OxyContin Addiction Causes & Effects

The Rose provides OxyContin addiction treatment for women rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier life. Our treatment experience was designed by women for women, so you or your loved one receive a tailored experience.

Understanding OxyContin Addiction

Learn about OxyContin and substance abuse

OxyContin, the brand name for oxycodone, is a highly potent and powerful prescription pain medication that is effective in relieving moderate to severe physical pain. Classified as a narcotic or opioid, OxyContin is a Schedule II controlled substance that holds incredible potential for abuse and addiction. The function of this specific drug is to help reduce pain, but it can also bring about feelings of extreme euphoria that keep an individual desiring to use it. The misuse of this medication can lead to feelings of wellbeing and relaxation. When this substance is abused, psychological and physical dependence can develop, potentially resulting in a diagnosis of opioid use disorder and causing tremendous damage in all areas of an individual’s life. As soon as a dependency to OxyContin addiction has occurred, it can be increasingly complicated for individuals to defeat this issue without the help of professionals. Luckily, there are treatment options for OxyContin addiction that can help these individuals obtain recovery.


OxyContin addiction statistics

According to the National Drug Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), between 26.4 and 36 million people abuse opioids throughout the world. Within the United States alone, NIDA states that 2.1 million individuals battle with substance use disorders related to opioid-based prescription painkillers such as OxyContin. The number of deaths linked to unintentional prescription pill overdoses has quadrupled since 1999.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for OxyContin addiction

The risk factors and causes that can impact an individual’s likelihood of abusing opioids like OxyContin can be described below:

Genetic: The American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that genetic factors play a critical role in determining if an individual is likely to struggle with opioid use disorder. Those who have family members who have battled with this type of addiction are much more likely to also suffer from similar concerns than those who do not have this family history. In addition, the APA reports that specific temperamental elements can contribute to an addiction to a substance like OxyContin.

Environmental: The environment in which an individual lives and/or is exposed to can play a major role in his or her chances of becoming addicted to OxyContin. Being surrounded by others who abuse substances like these can encourage an individual to abuse substances as well. In addition, abuse of the drug is more likely when OxyContin or similar substances are made readily available. Furthermore, suffering an injury that requires an OxyContin prescription can also increase an individual’s likelihood of abusing this substance.

Risk Factors:

  • Personal history of conduct disorder in childhood
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Being male (According to the APA, opioid use disorder is more prevalent in males than females)
  • Associating with peers who abuse drugs, including OxyContin
  • Having experienced a surgery or an injury that warrants the prescription of a pain medication

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of OxyContin addiction

The signs and symptoms related to opioid use disorder, including an OxyContin addiction, will vary from individual to individual and will depend on a number of factors such as how often the substance is being abused and how much is being consumed. Some potential symptoms can include:

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Visiting numerous doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for the drug
  • Engaging in regular patterns of OxyContin use
  • Continuing to abuse OxyContin despite the disturbances in functioning
  • Planning and attending to daily activities in ways that are centered on obtaining or using OxyContin
  • Slurred speech
  • Social withdrawal
  • No longer engaging in activities that were previously enjoyed
  • Using the substance in situations that are physically dangerous (such a driving while being under the influence of OxyContin)
  • Failing to fulfill obligations at home or work

Physical symptoms:

  • Pupil constriction
  • Drowsiness
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Impairment in memory
  • Experiencing continued cravings for OxyContin
  • Impairment in attention
  • Impaired judgment

 Psychosocial symptoms:

  •  Apathy
  • Feeling in a state of unease
  • Euphoria
  • Relationship disturbances


Effects of OxyContin addiction

The abuse of OxyContin can bring about a variety of disturbances within an individual’s life. All areas of functioning, including personal, social, and occupational functioning, can be negatively impacted by the continued use of this substance. In addition, an individual’s health can be placed at risk when the use of this substance continues. Some examples of the effects that can develop when this substance is abused can include:

  • Onset or exacerbation of mental health symptoms
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Visual disturbances
  • Familial strife
  • Marital discord
  • Disturbances within social relationships
  • Vital organ damage
  • Injured veins/track marks (for intravenous users)
  • Decline in capabilities at work, often leading to unemployment and financial strife

Co-Occurring Disorders

OxyContin addiction and co-occurring disorders

When individuals are grappling with opioid use disorder, they place themselves at risk for experiencing a number of symptoms that are linked to other mental health disorders. Some of the most common co-occurring disorders cited by the APA include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of OxyContin withdrawal & overdose

Effects of OxyContin withdrawal: When an individual suddenly ceases her use of OxyContin, she puts herself at risk for withdrawal. During this time, individuals can experience serious distress and inability to function. Symptoms and effects related to OxyContin withdrawal can include:

  • Dilation of pupils
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Dysphoric mood
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

Effects of OxyContin overdose: The longer that an OxyContin addiction persists, the more likely it becomes for an individual to overdose. The reason is simply because once an individual’s body becomes tolerant of OxyContin, one requires larger doses in order for the same effects to be achieved. As soon as an individual consumes more OxyContin than she can handle, she will experience an overdose. When an overdose occurs, it should be viewed as a medical emergency and treatment should be sought immediately. Signs that someone has experienced an OxyContin overdose can include:

  • Highly slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Sudden sleepiness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Severe dizziness
  • Extreme confusion
  • Shallow breathing
  • Profuse sweating

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My addiction got to the point where people would always associate OxyContin with me. I had enough, so I got treatment at The Rose and am about to celebrate my first year of sobriety!

– Former Patient
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