obtained the substance illegally - either by using a friend's or family member's prescription or buying it illicitly on the street.

When you use OxyContin recreationally, you might crush it before consumption. Alternatively, you may snort the resulting powder or dissolve it in water for intravenous use.

In its liquid form, however, the drug may be taken in higher than usual doses (particularly because most users never measure how much of the substance they are about to abuse).

This mode of use often tends to produce a more intense and immediate high. This is because OxyContin was originally formulated as an extended release medication meaning that the pills will release oxycodone into your system slowly and gradually.

Using the drug recreational is never harmless or harmless. In case you suspect that you have been doing so - or you know someone who might be abusing the drug - it is highly recommended that you get treated before the problem escalates and gets out of hand.

Benefits Of Quitting Oxycontin

Since OxyContin is a powerful opioid, it is commonly prescribed for pain relief. However, you might easily become addicted to it on account of the feelings of intense relaxation and euphoria it elicits.

Still, abusing this drug may cause you to experience personality changes, mood swings, confusion, drowsiness, and constipation. If you snort or inject it, you might increase your risk of suffering such health complication and perforated nasal septum, scarred veins, HIV, and Hepatitis.

When you decide to learn how to stop using OxyContin and eventually quit it, you will eliminate most of these negative health effects of addiction. Quitting will also help you in the following ways:

  • Achieve better mental and physical health and functioning
  • Avoid facing problems at your job, such as getting fired or facing disciplinary action
  • Ensure that you do not disrupt or ruin your relationships with family and close friends
  • Reduce or completely eliminate the risk of an OxyContin overdose, which might prove fatal

Oxycontin Overdose

OxyContin overdose is one of the major dangerous consequences that arise from abusing the drug, and eventually become tolerance to, dependent on, and addicted to it. Overdose will happen when you take more of the substance than your brain and body can logically handle.

Using OxyContin over the long term can cause your body to build tolerance to it eventually leading to an overdose. However, you can still overdose on it even if you take a single tablet for the very first time or you have been abusing the substance for a relatively short time period. In fact, medics report that most young people who take only one tablet of this drug eventually suffer an overdose and lose their lives as a result.

Overdosing on OxyContin comes with the following adverse effects:

  • Skeletal muscle flaccidity
  • Cold skin
  • Clammy skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low heart rate
  • Coma
  • Severe respiratory distress
  • Death

Oxycontin Withdrawal And Side Effects

Detoxification is usually the first step you need to take while trying to recover from OxyContin abuse and addiction. Although it is not an actual treatment for drug addiction, successfully completing it will greatly increase your chances of achieving and maintaining long term sobriety. However, if you fail to go for further treatment after your detox, you may have a high risk of relapsing and starting to use OxyContin again.

That said, when you stop taking OxyContin suddenly or you lower the dose your body has become accustomed to, you will likely suffer withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal will vary from one person to the other and may depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • How long you have been using the drug
  • Any other physical and emotional problems you may be having
  • How much of the drug you were taking
  • Your age
  • Your medical condition

Withdrawal refers to a set of highly predictable symptoms that tend to occur and reveal themselves when you stop using a drug. It is a sign that you have become dependent on OxyContin - a physical state in which your body would have adjusted to having the oxycodone component of the drug in your system. It mostly arises as a result of using the substance over a long duration.

Therefore, if you reduce your daily dose or stop taking OxyContin entirely, you will transition to withdrawal mode. After that, the withdrawal symptoms you experience will be a manifestation of some of the symptoms that the drug might have been suppressing artificially.

Using OxyContin for a couple of weeks may lead to dependence. However, taking the drug over the long haul might make the withdrawal effects that you eventually experience worse than if you had only used it for some days/weeks.

Although withdrawing from this drug is uncomfortable, it is rarely life threatening. Still, you may suffer the following symptoms when you start quitting OxyContin:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Body pain
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast pulse
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Sleep disorders
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Watery eyes

The severity of these withdrawal symptoms will largely depend on the dose of OxyContin you were taking and how fast withdrawal makes an onset. Since most of these symptoms are uncomfortable, withdrawal might prove to be too frightening for you - leading you to start using the drug again or compelling you to replace it with a similar substance, such as heroin.

