What is Oxycontin?
OxyContin is a medication that is prescribed by a doctor to treat pain. While it is prescribed to both adults and teens, there is a large amount of debate around the wisdom of prescribing OxyContin to anyone, due to its highly addictive nature. In many cases, doctors monitor patients who are using OxyContin closely, but many teens can obtain it illegally. Doctors argue that opiates like OxyContin are highly effective for treating pain, and patients are less likely to become addicted if they use these drugs as they were prescribed, taking only the dosage that is necessary to treat their pain. If you take OxyContin when you aren’t in pain, or take it in larger doses than necessary to treat pain, the drug has a different metabolic impact on the brain, and addiction is highly likely because of that impact.
OxyContin doesn’t have to be taken illegally for abuse to occur. If you’ve been prescribed OxyContin for a legitimate purpose, such as to manage pain after surgery, a dependency can still form rapidly. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have an OxyContin dependency or addition, we can help.
OxyContin Dependency in Teens
A dependency on OxyContin means that your body has begun to build a tolerance to its effects, and in order to achieve the same effect, you need to take the drug more frequently or at a higher dosage. This need for a higher dose increases as you continue to use OxyContin, and eventually a full-blown addiction will form.
Dependency and addiction usually begin with the abuse of OxyContin, which is defined as taking the drug in a way that it was not intended to be taken. While using most drugs once or twice doesn’t usually lead to dependency, OxyContin is a drug that tends to turn into an addiction rapidly because of its method of action. It increases dopamine levels in the brain, and this activates the brain’s reward circuitry. As you continue to use OxyContin, your brain requires more and more of the drug to continue to release the levels of dopamine necessary to create the pleasurable feeling that a high provides. This can alter your brain’s chemistry, and because your brain is still developing, these changes can be permanent. Reuters reports that OxyContin may be even more addictive for adolescents than it is for adults, according to new research.
Signs Of An OxyContin Dependency (Addiction)
Signs that you may have formed a dependency on OxyContin include:
- Mood swings
- Requiring more OxyContin to achieve the same effect
- Feeling ill when you miss a dose
- Problems at school, such as poor grades or absences
- Lying or stealing to get the drug
- Secretive behavior
- Withdrawing from family and friends who interfere with your OxyContin use
OxyContin dependency can manifest in physical symptoms as well, when the drug is used long term in high dosages. These symptoms may include:
- Stomach pain
- Flu-like symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea
- Muscle cramps
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NPR), OxyContin use by 12th graders increased by 40 percent nationwide in just three years. While OxyContin is very expensive as a street drug, it is often easily obtained, and once a dependency has formed, many teens will lie, steal or sell personal items to get it.
Recognizing the presence of a problem is the first step toward recovery from a teen OxyContin addiction. If you suspect that you may have an OxyContin dependency or addition, we can help.
OxyContin Treatment for Teens
The increasing number of teens addicted to OxyContin is disheartening, but there are teen OxyContin rehab programs that effectively treat the addiction. The type of treatment will vary depending on the level of addiction and the duration of OxyContin abuse, but all programs will begin with detox, which is followed by rehab and recovery.
Detox means stopping all use of the drug abruptly. Because your brain and body have become dependent on a regular dose of the drug, this cessation will result in withdrawal symptoms. These may include:
- Runny nose
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
These symptoms are often intense at first, which is why it is vital that teen detox is carried out in a medically supervised environment. In a teen rehab facility, doctors can monitor your health and provide medication to ease the most severe symptoms. As your body adjusts to not having the drug, the withdrawal symptoms will fade, and you will be physically ready to enter into the rehab portion of your recovery.
Teen OxyContin Rehab
Teen OxyContin rehab moves from treating the physical symptoms of your addition to the psychological and behavioral aspects. Typically, rehab is carried out in an outpatient or inpatient setting and combines two or more methods of treatment. These may include:
- Individual counseling or therapy
- Group therapy
- 12-step support groups
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Holistic treatment methods
Both inpatient and outpatient teen OxyContin rehab treatment programs will structure your treatment based on your individual needs. The treatment is continuously monitored and adapted to suit your changing needs as you progress. Rehab focuses on helping you to eliminate the old behaviors that contributed to your addiction and then teaches you how to find healthier interests and behaviors. An outpatient program allows you to go home each night, while an inpatient program requires you to stay at the residential facility. The benefit of inpatient teen rehab is that you have around-the-clock medical supervision and support, which is often necessary to achieve a successful recovery.