Prescription narcotics are vital substances if you’re battling moderate or severe pain. Whether you’ve suffered an injury or are recuperating from a life-changing surgery, pain relievers can make a huge difference in your quality of life. But did you know that there’s a high possibility of misuse and addiction to prescription opioids? Here’s how that happens.
When your body gets relief after the drug stimulation, you tend to get a feel-good sensation. With time, you might develop a tolerance and need more of the drug to feel normal. Slowly, you might start abusing your prescription and developing an addiction. The dangers to that are appalling: The CDC reports show that over 800,000 people died from a drug overdose between 1999 and 2019.
Even with the frightening statistics, nothing has stopped the opioid overdose epidemic from escalating. To find out why, it’s paramount to understand the basics of drugs such as Percocet. Read on to get more insight on addiction and how to overcome it.
Percocet is a brand name for the combined medication oxycodone-acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opioid painkiller while acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, is a non-opioid pain reliever. Oxycodone falls in the Schedule II drugs category of the Controlled Substances Act by the Drug Enforcement Administration due to its high potential for abuse because its use is likely to lead to physical or psychological dependence. Although Percocet has acceptable medical use, Schedule II drugs are among the substances under tight control.
Opioids are highly addictive due to their tendency of making people feel relaxed and high. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 21% to 29% of people with opioid prescriptions for chronic pain misuse them. Also, around 8% to 12% of people using opioids to relieve chronic pain eventually develop an opioid use disorder. Other than the brand name Percocet, here are some other names that the drug goes by:
- Xartemis XR
How Percocet Abuse Develops
Doctors prescribe Percocet to treat pain. You may also experience side effects of the drug such as reduced anxiety, relaxation or increased pleasure. While some people may have a legitimate reason to want to feel relief from their discomfort, others may be seeking an escape from their daily stresses or want to experience the “high” feeling.
That’s where abuse comes in. Some individuals may sell opioid prescription medication such as Percocet to individuals who do not have a legitimate or medical reason to need its use. That can occur when someone invents symptoms to make a doctor believe that they are in real pain. Percocet abuse also occurs when people go doctor shopping, meaning that they make appointments with various doctors to get multiple drug prescriptions.
Other ways of abusing Percocet include:
- Taking the drug in large doses
- Taking the medication long after treating the pain
- Using it for recreation
Another emerging trend in prescription pill abuse is the sale or sharing of drugs obtained legitimately. A National Survey on Drug Use and Health report shows that the frequent source of prescription pain reliever misuse was from a relative or friend either for free or for a fee. The statistics show that over half of Americans aged 12 and older who misused prescription painkillers got them in that manner.
Being a combination drug, Percocet can be more dangerous if you use it regularly. That’s because the higher doses of acetaminophen can be life-threatening due to the increased risk of overdose. The Food and Drug Administration attaches bold warnings to combat Percocet misuse, including use in combination with alcohol or other drugs. With continued Percocet use, there’s a high possibility of developing an addiction.
Discerning Percocet Addiction
Percocet is one of the pain-relieving opioids that work by altering the brain’s chemical pathways regarding pain sensation. Since the drugs act directly on the brain, your central nervous system may slow down its functions, including heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rate. Increased use of Percocet will also hinder the activity of neurotransmitters that send pleasure signals such as dopamine. What happens is that the drug fills opioid receptors and leads to a buildup of dopamine levels in the brain. That’s where the euphoric feeling results from when you misuse drugs.
There are various ways that people take Percocet tablets, the most common being by mouth. However, others choose to crush and smoke or snort the drugs, or they might dissolve the powder in water and inject it into the bloodstream. While the crushing method causes a high effect quickly, it also comes with the increased danger of an overdose.
Signs of Percocet Abuse
Abusing Percocet can make you seem like you’re intoxicated with alcohol. In addition, you might exhibit the following behavioral symptoms:
- Engaging in potentially dangerous conduct
- Trying to stop Percocet use but being unable to
- Continuing use of the drug even when previous experiences resulted in adverse effects
- Taking dosages higher than prescribed
- Attempting to steal the drugs
Some other side effects that are easy to notice are the physical symptoms. These include:
- Stomach or abdominal pain
You can also develop cognitive symptoms such as:
- A lapse in your short-term memory
- Trouble concentrating
- Inability to make sound decisions
- Lack of focus
When it comes to psycho-social symptoms, the following can occur:
- Mood changes
When you develop a dependence on the painkiller, your brain and body become accustomed to the drug’s influence such that they fail to function without the medication’s presence. That is because your brain’s structure and functions change after you regularly abuse the drugs. Whenever you cut down drug use or try to stop using altogether, you might experience some severe side effects, otherwise known as withdrawal symptoms.
Some common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Running nose
- Watery eyes
- Muscle aches
- Increased blood pressure
- An intense craving for Percocet
Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable. Therefore, trying to quit the drug on your own may prove futile. You ought to get help from a qualified medical practitioner who can safely take you through the detoxification process. Some physicians utilize pharmaceuticals to manage the withdrawal symptoms and make you comfortable every step of the treatment process.
What About Percocet Overdose?
