Symptoms of OxyContin Addiction

Understanding OxyContin Abuse

Learn About OxyContin Addiction

OxyContin, the brand name for the opioid pain medication oxycodone, is frequently prescribed by physicians for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. When taken as prescribed, this narcotic pain medication can do wonders for those suffering from chronic pain. However, there are a number of individuals who abuse this substance in order to achieve the mind- and mood-altering effects that are associated with consumption of this drug. The abuse of OxyContin can place an individual in the position to experience a host of negative effects. OxyContin abuse can quickly develop into an addiction, which can be extremely difficult to overcome without professional help.  Fortunately, there is help available to those who wish to overcome such a dangerous habit.

Co-Occurring Disorders

OxyContin Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders

Individuals addicted to OxyContin are often struggling with the symptoms of a mental illness or illnesses at the same time. Mental health conditions that have been known to occur alongside OxyContin abuse include:

  • Additional substance use disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Antisocial personality disorder


OxyContin Abuse Statistics

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), nearly 330,000 people are diagnosed with an opioid use disorder each year. Additionally, it is estimated that approximately 100,000 people receive emergency medical attention each year as a result of the misuse and abuse of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for OxyContin Abuse

There have been several hypothesized causes for the development of an addiction to substances such as OxyContin. Experts in the field commonly cite the following causes and risk factors:

Genetic: Those who have a family history of substance use disorders are themselves more vulnerable to developing one of these conditions themselves. This conclusion has led to the belief that genetics can be a determining factor for why some individuals come to abuse drugs such as OxyContin.

Environmental: Environment can greatly impact the development of an addiction to OxyContin. For example, if an individual is exposed to illicit substances or prescription drug abuse, there is an increased likelihood that that person will begin to abuse substances like OxyContin.

Risk Factors:

  • Personal history of a mental health disorder or disorders
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Suffering from a chronic or complex pain condition
  • Easy access to OxyContin
  • Lacking a strong support network or proper coping skills

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of OxyContin Abuse

The signs and symptoms of OxyContin addiction will vary from person to person, depending upon a number of different factors. If you notice the following signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one it may indicate the presence of an OxyContin problem and may warrant professional intervention:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Neglecting responsibilities at work or home
  • Social isolation
  • Engagement in risky behaviors
  • Lying and other deceitful behaviors
  • Visiting multiple doctors in order to obtain multiple prescriptions for OxyContin
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Stealing OxyContin
  • Hiding OxyContin in various places around one’s home
  • Borrowing or stealing money from others

Physical symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Hypotension

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Preoccupation with drug use
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Poor judgement
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Somber mood
  • Anxious feelings
  • Irritability
  • Emotional numbing


Effects of OxyContin Abuse

The abuse of OxyContin can have grave consequences that can disrupt a person’s life. In addition to addiction, OxyContin abuse can lead to a number of other unpleasant long-term effects. The longer the addiction continues, the worse the long-term effects become. The following effects are known to occur when a person has developed an OxyContin addiction:

  • Homelessness
  • Job loss
  • Financial strife
  • Unintentional overdose
  • Loss of interpersonal relationships
  • Decreased mental function
  • Development of life-threatening health concerns
  • Vital organ damage
  • Coma
  • Overdose
  • Death

Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of OxyContin Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of OxyContin withdrawal: The symptoms associated with OxyContin withdrawal typically set in within hours or days after the last dose has been taken and have the ability to last up to a week. Withdrawing from OxyContin can be extremely uncomfortable and may result in the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Unexplained physical complaints

Effects of OxyContin overdose: An OxyContin overdose occurs when an individual consumes more of this substance than his or her body is able to process. As a result a number of adverse and potentially fatal consequences are likely to occur. Overdosing on OxyContin is considered a medical emergency meaning medical attention should be sought right away. Below are a number of signs that may indicate someone has overdosed on OxyContin:

  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Profuse perspiration
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest

I got hooked on OxyContin after being prescribed it to treat my pain post-surgery. I admitted myself to Starlite Recovery Center and I have no regrets. I am now about to celebrate my second year of sobriety and am forever grateful for having my old life back.

– Nicholas C.