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Painkillers are a one-way ticket to immediate pain relief. People experiencing severe pain tend to go with the option that provides a solution with instant results. Hence, it’s not surprising that people overuse the painkiller Percocet. Percocet is a prescribed pain reliever. It contains Oxycodone (an opioid pain reliever) and Acetaminophen (a less potent pain reliever) that relives moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone acts as a pain reliever by working in the brain to change your body’s response to pain.

Depending on the formulation, Percocet is usually prescribed in a dose of 3 to 5 hours. People always end up treading the road to Percocet Use Disorder which is why doctors recommend Percocet for short-term use. Questions like are Percocet addictive? If so, then why is Percocet addictive? What are the signs of Percocet addiction? Can Percocet cause depression with long-term use? Often wander into the minds of users.   

Doctors often prescribe Percocet painkillers for postoperative pain, trauma, and in some cases, patients with severe chronic pain. Since Percocet is legally purchased, it is a reliable way for people to get high, ultimately resulting in an addiction to Percocet.The number of emergency room visits increased by 152% between 2004 and 2008 due to the severity of Percocet abuse.

Percocet (Oxycodone) is taken orally in tablet form or mixed with a small amount of fruit juice. Doctors usually recommend a dose that is within the patient’s tolerance range. If the pain is not controlled, it will get worse over time. 

Note: Percocet is usually taken with or without food every 4 to 6 hours for either pain relief or as standard medicine. 

To answer your questions and clear any ambiguity, learn more about the Percocet drug abuse right here! 

A spilled pill bottle with white pills around it.

Percocet is considered the best pain reliever because its component Oxycodone has a strong and immediate effect. Oxycodone comes in extended-release tablets and extended-release capsules that are used by people dealing with severe pain which cannot be treated with other medications

Percocet is the brand name of Oxycodone which is highly addictive like other forms of ‘Opioids’ drugs. Keeping in mind the dangers of Percocet from prolong use, doctors only prescribe Oxycodone for short-term use.

There is always a possibility of Percocet drug abuse by the patients taking painkillers for medicinal purposes. As a powerful opioid drug, Oxycodone works by hijacking the brain’s natural reward mechanism that guides users to seek out the drug even if they realize the dangers of Percocet that will bring serious health risks.

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So, why is Percocet addictive? Our brain releases a small amount of the neurotransmitter Dopamine and natural opioids, which will reward us when we carry out any tasks. However, people who use Oxycodone will eventually replace natural opioids more than usual—ultimately leading to feelings of joy and euphoria.

Note: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released in the brain that helps regulate body movement. Due to the lack of dopamine in the brain, delayed and uncontrolled movements can occur.  

Addiction to Percocet causes the user’s brain receptor to adapt to high opioid levels. Repeated use of Oxycodone causes users to become addicted to feeling normal. This phenomenon can cause your body to stop producing dopamine and natural opioids.

According to the latest news, 46% of emergency room visits in 2013 were related to Percocet drug abuse.

One of the most frequently asked questions by patients is, are Percocet addictive? If you think taking Oxycodone in the prescribed dose can reduce the risk of perc addiction, sadly, you are mistaken.

The risk of Percocet drug abuse is high among women, adolescents, and the elderly. Mothers who take Percocet painkillers during the first two months of pregnancy to relieve pain may put their babies at risk of birth defects.

The acetaminophen component of Percocet puts individuals struggling with alcohol use at significant risk of experiencing acute liver failure.

Note: Acetaminophen inhibits the release of pain-related chemicals in the brain.  

People who choose the Percocet drug abuse route forget about the side effects they will have to suffer from. For the sake of pain relief, people forget to draw the line between use and misuse.   

Therefore, doctors will appropriately increase the dose within the patients’ tolerance to control pain and prevent the side effects of these perc pills.   

People with Percocet addiction never consider the outcomes of drug abuse. To understand the Percocet addiction signs, let us see how easy it is for people to develop Percocet dependence. 

Doctors often warn their patients about the side effects of using Percocet in combination with other drugs. In the quest for pain relief, patients usually take one step ahead and take these drugs in variety with either sleeping pills or alcohol.

This deadly combination will undoubtedly provide the relief Percocet users were looking for, but a habitual user can easily overdose.

Therefore, these painkillers are only suitable for those who can tolerate other opioids. 

Since opioids are naturally present in heroin that is very likely to be abused. So, the answer to the question is Percocet an opioid? is yes. Opioids are a class of drugs, including Percocet, which produces morphine-like effects by targeting opioid receptors in the brain.  

Percocet dependence develops when opioid users see the immediate pain relief they get from short-term use, and as a result, they avoid the doctor’s warning. This dependence takes root for Percocet abuse when users find unethical ways to get this drug. Some of the dangerous behaviors of drug users are: 

  • Seeking multiple doctors
  • Stealing prescriptions from family or friends
  • Using fake prescription
  • Looking for drug dealers.