An unfortunate eventuality of Percocet abuse is an overdose. If you or your loved one misuses the drugs and exhibits the following symptoms, seek emergency medical help to avert an unfortunate outcome, such as death:
- Shallow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Low heartbeat
- Memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
Percocet and Co-occurring Disorders
If you have an untreated mental health issue, the chances of beating a Percocet addiction will improve with professional assistance. When you’re looking for an addiction treatment center, it will be best to find one that addresses multiple mental health problems. At Granite Recovery Centers, we treat co-occurring mental health issues such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Addictive personality disorder
Why You Need Percocet Addiction Treatment
The common signs that you’re addicted to Percocet include drug dependence, withdrawal symptoms and drug tolerance. Participating in a Percocet addiction treatment program will be worth your while since you will regain your health and learn how to lead a happy life. Otherwise, here’s what you might encounter in the long run if you remain addicted to the drug:
- Damage to your heart
- Financial constraints
- Legal problems
- Lung damage
- Eye problems
- Aggravated co-occurring mental health disorder
- Chronic unemployment
- Social withdrawal
Treatment Options for Percocet Addiction at Granite Recovery Centers
There are multiple addiction treatment programs available with services tailored for each person. Opioid treatment often involves medication, treatment of mental health disorders, behavioral interventions and measures to inhibit overdose. However, that’s just a scratch on the surface. Here are more of the drug addiction treatment formats and methods that we oversee.
- Residential treatment: The residential treatment program at Granite Recovery Centers is perfect if you’ve just completed detox. Here, patients live on-site and get to interact with other residents grappling with addiction. With an inpatient drug rehab program, you will get 24/7 support from the doctors and therapists on staff. This form of treatment is the most comprehensive since you’re fresh out of detox and might still be craving drugs.
- Sober living homes: If you’re done with rehab and your home is not a suitable place for healthy living, sober living homes are viable alternatives. These apartment-style residences provide the necessary support you need to live sober before finding your own arrangements.
- Intensive outpatient: If you’re transitioning from inpatient treatment to an outpatient program, this is likely the option for you. Intensive outpatient treatment may have the same schedule as the residential program, but you have the freedom of commuting from home to attend the daily activities.
- Outpatient drug rehab: When you have completed inpatient rehab treatment and are out of sober living, outpatient care will help you remain sober. Note that addiction recovery is an ongoing process, and you still need professional support even when you’ve transitioned back into society. Outpatient programs can be flexible enough to accommodate your busy schedule, so you don’t have to neglect your family, work or school obligations in order to combat addiction.
All the above treatment programs incorporate behavioral therapy in group and individual sessions to help you gain coping mechanisms and skills to overcome relapse triggers. Therapy enables participants to develop self-esteem by channeling out any destructive thoughts.
Percocet addiction treatment is made easier with counseling from the trained professionals at Granite Recovery Centers. In addition to individual and group counseling, family sessions are also available since addiction affects an individual and the people surrounding them.
Regardless of the stage of recovery you are in, you can be sure you’re dealing with a seasoned team at Granite Recovery Centers. Our well-trained medical professionals will help you choose the right program for your specific needs.
What Medications Are Useful for Percocet Detox?
Doctors sometimes prescribe medication to treat Percocet addiction. You may be wondering how a drug helps treat another drug problem. What happens is that medication manages the withdrawal symptoms of the drug you abused and mitigates cravings.
Medical detox with professional monitoring is always recommendable for a safe withdrawal process. Your physician will be available to monitor your mental and physical health while prioritizing your safety. The medications that doctors use for detoxification fall into these five major categories:
- Agonist drugs: These drugs work by activating the brain’s opioid receptors, making you feel relief from the drug for the long term instead of from the short-acting opioid. You won’t need the medication for an extended time. Such drugs include methadone.
- Partial agonist drugs: Like the agonists, these drugs also bind to and activate the opioid receptors. However, they do not have the same efficacy. Partial agonist drugs include buprenorphine.
- Antagonist drugs: The drugs work by binding onto the opioid receptors without activating them, but they can block other agonists’ action. An example of this includes naltrexone.
- Combination agonist-antagonist drugs: These drugs will behave like an agonist in some conditions and as an antagonist in other states. Mixed agonist-antagonist drugs include buprenorphine medication that has naloxone.
- Other: Your doctor can also prescribe medication to counter specific symptoms. These include anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants.
During detoxification, your doctor can replace Percocet with an agonist drug to manage withdrawal symptoms. Since treatment agonists usually have a long half-life, they will stay in your system for longer and hold off your withdrawal symptoms longer. In addition, opioid agonists block the receptor sites from receiving more of the drug. While the drugs may bring about withdrawal suddenly, they’re likely to deter you from relapse.
To Sum It Up
There is a high tendency to abuse Percocet due to the euphoric effect it generates. An addiction to the drug can be fatal due to the possibility of an overdose and even death. With the proper Percocet addiction treatment, you will be able to get back to your everyday life and have additional tools to help you deal with triggers.
Granite Recovery Centers is just a phone call away. Request our brochure or contact us by phone, and we will guide you through your recovery journey.