What Is OxyContin?
OxyContin is a prescription pain reliever used to manage moderate-to-severe levels of long-lasting pain. This medication contains oxycodone, which works by binding to specific opioid receptors within the brain and spinal cord. The drug slows down nerve impulses traveling throughout your body, helping reduce feelings of pain. OxyContin belongs to a class of drugs known as narcotic analgesics (painkillers). Since its release, this powerful drug has remained incredibly controversial due mainly to its potential for misuse — especially among people who become dependent on it after using it for an extended period. The medication has been involved in many overdose-related deaths. And many people have struggled with OxyContin addiction due to the drug’s highly addictive nature.
What Are the Effects of OxyContin?
OxyContin is a powerful medication that can provide hours of pain relief thanks to its extended-release formula. When taken as prescribed, it poses no serious threat for most people and will usually help to treat their pain. However, many individuals end up taking more than one pill at a time (or crushing/snorting them) due to how long they last. This leads to drug dependence and addiction. The side effects of OxyContin use include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
If you start feeling unusual drowsiness along with heavy eyelids after using this drug, it may be time to seek medical attention.
OxyContin can also cause severe breathing problems. In some cases, breathing can even stop altogether if the medication is used in high doses or with other drugs like alcohol. If you notice that your breathing has become abnormally slow, shallow, or erratic while under the influence of this drug, seek medical help right away. This is a sign of overdose.
How Addictive Is OxyContin?
The drug is incredibly addictive, and people who take it for an extended period often develop a physical dependence on it. OxyContin is addictive because it binds to specific opioid receptors in the brain, triggering feelings of euphoria and relaxation. When you take OxyContin regularly, your body becomes accustomed to it. If you suddenly stop using this medication, withdrawal symptoms will occur.
What Is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a depressant that slows down brain activity and reduces your heart rate — two factors that can be extremely dangerous to combine with opioids like OxyContin. Mixing OxyContin with alcohol increases the risk for respiratory depression (slowed breathing), coma, and even death. Alcohol poisoning may also occur because OxyContin can make you feel less drunk than you.
What Are the Effects of Alcohol?
Alcohol is an addictive substance that can cause changes in the brain’s structure and function, leading to addiction. Alcohol impairs judgment and coordination while increasing your risk of various health problems like liver disease or certain forms of cancer. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may also lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which can disrupt a child’s development before birth — causing abnormal facial features, growth deficiencies, and central nervous system issues.
How Addictive Is Alcohol?
Alcohol is also highly addictive, and you can develop a dependence on it relatively quickly. Alcohol is addictive because it stimulates the release of dopamine in your brain, a neurotransmitter that controls feelings of pleasure and reward. Alcohol addiction occurs when your body becomes accustomed to having this depressant in its system. If you suddenly stop drinking after developing a dependency, withdrawal symptoms will occur. Over time, this can cause you to become dependent on alcohol to feel happy and relaxed — leading many people down a path toward alcoholism.
What Are the Dangers of Mixing OxyContin With Alcohol?
The most significant danger of mixing these drugs is an increased risk for overdose or alcohol poisoning. The combination can quickly lead to death if you drink too much while taking any amount of this pain medication. In addition, people who use both substances regularly may build up a tolerance as their bodies get used to higher doses. This can increase the risk of overdose.
It’s also important to know that some overdose medications like Naloxone (Narcan) will not work correctly when mixed with alcohol. This can lead to delayed treatment during emergencies that involve overdose.
Other dangers of mixing these two drugs are:
- Seizures or convulsions
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Dangerously slowed heart rates
- Breathing difficulties
- Potential damage to the liver or other organs
- Increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
Taking OxyContin alone can increase a person’s chances of developing these conditions, but taking it together with other substances like alcohol adds extra problems that could lead to a life-threatening emergency.
The person may not realize how intoxicated they are or that they have taken too much of one drug or the other. This can lead to overdose or alcohol poisoning.
The combination of OxyContin and alcohol can also lead to respiratory depression or slowed breathing, which can be dangerous if left untreated. This could also lead to an increased risk of brain swelling, which may cause other health problems as well.
What Are the Signs of OxyContin Addiction?
Some common signs of addiction to OxyContin include:
- Withdrawal from friends/family members
- Neglecting responsibilities at work or school
- Making excuses before taking the medication
- Withdrawal symptoms when you stop abruptly without tapering off first
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Feeling unable to control how much you take despite negative effects on relationships and work or school
- Tolerance development (needing to use more than you used to)
What Are the Signs of Alcohol Addiction?
Some common signs of addiction to alcohol include:
- Drinking alone or in secret
- Feeling unable to cut down on how much you drink despite effects on relationships and work or school
- Tolerance development (needing to drink more than you used to)
- Being forgetful about events that occurred while under the influence
- Blacking out
- Withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
- Making excuses before drinking
OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms
OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can be physical and mental, varying in intensity depending on the person.
Some common OxyContin withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Insomnia or other sleep problems
- Agitation or restlessness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms may affect each person in different ways, but some common symptoms include:
- Delirium tremens (DTs), which can be life-threatening
- Trouble concentrating
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Rapid heart rate
- Poor coordination
- Increased startle reflex
Signs of an Overdose
One of the most important things for you to be aware of is that an overdose occurs when your breathing and heart rate slows down too much, leading to death if not treated quickly. Some signs of this happening include:
- Slowed or stopped breathing, shallow breathing, tiny breaths
- Tiny pupils (the black hole in the middle part of your eye)
- Blue skin around lips or fingernails
If you see these symptoms, call 911 immediately! It’s better to take action right away rather than risk waiting until it is too late. While overdoses are scary events, there are several ways to treat them. One treatment is naloxone (Narcan), which can reverse the effects of opioids like OxyContin. This medication can quickly reduce respiratory depression and help get someone back on track toward recovery. More severe overdoses will require additional medical attention to prevent any long-term complications.
