OxyContin Withdrawal

OxyContin contains oxycodone, which is a highly potent opiate.

Taking OxyContin on a regular basis creates changes in the brain. Chronic OxyContin users develop a tolerance -- meaning that they need higher doses of the medication to feel the same effects -- and once tolerant, they can't stop taking the drug without consequences (such as the onset of withdrawal symptoms).

The need to keep taking the medication regularly just to keep from feeling sick prolongs the addictions of many OxyContin users, and many people delay seeking treatment because they don't want to experience the agonies of withdrawal.

OxyContin withdrawal is tough, and a cold turkey withdrawal (done without medical supervision) from a lengthy period of abuse can strain the best intentions to get clean and stay clean.

Fortunately, OxyContin addiction treatment options exist that can minimize withdrawal discomforts and greatly increase your chances of staying clean.

OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms

The following are common symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Joint, muscle, and bone aches
  • Sweats
  • Yawning
  • Fatigue

In many ways, an OxyContin withdrawal feels like the exact opposite of an OxyContin high.

OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as five hours after the last dose,  and can last for as long as a week in duration. Users have described OxyContin withdrawal as similar to a heroin withdrawal, and some people describe it as, "the worst flu you've ever had."

The intensity and duration of the withdrawal symptoms will depend on the length and severity of the OxyContin abuse and on other variables. In general, the longer you've used and the more you've taken, the worse the withdrawal experience tends to be.

OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can continue for many months after the cessation of use (though with less severity than in the immediate aftermath of cessation). Secondary and longer-lasting OxyContin withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, lethargy, and depression. These symptoms tend to be variable in intensity and occurrence, and eventually they subside completely.

OxyContin Withdrawal Treatments

There is little reason to suffer through a full intensity cold-turkey detox on your own when withdrawal treatments can make the process much safer, much more comfortable, and much more likely to result in lasting abstinence.

Dose Tapering

People who have been prescribed OxyContin for legitimate pain relief should never stop using abruptly. Instead, their doctors will taper down the prescribed daily dose over a period of months to minimize the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms.

This tapering option exists for everyone, but OxyContin addicts (people who are abusing the medication for the intoxication and mood-lifting effects) tend to have great difficulty sticking with a dosage tapering program.

Detox and Treatment

OxyContin addicts can experience a safer and less painful withdrawal period while participating in a medically supervised detox program and while taking certain medications to ease the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Detox alone is never a cure for addiction though, and OxyContin addicts who detox without participating in on-going addiction treatments (such as classes, group therapy sessions, and behavioral therapy) are statistically unlikely to maintain sobriety from OxyContin.

After a successful detox period, OxyContin addicts in recovery need to learn how to overcome drug cravings and how to avoid relapse, skills they can acquire through involvement with an effective addiction treatment program.

Statistics show that the longer someone stays in addiction treatment, the more likely they are to achieve long-term sobriety. There are no quick-fix solutions to an OxyContin addiction.

Medication Management

Opiate addicts can switch from drugs such heroin or OxyContin to medications such as methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone) to ease the transition between addiction and recovery.
While taking a substitution opiate like Suboxone you won't feel withdrawal symptoms, you won’t feel drug cravings, and you won’t feel high – and even if you try to take another opiate to get high, it won't work. People who are taking medically supervised Suboxone (buprenorphine) or methadone break free from the desperation and need of their opiate addiction and get a chance to put their lives back together. The costs of any type of opiate abuse far exceed the costs of either Suboxone or methadone, and both drugs are very effective in keeping people free from opiate abuse.

Both methadone and buprenorphine work very well, although some people who have histories of very high OxyContin abuse may find that buprenorphine doesn't offer them complete relief from their withdrawal symptoms. Those who follow a medically supervised methadone maintenance plan are not likely to have this problem.

Get Better Today

To discuss your options and to learn about OxyContin addiction treatment programs in your area, call the National Resource Center at 888-471-0430.

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