Percocet Abuse and Addiction

Percocet Abuse and Addiction: A Recovery Guide

Last updated on July 1st, 2019 at 12:41 pm

The opioid crisis has shaken the United States in recent years. While there are many prescription drugs to blame, there is one that bears more responsibility than others.

With more than 53 million prescriptions of oxycodone every year, there is no question that drugs like Percocet play a major role in the rise of addiction rates.

Let’s talk about Percocet addiction, its dangers, and what you can do about it.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name for the two pain-relieving drugs known as oxycodone and acetaminophen. While acetaminophen is in over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, oxycodone is an opiate.

You have likely heard plenty of conversations on the news or among friends about the opioid epidemic in recent years. This drug is one of the key offenders.

While Percocet uses a smaller amount of oxycodone drugs like Oxycontin, it still leads to addiction, makes you crave a stronger high, and can lead to using stronger drugs like heroin.

How It Works

With the pain-relieving benefits of opiates and the high number of prescriptions given in the U.S., you may be curious to know exactly what it does.

Opioids look like chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on nerve cells called opioid receptors. These receptors can slow breathing, stop coughing and reduce feelings of pain.

The Risks

While many believe that this drug gets overprescribed, the drug clearly serves a medical purpose for millions of people.

Unfortunately, because of the pain-relieving effects that most other drugs can’t match, opioids will remain on the market for some time.

There are safer drugs that relieve pain, but many of them don’t work as well. This leads many to seek Percocet without understanding the risks. Let’s talk about the risks of this drug that is selling in massive volumes.

Side Effects

All drugs come with side effects, but these effects aren’t equal. Common side effects of Percocet include nausea, drowsiness, and lightheadedness.

Some of the more serious side effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased perception of pain

Because of these side effects, you should never use this type of medication before driving or operating machinery.

Addiction

Oxycodone is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the U.S. because of its addictive properties.

If the side effects of the medication weren’t bad enough, once you form a dependency, withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Shaking
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Profuse sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to feel pleasure

While these withdrawal symptoms are terrifying, the alternative of continued use is far worse.

This is an especially scary drug considering that Percocet is one of the weakest forms of opioids, which gives plenty of room to move up to stronger substances.

In fact, 75% of heroin users reported that their first use of opioids was in the form of prescription medication.

Not only that, the rise of fentanyl use is getting higher, which is believed to be the most lethal drugs in history. Many people who move up to using heroin will still seek a more potent drug, and fentanyl is the final frontier.

Overdose

Pushing aside the use of heroin or other street drugs, overdosing on Percocet is still a likely scenario.

Opioid overdose interferes with your brain’s regulatory processes, which can slow or even stop your breathing, causing death.

When It is Time For Treatment

Most of us will know when it is time for somebody to get treatment, but many people struggling with addiction will need a helping hand.

If you or a loved one are suffering from Percocet abuse, the time for treatment is now. If you believe a loved one is abusing this medication, here are some signs.

How To Spot It

Once you have reason to suspect addiction and abuse, there are some key things to look for.

If your loved one is reporting improvement on their pain and still carrying the medicine with them everywhere or going to the doctor to refill their script, these are key behavioral signs.

If they are isolating themselves, lying about their whereabouts, or reporting that they feel depressed or hopeless while taking the medication, this may be all the information you need.

Other than behavioral indicators, other factors can include who is more susceptible to addiction. People struggling with mental health disorders such as PTSD or depression are far more likely to develop substance abuse issues.

If they fit enough of these criteria, it may be time to intervene. Find out how to do an intervention in the right way.

How To Seek Treatment

If you are in need of recovery, there is no time like the present to get started on the process. It can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Remember, there are 3 major steps to take once you have acknowledged the problem. First, you must seek treatment, then abstain from the substance, and then maintain that abstinence.

The last is the hardest part, as it is a lifelong battle. Just remember the alternative. The only way to get there is to start. Find out more about our services to help you get to a better life.

Next Steps

Percocet is a serious drug that you should take with the right amount of precaution. If you are being prescribed this medicine, take it only as needed and alert your doctor if you feel you are becoming dependent on it.

If you are struggling with a mental health disorder as well as an addiction to painkillers, learn more about dual diagnosis treatment to find out if it’s right for you.

References

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

About Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.