Advances in pain management medications have allowed countless people to live much more active and satisfying lives than they would previously have been able to experience. Unfortunately, as is the case with virtually every medication, the use of Percocet and other pain pills can be dangerous. Potential problems can include abuse, Percocet addiction, overdose, and even death.
What is Percocet?
Percocet is the brand name of a prescription medication that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. Acetaminophen, which is also sometimes called paracetamol, is a non-opioid analgesic (painkiller).
- When a person uses Percocet, the effects can include an easing of pain, a relaxing of tension, and a sense of serene euphoria.
- If someone has received Percocet to treat a legitimate medical concern, these effects can entice them to take the medication more frequently or in larger doses than directed.
- Percocet’s effects can also be attractive to people who are seeking a certain type of recreational high.
Percocet’s addictive properties are due to the presence of oxycodone. Oxycodone also increases the likelihood of overdose death. Although acetaminophen is not considered to have a high risk of addiction, the improper use of this ingredient can cause severe long-term physical harm.
Facts About Percocet Addiction
Since people often go to great lengths to hide evidence of their Percocet addiction, it can be difficult to identify the national scope of the problem. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported the following:
- About 8.7 million people in the United States abused a prescription painkiller in the previous 12 months.
- About 5 million Americans aged 12 and older were addicted to Percocet or another prescription opioid in 2021.
Addiction is characterized by an inability to control one’s behavior regarding certain substances. If a person becomes addicted to Percocet, they may begin to exhibit signs and symptoms such as:
- Feeling an intense need to use Percocet every day
- Buying, borrowing, or stealing Percocet that has been prescribed to someone else
- Doctor shopping, or visiting several doctors and lying about symptoms to illicitly get multiple prescriptions for Percocet
- Purchasing Percocet on the street or from illegal online sources
- Missing work or school due to their Percocet abuse
- Having unexplained financial problems
- Using Percocet in a manner that is clearly dangerous, such as mixing it with alcohol or other addictive substances
- Becoming anxious or agitated when they can’t acquire and/or use Percocet
- Needing to use more Percocet to achieve the effects they are seeking
Once a person has developed a Percocet addiction, powerful cravings and distressing withdrawal symptoms can prevent them from ending their use of this drug, even if they desperately wish to stop.
The good news is that Percocet can be treated. With proper care, a person can learn to manage their symptoms and resist future urges to use Percocet.
Is Percocet Addiction Dangerous?
Percocet addiction exposes a person to myriad dangers. The longer a person lives with untreated Percocet addiction, the greater their risk becomes for irreversible harm. The many potential negative effects of untreated Percocet addiction include:
- Damage to the liver and kidneys
- Heart and lung problems
- Difficulties urinating
- Abnormal blood pressure
- Sexual dysfunction
- Being arrested and jailed
- Developing a co-occurring mental illness
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Suicidal ideation
To underscore the danger of untreated Percocet addiction, consider the following from NIDA:
- In 1999, 3,442 deaths in the United States were attributed to overdoses involving Percocet and other prescription opioids.
- In 2021, more than 16,000 people died after overdosing on Percocet or another prescription opioid. This represents an annual increase of about 375% over the course of 22 years.
- The 2021 rate is actually a decline from the nation’s all-time high of 17,029 prescription opioid overdose deaths in 2017.
How Do People Overcome Percocet Addiction?
Percocet addiction is a chronic, progressive disease.
- The term “chronic” refers to the fact that addiction is not typically cured; rather, treatment can help people manage their symptoms and regain control of their behaviors.
- The word “progressive” means that if a person fails to get proper care for Percocet addiction, this disorder is likely to only get worse over time.
Treatment for Percocet addiction can take many forms and may include a variety of therapies and support services. There is no single course of treatment that is ideal for every person who has this type of drug dependence.
Before a person begins to receive treatment for Percocet addiction, they should complete a thorough assessment. This will help their treatment team identify the full scope of their needs, so they can develop an optimal treatment plan.
After reviewing the information that they collected during the assessment, the treatment team may recommend the following programs:
Within these programs, a person’s customized Percocet addiction treatment may include elements such as the following:
- Individual, group, and family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Trauma therapies
- Other services as needed
The specific elements of care that a person receives will vary depending on factors such as which program they are in, how they have been affected by Percocet addiction, and if they have any co-occurring mental or physical health concerns.
Begin Treatment for Percocet Addiction at Los Angeles Detox
LA Detox is an ideal place to begin your journey toward successful, long-term recovery from Percocet addiction. When you choose our treatment center in Los Angeles, California, you can expect to receive customized care and comprehensive support from a team of highly skilled professionals. We will work with you to identify the full scope of your needs, then design the personalized plan that will empower you to achieve your immediate and long-term goals.
If you would like to learn more about treatment for Percocet addiction at LA Detox, or if you’re ready to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today.