Next to alcoholism and drug addiction, one of the most common categories of addictive behavior is painkiller addiction. Painkiller addicts are often victims of conditions or illnesses that cause them to suffer significant amounts of hurt for extended periods of time. As a result, they start taking anti-pain medication to numb the ache.
However, as time passes, some of these patients become more and more addicted on the sense of euphoria and satisfaction that is a side-effect of many of these medications. They begin to crave the ‘high’ rather than simply achieve relief from the pain. In their quest to satisfy this craving, they turn to larger and larger doses and more powerful drugs. Somewhere along the way, they often begin to patronize the prescription drug black market, spending large sums of money to purchase their drug of choice. By this time, they are officially addicts, their craving for the medication having long crossed the line that separates genuine need from a dependency.
Opioid or Opiate Addictions
Many of the painkillers that addicts become hooked on belong either to the opioid or opiate family. While the two words are often used interchangeably in popular parlance, the two are distinct. While opioids refer to any psychoactive chemical that works by binding itself to the opioid receptors in our brains, opiates refer solely to the natural alkaloids that can be found in the resin of the opium poppy. Nevertheless, many of the stages in opioid and opiate detoxification are the same, though in many ways opiate detoxification is far easier to achieve when compared to opioid detox.
Oxycontin and its dangers
Oxycontin addiction in particular is a particularly lethal form of opioid addiction. This powerful painkiller is usually used to give pain relief to patients who are in severe pain. However, the medication’s powerful pain relief properties are countered by its dangerous addiction nature as well as the ease with which an Oxycontin overdose may occur.
This is because even the slightest change in dosage can be dangerous with this powerful opioid. Unfortunately, regular use causes the body to develop tolerance; reducing the ‘high’ addicts crave. This in turn compels them to increasing the dosage to dangerous levels. Some of the potential consequences of an Oxycontin overdose include seizures, lapse of consciousness and even the chance of ending up in a coma.
If you suspect yourself or a family member of getting dependent on Oxycontin, please seek qualified help immediately. It can well mean the difference between life and death.