Percocet, a prescription drug which belongs to the category of opioids contains two major chemicals – oxycodone and acetaminophen. It comes in the form of capsule, caplet, tablet, and liquid, and is a very effective medication in relieving post surgical pain, and joint pain. Although it is a commonly used pain reliever, the alarming fact is that Percocet addiction can set in within as little as three weeks of taking the drug. Addicts usually take 20 to 40 pills per day in contrast to the usual dose of one pill every six hours. The drug is both physically and emotionally addictive, and the addict will start ingesting larger amounts in the long run in order to produce the desired feeling.
Short Term Effects of Percocet Addiction
When you become addicted to Percocet, you may need to take the drug to feel ‘normal’. Although the short term effects are not very serious, you must seek professional help for your addiction problem. Some of the short term effects include:
Apart from relieving pain, Percocet also stimulates the reward center of your brain inducing a feeling of dreamlike euphoria. When this artificial feeling of well-being replaces pain, you may become addicted to the drug gradually. Also, your body will develop a tolerance for the drug in course of time, and you may need larger amounts of Percocet to get the euphoric feeling. As the amount of drug you ingest increases, you will depend on it both physically and emotionally.
Unusual drowsiness is one of the side effects of Percocet addiction. But as the daily dosage increase, it will interfere with your daily activities and more sleep may be required.
- Behavioral changes
The addict may become obsessed with figuring out ways to get more Percocet when the current prescription runs out. You may start visiting different doctors and even the emergency room for additional prescriptions.
Other symptoms of addiction to this drug include mood swings, and changes in lifestyle and friends.
Long Term Effects of Percocet Addiction
- Drug Dependence
Percocet activates the part of the brain that creates feelings of reward and pleasure. When the addict does not have the drug in the system, the entire focus will be on getting more of the drug. This may lead to development of unhealthy behaviors such as stealing the drug and other people’s prescriptions. You may be also involved in buying drug illegally or from online sources.
- Decreased consciousness
Percocet addicts will not be able to think properly which can cause accidental exposure to dangerous situations. Most addicts will also be unaware of their surroundings and the things going on around them. Moreover, you will also feel that you can’t leave without the drug.
- Respiratory Distress
The drug can affect the part of the brain that regulates respiratory rate and heartbeat resulting in problems with breathing and proper functioning of the heart. If the drug is taken with alcohol or other medications such as sedatives and sleeping pills, the effects can be more dangerous.
- Physical Addiction
Long term use of Percocet can show symptoms that are very similar to many illegal narcotics. The common effects include rash, nausea, dizziness, constipation, and dry mouth. Serious complications such as reduced level of testosterone, respiratory depression, seizure, and liver or kidney damage can also occur due to chronic use of the drug.
Dangers of Percocet Addiction
- Liver Damage
Acute liver damage is caused by increased intake of acetaminophen which is present in Percocet. You may experience nausea and vomiting in early stages followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes. Extended use of the drug may eventually result in liver failure.
- Respiratory depression
If you already have any respiratory problems, you have more chances of developing respiratory depression. It may be also caused by drug interactions. The common symptoms of respiratory depression include breathlessness, respiratory arrest, sudden dip in blood pressure, circulatory depression, shock and death.
- Withdrawal symptoms
As with any other drug addiction you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop the drug or reduce the dose. Sudden withdrawal can be very dangerous causing lose of consciousness, sweating, dizziness, constipation, drowsiness, nausea, and dry mouth. Seizures, coma, and death can also occur in severe cases. Other common symptoms include dilated pupils, irritability, and extreme drug seeking behavior.
Percocet Addiction Treatments
Addiction to Percocet can occur within a short period of time whether taken as prescribed or not. You may not be able to manage the withdrawal symptoms alone. So, professional help is necessary to ensure safe and monitored detox. If you are pregnant, always remember to seek medical advice before stopping the drug as sudden withdrawal may lead to fetal death and miscarriage.