Percocet Addiction: Don’t Underestimate its Severity

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Percocet is a narcotic painkiller that combines oxycodone and acetaminophen. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain, and it’s a controlled substance that’s available by prescription only. Even though Percocet is a relatively safe and effective drug when taken as prescribed, its narcotic effect makes it addictive. And, it’s not always a drug that is taken seriously. Remember this line from the popular film, Legally Blonde, which came out in 2001: “Elle. Elle. I know you’re upset about all this, but can’t you just take a Percocet?”

Fast forward the clock to 2013, where addiction to painkillers is at an all-time high. Percocet is no less dangerous than other types of pain pills, and drugs in this category have adopted the name “white collar heroin” since they are “cleaner” and less stigmatized than their hardcore counterparts. Individuals who use Percocet for recreation can easily develop a dependence and tolerance to the drug, and the risk of addiction is very high.

Maybe people can’t pick up this type of drug on the streets quite as easily, but they will “doctor shop” in order to get written prescriptions for the medication. Even though the Federal Drug Administration is trying to tighten the regulations for doctors who write prescriptions for pain medication, doctors want the freedom to write prescriptions at their discretion, and patients want pain relief when they need it. This has led to an epidemic in the prescription drug world, and Percocet is largely over-prescribed. Not surprisingly, the U.S. uses the most oxycodone in the world. Basically what we have is two problems: illicit abuse and a big business for drug companies.

What Makes Percocet Addictive?

Percocet affects the brain and central nervous system in order to change the way the brain perceives pain. When a pill of Percocet is crushed and ingested, or Percocet is taken in high doses, the central nervous system is flooded with dopamine. This leaves the user feeling calm, relaxed and in a state of euphoria. It only takes five to seven days for a user to develop a physical and mental dependence on the drug.

Who Abuses Percocet?

Unlike other drugs that may appeal largely to a certain age group or demographic, Percocet is abused by all types of people. In fact, authorities and treatment centers tend to see Percocet and other pain medications being abused by working adults because the drugs are considered more acceptable compared to cocaine or heroin. People who abuse Percocet also tend to function normally, so the drug doesn’t manifest itself on the street in the same way as other drugs.

These factors DO NOT make Percocet any less dangerous than other illegal substances, but it is a drug that has a false sense of security for many users. That’s why it’s important for families to be educated on pain medications so that they can spot the potential signs of abuse before the problem does spiral out of control. Often times, it’s not until an overdose or physical problems form that the true extent of the problem comes to light.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Addiction?

The signs of Percocet addiction are the same as with any drug and include :

  • Changes in appetite or sleep problems
  • Deterioration of physical appearance
  • Drop in attendance or performance at work/school
  • Unexplained need for money
  • Engaging in secretive behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends and hangouts
  • Frequently getting into trouble
  • Change in mood and personality
  • Periods of hyperactivity, then periods of sleeping
  • Lack of motivation

More specifically, Percocet has the following effects on the body:

  • Sleepiness
  • Slow breathing
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness

Treatment for Percocet Addiction

Helping a Percocet addict is just a phone call away, so don’t delay in getting your loved one the help they need – and deserve. The River Source works with many patients who are addicted to pain pills such as Percocet, and our holistic approach and natural therapies are what offer true healing for the mind, body and spirit. It’s important to seek professional help and guidance when dealing with a Percocet addiction because the withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening if the drug is abruptly stopped. Instead, it’s best to slowly stop the medication to avoid sending the body into shock.

Also, a treatment center will use natural therapies to make detox and withdrawal more comfortable. For instance, our winning duo of dry sauna detox and IV vitamin therapy work together to remove the bad toxins from the body and replenish it with the good stuff. After all, you need a strong mind, body and spirit to fight the battle and put the disease of addiction in its place!