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Article Summary

A Guide To Percocet Addiction

With the growing rates of prescription drug abuse - whether it involves stimulants, sedatives, or opioid painkillers - it is clear that there is a serious health problem affecting many people within the United States.

In fact, the 2014 NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) estimates that approximately 6.5 million Americans agree that they have taken these prescription medications for non-medical reasons. The number is roughly 2.5% of the entire national population.

Understanding Percocet

Among the most abused of drugs is Percocet. Otherwise referred to as the white collar heroin, Percocet is a controlled medication that combines acetaminophen and oxycodone.

The drug also contains other substances, which are added through drug synergy to increase its analgesic properties. When taken in large quantities, Percocet causes a high that is similar to that experienced by heroin abusers. It is for this reason that this drug is so addicting.

The oxycodone part of Percocet forms a time-release substance that will make it difficult for you to get high. As a result, most addicts will either crush or chew the pill instead of swallowing it as doctors prescribe. This ensures that the drug is absorbed more rapidly into the bloodstream.

However, others will crush their pills and snort thing, eventually gaining a high that is more potent. Alternatively, they might dilute the tablets and inject the resulting solution directly into the bloodstream - an action rife with the risk of blood-borne pathogens arising from sharing needs (such as Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS).

Percocet Uses

Doctors prescribe Percocet as a pill for short term relief from pain (moderate to severe) that isn't chronic. These types of pain include pain from sustained injuries and post-surgical pain.

Like morphine and heroin, the drug affects the central nervous system and the brain, thereby making alterations to the way the body perceives pain. As a result, Percocet will bring you relief from the suffering.

In its function, Percocet works on the opioid receptors in the body to create chemical events that:

  • Modify pain perception
  • Elicit dopamine (a neurotransmitter) response in particular regions of the brain

As a natural chemical, the neurotransmitter plays a crucial role in the reward system circuitry in the brain. It is, for instance, instrumental in helping you derive motivation and pleasure, while at the same time reinforcing behavior that caused the release of the chemical.

In large doses, Percocet will get you high in the same way that heroin would. This high is characterized by:

  • Euphoria.
  • Feelings of calm relaxation
  • Heightened pleasure

With time, you will get hooked to the drug and start abusing it to:

  • Make yourself feel comfortable in social situations
  • Keep yourself from feeling bored
  • Escape from real life problems
  • Attract attention from friends and family
  • Alter the way you see yourself
  • Change the way others see you

Regardless of the causes leading to Percocet use and abuse, the situation will always end horribly unless you take the right steps towards remedying your addiction.

Percocet Effects

The primary effects of Percocet use and abuse are dependence and eventual addiction. As you continue struggling with this opioid addiction, you will be compulsive in your misuse of the drug, which will lead to:

  • Physical damage, including liver failure as a result of taking too much acetaminophen
  • Withdrawal symptoms after the drug starts wearing off, which compels further misuse
  • Overdose, which might result in death

When you have a Percocet abuse problem, you will also have a hard time getting regular refills of the medication. This will result in a repeated cycle of use and withdrawal.

Although the original intention was to use Percocet to treat short term pain, aggressive pharmaceutical marketing and changes in government regulations and recommendations have caused an upward surge in the use and eventual abuse of this medication among patients suffering from chronic pain.

With time, the acetaminophen and oxycodone components in white collar heroin will cause the following effects:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver damage
  • Physical dependence
  • Psychological dependence
  • Severe constipation
  • Slight decrease in testosterone levels (for men)
  • Tolerance
  • Urinary retention

Most of these effects are dangerous if you abuse the drug for recreational purposes or while self-medicating your pain without express permission and supervision from a licensed medical practitioner.

Percocet Side Effects

The side effects arising from Percocet use are similar to those you will experience after taking other opiate analgesics. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Constipation
  • Constricted papillary diameter
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Shallow breathing
  • Vomiting

Taking Percocet frequently and impulsively might also cause some rare albeit adverse side effects. You should seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Convulsions
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Hives
  • Intractable emesis
  • Obtundation
  • Rash
  • Seizures
  • Slow or fast heartbeat
  • Swelling of the ankles, feet, hands, eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat

Percocet Addictive Qualities

Most people get on the road to addiction after their doctor prescribes Percocet to help them relieve pain. The drug works by changing the response of the nervous system and the brain to pain.

However, as an opioid, Percocet will also activate the reward center in the drug. As a direct result, you will get addicted to the feelings of happiness and pleasure the medication produces.

With time, Percocet will stop working quite as well as it did when you took your first dose. Consequently, you will start taking more of the drug to simulate the effect you experienced the first time.

If you continue taking the medication over an extended period, or take it in high doses, you will eventually become hooked. The US National Library of Medicine asserts that Percocet is especially addictive when used for long or in high doses.

When the doctor prescribes it, you will develop physiologic dependence even if you follow the prescription. After you become an addict, you will feel unwell whenever you stay away from Percocet, with flu-like symptoms, cold chills, sweating, and body aches.

As an addict, you won't be able to control your desire for the drug. As a result, you will think about it several times every day and wonder how you can get more after you've run out.

