Understanding Percocet Addiction and Abuse

In the last twenty years, the abuse of prescription medication has risen dramatically – which is why it is more important than ever to understand Percocet addiction and abuse.

More than 4 million Americans have reported the abuse of prescription pain relievers. To avoid becoming part of this number, consider taking the time to learn what Percocet abuse looks like – as well as the consequences of opioid addiction. It is also important to know what drug rehab options are available when addiction or abuse is present.

While Percocet (sometimes misspelled as ‘percoset’) has a very legitimate use as a prescription strength painkiller, the drug can also be habit-forming. Because it contains a form of opioid called oxycodone, Percocet medication should be taken carefully and only as directed by a prescription from a doctor.

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What is Percocet?

Percocets are a type of prescription opioid, designed to work as a pain reliever. Its two main ingredients are oxycodone and acetaminophen, two different kinds of pain relievers. The combination of the two is what makes the drug so effective in relieving moderate to severe pain in patients.

However, oxycodone is a type of opioid – a powerful narcotic drug. This is the strongest ingredient in Percocets medication. With the epidemic of opioid abuse on the rise in the United States, this drug has been increasingly abused.

Percocet has been around for over forty years, though the drug has become increasingly popular in recent years. This is both for legitimate medical purposes and for purposes of abusing the drug due to its opioid content.

What You Need to Know About Percocet Medication

The intended effect of Percocets is simple: to treat pain. The drug was specifically designed to not be as powerful as other prescription opioids (like Oxycontin) but still be strong enough to treat severe pain in those it is prescribed to.

People tend to compare Percocet vs. Vicodin as two similar medications. When it comes to Percocet vs. Vicodin, the main difference is in the most powerful ingredient.

Vicodin relies on hydrocodone and acetaminophen, while Percocet relies on oxycodone and acetaminophen.

Because both medications rely on both narcotics and a non-opioid painkiller, there is not much difference between the two. Many of their side effects and symptoms of abuse are the same.

A Percocet dosage usually takes two forms: either a Percocet 5/325 or a Percocet 10.

  • Percocet 5/325: This simply means that the dose of medication has 5mg of oxycodone and 325mg of acetaminophen. The idea is to balance out the two medications.
  • Percocet 10: This is a shortened version of Percocet 10/325. It is a stronger dose of the narcotic, with 10mg of oxycodone and 325mg of acetaminophen.

Whether you take the lower or higher Percocet dosage, the prescription medication can be habit-forming. It is important to know what opioid abuse and addiction looks like. Just like knowing the difference between Percocet vs. Vicodin, it is important to know the difference between Percocet as a medication and Percocets as dangerous drugs.

The Danger of Abusing "Perks Pills"

Sometimes called perks or "perks pills", Percocet medication is often abused because of its opioid content. The narcotic is supposed to be used only for short-term relief from moderate to severe pain. For instance, it is used as a pain reliever after a major surgery.

How Percocet Works

Despite the fact that it is only supposed to be used for a short amount of time, the opioid content in Percocets means that the pill dramatically alters the brain. "Perks pills" not only changes the way pain is perceived, but also raises the dopamine levels in the brain.

These dopamine levels are what create the Percocet high, leading many people to continue using the drug after pain has subsided. The euphoria, pleasure and feelings of relaxation caused by Percocet use create a danger of abuse. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Confused thinking
  • Lethargy or sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches or light-headedness
  • Dry mouth

While some of these Percocet side effects occur even when the drug is taken as prescribed, they become more pronounced when the drug is abused.

Percocets (and similar painkiller drugs) are usually only taken twice or three times each day. Any more than that can be considered abuse of the drug. Like many other prescription painkillers, Percocet can be habit-forming if it is taken any other way than how it is prescribed. Some of the dangers of Percocet abuse include:

  • Taking more of the narcotic than prescribed.
  • Taking Percocet more often than prescribed.
  • Taking the drug without a prescription at all, from an illicit source.
  • Continuing to take Percocet pills after the prescription has run out.
  • Taking the pain reliever specifically to get a Percocet high.
  • Taking Percocet as a form of self-medication, regardless of what the prescription states.
  • Taking Percocet by crushing or chewing the pills so that the opioid reaches the brain faster.

Percocet abuse is not necessarily the same thing as Percocet addiction. Taken recreationally, the drug is sometimes known as 'Hillbilly heroin', since it acts much the same way. However, because the desired effects of Percocets slowly subside with time as tolerance builds, it is very easy to become addicted to the opioid without even realizing it.

percocet addiction

What Percocet Addiction Looks Like

Teenagers have a lot to lose from chronically using marijuana. The brains of adolescents are still developing, but when using drugs, brain chemistry can be altered permanently. Teens are also more likely to participate in reckless behavior while intoxicated. Here are some other risks marijuana abuse poses to teens:

When Percocet is abused over a long period of time, it can lead to a physical dependence in the body. This is where opioid addiction begins to form.

