What is Percocet?
Table of Contents
- What is Percocet?
- How Does Percocet Help Relieve Pain?
- What Makes Percocet Addictive?
- The Risks For Developing a Percocet Addiction
- The Warning Signs of Drug Abuse
- Side Effects of Percocet Abuse
- Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Overdose
- Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms
- Treatment Methods for Percocet Addiction
- Effective Percocet Treatment Options: Found Here
Percocet is a controlled medication typically used to treat moderate to severe pain and combines the highly addictive opioid Oxycontin with the non-opioid painkiller, Acetaminophen. When Percocet addiction does occur, it can be all the more harmful due to large amounts of Tylenol being taken as well.
Percocet was developed with the intention of serving as a “safer” and less potent alternative to other prescription opioids. However, while prescription medications such as this one can be highly effective in pain management, they also have a high risk of abuse and addiction.
This is typically because many people end up building a tolerance to their prescribed Percocet quite quickly. As a result, they may choose to increase their dosage in order to achieve the same level of pain relief as they did when they first started taking this drug.
Keep reading to find out more about how Percocet dependence occurs and how to find effective treatment options!
How Does Percocet Help Relieve Pain?
Similar to other opioids, Percocet helps to soothe the pain by attaching to nerve cells upon making their way to the central nervous system. These are called opiate receptors, and by binding to these, opiates and opioids are able to block the sensation of pain.
This interaction can also cause individuals to experience feelings of euphoria, which is what typically instigates an individual’s abuse of Percocet; as well as any other form of prescription drug abuse.
What Makes Percocet Addictive?
As discussed, prescription drugs, including Percocet, can be highly beneficial for individuals experiencing moderate to severe physical pain.
In many cases, it can enable people with what would otherwise be debilitating muscle aches and joint pains, or any other type of physical pain, to be able to function and maintain their responsibilities.
The tricky part of this opiate, however, is knowing when a person has crossed the usage guidelines of their own prescription, and officially begun abusing Percocet.
As many individuals use this drug to function, occasionally increasing the dosage or frequency in which they are taking Percocet may not seem like a huge deal. However, because of the way opiates chemically alter the brain, it does not take long to form habits of Percocet abuse.
This is particularly true for individuals who engage in Percocet use as a means of avoiding emotional pain rather than physical pain. Especially for those struggling with mental illness, the euphoric high produced by this pain reliever may feel too good to resist.
However, this relief is only temporary, and as individuals continue to abuse Percocet, this can actually make their negative thoughts and feelings worse.
The Risks For Developing a Percocet Addiction
As with any drug, Percocet does not discriminate against its users. Anyone can develop an addiction, whether this be in the form of painkiller addictions, or any other drugs. With that being said, there are several risk factors associated with Percocet abuse.
The most at-risk group of individuals for this form of drug abuse are those taking Percocet for a medical issue. While prescribed with the best of intentions, the narcotic’s gradual rewiring of the brain can easily result in the development of a dependency on it.
Prescription medications also bring with them the risk that they may fall into the wrong hands. For example, it is not uncommon for children and teens to steal Percocet out of their parent’s medicine cabinets.
Unfortunately, unmonitored use of prescription medication, particularly controlled substances such as Percocet, can be extremely dangerous, often resulting in severe adverse side effects and even overdose.
A family history of addiction, or living with family members who may also be struggling with substance abuse are also significant risk factors in an individual’s likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.
Furthermore, individuals who are struggling with certain mental disorders may have a greater risk of engaging in prescription drug abuse. These may include depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can cause symptoms of physical pain and discomfort.
The Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), simultaneous mental health and substance use disorders are quite common within the United States. These are known as co-occurring disorders or dual diagnoses.
This relationship is so common because many individuals may turn to drug or alcohol abuse as a means of self-medicating the painful thoughts and feelings their mental illness may cause. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary solution, and rarely one that works.
Furthermore, if individuals continue to use this management method over longer periods of time, their bodies will eventually develop a tolerance to these substances. This can not only produce a number of negative side effects on its own but may further worsen these negative emotions.
The Warning Signs of Drug Abuse
As with many forms of drug abuse, it can be difficult to know how to determine if a loved one may be abusing Percocet. However, there are several signs you can look out for that can help you more easily recognize this behavior.
Many of these warning signs will present themselves as psychosocial symptoms, such as work issues or social withdrawal. However, these can also be physical, and may include:
- Constricted pupils (“Pinned” eyes”).
- Bags under the user’s eyes.
- A change in sleeping and eating habits.
- Increased level of defensiveness towards their whereabouts.
- Breakdown in personal relationships.
