Important Facts to Consider When Fighting Percocet Addiction
America’s opioid crisis continues, and by many accounts, it is worse than ever. Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Illicit drugs such as heroin or fentanyl contribute to staggering overdose rates across the country. Meanwhile, prescription painkillers have been a huge part of the growing problem. Many opioid medications have been part of the problem, including well-known brand name medications like Percocet.
So what are some of the important facts for fighting Percocet addiction?
Percocet is a brand name prescription pain medication. The two key ingredients in Percocet include:
- Oxycodone– a semi-synthetic opiate
- Acetaminophen– the active ingredient in Tylenol
As an opioid, the drug is classified as a schedule II narcotic by the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has a high potential for abuse that could lead to psychological or physical dependence. The drug is formulated to offer immediate relief for moderate to severe pain symptoms. It was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration back in 1976.
Oxycodone, the main ingredient in Percocet, is one of the most common types of opioids involved in overdose fatalities.
Percocet Abuse and Addiction
Percocet addiction can happen in a number of ways. For instances, not everyone who becomes addicted to Percocet or other opioid medications start as recreational users. Furthermore, that addiction can evolve in different ways over time, and bring with it a lot of adverse health effects.
One factor that helped Percocet abuse become so popular was the misconception that it was a safer way to get high. This is partly because it is legal to purchase with a prescription. It also does not have as bad a reputation as other opioids, such as OxyContin, heroin or morphine. Still, with high enough doses a user can experience euphoria similar to heroin and other opioids.
On the other hand, Percocet is a useful a medication for pain symptoms. Some people who suffer injuries can benefit from the drug as a treatment resource. However, once they developed a tolerance they may start to increase their dosage. As people become more and more dependent, the drug changes the chemistry in their brain and the body. Eventually, that dependence can blossom into a full-blown addiction.
Overall, substance use disorder (SUD) is a complex and intimate condition. It is difficult to predict what causes it, but some common factors that may contribute to the development of an SUD include:
- History of substance abuse
- Family history of SUD
- Undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses
- A stressful, unstable, or traumatic home environment
- History of impulsive and risky behaviors
- Spending time with other drug users
These are just a few examples of possible elements to consider when trying to prevent Percocet addiction.
Percocet Addiction: Side Effects
Addiction can manifest a variety of ways in different people. Sometimes, the damage is more physical, while other times the damage is more personal. Although in most cases, people who develop Percocet addiction typically suffer both physically and personally. Some of the adversities of Percocet addiction can become permanent without proper intervention. Common side effects include:
- Damage to the heart
- Lung damage
- Eye problems
- Mental health problems
- Sexual dysfunction
- Family discord
- Job loss
- Financial problems
- Chronic unemployment
- Interaction with the legal system
- Social isolation
- Strained relationships
- Suicidal ideation
When Percocet abuse continues, the psychological and physical effects can be devastating and even life-altering. As addiction develops, people will often start to allow other areas of their life to suffer due to their drug use.
Percocet Addiction: Withdrawals
Like most opioids, Percocet users are at high risk of developing a tolerance and even physical dependence. Due to the nature of the drug, there are numerous potential side effects associated with long-term abuse. When the body adapts to such a powerful substance, discontinuing use can cause drastic side effects. Percocet withdrawals can range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating and even hazardous to overall health.
Some of the most common withdrawals resulting from Percocet addiction include:
- Abdominal pain
- Memory loss
- Runny nose
- Increased tearing eyes
- Excessive sweating
- Stomach cramps
Withdrawal symptoms are often one of the most difficult obstacles that people trying to recover from Percocet addiction face. As these symptoms grow progressively worse, the risk of relapse grows as well. Most people find this period so painful that they return to active drug use simply to avoid these symptoms.
Sadly, in many cases, people who stop using drugs and then relapse are at an elevated risk of succumbing to a fatal overdose. When the body begins to adjust without the substance, and the person goes back out and uses the same amount without the same tolerance, it can be deadly.
All this just shows why safe medical detox is such an essential part of the recovery process.
Percocet Addiction: Detox and Treatment
By providing the opportunity to safely transition off of substances with medical support, detox can help people establish a foundation for future growth and personal development.
Percocet addiction should always be treated by licensed professionals to ensure the safest and most effective treatment possible. One option for addressing issues with opioids is a medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which offers access to medication that makes the effects of withdrawal more bearable. Comprehensive treatment should go beyond assistance with the physical symptoms of opioid dependence. It should also include therapy that helps to address underlying issues, as well as care for co-occurring disorders and resources for family and loved ones. Additionally, patients should also receive relapse prevention training and aftercare options.