Oxycontin figures as one of the most abused narcotic pain-relievers. An opioid analgesic, it is prescribed for getting relief from moderate to intense pain. When taken as prescribed by the medical practitioner, it offers great benefits to the patients who suffer from chronic pain in the back or neck, for example. It is also useful for alleviating prolonged pain as suffered by the cancer patients.
However, the presence of oxycodone in oxycontin engenders a strong high when the tablets are powdered and snorted or diluted in water and injected into the body. The abuser of this drug experiences the same feeling that usage of heroin offers. Oxycontin is also popularly called hillbilly heroin.
The overdose of this otherwise useful drug leads to severe oxycontin effects.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse reveals that oxycontin abuse surpasses heroin abuse in some parts of the United States. As the user of this drug becomes an abuser, a tolerance for oxycontin quickly builds. Increasingly, he requires a greater amount of the drug for attaining a similar effect.
Since this drug influences the central nervous system, the oxycontin effects due to abuse can finally be respiratory failure and then death.
When the user starts taking the drug more than that has been prescribed, he experiences nausea and vomiting. Muscular control is diminished and the abuser shows limpness. He is drowsy and inclined to sleep for longer hours. Redness of eyes and bleak vision are other oxycontin effects.
The abuser suffers from constipation and loss of appetite. His skin is flushed. Itching and profuse sweating are highly evident.
Oxycontin abuse changes the functioning of the abuser's brain and consequently affects the quality of his life. He suffers from mood swings and anxiety. He hallucinates and suffers a loss of memory. Additionally, he experiences euphoria and is highly restless.
Most importantly, the abuser loses the ability to feel pleasure in any other activity except in the high that oxycontin offers. This state called anhedonia is one of the reasons that the abuser finds it difficult to break out of oxycontin addiction.
The overdose of this drug can cause life-threatening effects.
The user finds it difficult to breathe or has slower breathing. It indicates complications in the respiratory system. He suffers from hoarseness or has trouble in swallowing as the throat swells.
He may be lightheaded and may experience fainting. Seizures may also occur. The abuser may get hives or rashes. His tongue and eyes may swell.
Rarely, the abuser experiences impotence and an enlarged prostate.
The patient should seek medical attention immediately if any of the above-mentioned symptoms appear.
When the abuser of this drug is ready to leave the addiction, he goes through 6 stages of withdrawal.
After about just 6 hours of taking a dose of oxycontin, the abuser experiences strong cravings for another dose. Absence of the dose causes anxiety, mild shakes, jitters and distracted disposition.
When 12-14 hours have passed, the abuser goes into depression. He also has increasing trouble in concentrating. Severely runny nose and sweating is prominent withdrawal symptoms during this stage.
After 24 hours, the abuser is now experiencing pain in the muscles and bones. Apart from hot /cold flashes and runny nose, he also starts getting intestinal cramps. His pupils are dilated and he gets goose bumps.
This stage lasts between 24 and 36 hours. It witnesses aggravating muscular cramps and uncontrollable spasms in the abuser. He cannot remain still. He kicks and jerks about.
Other symptoms include faster breathing and pulse rate. The abuser vomits and suffers from diarrhea.
There is no fixed tenure for this stage and it can prolong for days. The abuser goes through the worst forms of the withdrawal symptoms. Rapid loss of weight occurs because the abuser suffers from diarrhea accompanied by vomiting and sweating. The muscular cramps are terrible. The abuser is physically exhausted and psychologically devastated.
The risk of a relapse is highest at this stage.
The abuser enters this stage when his body is completely free of the drug though the psychosomatic and psychological indications still persist.
Insomnia, nervousness and depression are quite common. The memory of being high while taking oxycontin may produce the desire of trying the drug again.