People being treated for pain often wonder, “Can I get addicted to Percocet?” Here’s what you need to know.
Percocet is a combination of acetaminophen and the opioid painkiller oxycodone. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain, and if you’ve been prescribed this medication for an illness or injury, you may wonder, Can I get addicted to Percocet? Here’s the answer.
The High Abuse Potential for Opioids
Opioid painkillers have a high abuse potential, which means they’re commonly used in a way other than exactly as prescribed. In some instances, people abuse opioids for the euphoric effects they produce. In other cases, people may take more than prescribed in order to better reduce their pain.
According to the National Health Interview Survey in 2012, two-thirds of people who abused opioids that year did so in an attempt to reduce their pain. Only 10 percent of survey respondents said they abused opioids in order to get high. In many instances, patients weren’t aware that they could develop an addiction to opioids. The answer to the question, “Can I get addicted to Percocet?” is a resounding “yes.” Taking Percocet other than as prescribed can lead to addiction and dependence.
Opioids produce feelings of euphoria and pleasure, and heavy abuse can lead to changes in the physical structures and chemical functions of the brain. These brain changes cause compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, driven by intense cravings for opioids.
Sometimes, when people ask, “Can I get addicted to Percocet?” what they’re really wondering is whether they can become dependent. Here, too, the answer is a definitive “yes.” Opioids produce a high level of tolerance very quickly. This means that as you continue to take Percocet, your brain changes its chemical function in order to compensate for the effects of Percocet on the brain. As a result, you need increasingly larger doses of Percocet to get the desired effects. But as you take more, the brain continues to change, and at some point, its function may shift so that it now operates more comfortably when Percocet is in your system than when it’s not. Then, when you quit using Percocet suddenly, Percocet withdrawal symptoms set in. Withdrawal is the main indication that dependence has developed.
Percocet Addiction Signs
The signs of Percocet dependence are tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Percocet addiction is far more complex than dependence. Common Percocet addiction signs include:
- Using more Percocet or using it for a longer period of time than you intended.
- Wanting or trying to quit but finding that you can’t.
- Continuing to abuse Percocet despite the negative consequences it causes, such as relationship, financial, legal, and physical and mental health issues.
- Neglecting duties at home, work, or school.
- Spending a lot of time seeking, using, and recovering from using Percocet.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, recovering from an addiction almost always requires professional help. That’s because addiction almost always has a variety of underlying causes, such as chronic stress, a history of trauma, or a co-occurring mental illness.
Treating Percocet Addiction and Withdrawal
Percocet addiction and dependence are treatable. Most people who engage with treatment successfully recover.
The first step of treatment is medical detox or medication-assisted treatment to address the physical dependence on Percocet. Medical detox involves medications that reduce the severity of Percocet withdrawal symptoms. Medication-assisted treatment involves taking medications that prevent withdrawal and help to normalize brain function.
Addiction treatment should be holistic. A variety of traditional “talk” therapies and complementary therapies help individuals develop essential coping skills, change self-destructive thought and behavior patterns, and address underlying issues behind the drug abuse.
If you’re asking, “Can I get addicted to Percocet?” because you’re worried that you may already be addicted, a mental health professional can help you decide whether you’re addicted or dependent and whether you need treatment to recover. WhiteSands Treatment offers a holistic approach to treatment that addresses issues of body, mind, and spirit for whole-person healing and a higher quality of life for the long-term.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.