Percocet can be administered into your system in the form of:

  • Extended-release tablets (Long-acting tablets) are taken every 12 hours with or without food. 
  • Capsules that are swallowed individually with plenty of water one at a time.
  • A concentrated solution that can be mixed with fruit juice or semisolid food such as applesauce or pudding in small amounts.

Signs of Percocet Dependence

According to the American Society for Addiction Medicine, Opioid dependence is considered a brain disease that can be fatal if left untreated. So how do you know if your loved one is abusing painkillers?

People who rely heavily on Percocet depict changes anyone close to them can easily recognize. These changes manifest as a series of symptoms that affect the physical and mental health of an opioid addict.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Lack of vitality
  • Changes in social behavior
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Changes in physical appearance
  • Increased confidentiality

Due to increased levels of intoxication resulting from Percocet dependence, drug addicts overlook the changes that later appear in the form of long-term side effects. Drug abusers ignore the health risks associated with addiction to Percocet simply because of feelings of calm and euphoria.    

The main culprit behind Percocet dependence is the combination people try when taking these painkillers. Drug addicts don’t know that taking painkillers with other forms of opioids or alcohol can increase the risk of overdose tenfold.

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Dangers of Percocet are ignored by drug addicts who believe the only cure to their pain is found in painkillers. Over time, this misuse can cause your body to think that you will not be able to function normally without Percocet painkillers, which will affect you in the future.

We have already discussed why is Percocet addictive? Why do people get addicted to Percocet? Let’s discuss the symptoms of a person abusing Percocet.

Signs of Percocet addiction will appear when the users start to take more drugs than recommended. Because Percocet has a high risk of addiction, doctors list the possible symptoms of long-term use of Oxycodone.

The recommended dose of Percocet use depends on the severity of the pain and the route of administration. Although the short-term use of painkillers as directed by a doctor can provide immediate pain relief, some people seek solace in this relief and view it as an escape from reality.

This avoidance puts them on a path of change that will only harm their health and life. 

It is difficult to tell whether you or your loved one is indulging in Percocet abuse. Below is the list of signs of addiction to Percocet that may help you identify the physical, psychological, behavioral, and social changes of addiction:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Poor work performance
  • Obsessed withholding supplies of Percocet 
  • Lie to get a prescription
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of interest in physical appearance

Understanding the symptoms of Perco addiction can help you or your loved one not to damage your health.

According to a 2012 study, the abuse of painkillers is widespread, with approximately 12 million people reporting using Oxycodone for non-medicinal purpose 

Mothers were found to use Percocet to relieve pain during pregnancy. Legal and illegal use of the opioid drug increases the risk for newborns to be addicted to opioids. When faced with life-changing consequences, drug addicts will be aware of the impact of their choices. 

One of the reasons people addicted to Percocet does not consider while taking a step towards drug abuse is because they do not know the changes their body goes through. Once your body gets used to a certain medication, it’s too hard to turn back.

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These changes will gradually manifest as short and long-term side effects after some time.

Short-Term Effects of Percocet Use

To clarify any doubts before using Percocet painkillers, the doctor lists the side effects you may experience. Short-term side effects usually appear in the first few weeks of taking Percocet, lasting approximately 4 – 6 hours. Some of these side effects include:

  • Increased calmness 
  • Dry mouth
  • Pain relief
  • Pleasant euphoria
  • Drowsiness

As mentioned above, once your body develops tolerance to Percocet more than the recommended dose, people will go beyond any lengths to achieve the desired effects, thus facing severe repercussions when they reach the level of overdose.

Long-Term Effects of Percocet Abuse

As you know, Percocet and other classes of opioids were originally used to treat acute (short-term) pain. Over the years, aggressive marketing by the pharmaceutical companies and the momentary soothing effect has led to an increased number of Percocet drug abuse in patients with chronic pain.

Abusing Percocet with several other drugs eventually results in fatal death if not kept in check. People who are Percocet addictive do not consider the health risk and life-changing impact that ultimately wreaks havoc on their bodies. 

Mentioned below are the long-term effects of Percocet use disorder that can be very dangerous. 

  • Hepatotoxicity

Percocet affects your liver when taken with alcohol. People don’t know the dangers of Percocet affecting liver function. Sure, you will get the desired result more than you originally wanted in the first place. The outcome of this overdose will only be visible when extensive organ damage has occurred.

  • Constipation

Percocet affects the muscles of your digestive system. Due to reduced metabolic activity, this can lead to severe constipation. Bowel obstructions, perforations, and peritonitis are some of the few examples of gastrointestinal sequelae that people addicted to Percocet experience.

