What Is Oxycontin?
Understanding what Oxycontin is can help you reduce your risk of becoming addicted to it, as this drug can be habit-forming. Your doctor most likely told you this but knowing about the drug in detail will help you much more.
History of Oxycontin
Oxycontin is an opioid made from opium. People have used opium for thousands of years. Egypt and Greece were the first countries to use it, but not for pain relief, for the high it delivers. In the 1800s, Great Britain and America started producing lanudanum, which was opium mixed with alcohol. They used it for various ailments including soothing teething babies and calming fever and cough in both children and adults.
Opium poppy plant seeds have a milky liquid inside. When extracted, the liquid can dry to a powder. The powder is the drug that goes into Oxycontin or other narcotics such as morphine.
Why Doctors Prescribe Oxycontin
When someone suffers from an extreme amount of pain, a doctor may prescribe Oxycontin to relieve it. It’s a narcotic pain reliever and similar to morphine. Doctors will only prescribe this medication to people who have severe pain. It has an extended release quality that can stop pain for up to 12 hours. When used responsibly, it is an effective pain management drug.
How Oxycontin Works
When someone takes Oxycontin, the drug stimulates opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). Oxycontin attaches to these receptors to stimulate them and the stimulation causes physiologic responses. These physiologic responses slow down the body. When the body slows down the signals to brain about the pain slow down and sometimes cease, which relieves the pain. However, other physiological responses come along with taking the drug. This includes slowed breathing, which many people will take as being more relaxed. While they may feel relaxed, it’s mostly because their heart rate has slowed, which can be dangerous. The other physiological response is euphoria. This is the high people receive from the drug that makes them not want to stop taking it.
Why Oxycontin Is So Addictive
Since Oxycontin is a type of opioid (agonist opioid), it is said to be the most effective pain reliever available. The simple effectiveness of the drug makes many people want to continue taking it, especially those who have chronic pain.
The problem with agonist opioid though is the more you take, the better you feel. In addition, the longer you take it, the more you’ll have to take to achieve the high. This can result in loss of money and time as the person starts to search frantically for a way to supply the amount of Oxycontin they need not to feel withdrawal effects. People begin to put Oxycontin first, even before work and relationships. It takes over life.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified Oxycontin as a schedule II controlled substance. They determine the classification of drugs based on how likely it is for it to become abused. When DEA classifies a drug as a controlled substance, physicians able to prescribe it have to record its use, restrict its distribution and report all of this to the DEA. This is the U.S. Department of Justice’s way to help prevent addiction. However, with such strong addictive qualities of the drug and motivations of addicts, it continues to be one of the most popular prescription drugs to abuse.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDC), 1.6 million people used prescription drugs for non-medicinal purposes in 1998 and these numbers have significantly increased each year.
When Not to Take Oxycontin
If you’ve ever abused drugs before, you should not take Oxycontin. Those who have a history of addiction have a much higher risk of being addicted again. Due to the physiological responses of Oxycontin, you should not take it if you suffer from the following:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Underactive thyroid
- Seizure disorder
- Low blood pressure
- Mental illness
- Adrenal gland disorders
- History of head injury
- History of brain tumor
- Curvature of the spine
There are many drugs you cannot take when taking this drug so be sure to let your doctor know of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take.
How to Control Oxycontin Addiction Risk
If you receive Oxycontin for pain relief, the best defense against addiction is to follow the doctor’s recommendations exactly. Never increase your dosage without consulting with your doctor first. If you find the dosage is not working for you, it is perfectly okay to contact your doctor to ask for his guidance. He may increase your dose or prescribe you something else. Never take Oxycontin to experience the secondary effects of it, such as the euphoria. This could result in addiction.
What to Do If You Are Addicted
If you have found yourself taking more Oxycontin than prescribed and fear you may have developed a dependency on the drug, contact your doctor immediately. You may need to decrease the dose slowly so you can wean yourself off the drug without suffering severe withdrawal effects.
If you have been addicted to Oxycontin for a while and don’t feel you can let go of the drug, Oxycontin addiction treatment (800-303-2482) is available. Medical professionals can help you detox from Oxycontin and counselors can help you understand why you became addicted and what you can do to prevent addiction once more.
How Loved Ones Can Help Oxycontin Addiction
When a loved one has a problem with Oxycontin addiction, it can be difficult to get through to him or her about it. Often times, addicts will believe they need the drug and they are not suffering any consequences to the drug’s use. Disagreeing with your loved one about this could result in violent, aggressive outbursts and isolation.
Seek guidance from Al-Anon, which is an organization for family and friends suffering from a loved one’s drug addiction. They can provide resources to help your loved one and give you tips on how you can help him or her effectively.
Anyone Can Become Addicted to Oxycontin
While you may not believe you are the type of person to abuse drugs, it can happen to anyone. Oxycontin changes your body and makes you believe you need it. Take care of yourself by being aware of how you are using the drug and depend on your doctor to help you stay away from addiction.