OxyContin is a member of the ‘opiate’ family of drugs and it is often referred to as ‘legal heroin’. OxyContin is extremely addictive and detoxification gives rise to painful and often dangerous withdrawal symptoms, especially during the initial 72 hours after OxyContin was last consumed by the addict. Users often get hooked on this drug after using it as a pain reliever. Whilst the drug is capable of being used sensibly to manage pain, a small majority of clients go on to develop a dependency for the drug.
If you or a loved one live in the United Kingdom and hold an addiction to OxyContin, you will likely be eager to read this post. I outline the stages clients go through when withdrawing from OxyContin usage.
Before OxyContin detox is attempted the medical team needs to determine the user’s level of dependency on the drug. The severity and duration of addiction determines the severity of withdrawal symptoms appearing during detoxification. The longer the period of addiction to OxyContin usually means the longer the required period of detoxification. Users who have consumed OxyContin for many years typically require a tapered detox. This allows their nervous system time to adjust to a sober state of functionality. Since OxyContin is an opioid, long-term users require time for natural endorphin levels to stabilise in the brain during detoxification.
To taper or not to taper, that is the question
The options available to those in rehab is to either cut OxyContin use entirely (i.e. go ‘cold turkey’) or to reduce dosages slowly (i.e. tapering). The decision is different from client to client. Rehab clinics should have reference to clients’ wishes. Long-term users of OxyContin are most likely to benefit from a tapered detox. A suitable daily percentage reduction is agreed, with reference to the length of the clients rehab programme. Rehabs aim to eliminate OxyContin use during rehab but leaving enough time to tackle psychological triggers of addiction during therapy. For this reason clients opting for tapered detox are usually advised to opt for a full four-week rehab programme.
A cold turkey detox is most suitable for short-term addicts.
Many rehab clinics may offer ‘opioid replacement therapy’. Here clients substitute the use of OxyContin for another opioid-based drug. This substitute-drug usually means Suboxone or even Methadone. The rationale behind this form of therapy is to first wean clients off OxyContin and then tackle withdrawal symptoms associated with less powerful opioids carrying less problematic withdrawal symptoms.
Typical withdrawal symptoms
A list of common withdrawal symptoms experienced during OxyContin withdrawal include:
- Stomach pain
- Mood swings
- Intense cravings for the drug
As stated above, the length of the above symptoms is determined by how long and how much the addict has continued to use OxyContin.
Posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 at 3:08 pm in Prescription Drugs.