OxyContin is a highly addictive prescription painkiller that has been commonly prescribed for long-term pain control since its introduction in 1996. Every year since, abuse and addiction of the drug has become increasingly more problematic, resulting in arrests, health problems, overdose and death. Abuse of OxyContin has become so commonplace that the journal Clinical Psychiatry News reports that just 45 percent of people who are given a prescription for OxyContin take the drug exactly as prescribed. The rest take doses that are much too high or much too low, or they sell the drug to others. As this study and others like it make clear, OxyContin addiction is a serious problem in this country and the numbers seem to be on the rise.
Regular use of OxyContin creates a physical OxyContin addiction, meaning that people can feel symptoms of physical and mental distress when they attempt to stop taking the drug. These are the same symptoms felt by people who attempt to stop taking powerful street drugs such as heroin. In fact, some people develop addictions to OxyContin as they look for medications they consider “safe” replacements for opiates like heroin.
No matter how the addictions develop, experts agree that they are dangerous, and research is ongoing about how best to care for addicts. There are strong discussions in the substance abuse treatment community about what constitutes the most effective treatment approach for OxyContin addiction. Most studies suggest that the following attributes are helpful additions to an OxyContin rehab program:
- Medical detox
- Behavioral therapy
- Support group work
- Holistic approaches
In this article, all of these components will be outlined in detail. It can be hard to truly understand how a program works through reading an article, however, and some people might have questions that are so individualized that they cannot be addressed in a general article. If you or someone you love is addicted to OxyContin, you can find help through an OxyContin addiction treatment program at The Orchid in Palm Springs, Florida. We can also answer any questions you might have about what treatment is, and how it might work.
The first stage of healing from an OxyContin addiction involves detoxification. Here, an addict’s body and mind adjust to functioning normally, even when no drugs are present. Medical supervision and prescriptions are often helpful during this process. OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, goose bumps, uncomfortable muscles and headaches. According to medical textbooks, OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can last between 7 and 14 days, and people might be incredibly uncomfortable during this process.
Replacement medications such as buprenorphine and methadone can help to ease the transition. These medications work on the same receptors used by OxyContin, but they do not provide any euphoric symptoms in response. In essence, these medications work to decrease discomfort without increasing an addictive response. For many people, these drugs are lifesavers during detox, as they make the process easier to endure. Treatment centers might provide high doses of the drug in the beginning of the process, and then taper down to smaller and smaller doses as the treatment program moves forward.
Medical monitoring might also be necessary during detox to ensure that patients remain stable and healthy as the body rids itself of the toxins that built up during addiction. OxyContin can cause some serious health consequences, and those might go beyond mere addiction. For example, according to an article produced by CNN, OxyContin and other opiate painkillers may increase the wrist of fractures and thinning bones, and people might also be at an increased risk of heart attacks. People who are in medical detox from OxyContin might need multiple medical tests and close monitoring to ensure that these health consequences don’t impact their recovery.
In some cases, medications such as antidepressants are sometimes necessary when a co-occurring psychiatric issue is a concern. People who have depression or anxiety disorders might turn to OxyContin as a method of medicating their pain, and when the drugs are removed, their original disorders might flare or the buried symptoms might be much more severe. These people might also benefit from close monitoring, so appropriate medications can be given if symptoms seem to be appearing. People with mental illnesses and addictions should be careful to choose a treatment center that is equipped to deal with such problems. Not all centers are able to handle the special needs of this group, so it pays for people to do their homework before they enroll.
Behavioral treatment is an effective tool for those struggling with all sorts of drug addiction issues, not just for those addicted to opiate painkillers like OxyContin. In a behavioral treatment program, addicted people are paired with a therapist who can help the addict learn more about how the addiction developed and what can be done to stop it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some people who are addicted to prescription drugs can heal through behavioral techniques alone, working closely with their therapists and using their minds to help control their behaviors, but many people will need other forms of therapy in order to truly understand how their addictions can be controlled over the long term.