When opioid abuse turns into addiction, there are two major warning signs: changes in behavior and the onset of withdrawal symptoms. The first shows that addiction has taken hold on the brain, while the second shows that addiction has taken hold on the body.

Behavioral Warning Signs of Percocet Addiction

When someone is continually abusing an opioid drug like Percocet and has become physically dependent on the drug, they are almost certain to show behavioral signs of the addiction.

These behavioral Percocet side effects include:

  • Stealing opioid medication from family and friends.
  • Borrowing or stealing money to be able to buy "perks pills".
  • Visiting multiple pharmacies and doctors to get multiple prescriptions for Percocet.
  • Pretending to lose a prescription in order to get a new one.
  • Withdrawing from social circles and relationships due to opioid use.
  • Becoming agitated or irritable when they are unable to take the medication.
  • Appearing "high" off of the effects of Percocet (i.e. acting very excited or energetic).
  • In contrast, acting lethargic or overly tired due to higher doses of the opioid drug.
  • Acting depressed or anxious, particularly when unable to take the drug.

If you see these behavioral symptoms, it may be a sign that Percocet addiction is present. In that case, it is time to get professional help.

Physical Dependence Warning Signs of Percocet Addiction

In addition to these behavioral signs of addiction, one of the major symptoms of opioid addiction is withdrawal. Seeing withdrawal symptoms means that your body has become dependent on the effects of oxycodone - which is in itself a Percocet side effect.

Withdrawal symptoms are a result of building up tolerance to the drug and developing a physical dependence on its effects. They include:

  • Pain around the entire body
  • Either constipation or diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Anxiety and major depression
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained agitation or aggression
  • Less of an appetite

On top of withdrawal symptoms, Percocet side effects can become very serious when the drug is taken over the long-term. The long-term side effects of Percocet abuse include:

  • Liver problems
  • Constipation
  • Decreased testosterone
  • Kidney failure
  • Bladder failure

Common Questions About Percocet Addiction and Abuse

As a strong narcotic, Percocet should only be used in conjunction with a doctor"s prescription. Taking the medication outside of the purpose of relieving pain can be extremely dangerous.

Using the opioid drug in a way other than outlined in the prescription is dangerous for two reasons. The first is that it can lead to health complications and even an overdose. The second is that it can develop physical dependence on the drug - the first step toward addiction.

In Future"s hip-hop song "Mas Off", the artist sings about both Molly (another name for MDMA) and Percocet. Many people think of it as the Percocet song. The first is an "upper" while Percocet is a "downer" - meaning the combination of these drugs are very dangerous, no matter what the "Percocet song" says.

Percocet is usually prescribed as Percocet 5/325 or Percocet 10 (5mg or 10mg of oxycodone).

Yes, it is possible to get a rush of euphoria from using Percocet. However, this high is short-lived.

Many people search for 'percoset' on the Internet, but the accurate spelling of the drug is 'Percocet'.

Yes. Because the body builds up tolerance to opioid medication like Percocet, it is possible to overdose on the drug. Overdose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, low blood pressure, a slow heart rate, and unconsciousness.

Yes, Percocet is commonly prescribed as a painkiller after a major injury or surgery. However, there is no medical purpose for Percocet without a prescription.

Getting Treatment for Percocet Addiction and Abuse

The main take away from this brief guide to Percocet addiction and abuse should be that the drug can be dangerous if it is used outside of a prescription. It is not a way to have fun with friends, and it is not a way to self-medicate: it is dangerous.

However, if someone you know is abusing Percocets to self-medicate, it is crucial to get professional help in treating addiction. Percocet abuse can easily turn into Percocet addiction.

Thankfully, addiction treatment is entirely possible for those who struggle with dependence on Percocet (or any other form of opioid medication, for that matter). Treatment can help participants recognize the negative impact of their drug use, as well as create strategies for coping with cravings in the future.

Some of the ways you can get help for both drug abuse and addiction include:

  • Inpatient Rehab: This kind of treatment offers 24/7 care in a residential setting. If you have been struggling with addiction for a long time, or have tried treatment before, this may be the best option for you.
  • Outpatient Programs: An alternative to inpatient rehab, intensive outpatient programs give those struggling with Percocet addiction the opportunity to get the help they need without giving up their day- to-day responsibilities. These programs have many of the same services as residential rehab, and are suited for those who are entering treatment for the first time.
  • Group Meetings: Groups like Narcotics Anonymous provide a supportive environment for those in recovery. While group support meetings may not be sufficient on their own, they are a fantastic addition to more formal treatment options like the outpatient and inpatient programs highlighted above.

If you have any other questions about Percocet abuse or addiction, please contact us today - we are here to help.