Percocet Abuse & Addiction

Abuse of prescription medications is a growing problem in the United States, and according to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 6.5 million Americans reported taking prescription medication for non-medical uses.

Among these abused prescription medications is Percocet, a common painkiller. It’s important to understand the full effects of Percocet, beginning with what the medication consists of.

What Is Percocet?

Percocet is a painkiller that is made by combining oxycodone, which is a narcotic, with acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol.

Often, the medication is prescribed for short-term use to treat moderate to severe pain, such as after surgery or an injury. As an opiate, Percocet affects the brain and central nervous system, which in turn changes how the brain perceives pain.

When abused, Percocet can cause a user to feel a certain high, similar to that of heroin. The user may feel relaxed and euphoric, leading to a desire to use the drug again.

How Do People Get Addicted To Percocet?

Like other drugs, Percocet engages the brain’s reward center and produces euphoric and relaxing feelings. According to Percocet Abuse Help, “The oxycodone in Percocet binds to opiate receptors throughout the entire body and brain. This creates an analgesic and euphoric effect. The drug binding to the receptors causes the brain to produce more receptors. This in turn causes the user’s body to require an increasing amount of Percocet in order to experience the same effect. Once a user reaches this stage of tolerance and dependence, attempting to quit will likely cause withdrawal symptoms resulting in the user relying on the drug to prevent these symptoms.”

Because of the way the drug affects the brain, a user may get hooked, wanting to achieve this feeling again. This leads to a cycle of upping the dosage over and over, a cycle also known as addiction.

Signs Of Percocet Abuse

As is the case with many drugs, there are some physical signs that a person may be abusing Percocet. Topping this list is intestinal problems, such as constipation and difficulty having bowel movements. Those addicted to Percocet may also experience confusion, mood swings, depression, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, low blood pressure, reduced breathing rate, sweating, and difficulty with coordination.

With Percocet abuse, there are also other signs to watch for. People who are addicted to Percocet may begin to take drastic measures to obtain the drug since it is not easy to come by without a prescription. This may mean stealing money in order to purchase more of the drug, trying to trick a medical professional or pretending their prescription was stolen. Those struggling with a Percocet addiction may also visit various doctors in different areas and fake pain in order to try and obtain a legitimate prescription for the drug.

Those abusing Percocet may also fall into one of two extremes: they may be constantly energetic and excited, or they may seem sedated and exhausted.

Percocet Withdrawal & Detox

Percocet withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and even dangerous for some. When withdrawing from Percocet, users may experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sweating, hypertension, anxiety, fear, and confusion.

More serious conditions may result from Percocet withdrawals, including dehydration, hypertension and anxiety and panic disorders.

Home detox can be dangerous because of issues that hurt physical and psychiatric conditions quickly. Stopping use abruptly can cause seizures, convulsions and a coma. Usual symptoms are uncomfortable and withdrawal is often ‘self-medicated’ by using again.

For this reason, it is recommended that a medical professional be consulted about detoxing from Percocet. Call The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake to learn about our detox and treatment programs.

Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. Accessed 26 January 2017.

Doutaz, Marie. Percocet Detox Symptoms, Timeline, Medications And Treatment. 22 August 2015. Accessed 26 January 2017.

How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System? Mental Health Daily. Accessed 26 January 2017.

Percocet Abuse. Accessed 26 January 2017.

Percocet Addiction.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.