Addiction to Percocet: 5 Things You Need to Know

Let's take a look at the effects and dangers of addiction to Percocet

If you're struggling with addiction to Percocet, you're not alone. It is estimated that 2 million Americans over the age of 12 are recreational users of prescription opioid painkillers. Lexington Drug Treatment Centers can suggest a treatment plan to help you regain control over your life. When taken as directed, Percocet and other opiate-derived painkillers help improve the lives of millions of people who suffer from chronic pain. When taken in a manner other than directed, however, Percocet can be deadly. Here are four things to know about Percocet abuse.

Is Percocet Addictive? In a Word, Yes

Percocet contains oxycodone, a powerful opioid of the morphinan family. When taken in high doses, Percocet has the same effect on the brain's opioid receptors as illicit drugs like heroin; that is, it causes the brain to become flooded with dopamine, leading to feelings of euphoria and a sense of well-being. Over time, however, more and more of the drug is needed in order to achieve the same euphoric high and prevent unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. This effect is called tolerance, and it's what leads some Percocet users to begin abusing the drug. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, continued use of Percocet in this manner can result in a physical and psychological dependence on the drug.

Abusing Percocet During Pregnancy Can Harm Your Baby

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, prolonged Percocet use during pregnancy may cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. If you have been prescribed Percocet while pregnant, it's important to discuss the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome with your health provider.

Addiction to Percocet Can Cause Negative Short-Term and Long Term Side Effects

People struggling with addiction to Percocet can experience negative short-term side effects ranging from mild to life-threatening. These include:

  • Red eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Depression
  • Suicidal Thoughts

Negative long-term effects associated with chronic use of Percocet, or abuse of the drug at high doses, include:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart problems
  • Worsening of respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Percocet Addiction Can Be Fatal

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid painkillers like Percocet are involved in more than half of all opioid overdose deaths. Behaviours that increase the risk of Percocet overdose include:

  • Cutting, crushing, or snorting Percocet pills
  • Taking Percocet in higher doses than what has been prescribed
  • Taking high doses of Percocet use after a period in recovery
  • Combining Percocet with alcohol or other drugs that suppress the central nervous system (such as benzodiazepines)
  • Stopping Percocet Use Can Cause Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

If someone addicted to Percocet attempts to stop using the drug suddenly, they will experience physical withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to overwhelming distress. Common withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction to Percocet include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Gastro-intestinal distress
  • Restlessness
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Fortunately, there are counter-indicative medications that can be administered during the detoxification process to help alleviate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and reduce a patient's risk of relapsing. One of these "antidote" medications is buprenorphine, which has proven to be effective in reducing opiate drug cravings and abuse. When used as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program that includes cognitive behavioral therapy and long-term counselling, counter-indicative medications help people addicted to Percocet develop healthy coping skills and learn to face life's challenges without the drug.






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