Get help today 888-319-2606 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

What You Should Know About Quitting OxyContin

How to Stop Using OxyContin

OxyContin is an opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe pain . When taken as prescribed, OxyContin is beneficial for pain control. However, many people abuse OxyContin, become addicted and have a hard time stopping their use of the drug. Various recovery options are available to help these people return to their drug-free lives.

Benefits of Quitting OxyContin

OxyContin is a powerful painkiller that can be very effective for pain relief when taken for a short time. However, it can be easy to become addicted to OxyContin because of the feelings of euphoria and relaxation often experienced by those who use it.

People who abuse it can experience constipation, drowsiness, confusion, mood swings and personality changes.,1 Those who inject it or snort it are also at risk of health complications such as hepatitis, HIV, scarred veins and perforated nasal septum.

By quitting OxyContin, a person will eliminate these negative effects of their addiction, as well as:

  • Prevent disrupted relationships with friends and family.
  • Avoid problems at work, such as disciplinary actions or getting fired.
  • Achieve better physical and mental functioning.
  • Eliminate the risk ofoverdose, which can be deadly.

OxyContin Addiction Treatment Center and Recovery Program Options

It is best to participate in a formal treatment program when trying to quit OxyContin.

  • Inpatient treatment programs provide 24-hour oversight for people recovering from substance abuse. The programs typically provide addiction therapy, routine medical care and groups throughout the day to help build skills to resist relapse, as well as recreational activities.
  • Outpatient treatment programs usually involve 1 to 3 sessions a week at a treatment center . These may be group or individual therapy sessions, and the person in recovery may meet with physicians or nurses as part of the program. Outpatient treatment is often suited for people who have relatively less severe addictions and no other mental health or medical concerns.
  • Group counseling introduces those in the early stages of treatment and recovery to others who have successfully made it through various stages of recovery. Being able to interact with people who have made the changes necessary to maintain recovery can give newcomers hope and inspiration.In addition, using substances frequently leads a person into isolation. Groups give them a way to also begin to interact with others in a healthy way.3
  • Individual counseling usually involves cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on helping the user understand and correct certain thought patterns that can lead to addictive behavior.
  • Teen treatment programs focus on issues specific to adolescent substance abuse. Inpatient and outpatient programs are available. Multidimensional family therapy is often used with this population as it deals with both recovery from addiction and overall family functioning.4
  • 12-Step programs are free and widely available for people recovering from addiction to OxyContin. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) helps to give a recovering person support from peers as well as a structured program that can help them achieve and maintain recovery.


Aftercare, or follow-up care, is an important component of sustaining recovery after completing a rehabilitation program for OxyContin addiction. Many people leaving an inpatient program will “step down” into an outpatient program for a few days to a few weeks. These outpatient programs can provide reinforcement for skills learned in inpatient treatment and help prevent relapse. Outpatient treatment may be in a group or an individual format.

  • 12-Step meetings. Groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), mentioned in the previous section, are often a part of ongoing recovery for many people who have completed treatment for OxyContin addiction.
  • Non-12-Step support groups. For those who are looking for other aftercare options besides 12-Step programs, there are support groups in many communities that are run by churches, community centers and private counseling centers. Other non-12-Step options include SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety and LifeRing Secular Recovery.
  • Sober living environments. Some people who leave treatment may need an ongoing supportive environment in which to live on a longer-term basis. Sober living facilities typically provide a room at a house or another living arrangement that is part of a program where ongoing counseling is provided and staff check on residents periodically. These programs may also assist with jobs, medical care and child care.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Side Effects

OxyContin detox is the first step of the recovery process. It is not actually treatment for addiction, but successfully completing detox can greatly increase the chances that a person will achieve and maintain sobriety. People who do not receive any further treatment after detox will often go back to using drugs.4

The withdrawal symptoms from OxyContin vary from person to person and depend on factors such as:

  • How long a person has been abusing OxyContin.
  • How much OxyContin he or she was taking.
  • The person’s medical condition and age.
  • Other emotional and physical factors.

