Percocet Effects & Warning Signs

Understanding Percocet Addiction

Learn About Percocet Abuse & Addiction

Percocet is a popular and powerful prescription medication that is made up of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opioid that reduces pain and triggers a sense of euphoria and relaxation. Acetaminophen also reduces pain and decreases fever. Percocet is typically prescribed to those who have been suffering with moderate to severe physical pain.

When an individual uses Percocet in the amount and for the length of time that has been prescribed by a professional, he or she can experience benefits with minimal risk. However, the pleasing effects of Percocet have prompted many to abuse this prescription drug for self-medication or as a means of obtaining a recreational high. Both of the ingredients in Percocet can negatively impact the individual if he or she abuses it. Oxycodone can cause cardiovascular problems and acetaminophen can cause liver damage, and can cause an individual to become addicted to Percocet.

If an individual who has been abusing or who has become addicted to Percocet does not obtain the correct professional care for this problem, he or she will have a very hard time removing him or herself from the chains of a Percocet addiction. Therefore, it is critical that professional treatment be obtained so that individuals can defeat the urge to abuse this drug and establish skills that will empower them to live lives that are free of drugs.


Statistics of Percocet Abuse

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), roughly 0.37% of the adult U.S. population is affected by opioid use disorder, the kind of substance use disorder that includes Percocet addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the annual number of opioid-related deaths in the United States grew 300% between 1990 and 2010. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that annual prescription opioid overdose deaths in America rose by 265% in men and 400% in women during the first ten years of the 21st century. The CDC also stated that nearly 300 people die each year in the country because of acetaminophen poisoning.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes & Risk Factors of Percocet Abuse

A number of factors can impact one’s likelihood for abusing or becoming addicted to Percocet, including the following:

Genetic: The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has recognized impulsiveness and novelty-seeking as two primary characteristics that can increase one’s likelihood of developing opioid use disorder, which includes an addiction to Percocet. The APA has also noted a greater risk of addiction in those with a first-degree family member such as a sibling or a parent who has grappled with chemical dependency.

Risk Factors:

  • Novelty-seeking personality
  • Impulsivity
  • Being prescribed Percocet or otherwise having access to this medication
  • Having a family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Prior substance abuse and/or mental illness
  • Gender (women are at increased risk for Percocet dependence)
  • Having a family history of mental illness

Signs & Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms of Percocet Abuse

Below are some of the many signs and symptoms that could show that an individual is abusing or has become addicted to Percocet:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Trying to borrow or steal Percocet
  • Trying to borrow or steal money
  • Abusing Percocet even after prior use has resulted in negative effects
  • Social withdrawal
  • Taking Percocet in greater quantities or for a longer period of time than intended
  • Attempting but being incapable of reducing one’s Percocet use
  • Attempting to obtain a fraudulent prescription for Percocet, or to acquire the drug through another illicit means
  • Abusing Percocet when it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as when also ingesting other addictive substances or when operating a motor vehicle

Physical symptoms:

  • Dramatically slowed heart rate
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using Percocet
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia
  • Shallower than normal breathing
  • Exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Slurring speech
  • Problems with balance, coordination, and motor skills
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Losing weight

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Problems with memory and judgment
  • Loss of ability to focus and/or concentrate

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Anger and aggression

Co-Occurring Disorders

Percocet Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

An individual who fails to obtain effective treatment for Percocet abuse and addiction might suffer a number of negative effects and outcomes, such as the following:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Homelessness
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Development and/or exacerbation of co-occurring mental health problems
  • Eye problems
  • Damage to heart and lungs
  • Job loss and chronic unemployment
  • Financial ruin
  • Arrest, incarceration, and other legal problems
  • Injuries sustained due to Percocet-related impairments
  • Family discord
  • Strained or ruined interpersonal relationships

Those who become addicted to Percocet might also be at greater risk for a number of co-occurring mental health conditions, including the following:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Other substance use disorders

Effects of Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal & Overdose From Percocet Abuse

Effects of Percocet withdrawal: An individual who tries to stop or dramatically decrease his or her abuse of Percocet after becoming addicted to this substance might suffer a number of painful withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Pupillary dilation
  • Twitches and tremors
  • Dysphoria
  • Powerful cravings for Percocet
  • Insomnia
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating

Effects of Percocet overdose: An individual who displays the following symptoms after consuming Percocet might have overdosed and should be brought to receive immediate medical attention from a professional:

  • Shallow or labored breathing
  • Memory loss
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Slurring speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Wilmington is an amazing place to receive treatment and go through recovery from this deadly disease of addiction. Honestly, I would probably still be addicted to pills if I'd done anything differently.

– Megan C.
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