Percocet is a prescription drug that consists of a combination of the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen and the painkiller oxycodone. Although millions of prescriptions for this drug are written each year, it’s highly addictive and chemically similar to heroin and other opioids.
Percocet addiction is characterized by the continual abuse of the substance despite negative consequences, such as loss of a job or chronic health problems.
Signs of Percocet Abuse and Addiction
If you suspect that someone you know is abusing Percocet, common signs to look for include the following:
- Changes in personality, mood, behavior, goals, or priorities
- Secretive, deceptive behavior
- An increase in physical or mental health problems
- Changes in friendships or social groups
- Neglect of important responsibilities such as work and family
Common side effects of Percocet abuse may include the following:
- Deteriorating mental health
- Brain damage
- Nightmares and insomnia
- Excessive drowsiness
- Lack of motivation
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Noticeable weight loss or gain
- Frequent infections
- Use of other opioids
- Organ failure (e.g., liver)
- Overdose and death
While the opioid oxycodone in Percocet is the substance that gets some users addicted, many people don’t realize that an overdose of acetaminophen can be life-threatening. Although oxycodone can be potentially lethal itself, it is actually much easier to overdose on acetaminophen, which is toxic to the liver in large doses. Many deaths due to an overdose of Percocet are related to acetaminophen and not the oxycodone.
For this reason, health care providers recommend limiting the use of acetaminophen to no more than 4000mg in 24 hours. This number may be easily disregarded, however, when a person begins taking multiple pills for their painkilling and euphoric effects above recommended doses.
Percocet Effects: Withdrawal Symptoms
Percocet addiction is also hallmarked by physiological dependence. If a person encounters withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit, this is a tell-tale sign that the person has become dependent.
Common Percocet effects of withdrawal include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor concentration
- Mood swings
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Muscle and body aches
- Increased heart rate
Combining Percocet with Other Substances
Percocet effects of abuse are hazardous on their own, but when the drug is used in conjunction with other central nervous system depressant drugs or alcohol, abuse can prove fatal. When used in combination with alcohol, Percocet can stop the heart and depress respiration to critical levels, depriving the brain of oxygen.
Percocet Addiction: Who Is at Risk?
Risk factors for Percocet addiction may include the following:
- History of trauma, neglect, or abuse, especially in childhood
- Chronic stress
- Physical or mental health problems
- A family or personal history of drug or alcohol use
- Extended use of Percocet, even with a prescription
Note: The presence of these risk factors does not necessarily indicate that a person will become an addict. Anyone using Percocet can become dependent, but recreational abusers do face a higher risk.
Addiction Treatment Options
Addiction is now widely considered to be a chronic disease, and there is no shame in seeking help if you feel you need it. Doing so can prevent more suffering and possibly even save your life.
It’s easy to feel helpless when you struggle with addiction, but this is a reflection of the nature of the disease and not reality. Treatment can be successful, and those who are in the throes of addiction have a wide range of treatment options from which to choose.
Outpatient treatment allows patients to reside at home while receiving recovery services. Schedules are flexible, and patients can often adjust the frequency and intensity of treatment sessions to meet their needs. Because patients are not required to live at a facility around-the-clock, they have free time to attend to important life responsibilities outside of the center, such as those related to family or work.
Compared to outpatient and even intensive outpatient programs, partial-hospitalization programs require a greater time commitment. Treatment is facilitated during the day, and patients often stay at the center for all or most of that time and return home only during the evenings.
Individual and Group Therapy
Psychotherapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), are often central to addiction treatment because they help people identify the factors that drive their addiction. Psychotherapy also teaches people how to develop healthier coping methods that don’t jeopardize their emotional and physical well-being.
Getting Help for Addiction
Percocet abuse and addiction can be devastating to a person’s physical health and emotional well-being. Opioid addiction is a severe health condition that often leads to many adverse consequences, including strained relationships, legal and financial problems, and premature death.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness specializes in the treatment of opioid abuse and addiction and employs comprehensive, evidence-based services essential to facilitating a long-term recovery, free from substance abuse.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Percocet, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us today to discuss treatment options!