How to help an OxyContin addict
OxyContin addiction is a complex condition that affects a person’s behavior and brain function. But it can be treated. First, OxyContin addicts need to address physical dependence and go through detox. Then, psychotherapy and behavioral therapies can help maintain sobriety. Support groups and aftercare are also an important part of successful recovery.
But how can you help an OxyContin addict get into treatment and succeed in recovery? Here we review the most common treatments for OxyContin addiction and review ways you can approach the problem. Then, we invite your questions at the end.
Help an OxyContin addict quit
Your help for an OxyContin addict can come in many forms. But, however you choose to address the issue, the first step is treating the chemical dependency to the drug. Physical dependence is formed when the body adapts to OxyContin’s presence in the central nervous system (CNS).
Although dependence is a natural and expected outcome of using a short-acting opioid, it can be treated in safe and controlled conditions at a detox clinic. Medical professionals at a detox facility can help you go through a period of 7-10 days of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. However, getting OxyContin completely eliminated from your system is only the first step towards becoming drug free on the long-term. After your chemical dependency has been treated, it is then time to address the psycho-emotional reasons for use.
Help an OxyContin addict friend
If you notice that someone has an OxyContin problem, you are already helping. There are a few signs that can signal you it is time to do something about it. OxyContin addiction is generally characterized by:
- impaired control over frequency and dose of use
- feelings of craving and compulsive OxyContin-seeking
- continued use despite harmful physical, mental, and social consequences
Q: What can you do about your friend’s/loved one’s OxyContin problem?
A: A few things…
Firstly, learn as much as possible about the nature of OxyContin addiction and ways to address it. If you educate yourself, you will have a better understanding of what that person may be going through. This can also help you speak to the OxyContin addict and support them to seek treatment.
Then, turn to professionals. You don’t have to carry the burden of saving someone from addiction on your own. Licensed interventionists can assist you in planning and staging an intervention. The end goal of interventions is to express your concern and support, and motivate the addict to seek treatment for his/her OxyContin abuse problem.
During OxyContin addiction treatment and recovery, a person goes through several stages of psychological, behavioral, and pharmacological interventions. Psychotherapy is a crucial part of the rehabilitation process. It can be individual, involve the family, or include a group of other people in recovery. However structured, the main focus should be directed towards:
- resolving of the root causes that lead to addiction in the first place
- the motives why a person wants to change
- giving incentives for staying sober
- developing skills to help resist cravings and urges
Finally, don’t forget that your sincere encouragement is more than welcome. You can speak to an addiction doctor or a counselor about how you can best assist and support your friend or loved one, but also inquire about ways you can help yourself.
Self help OxyContin addiction
Checking into a detox clinic is generally the best way to come off of a strong opioid drug such as OxyContin. Although OxyContin withdrawal symptoms are almost never extremely risky or fatal for healthy individuals, they are very uncomfortable. Medications and psychological help from doctors and nurses can make this process far more comfortable and safe.
If you think to attempt quitting OxyContin on your own, you should see a doctor first. Then, only if you are given a medical clearance to detox at home should you go through with it. Your doctor will provide you with an individualized tapering schedule tailored to your needs and direct how fast the taper should be in order to prevent harsh withdrawal symptoms.
IMPORTANT: OxyContin should never be stopped cold turkey, unless there is an urgent need.
Another way to help yourself is to make sure you have some over-the-counter medications on stack that can lessen specific withdrawal symptoms as they occur (mostly gastrointestinal symptoms). Also, make sure you have someone you trust beside you, since a strong support system can be crucial.
Get help for OxyContin addiction
Here are some recommendations about professionals you can turn to when you decide to give an end to your OxyContin addiction:
-An OxyContin addiction treatment facility – You can look for an OxyContin addiction treatment center in your area of living that specializes in drug addiction. Most important services you should look for in a treatment center are detox, education, and therapy for OxyContin addicts.
-An addiction specialist – There are specialists on drug addiction who focus on opiate/opioid treatment. A psychologist, psychiatrist, or a licensed clinical social worker know the most appropriate methods for helping you get clean.
-A community leader – Religious leaders that you trust, licensed clinical social workers, and people that work at community centers can refer you to specific treatment programs for OxyContin addiction near your geographic area.
-A doctor – Your first point of contact can be your own physician. They may not be able to help you treat addiction as an expert would, but can provide you with prescription medications for the treatment of withdrawal and refer you to treatment centers.
-A psychologist or psychiatrist – Mental health professionals who specialize in addiction can serve as a much needed resource of emotional and mental support in your process of overcoming an OxyContin addiction problem.
–National hotlines – They can help you find suitable and government approved treatment centers in your city or state, or help you match your needs with the appropriate type of help needed. Here is how you can get in touch:
- The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at 240-276-1660.
- The National Drug Abuse Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP.
- The Coalition Against Drug Abuse at 1-800-943-0566.
- The Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline at 1-800-327-5050.
Helping an OxyContin addict questions
Do you or a friend/family member need help with OxyContin addiction? We can help! Please post your questions in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We try to reply to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will refer you to someone who can help.
Reference Sources: DEA: OxyContin
Health Quality: Tapering and Discontinuing Opioids
Assistant Secretary for Registration: The Treatment of OxyContin® Addiction and the Prevention of Further Drug Abuse
MedlinePlus: Opiate and opioid withdrawal
Photo credit: H-Everybody-Lies--MD