Withdrawal symptoms from OxyContin can include:2

  • Fast pulse.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Insomnia.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Anxiety.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Body aches.

These symptoms are difficult to manage at home and can be safely managed in a recovery program.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Withdrawal

Some people who are detoxing from OxyContin in a treatment center may be prescribed an opioid treatment medication to help with the withdrawal symptoms and to control cravings. A physician may then gradually taper the user off the medication or continue him or her on a maintenance dose for a longer period of time.

While these drugs can be effective in helping users quit OxyContin, they aren’t without their own risks: Users may develop dependence to the opioid agonist medications used for opioid dependence, which themselves can be difficult to withdraw from. The medications should only be used under the supervision of a physician.

Medications that may be used for OxyContin withdrawal include:

  • Buprenorphine can reduce OxyContin withdrawal symptoms and cravings without eliciting the intense highs experienced with some other opioids such as OxyContin. Buprenorphine is often administered in combination with naloxone in a formulation known as Suboxone.
  • Methadone can also be used as a short- or long-term treatment for OxyContin addiction and withdrawal. Methadone can make the withdrawal process easier for a user and help him or her adjust to life without OxyContin, allowing the person to engage in a treatment program. Methadone can only be prescribed in designated clinics or under special circumstances.
  • Clonidine is a sedating antihypertensive medication that is used to help control blood pressure. It may be used during OxyContin withdrawal to manage certain symptoms such as high blood pressure and anxiety.

Is Withdrawal Dangerous?

Detoxing from OxyContin rarely leads to death or serious medical issues. Sometimes, medical complications can arise, such as heart problems or severe dehydration from vomiting.

In general, OxyContin detox can make you feel like you have the flu, but it is not life-threatening. However, the unpleasant symptoms are severe enough that they may undermine recovery attempts and increase the risk of relapse. A professional detox program will be able to provide supervision and medical monitoring for the person going through withdrawal – keeping them as comfortable as possible and minimizing relapse risks.

Can I Quit Cold Turkey? Is it Dangerous?

Yes, you can detox from OxyContin cold turkey. But it can be risky and lead to physical and psychological complications.

  • OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can be quite uncomfortable. OxyContin withdrawal is rarely life-threatening. However, the effects from OxyContin withdrawal make detoxing at home difficult to endure. Many people return to using OxyContin to relieve the symptoms.
  • Quitting cold turkey doesn’t address the underlying cause of the addiction. If a person simply stops using OxyContin without examining how they became addicted, he or she has a high risk of relapse.
  • Withdrawal can exacerbate mental health conditions. In some cases, those who abuse OxyContin may also suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. These issues may be exacerbated when an individual begins to detox, and may provide substantial challenges to recovery when the person isn’t supervised by a physician or another treating professional.

At this time, the medical community has not endorsed any natural detox methods for OxyContin.

How to Help an Addict Quit

When a loved one has an addiction, it can be difficult to get the person to agree that he or she has a problem and needs help. However, approaching the person in a harsh manner and threatening or shaming them is not helpful. Instead, it is best to express care and concern for the person’s wellbeing.

Often, getting the user to agree to meet with a treatment specialist can be a major step. Once the treatment specialist is involved, they may be able to convince the addicted person to enter a treatment program or make other recommendations. Depending on the situation, the specialist may suggest an intervention.

It may take many attempts to get a person addicted to OxyContin to agree that he or she needs to get help. Emphasize that you care for them and want them to get help for themselves to prevent further self-harm.

Find a Rehab Center for OxyContin Addiction

Quitting OxyContin is possible, and help is available. Call for free at today, and our recovery support specialists can help you locate a treatment center near you based on your insurance coverage.

If you do not have health insurance, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for referrals to low-cost OxyContin treatment centers or support groups.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.