The opiate crisis in the United States uses many common prescriptions for chronic pain, and Percocet is one of them. Typically, Percocet treats moderate to severe pain because it contains oxycodone hydrochloride, which directly influences the brain’s pain center.
Percocet addiction occurs accidentally in many cases, with patients taking the drug as they should. In addition, it reaches the regions of the brain that control reward and pleasure, producing a heightened sense of well-being, euphoria, and happiness when abused.
Percocet Abuse Overview
Percocet is a prescription physicians turn to when other pain relievers are not addressing the pain level. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, Percocet taken on a short-term basis is generally safe. Misuse occurs when patients take their medication in other ways and dosages than directed, taking another person’s drugs, or using prescription medication to get high.
Once an individual wanders from the intentional use of prescription medication, tolerance to the drug begins to form. In most cases of addiction, tolerance of the drug builds and leads to dependence. Once abuse or addiction occurs, adverse side effects begin, and a loss of control over the drug forms a habit.
Percocet addiction becomes risky with a direct negative impact on the body’s organs, immune system, and opiate receptors in the brain. Once the directed dosages are ignored and someone uses higher levels of Percocet, a medical emergency can lead to death.
The long-term effects of Percocet abuse include the following:
- Liver damage and kidney failure
- Urinary retention and severe constipation
- Decreased levels of testosterone in men
- Tolerance leads to physical and psychological dependence
- Immune suppression
- Changes to opioid receptors in the brain
Signs of Percocet Addiction
A Percocet addiction becomes evident when an individual begins to crush tablets to snort, mixing Percocet with sedative or alcohol, and continually increases dosages. The increase of dosage is imperative to prevent pain, discomfort, and depressed mood because, with abuse, a higher concentration of the drug is needed to fill receptors to achieve the desired effect.
The search for additional Percocet can consume an individual dealing with abuse or addiction. A sure sign of addiction is doctor shopping to get additional prescriptions to meet the need.
Clear signs of Percocet abuse can include:
- An inability to stop using the drug, despite the desire to do so
- Withdrawal symptoms occur when dosage decreases or ends
- Mood and behavior change
- Sleepiness and confusion
- Self-isolation and withdrawn behavior
- Obsessive preoccupation with Percocet
- Increased tolerance and dependence
- Excessive sweating and headaches
- Sexual dysfunction
- Disengaging from everyday activities to use Percocet
- Light-headedness and slow breathing
- Dry mouth and vomiting
- Tiny pupils
Effects of Percocet Addiction
Percocet addiction is a continual struggle of compulsive misuse of the drug. Opioid withdrawal symptoms can begin if the drug’s effect wears off or a lesser dosage is taken. The intensity of the symptoms can vary, but most are uncomfortable and stressful. Factors such as length of addiction, level of dosage, physical condition, and mental health can affect the duration of opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms can include the following:
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dysphoric mood and panic attacks
- Muscle aches
- Fever and sweating
- Runny nose and watery eyes
Another effect of Percocet addiction is physical damage to body organs, especially liver failure from extreme amounts of acetaminophen. People who have a Percocet addiction are always in search of the drug.
The problem with an inconsistent supply is the constant flow of opioid withdrawal symptoms from a lack of drugs, and then the opposite occurs after a score. Unfortunately, when the drugs are plentiful, an overdose can result in death.
Doctor Shopping and Percocet Abuse
Doctor shopping occurs when an individual’s doctor regulates the prescription for Percocet, and the user needs more. As dosages escalate, the individual with a Percocet addiction will go to various doctors and even travel out of town to find doctors who will write another prescription.
Drug enforcement techniques are in place to track controlled substances, but some doctors will still prescribe additional drugs to what seems like a vulnerable situation. Eventually, doctors catch on to the amount of drugs the patient appears to require, or in some cases, pharmacists catch the excessive amount of opioid prescriptions a patient has been given.
Overprescribing can be a contributing factor to Percocet addiction but also to overdose.
Opioid prescription addictions bring more patients to the emergency room for overdose reasons than any other drugs. Opioid pain relievers were found to be the main factor in unintentional deaths due to prescription drugs by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The public needs to familiarize themselves with the signs of opioid overdose.
There is a current drive for first responders and the public to have access to Naloxone to counteract the dangerous symptoms of overdose. Signs of Percocet overdose include:
- Respiratory depression
- Cold and clammy skin
- A bluish tint to the lips or fingernails
- Pupil constriction
- Slowed heart rate and hypotension
- Cardiac arrest
Percocet Addiction Treatment
Treatment for Percocet addiction is available and begins with medical detox. Withdrawal from Percocet is uncomfortable and could lead to relapse without medical management. The importance of medical management protects patients from complications that may occur due to physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. Engaging the patient to maintain a commitment to detox and sobriety can be reinforced with medication-assisted treatment.
Medically managed detox helps the patient cope with the acute withdrawal symptoms and can offer medications to ease the intensity of discomfort. The FDA has approved methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone for opioid withdrawal symptoms. Other drugs useful during detox include anti-anxiety medicines that can reduce feelings of agitation and anti-nausea medication to reduce vomiting and nausea. Rehab is the essential second step of the treatment plan.
AccessTreatment Options Available for Percocet Addiction in California
Detoxification from Percocet addiction is a mandatory step in treatment. However, after the detox, there are options to consider with Sierra Health and Wellness Centers in California for rehab. Discuss personal requirements and needs with an admissions representative and feel confident choosing one of their professional treatment options.
Contact the center today to begin the essential journey to sobriety.