Treatment for OxyContin and Alcohol Addiction
Treatment options for OxyContin or alcohol addiction include:
Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab Programs
Inpatient rehab programs offer a combination of therapies and treatments provided while living at an addiction treatment center. Outpatient rehab involves therapy sessions at the treatment center without having to live there. It may also include support group meetings.
Counseling in rehab centers is typically a combination of individual and group sessions where you can discuss the struggles you’ve been facing with substance use disorder or addiction.
Many treatment centers offer support through 12-step programs. These groups consist of meetings where people who suffer from addictions to alcohol, opioids, narcotics, or other substances come together to share their stories and encourage sobriety. You don’t have to attend these types of meetings if they aren’t your cup of tea, but many find them helpful for supportive purposes.
Harm Reduction Services
Harm reduction involves treating drug use as a health issue rather than a crime while encouraging safer practices at the same time. This type of care is given by medical professionals and offers support to those looking for treatment options such as rehab.
This type of care is typically provided by psychiatrists who can work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs.
Support groups often take place in-person or online and can consist of people who are also addicts or family members of those struggling with substance use. This type of group provides the opportunity to:
- Share experiences
- Discuss struggles you may be facing
- Encourage sobriety
- And find support for your overall health needs.
The Detox Process
The detox process occurs when your body adjusts to being free of substances such as OxyContin and alcohol. Detox may be the first stage toward getting clean and sober. When you go through the detox process at a treatment center, it can include:
- Medical supervision to ensure safety
- Medications that ease withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea
- Counseling sessions are designed to discuss what you’ve been going through recently and establish goals for recovery afterward
Medications you may be given during OxyContin and alcohol detox include:
- Valium: Valium can help reduce seizures related to alcohol use disorder, and it helps calm anxiety, making the detox process easier overall.
- Ativan: This medication can help treat withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, seizures, and muscle spasms.
- Klonopin: This benzodiazepine is often prescribed to manage the physical effects of detoxing. This includes tremors, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and shakes/chills.
- Buprenorphine: This is a partial opioid agonist that helps you avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Clonidine: This is a blood pressure medication that can help with symptoms of withdrawal, including anxiety.
- Suboxone: This is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that helps you avoid withdrawal symptoms, but the addition of naloxone blocks any opioids from activating receptors in your brain.
- Buprenorphine/Naltrexone: This is a full opioid agonist. Buprenorphine/Naltrexone has been used for many years as an effective treatment for opioid addiction due to its ability to reduce withdrawals, suppress cravings, and ease physical pain.
- Naltrexone: The detox process is often the first step in getting clean and sober, but it’s not always enough to achieve sustained recovery. Sometimes people take medications like naltrexone after completing a detox program to prevent relapse or help with cravings when they encounter triggers that make them want to use again.
How Long Does All This Take?
That depends on how much opioid medication was used before quitting, overall health conditions, co-occurring disorders (mental illness), other medical issues, etc. Many people will go through an outpatient program, while others will need a residential rehab program.
Continued Care After Detox
Continued care is recommended for people who have gone through the detox process to establish a successful recovery. This type of treatment can consist of individual or group therapy sessions, support groups, medication management (if needed), and more.
It’s important to take care of yourself, pay attention to your emotional state, and have a plan in place to stay sober even after you’ve completed rehab.
Tips on Avoiding Drug Use
If you’re going through a tough time and are tempted to misuse prescription painkillers or other drugs, some tips can help keep your mind away from turning to substances as a way of coping. Some tips include:
Understand the Consequences
If someone is struggling with drug addiction, it’s essential for them to understand what they’ll be up against if they give in to temptation — both during their addiction and when trying to get clean. Using again can lead to an overdose and other negative effects. This knowledge will come in handy when people start feeling cravings.
Avoid Risky Situations
It’s essential for individuals who have been addicted to avoid places where addictive substances might be present, such as parties, nightclubs, or even friends’ homes. Since it can be challenging to say no in these situations, having a plan of escape is important when trying to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Find Support for Your Addiction
By finding people to lean on during tough times instead of turning back to drugs or alcohol, addicts can succeed through their recovery journey. Whether this means signing up for rehab or attending 12-step meetings, connecting with others who are also struggling with substance use issues helps you feel less alone. This also gives you access to resources that will help keep you on the right path toward sobriety.
It’s important for someone suffering from drug addiction to understand what triggers their cravings and how they might need to change the way they think about things to avoid giving in to temptation. Learning from past experiences and staying away from risky situations will help people stay on track with their recovery, so it’s essential for addicts to not only accept responsibility but also take action when cravings occur, or a relapse starts to happen.
In conclusion, it’s essential to understand the dangers of mixing OxyContin with alcohol and how addiction can be treated. By finding support for your drug and alcohol use, you give yourself access to resources that will help keep you on track toward sobriety while avoiding risky situations that may lead to an overdose or relapse. If you are looking for ways to cope with OxyContin and alcohol addiction, please give us a call at (855) 491-7694or contact Windward Way Recovery through our site.