OxyContin Detox: Overview, Withdrawal, How It Works, and Detox Length

OxyContin detox is a necessary first step toward sobriety if you currently have an addiction to this substance. However, as an opioid prescription painkiller, OxyContin produces a painful array of withdrawal symptoms that can put you at risk for relapse, so it is important to undergo detox in a drug detox facility. If you’re ready to make a change to your drug use habits, here is everything you need to know about drug detox for OxyContin.

An Overview of OxyContin Abuse

Unfortunately, OxyContin abuse is a major problem in the United States. In 2017 alone, 2.7 percent of all 12th graders tried OxyContin. What’s more, 11.5 million Americans said they misused prescription opioids in 2015.

When prescribed by a doctor, OxyContin is intended to be a powerful pain reliever for use after surgery or an injury. However, when taken illicitly, it produces a number of euphoric side effects, including:

  • Relaxation.
  • Happiness.
  • Reduced pain.

The biggest effect of taking OxyContin for a prolonged period of time is dependence. Dependence is when your brain begins to adapt to constantly having doses of OxyContin available. Your brain will only function normally when you have the drug in your system, which is why you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.

OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms

The main reason people choose to get care at drug and alcohol detox centers for their OxyContin addiction is withdrawal symptoms. These begin around 12 to 48 hours after your last dose and can include:

  • Muscle aches.
  • A runny nose.
  • Agitation and anxiety.
  • Tearing and sweating.
  • Yawning.
  • Trouble sleeping.

As withdrawal progress, you might experience worse side effects, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea and severe cramping.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Dilated pupils.

While these symptoms aren’t deadly, they are extremely uncomfortable and could lead you to relapse in an attempt to alleviate your suffering.

How OxyContin Detox Works

In a detox center, you’ll be under medical supervision until your symptoms clear up. Detox typically consists of medicines, support, and counseling for comprehensive care.

Some of the medicines that might be used to help control your withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Buprenorphine and methadone, which help satisfy your brain’s craving for the drug, thereby shortening the length of detox. You can also stay on buprenorphine or methadone for long-term maintenance so you don’t go back to using. Some people stay on these medicines for years as they combat the mental and emotional aspects of their addiction.
  • Clonidine, which can reduce some of your symptoms, such as cramping, muscle aches, agitation, sweating, and runny nose. However, it won’t stop your cravings.
  • Naltrexone, which is often used in conjunction with other medicines to prevent relapse. This drug prevents your brain from feeling the effects of OxyContin if you try to get high.

While the medicines will help you feel more stable, they aren’t the solution to total sobriety. Instead, you’ll need to seek help in the form of support groups or counseling after you’re feeling a little better. Most people head straight into drug and alcohol rehab after detox to get the rest of the care they need.

How Long Is OxyContin Detox?

Because OxyContin is a long-lasting opioid, it stays in your system longer. This means that OxyContin detox might take a little longer than other opioid detoxes. In many cases, your symptoms can last up to 20 days after your last dose. If you’re lucky, however, it might only take 10 days for you to start feeling better.

The length of OxyContin detox varies for each individual. Your medical team will monitor your symptoms several times a day to track your progress. Keep in mind that you won’t be 100 percent healthy after detox; you’ll still have to go through a period of about six months that’s known as the protracted withdrawal phase. Symptoms of this phase include not feeling well overall and having strong cravings.

Once you’re finished with detox, the next step is drug rehab. It’s here you’ll learn the behaviors and coping skills you need to avoid drugs for the rest of your life.

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