Percocet Abuse Signs, Symptoms & Effects

Red River Hospital helps individuals struggling with Percocet addiction build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving Wichita Falls, TX, Red River is the leading provider of Percocet addiction treatment.

Understanding Percocet

Learn about Percocet and substance abuse

Percocet, made up of oxycodone and acetaminophen, is a strong prescription pain medication that is effective in reducing physical pain while causing feelings including relaxation and euphoria. This medication is most commonly prescribed to individuals who are faced with moderate to severe physical pain and who require a stronger form of relief.

When an individual uses Percocet exactly as prescribed by a medical professional, he or she can reap the many benefits of this medication. However, the physiological effects that Percocet can cause often lead individuals to abuse it. Both the oxycodone and the acetaminophen found in Percocet can threaten an individual’s health if they are abused. For example, oxycodone abuse can lead to cardiovascular problems and acetaminophen abuse can damage the liver. When oxycodone is continually consumed, a chemical dependency can develop, bringing on a whole host of additional complexities.

If someone who has been abusing Percocet or who is addicted to it foregoes professional treatment, he or she will likely grapple with ending his or her addiction independently. Therefore, it is important that professional treatment is received so that those who are addicted to this potent opioid-based substance can develop the skills required to successfully remain drug-free for a lifetime.

Statistics

Percocet addiction statistics

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) reports that almost 0.37% of the adult population of the United States is affected by opioid use disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the annual number of opioid-related deaths in the country increased by 300% between 1990 and 2010. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the annual prescription opioid overdose rate in the country increased by 265% in men and 400% in women between 2000 and 2010. Additionally, the CDC also reported that roughly 300 people died each year because of acetaminophen poisoning.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Percocet addiction

Several factors can affect one’s chances of abusing and/or becoming addicted to Percocet, such as:

Genetic: The American Psychiatric Association (APA) states that the heritable traits of impulsivity and novelty-seeking are common in those who develop opioid use disorder. The APA also reports that there is a greater likelihood of addiction in those who have immediate family members (such as parents and siblings) who struggle with chemical dependency.

Risk Factors:

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

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Percocet addiction

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Percocet abuse can include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Social withdrawal
  • 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
  • Attempting but being incapable of reducing one’s Percocet use
  • Trying to borrow or steal Percocet
  • Trying to borrow or steal money
  • Taking Percocet in greater quantities or for a longer period of time than intended
  • Abusing Percocet even after prior use has resulted in negative effects

Physical symptoms:

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

Cognitive symptoms:

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

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Anger and aggression
  • Agitation

Effects

Effects of Percocet addiction

Someone who does not receive treatment for Percocet addiction can experience a number of different outcomes and effects, including the following:

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

Co-Occurring Disorders

Percocet addiction and co-occurring disorders

It is common for individuals who are grappling with opioid use disorder to also experience additional mental health conditions simultaneously, including the following:

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

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Percocet withdrawal: When someone tries to lessen or entirely stop the abuse of Percocet after an addiction has developed, he or she is likely to struggle with upsetting withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include the following:

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

Effects of Percocet overdose: When any or all of the following symptoms are displayed after an individual has consumed Percocet, immediate medical attention should be obtained:

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

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