During the course of the addiction, many women become accustomed to hiding important aspects of their lives from their family members and friends. Their addiction may be the most important thing happening in their lives at the moment, but they may feel unable to discuss the addiction for fear that they will be blamed or attacked for the choices they are making. These women might find it incredibly difficult to participate in standard counseling sessions, as they may find it hard to open up and share. They might benefit from the interactive nature of art therapy and music therapy. Here, they are allowed to participate in the recovery process without feeling as though they’re “put on the spot” for their choices. Women might also feel like these alternate therapies allow them to explore the past for answers and create a future based on strengths and revelations. It might be hard to understand, on a logical level, how this therapy might help, but studies might help make the issue easier to understand. In an article in the Journal of Counseling and Development, authors discuss the use of dance therapy in women who were abused as children. The therapy allowed them to play, connect with their bodies and feel a sense of freedom. It’s easy to see how this therapy might be important to women who were treated so badly when they were small and helpless. Many women find the therapy transformative in much the same way.
Some women benefit from family therapy techniques in which they work with the members of their families to rebuild the connections and amend the damage that has occurred through the process of addiction. This work can be difficult and challenging, but it might allow the women to build up a supportive network of others willing to help, and this might be quite important to women as they complete their addiction treatment programs and prepare to head home once more.
Support Group Work
While working with a therapist might be helpful, some women also benefit from learning from one another. Hearing the experience of other women in the same position and learning from them help addicts to develop another support system they can lean on through the ups and downs of treatment.
Support groups can be formal in nature. Often, support groups follow a model made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous. Here, they are asked to complete 12 steps, which help the women to:
- Admit that addiction is an issue
- Process and apologize for the damage they’ve done to others
- Make amends, where needed
- Access help when times are tough
While these formal approaches can be helpful, some women dislike them. For example, a study in the journal Substance Use and Misuse found that some people disliked 12-step approaches as they seemed “too religious” and didn’t allow people to tap into their own power. Since these comments are common, other support group approaches are often included in treatment programs for women.
Informal support groups may spring up in OxyContin treatment programs as women meet one another during mealtimes or free periods. Women might learn to share their stories informally in these contexts, and they might form tight and enduring friendships as a result.
OxyContin addictions do benefit from treatment with medications and therapy, but unless the root causes of the addiction are found and addressed, the addiction is likely to recur once more. Treatment programs that utilize a holistic approach are designed to help women uncover these hidden triggers and deal with them, so the addiction will be eradicated for good. For some women, this means dealing with chronic pain using massage, tai chi or acupuncture. For other women, this means going through counseling for underlying mental illnesses, such as depression. According to an article in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the link between opiate addictions and depression is quite strong, meaning that women who are drawn to opiates might also have underlying depression issues that simply must be dealt with as part of the healing process. Holistic programs can, and do, provide this sort of care.
Holistic programs might also provide women with care that is designed to improve their full-body health. Women might be given access to treatments such as nutritional supplements, yoga and herbal medicine, so they can relax, heal on a physical level and remain prepared to keep fighting against their addictions.
Because relapse is a common problem with addiction, aftercare is essential. In some programs, this care is provided through touch-up counseling, meaning that women who have graduated from the program are asked to stay in contact with their counselors and come back for additional treatment should the urge to use begin to grow. In other programs, this care is provided through sober living communities, in which women who are newly emerged from treatment are given a safe and sober place to live until the lessons learned in rehab can be effectively applied in the woman’s life. Either method can be helpful, as long as the women agree to access this help and stay in touch.
Healing at The Orchid
At The Orchid, we believe that detox in combination with both traditional and alternative therapeutic options are the only way to create a strong foundation in sobriety. Our woman-centered holistic therapy options provide a multitude of choices, each one touching upon different issues in recovery, allowing every woman to find the right combination of therapies for her specific needs. Each woman who comes to The Orchid will have a support system in place when she returns home. Should the threat of relapse become evident, counselors are available and the relationships built with other women in the program will assist her.
Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment with us at The Orchid, you will experience a wide range of effective behavioral therapies in beautiful Palm Springs, Florida. Our clinical team includes professionals specializing in substance abuse treatment and therapies. As you progress through the program, you will assist them in designing your own personalized treatment plan, checking in with your therapist weekly to make sure that you are getting the most out of your choices, and updating and expanding your treatment plan as needed. If you have any questions or would like to get started, contact us at The Orchid today by phone at 1-888-672-4435.