Percocet is a pharmaceutical drug that consists of a combination of the pain reliever acetaminophen and the painkiller oxycodone. While millions of prescriptions for this medication are written each year, it’s highly addictive, and more than 64,000 people are admitted each year to emergency departments due to the adverse effects of oxycodone.
As an opioid, Percocet is chemically comparable to heroin. While the opioid in Percocet is the element that gets some users addicted, many people don’t realize that the acetaminophen can also pose a danger to their lives.
Although oxycodone is potentially deadly, it is much easier to overdose on acetaminophen, which in large doses is toxic to the liver. In fact, many people who die as a result of Percocet overdose are killed by the acetaminophen and not the oxycodone.
For this reason, medical providers recommend limiting the use of acetaminophen to no more than 4000mg in a 24-hour period. This number may be easily ignored, however, when a person is taking multiple pills for their painkilling or euphoric effects in excess of prescribed doses.
Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Abuse and Addiction
If you suspect that someone you know may be abusing Percocet, some common signs to look for include:
- Changes in mood, personality, behavior, goals, or priorities
- Secretive or deceptive behavior
- An increase in problems related to either physical or mental health
- Changes in friendships or social groups
- The neglect of important responsibilities
The hallmark sign of Percocet addiction – and addiction in general – is continuing to abuse the substance despite adverse consequences, such as loss of a job or recurring health problems. Percocet addiction also results in physiological dependence. If an individual experiences withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, it’s a telling sign that the person has become dependent.
Effects of Percocet Abuse
Some of the most common side effects of Percocet abuse include the following:
- Decline in mental health
- Brain damage
- Nightmares and insomnia
- Excessive sleepiness
- Lack of motivation
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Profound weight loss or gain
- Frequent infections
- Accidental overdose
- Use of other opioids
- Organ failure, especially the liver
Mixing Percocet with Other Substances
Percocet abuse is dangerous on its own, but if combined with other CNS depressant drugs or alcohol, abuse can prove fatal. When used in conjunction with alcohol, Percocet can stop the heart and dangerously depress respiration, depriving the brain of oxygen.
Who Is at Risk for Percocet Addiction?
Risk factors for Percocet addiction include the following:
- A history of trauma or abuse, especially in childhood
- Chronic stress
- Physical or mental health challenging
- A family or personal history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Prolonged use of Percocet, even with a prescription
The presence of these risk factors alone does not necessarily indicate that someone will become an addict. Anyone using Percocet can potentially become dependent, and recreational users face a higher risk.
Percocet Treatment Options
Addiction is a disease, and there is no shame in seeking help when you feel you need it. Doing so can prevent more misery and damage to your life – or even save it.
It’s easy to fall into hopelessness when you experience addiction, but this a reflection of the nature of the disease, not reality. Addiction treatment can be successful, and those suffering have a wide variety of treatment options from which to choose.
Outpatient treatment allows patients to continue residing at home while receiving regular recovery services. Schedules are flexible, and people can often adjust the intensity and frequency of treatment sessions to meet their needs. Because patients are not required to remain at a facility 24/7, they can attend to important responsibilities outside of treatment such as those related to family, work, or school.
Partial Hospitalization Programs
When compared to outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs require a significant time commitment. Treatment is rendered during the day, and patients often remain at the facility for all or most of that time, returning home only during the evenings.
Individual and Group Therapy
Psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy allow people to explore the factors that led to their addiction. Psychotherapy helps clients develop improved, healthier coping methods that don’t compromise emotional or physical well-being.
Detoxing from Percocet can be highly unpleasant, but undergoing a medical detox can make the process safer and more comfortable. Some programs are outpatient, and some require an inpatient stay of several days.
Persons struggling with an opioid addiction can receive medication-assisted treatment, or pharmaceuticals medically-approved to reduce cravings for opioids and relieve symptoms of withdrawal. These include medications such as Suboxone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
Percocet abuse or addiction can be devasting to a person’s physical health and mental well-being. Opioid addiction is a very serious health condition that often produces many adverse consequences, including strained relationships, legal and financial difficulties, and premature death.
Midwood Addiction Treatment specializes in the treatment of opioid abuse and addiction and employs integrated, evidence-based services that are essential to overcoming substance abuse and facilitating recovery.
If you are struggling with an addiction to Percocet, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us today to discuss treatment options!