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Opioid & Benzo Addiction

Opioid addiction is a very serious condition we can help with.

Percocet: The Dangers of Opioid Abuse and Addiction

If you watch the news or read the newspaper, it may seem as if the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the United States has sprung up from nowhere, or that it’s only been a critical public health issue for the past few years. But this problem has been brewing in the background for the past couple of decades. One of the most popular opioid drugs being abused is Percocet, which is a combination of two well-known drugs, acetaminophen and oxycodone.

Oxycodone, which is also known by its brand name, Oxycontin, is an opioid, which is in the same drug class as heroin. Acetaminophen is the over-the-counter pain medication best known as Tylenol. Percocet originally was used as a short-term treatment for severe pain. Over time, this medication that was not meant for long-term pain management was prescribed for such purposes, which caused the number of prescriptions, as well as the number of addicted people, to dramatically jump.

Percocet and Its Effects on Users

Percocet is in the same class as morphine and heroin, which means that it is a powerful narcotic that acts on the central nervous system. Opioids are pain blockers which attach to opioid receptors in the brain and alter the way the brain processes pain. The way that Percocet and other drugs like this mimics opioids that are naturally occurring in the body is what makes this drug so highly addictive—even when they are taken as prescribed.

Opioids are slower acting when they are taken in pill form and at prescribed doses. The danger comes when the pill is crushed or taken at higher dosages. When Percocet is taken as a whole pill, the medication is released slowly in the body for long-term pain relief. If the pill is crushed, the medication can no longer be released slowly.

Besides the chemical dependency opioids like Percocet can create, it’s also the way that people feel while on such drugs. Simply put—people feel really good, not only because they are in less pain, but because opioids also work on the dopaminergic pathway. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which controls the brain’s reward and motivation center, so when Percocet is used and abused, dopamine can flood the body, making one feel euphoric, relaxed, and calm.

Why is Percocet Abused?

Because Percocet (and other prescription opiates) is prescribed, there is a false perception that it is safer to get high on than heroin or other street drugs. But Percocet is the same class as heroin. It is still a very strong narcotic. The only way it can be safer is when it’s used under a doctor’s supervision and when it isn’t crushed. The way that opioids can depress the central nervous system is what not only makes them addictive, but it also makes them easy to overdose on—even fatally.

Signs of Percocet Addiction

Although Percocet is a highly effective method to manage severe pain on a short-term basis, it is still quite easy to become addicted. Knowing the signs of increasing Percocet addiction can help prevent a more chronic addiction, overdoses, or death. The following signs of dependency should be taken seriously if you see them in yourself or someone you love:

  • Increasing drug tolerance If Percocet is taken at the prescribed dose and not crushed, then the chance of addiction is much lower. If someone starts to take more pills that prescribed, eventually the body will get used to that new dosage, or build a tolerance. That means it will take more and more drugs in order to feel the same high.
  • Drug dependence If someone becomes physically or mentally dependent on the drug, then without it, the person will experience withdrawal symptoms. He or she may start to sick or just non-functional.
  • Moodiness and behavioral changes Mood swings and behavioral issues are related to the effects of drug dependency and an increased drug tolerance. When someone is in withdrawal,  he or she can become highly irritable, anxious, agitated, or depressed.
  • Increased compulsion As drug addiction starts to dig in deeper, the user will become more and more desperate to use and will do things that are dangerous, without thinking of the ramifications of his or her actions.

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person become addicted to a drug like Percocet, and then suddenly has a reduction in the daily dosage, or stops using it altogether, he or she can start to experience withdrawal symptoms. Whether the dependence is physical or psychological, withdrawal symptoms can be quite uncomfortable and scary for a user.

To safely step down from this medication, it’s best not to go “cold turkey”–quitting the drug all at once–or try to quit Percocet without medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as six to eight hours after the last dose. Here is a list of the withdrawal symptoms one may experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Pain and/or Weakness
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

If you or someone you know is experiencing any withdrawal symptoms from not using Percocet, contact a physician as soon as possible. If a person is convulsing or experiencing a seizure, then call 911 immediately.

Getting Help: Rehab for Opioid Abuse

Because the withdrawal symptoms from Percocet can be difficult and painful, and the chance of relapse is high, going to a rehab facility is strongly recommended. With medical supervision, a user can come off of Percocet more safely and comfortably instead of going through the detoxification process alone.

As with most rehab programs, going through detox is the first step towards recovery. This means ridding the body of drugs, which may be a medical detox process. Detox will give someone a much better chance at rehabilitation and recovery, reducing the chance of a future relapse.

After detox, a rehabilitation program will begin, which usually will last 90 days or more. Rehabilitation is important because a user will learn how to live healthily without Percocet as well as start to address what the root issues that started the Percocet abuse in the first place. By beginning the healing process  and examining the origin of the Percocet addiction, this puts someone in a much better place to live a life of recovery. Rehab also provides a safe place to deal with withdrawal symptoms, which can last for months.

Recovery from Percocet addiction may not be easy, but it can save someone’s life. If you or someone you love is struggling with a Percocet addiction, reach out to a qualified treatment center and begin the healing process today.

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