When opioid pain medications, such as OxyContin are prescribed, doctors will take time to assess the patient in terms of the possibility of developing a dependence on the drug and getting into addiction trouble. If taken as prescribed, for the right length of time, there is no reason to fear that a patient will have withdrawal trouble. However, that is not always the case and there are times when those using OxyContin will experience withdrawal symptoms.
All of us are unique
Every person is different, so how much OxyContin they took and for how long will play into the possibility of withdrawal symptoms cropping up. Over time, a person builds tolerance to OxyContin, and other drugs, so the brain is sometimes tricked into thinking that the drug needs to be there in order to function.
After a period of time, and this is usually several weeks, the person can develop a physical dependence on the drug, so taking the drug away suddenly is going to be difficult. In general OxyContin withdrawal, and for that matter withdrawal from other opiates, will not be fatal; uncomfortable, but not fatal.
A person may experience sweating, soreness in the muscles and joints, coughing, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, irregular heart beat and palpitations and fatigue. These signs of OxyContin withdrawal will occur sometime between six hours and a day or so after the last use. Depending on the history with the drug, a person may fight these inconveniences for up to a week.
Addicts usually have HUGE fear of withdrawal
Opiate addicts, including Oxy addicts, fear the withdrawal probably more than the actual addiction, even though they may fully understand the health ramifications of the disease. They just don’t want to go through the withdrawal, so they avoid going in for treatment.
However, there is no reason for concern, as treatment centers will facilitate a medical detoxification period, which significantly reduces the discomfort of withdrawal and helps the addict get back on track with his/her treatment quickly. Usually if the person is abusing the drug and is not an addict, the withdrawal can be less intense, but even occasional users can experience withdrawal.
Withdrawal can sometimes be medically dangerous
OxyContin withdrawal can be dangerous in some cases. One of the possible symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal is nausea and vomiting. If the person aspirates stomach contents into the lungs that can cause severe damage. It can choke the individual, or cause an infection to develop.
In either case, it’s a serious matter. People can become dehydrated through the withdrawal process, which causes a myriad of problems with bodily function and health. However, the single biggest worry that an OxyContin user has after withdrawal is overdose. Let’s say a person elects to go through medical detoxification and the chemical is purged from their body.
The tolerance they built up is no longer in play and the body cannot handle the amount of drug they used to take to get high, or achieve relief from pain. The system gets overloaded and people wind up in the emergency room. OxyContin withdrawal is not fatal, but overdose can be.
Addiction treatment is almost always the best choice
Treatment is the best option for those struggling with OxyContin withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms can last a few days, but there are longer term problems that people may experience. Once the initial medical work has been done, the focus is on helping the patient deal with the lingering withdrawal—the cravings.
To help people get off of OxyContin and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, two drugs in particular come to mind—Methadone and Suboxone, which are used as a part of a longer-term program, often times in an out-patient setting. Methadone is taken in a special clinic, while Suboxone can be administered by a doctor.
While they act differently, both drugs are designed to block the cravings that the OxyContin addict will have after detox and treatment. In either case, the idea is to get the person off of any drug, even the ones to keep him/her off the opiate. Sometimes the program takes place over long periods of time, as the maintenance dosage is just enough to help the person function without the cravings.
Meanwhile, patients can be prescribed other medications to help them deal with anxiety, the muscle aches and other symptoms.
Don’t take opiate addiction lightly!
OxyContin abuse and addiction are not to be taken lightly, as addiction to this potent opiate is dangerous to a person’s health and well-being. Addicts may receive treatment in a residential facility or in an out-patient clinic, but it is important that they deal with their disease.
Oxy addicts don’t just go “cold turkey” and few can just decide one day to quit. Again, treatment is the most viable option and people can chose which facility best suits them, but going without treatment can lead to their untimely death.
It’s a difficult process, and relapse sadly is a part of that process, but people do overcome addiction to OxyContin and other opiates, so it is important to focus on the goal and persevere.