OxyContin is a brand name for the drug oxycodone. It’s an opiate painkiller, usually prescribed to treat a patient’s moderate-to-severe pain. The drug works by changing the way your brain responds to pain signals.
Used vs Abused
Used properly, OxyContin can – and does – reduce pain. Abused, it causes a whole new level of danger. On top of a laundry list of physical issues, the drug also poses major mental side effects. Here’s three of the most common:
- Paranoia: Over time, OxyContin makes significant changes in the way your brain works. You begin to process information differently. These changes can result in feelings of fear and anxiety. Often, these thoughts and emotions are related to a perceived persecution or threat. With continued OxyContin abuse, this pattern of thinking continues and creates paranoia.
- Hallucinations: OxyContin affects your nervous system (your brain, sense organs, nerves – essentially everything that controls what your body does). When this system is thrown off track by the OxyContin flowing through it, you may hear, feel, see or even smell things that aren’t there. Common hallucinations include seeing lights or colors and feeling bugs crawling on your skin.
- Mood swings/Agitation: As OxyContin moves through your system, it affects your emotional state. It can put you on an emotional roller coaster that quickly twists you from agitated, to euphoric, to sad. Once you become addicted to OxyContin, you can become extremely irritable – and even aggressive – if you are unable to get more of the drug. Long-term use of the drug also increases risk of depression.
One Among Millions
Despite the mental health risks, many continue to misuse OxyContin. Often, this abuse begins with proper use – you were prescribed the medication by a doctor to treat a legitimate injury. But then the use escalates. That initial feeling of euphoria makes you want more. You start taking the drug as an escape. As this pattern continues, you develop a psychological dependence. In the habit of turning to the drug as a way to cope with life, you become mentally hooked on Oxy. Convinced you “need” the drug, you devote most of your mental energy to getting more (and more) of it.
Are you or a loved one experiencing any of these symptoms? If so, you aren’t alone – you’re among the 2.1 million Americans currently struggling with opioid abuse. Ready for the good news? It’s possible to overcome your addiction. Help is available, treatment works, sobriety is achievable, and you can live a wonderful life without being shackled to OxyContin.