Understanding the signs, symptoms, and possible effects of OxyContin addiction can be an important first step on the path toward successful long-term recovery. Sierra by the Sea in Newport Beach, California, is proud to be a source of accurate and relevant information about the impact of OxyContin addiction.
Learn about OxyContin addiction
OxyContin is a powerful prescription painkiller. This medication contains oxycodone, which is a semisynthetic opioid. OxyContin’s beneficial effects include the easing of pain and the elevation of mood. Dangerous effects of OxyContin include suppressed respiration, slowed heart rate, and risk of addiction.
Whether you use OxyContin for a legitimate medical reason or for illicit recreational purposes, you can become dependent on this drug. OxyContin addiction can compel you to use the drug with increased frequency and in larger and larger doses. It can also cause you to experience considerable distress when you try to end your OxyContin use, or when you are incapable of acquiring the drug.
In the absence of proper care, OxyContin addiction can quickly overwhelm your ability to live a healthy, satisfying, and productive life. Thankfully, OxyContin addiction is a treatable condition. When you receive the type and level of professional assistance that’s right for you, you can learn to manage your symptoms and regain control of your thoughts and actions.
Statistics about OxyContin use and addiction
The following statistics about OxyContin distribution, use, and addiction in the United States were reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- More than 191 million prescriptions for OxyContin and other opioids were filled in the U.S. in 2017.
- About 17% of all Americans received a prescription for OxyContin or another opioid in 2017. Those who were prescribed opioids received an average of 3.4 prescriptions per person.
- A 2016 survey revealed that about 11.5 million Americans had misused OxyContin or another prescription opioid in the previous 12 months.
- In 2017, more than 17,000 fatal overdoses in the U.S. involved the use of prescription opioids, a category that includes OxyContin.
- A 2015 study indicated that about 2 million Americans over the age of 12 were addicted to OxyContin or another prescription opioid.
Potential causes of OxyContin addiction
The likelihood that a person will become addicted to OxyContin can be influenced by a variety of genetic and environmental factors. No single factor is definitively linked to all cases of OxyContin addiction. However, individuals who have one or more of the following characteristics may have an increased risk for developing OxyContin addiction:
- Personal history of other substance use disorders
- Personal history of conduct disorder during childhood
- Family history of mental illness or addiction
- Being injured or developing a medical condition that is treated with OxyContin
- Inheriting certain personality characteristics, such as novelty-seeking or impulsivity
- Having easy access to OxyContin
Symptoms of OxyContin addiction
OxyContin addiction can cause a person to exhibit a range of signs and experience a variety of symptoms. The following are examples of some of the more common signs and symptoms of OxyContin addiction:
- Attempting to illicitly obtain prescriptions for OxyContin by “doctor shopping” or otherwise being deceitful with one or more prescribing physicians
- Stealing, borrowing, or offering to purchase OxyContin that was prescribed to someone else
- Spending a significant amount of time seeking, acquiring, using, and recovering from OxyContin
- Using OxyContin in combination with other drugs, when driving a car, or at other times when it is obviously dangerous to do so
- Continuing to use OxyContin even after experiencing negative repercussions due to previous use of this substance
- Lying to, arguing with, or otherwise having negative interactions with family members or friends about OxyContin use
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Impaired motor skills
- Pervasive lethargy or fatigue
- Powerful cravings for OxyContin
- Physical pain and flu-like symptoms when unable to use OxyContin
- Poor focus and concentration
- Loss of interest in activities that were once significant
- Diminished motivation
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or agitation when unable to use OxyContin
The negative impact of OxyContin addiction
Untreated OxyContin addiction can have a profound negative effect on virtually all areas of a person’s life. Failing to seek necessary care for OxyContin addiction can expose you to continued physical harm and psychological damage. It can also disrupt your academic progress, professional development, financial status, and social well-being.
The following are among the many potential effects of OxyContin addiction:
- Heart, liver, and kidney damage
- Respiratory distress
- Substandard results in school or at work
- Academic failure
- Job loss
- Chronic unemployment
- Financial distress
- Arrest, incarceration, and other legal problems
- Onset or worsening of co-occurring mental health concerns
- Family discord
- Strained or ruined friendships
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Poor self-esteem
- Pervasive feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Suicidal ideation
- Suicidal behaviors
When you seek proper professional care for OxyContin addiction, you can learn to manage your symptoms, avoid continued harm, and begin to heal from any negative effects that you have already experienced. With the right help, you can find the path to long-term recovery from OxyContin addiction.
Common co-occurring disorders among people who are addicted to OxyContin
OxyContin addiction is a type of opioid use disorder. If you develop this condition, you may also be at increased risk for certain co-occurring mental health challenges, such as the following:
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Major depressive disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Other substance use disorders
- Antisocial personality disorder
Please note that there is no universal cause-effect relationship between OxyContin addiction and the co-occurring disorders listed above. In some cases, a person’s mental health struggles may prompt them to use OxyContin in a misguided attempt at self-medication. In other cases, the OxyContin addiction may bring about the symptoms of a co-occurring mental health challenge.
What’s most important is to get professional help from a provider who can identify and, if necessary, address any co-occurring disorders that can accompany OxyContin addiction.
Withdrawing from OxyContin, and the risk of overdose
Effects of withdrawal: Withdrawal refers to the physical and psychological distress that can occur when a person who is addicted to OxyContin tries to stop using the drug. Common OxyContin withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Intense abdominal cramps
- Muscle and bone pain
- Elevated body temperature
- Excessive perspiration
- Powerful cravings for OxyContin
- Anxiety and paranoia
Effects of overdose: OxyContin overdose occurs when a person’s use of this drug exceeds their body’s ability to process it. This experience can be fatal. The following are signs of OxyContin overdose:
- Extreme confusion or disorientation
- Inability to be awakened
- Slow, shallow, or labored breathing
- Dangerously low heart rate
- Faint or imperceptible pulse
- Bluish coloration of skin near fingertips or lips
Do not ignore the signs of OxyContin overdose or disregard their seriousness. Anyone who exhibits the signs or effects listed above after using OxyContin needs immediate medical attention.