What is Percocet Abuse?
Percocet, a blend of acetaminophen and oxycodone, remains one of the most popular treatments for moderate pain in the United States.
Though millions of prescriptions for this drug are written each year, it's powerfully addictive, with 64,000 people admitted to emergency rooms due to the adverse effects of oxycodone each year.
Dangers of Percocet Abuse & Addiction
As an opiate drug, Percocet is chemically similar to heroin. Though the opiate in Percocet is what gets users addicted, many are unaware that the acetaminophen can also endanger their lives.
Though oxycodone is potentially deadly, it is infinitely easier to overdose on acetaminophen, which is a potent liver toxin.
Many people who die due to a Percocet overdose are killed by the acetaminophen, not the oxycodone.
Medical professionals advise to limit acetaminophen intake to less than 4000mg in a 24 hour period--a number easily ignored when taking multiple pills in excess of prescribed doses.
Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Abuse
If you're concerned that someone you love may be abusing this dangerous drug, some common signs of abuse include:
- Changes in mood, personality, behavior or goals.
- Frequently leaving the room to use drugs.
- Increasingly secretive behavior.
- An increase in mental or physical health problems.
- Dilated or constricted pupils.
- Changes in friendships or social relationships.
- Neglecting important responsibilities.
How is Percocet Abuse Diagnosed?
If you're concerned that you or someone you love might have a Percocet addiction, don't get too caught up in ticking off a list of symptoms.
The hallmark of Percocet addiction is continuing to use the drug in spite of negative consequences, such as a losing a job or chronic health issues.
Percocet addiction also causes physical and psychological dependence.
If you experience withdrawal when you attempt to quit, it's a sure sign you've become an addict.
By accepting that you've lost control, you free yourself to seek the treatment you need.
Denying your addiction only allows it to get worse.
Effects of Percocet Abuse?
Over time, Percocet use:
- Erodes your mental and physical health.
- Undermines your relationships.
- Can wreck your career.
The specific effects you can expect to experience depend on a number of factors, including your lifestyle and overall health.
Some of the most common effects of Percocet abuse include:
- Changes in mental health.
- Organ failure, frequent infections and worsening health.
- Experimenting with other opioids, such as heroin.
- Damage to your skin, hair, teeth and nails.
- Brain damage.
- Nightmares, insomnia, or excessive sleepiness.
- Loss of motivation.
- Accidental overdose.
- Gastrointestinal problems.
- Extreme weight loss or weight gain.
Combining Percocet with Other Substances
Combined with alcohol, Percocet can stop your heart and dangerously slow your breathing.
If you have a Percocet addiction, let your doctor know so that she can determine which drugs are safe and avoid prescribing a drug that can cause a fatal overdose.
Who is at Risk for Percocet Addiction?
Recreational Percocet users have a higher risk of becoming addicted.Anyone can develop a Percocet addiction, but some of the most common risk factors include:
- A history of trauma or abuse.
- Chronic stress.
- Physical or mental health difficulties.
- A family history of abuse.
Of course, these risk factors alone won't make you an addict. Anyone using Percocet can potentially become an addict, with recreational users at a higher risk.
Though addiction is much more likely with recreational use, prolonged use of this drug, even with a prescription, greatly increases your chances of becoming chemically dependent--the final step on the road to addiction.
When to Seek Help for Percocet Abuse
If you're concerned that you need help to manage a Percocet addiction, don't waste time questioning whether you qualify as an addict.
What matters is how Percocet has affected your life. If it is causing you pain, you need and deserve help.
Addiction is a disease, not a choice, so there's no shame in reaching out for help when you need it. Doing so can mean the difference between more misery and a chance at redemption. It could even save your life.
Help for Addicted Friends and Family
It's common to feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of a loved one's addiction, but you did not cause his or her addiction, and you can't make it go away.
Nevertheless, Percocet tends to make addicts lie, even in the face of contradictory information. Some even steal from their families.
Setting clear boundaries about what you will and won't do can help you maintain your sanity even in the face of a loved one's addiction. Sure, it's not easy to refuse to give money or a place to stay, but doing so only makes it easier for the person you love to remain an addict.
If you find it difficult to maintain clear boundaries or to cope with the pain of a loved one's addiction, consider seeking help from a family support group.
Percocet Rehab and Treatment Options
It's easy to fall into hopelessness when you struggle with addiction, but that's your disease talking, not a reflection of reality.
Addiction treatment can be successful, and struggling addicts have a wide variety of options at their disposal.
Teen Percocet Abuse and Addiction
80% of teens are under the mistaken assumption that prescription pills are safer than illegal drugs.
Percocet use among young people is on the rise, particularly in rural areas where other drugs are hard to access.
If you have a Percocet prescription, you should secure your medication and regularly check your pills. Be sure also to discuss the perils of prescription drug abuse with your child, since 80% of teens are under the mistaken assumption that prescription pills are safer than illegal drugs.
Percocet addiction is not a behavior problem, so threats and punishments won't work. Indeed, they can even stress your child out so much that continued use seems like the only viable option.
If your child struggles with addiction, he/she needs medical treatment. Without it, Percocet can quickly:
- Undermine your child's academic success.
- Stunt his/her brain development.
- Undermine his/her closest relationships.