This is why it is highly recommended that you undergo medically managed detox to ensure that you don't start abusing OxyContin again to relieve these withdrawal symptoms.

Is Withdrawal Dangerous?

As mentioned above, OxyContin withdrawal is hardly ever life threatening. However, it can be so uncomfortable that you will eventually relapse. In fact, detoxing from this drug will rarely cause serious medical issues or death. However, you might experience several medical complications - such as severe dehydration as a result of vomiting as well as heart problems.

In general, detoxing from OxyContin might make you experience flu-like symptoms. The symptoms might be unpleasant and severe enough to undermine your attempts at recovery.

The best way to overcome your dependence on this drug is by undergoing a professional detoxification program. This way, you will receive the medical monitoring and supervision you need to keep you comfortable as well as minimize the risk of relapsing.

Quitting Oxycontin

In most cases, you just can't stop abusing or using OxyContin. This is because stopping your drug use may lead to strong and intense withdrawal, especially if you are already physically dependent on it.

Medical intervention may ease these withdrawal symptoms - most of which tend to be unpleasant but can easily be relieved when you take another dose of the substance. To ensure you do not relapse - as this action is commonly referred to - it would be better if you sought medical advice before quitting.

This is particularly true for people who are:

  • Extremely tolerant to the drug
  • High dose users
  • In a state of poor health
  • Long term users
  • Pregnant
  • Using other medications and/or intoxicating substances concurrently

In the same way, if you have developed an addiction to OxyContin, it is essential that you first address all the underlying psychological causes for the problem. Otherwise, you might find yourself restarting your use just to cope with life.

On the other hand, you might wonder whether it is possible to quit OxyContin cold turkey. Although you can do so, it tends to be highly risky especially because of the psychological and physical complications quitting cold turkey may create.

For starters, the withdrawal will be uncomfortable, meaning that you will find life hard to endure when you suddenly stop using this drug. In the same way, abruptly stopping your use may not address all the causes underlying your addiction to this substance. Therefore, if you simply stop using OxyContin without first learning how you became addicted, the risk of relapse might be quite high.

On the other hand, withdrawing from OxyContin might exacerbate any underlying mental health conditions. This is because some of those who use the drug might also suffer from another co-occurring mental health disorder - such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, anxiety, or depression.

The problems might intensify when you start detoxing and, eventually, provide substantial challenges to your full recovery from OxyContin addiction and abuse. This is why you need medical supervision if you decide to detox.

However, there are situations in which you might be required to stop using the drug cold turkey, such as:

  • In medical emergencies
  • When you undergo the treatment suggested for your addiction
  • Incarceration
  • No longer being able to obtain the drug

Medical Detox For Oxycontin

As you have already seen, it can be quite difficult for you to stop using OxyContin. This is why medical assistance is so necessary in the process. In fact, medical detox will make your withdrawal process more human.

Expect the following from a medical detox:

a) Assessment

After checking into the detox clinic, you might spend about one hour with a doctor completing paper work, undergoing assessment, and discussing your condition. After that, they may administer a drug test.

Assessment is important because it will help the detox clinic or drug rehab center plan the services that you will receive as you undergo therapy to overcome your OxyContin abuse and addiction.

b) Evaluation

After that, your medical history will be taken and you might be asked to complete a full physical exam and psychological evaluation.

In case you are going to need medication to ease your withdrawal, the nurses present might get a prescription from licensed physicians before they start the medication-based treatment for OxyContin use and addiction.

c) Tapering Schedules

Next up, you may be required to complete detoxification tapering schedules as outlined by your doctor. At this time, you should expect to start experiencing the symptoms of withdrawing from this drug. Therefore, it would help if you could educate yourself on how to stop using OxyContin and the specific withdrawal symptoms you are likely to encounter.

d) Transfer to Treatment

Undergoing medical detoxification is the first step to getting this drug completely out of your system. After the drug has been effectively eliminated, you might be transferred to treatment where you will learn how to start living life free of drugs.

In most cases, addiction treatment is useful because it will help you quit OxyContin once and for all. However, it is a personal choice and you will not be actively forced to make it.