Percocet Overdose

When you develop tolerance, whether you hold a prescription or you have been abusing Percocet, you will progressively start taking higher doses of the drug to achieve the original positive effects you felt when you started on this medication. However, increasing your dose will suffer more severe unwanted side effects, mainly constipation and liver damage.

Abusing Percocet by increasing your dose will also raise the possibility that you could overdose on the drug. The following are some of the symptoms of both acetaminophen and oxycodone overdose:

a) Acetaminophen Overdose Symptoms
  • Dark urine
  • Death
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Intense abdominal pain, below or centered close to the right rib cage
  • Jaundice (the yellowing of the eyes or skin)
  • Sweating
b) Oxycodone Overdose Symptoms
  • Blue color on the lips, fingernails, and the area around your mouth
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Coma
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Shallow or slowed breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Vomiting

If you mix Percocet with alcohol, you will increase the chances of an acetaminophen overdose. When death occurs after such an overdose, it will mostly be due to liver failure. It might happen days or weeks after you ingest the fatal dose.

In the same way, those who crush and snort (insufflate) the pills will suffer painful irritation of the nasal airways and passages. This is because the acetaminophen in Percocet will corrode the unprotected mucosal tissue.

Percocet Withdrawal

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, prescription drug abusers suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they can't get their hands on their medications of choice.

These symptoms also occur after you become dependent on and addicted to Percocet, and the drug is rapidly tapered or stopped suddenly. The symptoms are usually extremely uncomfortable and will only wane if you take more of the drug, or after you undergo detoxification within a medically supervised facility or program.

Withdrawal from Percocet will cause the following symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Cold sweats
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Stomach upset
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

The duration and severity of these symptoms will depend on your level of dependence and tolerance, as well as the severity of your addiction. In general, they will peak on the 2nd or 3rd day of going without Percocet and subside in a week or two.

Percocet Dangers

The chronic use and abuse of such opioids as Percocet will have an adverse impact on your health while dwindling the quality of your life. Some of the health problems typically associated with the long term abuse of these types of drugs include:

  • Immune suppression
  • Osteoporosis
  • Peripheral edema
  • Sexual dysfunction

In high doses, the component of the medication that contains acetaminophen will cause serious physical harm - which might translate to death - if you abuse. In particular, you will suffer acetaminophen toxicity after the drug overwhelms your system. This will eventually lead to hepatotoxicity, complications to your other organs, and eventual death.

Apart from the above danger, Percocet addicts also tend to abuse other addictive and harmful substances. The vast majority prefers abusing alcohol and benzodiazepines to intensify the high feeling they get, as well as increase their euphoria.

Others turn to this medication to combat the unpleasant effects of such stimulants as cocaine and math. However, poly-substance abuse of this kind will only increase the risk of negative health consequences, including death and heart attack.

If you have been struggling with this addiction, you should seek proper treatment and care. This is because the effects of abusing Percocet might prove to be life-threatening. However, if you take it to manage chronic pain, discuss the dangers with your doctor first and report any medical concerns in real time.

Signs And Symptoms Of Percocet Abuse

a) Mood Symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling carefree
  • Irritation
  • Irritation
  • Nervousness
  • Rapture
  • Sense of deep emotional well-being
b) Behavioral Symptoms
  • Agitation
  • Avoiding activities that you used to find pleasurable
  • Buying Percocet online
  • Doctor shopping and visiting different doctors to get larger quantities of the drug
  • Faking illnesses so you can receive Percocet prescription
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Loss of appetite
  • Making frequent trips to a hospital with a variety of pain complaints
  • Poly-substance abuse
  • Robberies
  • Social withdrawal from loved ones and friends
  • Violence
  • Wearing long shirts even in hot weather to cover your track marks
c) Physical Symptoms
  • Coma
  • Constipation
  • Constriction of the pupils
  • Damage to your vital organs, eventually leading to their failure
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Impotence
  • Lightheadedness
  • Lowered rate of respiration
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
d) Psychological Symptoms
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Other substance abuse
  • Paranoia
  • Periods of blacking out
  • Worsening of any existing mental health disorders

Treatment For Percocet Addiction

The best place to go for treatment after your Percocet addiction is the rehab. Whether you opt for an outpatient or an inpatient facility, you can be sure that the medical teams will cater to your physical needs so that you can quit the habit without suffering severe withdrawal symptoms or relapsing back to abuse. Further, the medical supervision means that you will not have to incur the risks that come with detoxifying on your own.

Treatment for Percocet addiction is delivered in many different settings and using a vast array of approaches. The addiction, for instance, might receive treatment in a residential setting, outpatient facility, or inpatient facilities. Most of the detoxification and rehabilitation centers focus on helping addicts how to recover as well as adopt new habits and patterns of behavior. The modalities of treatment usually encompass individualized therapy both in group and individual settings, as well as full medication therapy.

After you check into the treatment facility, the medics will first detoxify your body to get rid of all traces of the drug before proceeding on to the other change towards full recovery.

As far as possible, the best solution to Percocet addiction lies with the medics. This is the only way you can be sure that the detox and rehab will work for your own good you are done with the drug.

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