Drug abuse is the intentional misuse of a prescription medicine. Abuse may mean people use their own prescription in a way it wasn’t prescribed, or they may take a drug that wasn’t prescribed to them. Sometimes, drug abuse and addiction are used interchangeably, but they are not the same concept.
Prescription drug abuse in the United States continues to increase, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Prescription drug abuse can cause serious, sometimes fatal complications.
What is Percocet?
Percocet is the brand name for a painkiller that combines oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a powerful opioid. It’s derived from the same source as morphine and some illegal drugs, including heroin.
Opioids like Percocet activate the brain’s reward center. You can become addicted to the way the drug makes you feel. But over time, the drug will stop working as well as it used to, and you’ll need to take more of the medicine to achieve the same effect.
Possible signs of Percocet addiction
Percocet has a number of possible side effects. Identifying the presence of these side effects in someone who is using the drug can help you spot abuse.
Percocet reduces intestinal motility. This often causes constipation and difficulty with bowel movements.
Opioid painkillers like Percocet produce a number of other symptoms, including:
- mood swings
- difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- low blood pressure
- reduced breathing rate
- difficulty with coordination
Social signs of Percocet addiction
Percocet can be difficult to obtain because it requires a prescription. Many people aren’t able to obtain enough Percocet through legal means, such as a prescription from a doctor. Therefore, people who are addicted may try anything in order to get the drug.
Individuals who are addicted may turn to stealing medication from friends, family members, or strangers, or forging prescriptions. They may pretend to lose their prescription or frequently request new ones. They may file false police reports so pharmacies will give them more medication. Some addicts will also visit multiple doctors or pharmacies so they aren’t as likely to get caught.
Percocet use and abuse can cause a person to develop obvious mannerisms like appearing high or unusually excitable. Alternately, some people also appear sedated or excessively tired.
Consequences of Percocet addiction
Opioids like Percocet can cause serious health complications. The drug can increase a person’s risk for choking. It can also slow a person’s breathing, which may cause them to stop breathing entirely. It’s even possible to fall into a coma or die as a result of an overdose.
A person who is addicted to Percocet may be more likely to use other illegal drugs or prescription medications. Certain combinations of medicines can be lethal.
An addiction can affect work performance and personal relationships. People who use and abuse Percocet sometimes engage in risky behaviors. This may lead to motor vehicle accidents or accidents that cause bodily harm.
People who are addicted may also find themselves involved in criminal activity, especially if they decide to steal, forge a prescription, or lie to get more pills.
Treating Percocet addiction
Treatment for Percocet addiction often requires several approaches. It may seem ironic, but prescription medications may actually help a person addicted to prescription medications quit and recover from their addiction. Medications are often needed to help treat the symptoms caused by detoxification and withdrawal. This may make kicking the addiction easier.
Medications such as buprenorphine or methadone may be prescribed for Percocet withdrawal. Both have shown great success at treating and easing the symptoms caused by opioid withdrawal.
Set yourself up for success
Detoxifying your body and experiencing withdrawal is hard. But staying clean and drug free for the rest of your life might be even harder. Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Friends, family, and a network of support organizations can be there to help.
Support can come from many places, such as the well-known organization Narcotics Anonymous. If you’re Christian, you may enjoy a church-based program, such as Celebrate Recovery. The important thing is finding something that helps you stay clean and holds you accountable.
People who are trying to overcome addiction often go for counseling. Speaking with a professional can help you discover underlying problems that may have contributed to your addiction in the first place.
Additionally, family members may want to use counseling as a way to talk with their loved one about problems, so everyone can come together to heal and move forward. Family members of those who are addicted may need counseling to help them understand how they can support their loved one through the recovery process.
Ask for help
Whether you’re trying to assist a loved one or searching for a solution yourself, you can find help. Reach out to a family member you trust or a doctor if you’re currently addicted to Percocet. Ask for help locating the resources you need, and work with your support group to find a treatment plan that works for you.
If you’re trying to help a loved one enter treatment, talk with your doctor or an addiction treatment specialist about holding an intervention. Confronting someone about their addiction can be challenging, but ultimately it’s the best thing for both you and your loved one.