Medication-Assisted Treatment For Oxycontin Withdrawal

While detoxing from this drug in a treatment center, you might be prescribed opioid treatment medications to ease your withdrawal symptoms and control your cravings. After that, the physicians involved will start tapering you off the drug gradually or continue you on a maintenance dose for some time.

The following drugs may also be used to help you quit OxyContin. However, they also come with some risks. For instance, you might become dependent on some of the opioid agonist drugs used to treat your opioid dependence - which could also come with their own unique withdrawal symptoms. This is why you should only undergo medication-assisted treatment under a doctor's supervision and monitoring.

Some of the medications that your doctor might use to help you deal with OxyContin withdrawal include:

  • Antidepressants, to address any underlying depression
  • Antidiarrheals for treating diarrhea
  • Buprenorphine to cut cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms
  • Clonidine for muscle pain, cramping, runny nose, sweating, agitation, and anxiety
  • Dicyclomine hydrochloride to deal with abdominal cramps
  • Methadone to prevent withdrawal and reduce/cut cravings for OxyContin
  • Methocarbamol for treating muscle cramps and joint pain
  • Naltrexone to reduce the rewarding effects of the drug
  • Promethazine and Hydroxyzine to reduce vomiting and nausea
  • Trazodone to treat anxiety and depression

If you are using medications for OxyContin detox, you should report any symptoms of euphoria or when you feel high. This way, your doctor can adjust your treatment to ensure that you do not end up replacing your current addiction with another one.

Treatment And Recovery Options For Oxycontin Addiction

Before you learn more about the programs and recovery options that could help you learn how to stop using OxyContin, it is imperative that you take some steps to make life easier for yourself:

a) Be Honest

As far as possible, you need to get real honest with yourself to be able to benefit fully from treatment for your addiction. Therefore, you might want to start by admitting that you have a serious problem with OxyContin.

b) Ask for Help

Next up, you should stop seeing your addiction as a problem with your morals or self-control. In fact, addiction is now considered to be a serious medical problem that affects many people.

However, you need to keep in mind how hard it can be to stop using OxyContin. This will help you save your time by asking for the help you need to quit it. There are many people who are ready and willing to assist you - including family, friends, and addiction professionals.

Last but not least, you should seek the specialized help you require. Start by deciding whether you would like to go for medical detox followed by addiction rehabilitation - or either one of the two. Some of the places where you can find the specialty services you need to overcome your OxyContin addiction include:

  • Addiction rehabilitation centers
  • Medical detox clinics
  • Medical doctors
  • Licensed psychologists
  • Licensed psychiatrists

In case you think that you are addicted to OxyContin, undergoing rehabilitation might help you. Staying at the rehab center will help you understand why you have been using the painkillers to deal with mental and emotional pain and what you can do to start living without them.

Some options here include:

  • 12-step programs
  • Educational classes about drug addiction and full recovery
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Inpatient treatment programs, or residential rehabilitation
  • Outpatient treatment programs
  • Teen treatment programs

Aftercare

After you undergo treatment for OxyContin abuse and addiction, you may want to sign up for aftercare. Also referred to as follow-up care, this is one of the important components of your recovery that could sustain your newfound freedom from drugs.

Most people will leave an inpatient drug rehab facility and step down to an outpatient program for several days or weeks. Outpatient treatment will reinforce the skills and lessons they learned during residential treatment and prevent them from relapsing.

After that, they may choose either one of the following options:

  • 12-step meetings, such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous)
  • Non-12-step support groups, including LifeRing Secular Recovery, Women for Sobriety, SMART Recovery, and others run by private counseling centers, community centers, and churches
  • Sober living homes and environments

Follow-up care and appropriate aftercare are important to ensure that you can sustain your recovery and sobriety after you have undergone treatment for OxyContin abuse and addiction.

During aftercare, therefore, you will get the opportunity to reinforce the skills, information, and knowledge you gained from inpatient and outpatient treatment. This way, you will be better placed to prevent yourself from relapsing. Additionally, the care will support your long term recovery from oxycodone abuse.

Overall, quitting OxyContin is not easy. However, with the right kind of help, assistance, encouragement, therapy, counseling, and support - as well as medication - you should be able to give up the drug once and for all. The first step to learning how to stop using OxyContin, however, will require that you be honest and admit you have a problem before you start looking for solutions to it.

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