OxyContin (oxycodone) is an effective short-term painkiller that is also associated with abuse and addiction.
This guide highlights the signs and dangers of oxycodone abuse. Learn how Oxy addiction can develop quickly and discover how to detox and engage with evidence-based treatment if you are addicted to OxyContin.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is a branded version of oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opioid and the active ingredient in many prescription painkillers indicated for the management of moderate to severe pain.
This medication is among the most abused of all prescription drugs in the U.S. and goes by many street names, including:
- Hillbilly heroin
OxyContin tablets come in different sizes and colors to reflect different strengths of Oxy (20mg, 40mg, or 80mg). Tablets are designed to be swallowed whole so that the controlled-release mechanism ensures a steady stream of pain relief.
Those who abuse OxyContin non-medically often bypass this extended-release action by crushing Oxy tablets and snorting the powder or injecting the tablets after dissolving them in water. OxyContin abuse can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
Is Oxycodone Addictive?
The DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration) classifies OxyContin as a Schedule II controlled substance. Drugs in this schedule have some medical utility combined with a high potential for abuse and addiction.
OxyContin works by attaching to opioid receptors located in the brain, triggering relaxation and euphoria, as well as relieving pain.
If you take OxyContin for an extended period, tolerance to the drug forms, diminishing its effects and prompting many people to take more oxycodone or more frequent doses to counter tolerance. Any form of Oxy abuse will accelerate the development of physical dependence.
When you become dependent on OxyContin, you will require the medication to function normally, and you will experience withdrawal symptoms when the effects of Oxy wear off. OxyContin dependence can develop rapidly, even when the opioid is used as prescribed for pain relief. Addiction often but not always follows.
How Long Does It Take to Get Addicted to Oxycodone?
The amount of time it takes to become addicted to oxycodone may vary depending on factors that include the dosage and frequency of use, as well as personal factors like genetics and mental health. That said, addiction to oxycodone can develop within a short time frame – sometimes as little as two weeks.
If oxycodone is used as prescribed, the risk of addiction is relatively low. However, when oxycodone is taken at higher doses or more frequently than prescribed, or when Oxy is used recreationally, addiction often develops much more quickly.
Additionally, long-term use of oxycodone can lead to physical dependence, which can make it harder to stop using the drug without experiencing intensely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms present within a few hours to a few days after the last use of OxyContin, persisting for 7 to 10 days.
Signs of Oxycodone Addiction
The signs of OxyContin addiction will vary from person to person. Some markers of opioid abuse may be evident soon after the onset of opioid therapy. Other signs may not become detectable for months.
These are some common Oxycontin addiction signs:
- Mood swings
- Weight loss
- Loss of coordination
- Isolating behaviors
- Reduced fitness levels
- Poor standards of personal hygiene
- Doctor shopping to get more OxyContin
If you identify several of these signs of opioid abuse in yourself or a loved one, watch out for the development of OxyContin addiction in the form of opioid use disorder.
OxyContin addiction is diagnosed according to DSM-5-TR criteria. DSM-5-TR is the revised fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association’s benchmark diagnostic tool outlines the following symptoms of OxyContin addiction:
- Spending lots of time using OxyContin and recovering from its effects.
- Trying and failing to control or discontinue the use of opioids.
- Taking more OxyContin than intended or using OxyContin longer than planned.
- Experiencing intense cravings for OxyContin.
- Neglecting personal and professional obligations due to OxyContin use.
- Continuing use of OxyContin even though it creates problems in your relationships?
- Tolerance to OxyContin developing meaning that you need more Oxy to achieve the initial effects.
- Spending less time on hobbies and interests in favor of using opioids.
- Using OxyContin in dangerous situations.
- Withdrawal symptoms manifesting in the absence of OxyContin.
- Ongoing OxyContin use even though it is causing or inflaming a physical or mental health condition.
OxyContin addiction is diagnosed as follows: mild (2 or 3 criteria), moderate (4 or 5 criteria), or severe (6 criteria or more).
Features of OxyContin Addiction Treatment
The most effective treatment for OxyContin addiction begins with a supervised medical detox. The benefits of a medical detox include:
- Beating physical dependence on OxyContin.
- Streamlining the withdrawal process.
- Monitoring underlying medical conditions
- Preventing relapse by reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
- Facilitating MAT (medication-assisted treatment) for OxyContin addiction in ongoing inpatient or outpatient treatment that involves the administration of FDA-approved medications with behavioral interventions.
MAT is proven effective for the treatment of opioid use disorders like OxyContin addiction. Buprenorphine and naltrexone may mitigate cravings and withdrawal symptoms during Oxy detox. Methadone may be beneficial for promoting abstinence from opioids during ongoing treatment for OxyContin addiction.
Medication-assisted treatment is most effective when combined with behavioral interventions like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). A therapist will help you to identify your personal triggers for OxyContin use. You will then create positive coping techniques to use when confronted by stress in your ongoing recovery from OxyContin addiction.
OxyContin Rehab at Ohio Community Health
Whether you are addicted to prescription painkillers, heroin, or fentanyl, Ohio Community Health specializes in treating opioid addictions in Cincinnati.
If you require a supervised medical detox, we can help connect you with licensed medical detox centers in your area. Medications can streamline the intensity of opioid withdrawal and reduce cravings during detox. After a week or so, you can engage with an intensive outpatient treatment program at our treatment facility in Cincinnati.
All drug addictions respond positively to MAT (medication-assisted treatment) during detoxification and ongoing therapy. At Ohio Community Health, MAT is delivered alongside behavioral interventions like psychotherapy and counseling to produce the most favorable outcomes.
During your opioid addiction treatment, you will identify what triggers you to use opioids, and you will develop healthy coping strategies to use in your ongoing recovery. All Ohio Community Health treatment programs include a robust aftercare component due to the high relapse rates of opioid use disorder. When you are ready to start living free of opioids, we can help you from detox to discharge and beyond. Call (877) 679-2132 today for immediate assistance.