  • Depression

Can Percocet cause depression? Although Oxycodone can produce a rush of euphoria, taking more frequent doses than necessary can interfere with the brain’s reward system, which regulates your emotions. Addiction to Percocet affects the regulation of dopamine in your brain that over time exhibits feelings of loneliness and depression.   

  • Muscle Weakness

Percocet pills affect the important areas of the brain responsible for body movement. Seizures caused by long-term use of Oxycodone can result in muscle weakness through controlled jerky movements. 

  • Breathing Problems

One of the most common Percocet addiction signs is shortness of breath. As the dose of Percocet increases, respiratory problems become more common.

In addition to these symptoms, Percocet opioid users also experience urinary retention, physical and psychological dependence, kidney failure when the drug is taken with alcohol.

Withdrawal symptoms of Percocet Abuse usually occur when a drug addict stops taking drugs, forcing the body to adapt and function without the constant presence of a drug in the system. Similarly, people abusing Percocet experience withdrawal symptoms when the receptors in the brain responsible for providing relief from pain fail to function without the effects of the drug.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on how long a Percocet addictive person was physically dependent on the drug. Abruptly discontinuing Percocet can induce severe withdrawal symptoms.

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To minimize the effects of withdrawal, doctors recommend slowly reducing the intake of Percocet over a prolonged time. Symptoms of Percocet drug abuse are common when certain substances are mixed with Oxycodone. This combination of substances interferes with the proper functioning of Percocet.

Duration of Withdrawal Symptoms

The duration of withdrawal symptoms usually depends on the history of drug use. Long-term use of Percocet can cause symptoms to appear sooner. Tapering off the drug can alleviate the early symptoms, but it can prolong the withdrawal period.

People with an addiction to Percocet develop withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of the last dose. Symptoms start with mild discomfort, excessive yawning, and a runny nose. Addicts may also experience drug cravings.

Symptoms worsen when they reach their peak five days later. After getting the peak, the withdrawal symptoms begin to disappear.

Some acute withdrawal symptoms may disappear at the end of the first week, while other symptoms may appear over a longer time. Depression and anxiety usually persist after the acute phase.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Perc Addiction  

Withdrawals from opioid-like Percocet are initially characterized by mild symptoms, which may become more severe in the future. Symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Body Aches
  • Chills
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting 
  • Muscle and Joint pain
  • Stomach Cramps 
  • Labored Breathing.

Protracted or post-acute withdrawal symptoms usually occur when people stop taking opioids. These symptoms manifest into psychological changes that result in depression, irritability, and anxiety. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last up to a few weeks or months.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms can sometimes lead to relapse because people with Percocet addiction feel the only way out of discomfort is through Percocet painkillers.

In 2014, 30,000 people died due to opioid overdose, and this number has been increasing over the years. This raises the question of why do people get addicted to Percocet?

As mentioned above, Opioid regulates the release of dopamine in the brain, producing calmness and pain relief. People addicted to Percocet rely on a drug in the body to cope with even mild pain that is manageable without Oxycodone. 

Therefore, it freezes the thought process that warns drug addicts not to indulge in Percocet drug abuse. Crushing and inhaling Percocet pills or injecting them in liquid form can release large amounts of the drug into the body’s blood faster, resulting in overdose.

Overdose of Percocet may occur accidentally or due to improper use. People with Percocet addiction signs may recover fully or suffer serious health consequences from an overdose. It might be difficult for others to tell if someone is on the road towards overdose since Percocet users seem to be ‘normal’. 

Signs of Percocet Overdose

The following is a list of symptoms that can help people around you prevent overdose.  

  • Seizures
  • Cyanosis
  • Unconsciousness
  • Bradycardia
  • Severe Nausea
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Disturbance in Heart Rhythms

Keeping in mind these symptoms, doctors always list or mention warning about possible abuse of Percocet on the back of the bottle.

One of the main reasons for drug overdose is the patient’s relapse. Relapse generally occurs when the body is unable to cope with the withdrawal symptoms and becomes depressed. Patients feel overwhelmed by the intake of Percocet, which eventually leads to an overdose.

To avoid any serious health risks, preventive measures must be taken to help people with addiction to Percocet manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent a recurrence.

Due to its highly addictive nature, doctors recommend Percocet for short-term use only. However, with immediate soothing effects, patients lead towards abusing Percocet to such an extent that it leaves them on the brink of overdosing. 

Whereas Percocet addiction signs can be difficult to manage if not addressed properly nonetheless withdrawal symptoms put patients on the pedestal of relapse. The important factor to consider is how your loved one should keep a close eye on if you exhibit behavioral changes and proceed towards Percocet addiction.

The road to recovery is never easy unless you are guided by those who care about your well-being. The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that behavioral interventions, medications, and screening for possible co-occurring mental health disorders are beneficial in treating perc addiction.

These interventions with family support can help a drug addict avoid overdose that potentially leads to death. 

So, don’t wait before it’s too late!