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


Watching the news, 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 just a few years. Not true — this problem has been in the making 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, 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 began to be routinely prescribed for long-term pain management. The number of prescriptions, as well as the number of addicted people dramatically jumped.

Effects of Percocet

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

Opioids, like Percocet, are slower acting when they are taken in pill form, at prescribed doses, and over a short period of time. The danger comes when the pill is crushed or taken at higher dosages, especially if this misuse is chronic. 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 no longer has a controlled release.

Besides the chemical dependency opioids like Percocet can create, what’s also addictive is the way that people feel while on such drugs. Simply put, people feel euphoric, 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 are prescribed, there is a false perception that it’s safer to get high on than heroin or other street drugs. But, again, remember that Percocet is the same class of drug as heroin. It is still a very strong narcotic. The only way it can be used safely is when it’s used under a doctor’s supervision, for a limited time, and when it is taken in pill form.  Opioids can depress the central nervous system. This is what not only makes them addictive, but it also makes them easy to overdose on.

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 even 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 become sick or just non-functional as a person.
  • 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 people become addicted to a drug like Percocet and then suddenly has a reduction in the daily dosage, or stops using it altogether, they can start to experience withdrawal symptoms. Whether the dependence is physical or psychological, withdrawal symptoms can be quite uncomfortable and even scary for a user.

To safely step down from this medication, it’s best not to go “cold turkey,” quit the drug all at once, or try to quit Percocet without medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms can onset 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 Percocet Abuse

Because the withdrawal symptoms from Percocet can be difficult and physically painful, and the chance of relapse is high, going to a rehab facility like Resurgence Behavioral Health is strongly recommended. With our medical supervision, an addict can come off of Percocet safely and comfortably instead of going through the detoxification process alone.

Going through detox is the first step towards recovery. This means ridding the body of drugs, which may be a medical detox process. Detox at Resurgence will give you head start at long term sobriety by reducing the chance of a future relapse, but it’s just the beginning of the process.

Levels of care after detox are vital for success. The Inpatient, Outpatient, and Aftercare phases of treatment are where the recovering addict will learn how to live successfully without Percocet, as well as address the root issues that started the Percocet abuse in the first place. By beginning the healing process after detox and examining the origin of the Percocet addiction, patients have their best chance for a drug free and happy life. Treatment at Resurgence provides a safe place for patients to learn to deal with the withdrawal symptoms that can last for months.

Recovery from Percocet addiction is not easy. If you or someone you love is struggling with a Percocet addiction, reach out to us to help begin the healing process today.

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