- Incredible amounts of fatigue.
- Randomly falling asleep, or “nodding” off.
- Increased engagement in theft or other illegal activities.
- Sudden gains and loss of money.
If you notice someone nodding off, and suspect they may be using drugs, this symptom can be the beginning of an overdose. If present with any other overdose symptoms, it is important to seek medical assistance immediately.
Side Effects of Percocet Abuse
Chronic Percocet abuse can result in a number of adverse side effects, some of which can become life-threatening if not addressed immediately. These may include:
- Respiratory Depression
- Respiratory Arrest
Individuals may also develop suicidal ideations or behaviors when they abuse Percocet, another major reason as to why it is crucial to seek out addiction treatment options as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Overdose
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid-related deaths in the U.S. increased by nearly 6% between the years of 2018 and 2019 alone. Unfortunately, this trend shows that cases of substance abuse and addiction in this country are only growing.
Thus, it is extremely important that people know how to recognize the symptoms, signs, and risks of Percocet overdose; many of which will be similar to those experienced while overdosing on Oxycodone or other opioids.
Using Percocet by snorting or injecting it, mixing it with other medications or drugs, or using this medication with an underlying medical condition can all increase a person’s risk of overdose.
When it comes to the signs of Percocet overdose, symptoms include labored breathing, memory loss, nausea and vomiting, and significant stomach pain.
More severe overdose effects may also occur, including the following symptoms:
- Breathing problems, or not breathing at all
- Low blood pressure
- Weak pulse
- Possible seizures
- Blue-tinted fingernails and lips
- Muscle damage due to immobility
Furthermore, as the second main active ingredient in this drug, Acetaminophen poisoning is also a possible form of Percocet overdose.
Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms
Someone struggling with a Percocet addiction will have formed a physical and emotional dependency on this drug, meaning it can be incredibly difficult to stop using it. In fact, many illegal drugs can have intense withdrawal periods when someone attempts to stop using them.
Particularly in the case of Opioid withdrawal, this process can be extremely difficult to endure and, if not managed correctly, can even result in death. Some of the negative effects associated with Percocet withdrawal may include the following symptoms:
- Loss of Appetite
- Extreme Weight Loss
- Loss of Mental Clarity
- Difficulty Functioning Without Percocet
- Physical Pain
- Cold Sweats
Percocet withdrawals can also have serious, life-threatening consequences, such as seizures. Furthermore, more severe cases of Percocet abuse may cause these symptoms to progress over a longer period of time than what may be considered normal.
Thus, it is highly recommended that individuals struggling with addiction to this medication seek out professional treatment options as soon as possible.
Treatment Methods for Percocet Addiction
There are several treatment options for managing someone’s abuse of Percocet, each of which will have its own recovery approach and benefits. When it comes to opioid abuse, the first form of addiction treatment that should be sought out is a medical detox program.
This form of addiction treatment will focus on managing withdrawal symptoms while gradually reducing one’s Percocet dosage, allowing the body to re-adjust to functioning without this drug. This will be done under the supervision of multiple doctors and addiction specialists.
The next option that may be beneficial for treating a Percocet addiction is inpatient addiction treatment options, which provide individuals with regular care from healthcare professionals.
This helps ensure a safe and supportive environment for individuals to recover in. Inpatient treatment may also offer services for treating co-occurring disorders, and any behavioral symptoms these may cause.
For those who may not be able to meet the time commitment of inpatient programs, outpatient treatment options may be a better option for them. These can help an individual gain access to sobriety support and recovery tools while re-adjusting to independent sober living.
These may also provide mental health treatment options, which can help individuals with understanding Percocet and what underlying issues may have led to their development of an addiction to this drug in the first place.
Effective Percocet Treatment Options: Found Here
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, whether with the abuse of Percocet or any other drugs, know that you are not alone, and help IS available. At Find Addiction Rehabs, we strive to help people like you break free from substance abuse.
Our hotline is available 24/7 to connect you with addiction treatment options and rehab facilities that are dedicated to meeting your personal care needs. Whether finding treatment centers near you or providing you with recovery tools and resources, we’re here to help, anytime you need it!
So don’t wait; pick up the phone, and let one of our representatives get you started on the path to recovery from addiction, where you can achieve a happy, healthy, and sober you, today!
Nicole Rogers is an experienced and accomplished writer with special interests in the fields of Anthropology, English, and behavioral health, and has written countless articles for newspaper publications, institutional research journals, and Find Addiction Rehabs.
Her alma mater is Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Nicole hopes to spread awareness of and combat the stigmatization surrounding addiction and substance abuse treatment through her writing and work in the field.