Percocet, also known as oxycodone, “perks,” or “percs”, is a medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a combination of the opioid drug oxycodone and the non-opioid pain reliever acetaminophen. Percocet works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to chronic pain. It can produce a very intense high that gives the user a feeling of warmth and euphoria. Because of this, it is a highly addictive drug.
When taken as prescribed, Percocet can be effective in controlling pain. However, it is important to take the medication only as directed and to avoid taking higher doses at a higher frequency than prescribed. Taking too much Percocet can lead to an overdose, which can be life-threatening, and can cause slowed breathing, confusion, coma, and even death.
Because of how dangerous a Percocet overdose can be, it is critical to be aware of the potential side effects and risks associated with taking Percocet and what to look out for if you suspect that a loved one or family member may be struggling with prescription drug addiction.
Types of Percocet Pills
The most common type of pill is round, white, and has the letter “P” imprinted on one side and the number “10” on the other side. There are also oval-shaped pills that come in various colors and strengths, ranging from 2.5 milligrams (mg) to 10 mg of oxycodone and from 325 mg to 650 mg of acetaminophen. Here is a full breakdown:
- Percocet 2.5/325mg: This is the lowest strength and contains 2.5mg of oxycodone and 325mg of acetaminophen.
- Percocet 5/325mg: This strength contains 5mg of oxycodone and 325mg of acetaminophen.
- Percocet 7.5/325mg: This strength contains 7.5mg of oxycodone and 325mg of acetaminophen.
- Percocet 10/325mg: This is the highest strength and contains 10mg of oxycodone and 325mg of acetaminophen.
It is important to note that different forms and strengths of Percocet are prescribed for different levels of pain and individual patient needs, all of which should only be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider.
What Does a Percocet High Feel Like?
When taken in large doses, Percocet can cause feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and sedation. It can also cause a change in perception of time and space, while also making users feel drowsy and calm. Percocet can also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as provide a sense of pleasure and overall well-being.
Just like any medication, Percocet also has a range of more negative side effects, such as:
- Impaired motor coordination
- Loss of Appetite
In extreme cases, overdoses of Percocet can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, confusion, and even respiratory depression or arrest. If you suspect someone is overdosing on Percocet, you can also look out for a blue tint to the lips or skin, loss of consciousness, cold or clammy skin, extreme fatigue, or low blood pressure.
For this reason, it is important to take Percocet only as prescribed. It is also important to understand the potential risks of taking this medication, which may still be present even if taken as prescribed.
Dangers of Percocet Abuse
Percocet abuse brings with it a multitude of dangers. It can lead to fatal overdoses, a variety of health complications, addiction, impaired judgment, and intense withdrawal symptoms. We explore each of these dangers in detail below.
Can Percocet Kill You?
Yes, taking too much Percocet can be fatal. It can cause life-threatening respiratory depression when taken in high doses or combined with other substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Symptoms of a Percocet overdose include:
- Shallow breathing
- Slow heartbeat
- Extreme drowsiness
- Cold and clammy skin
- Muscle weakness
- List more
Additionally, taking Percocet in any manner other than as prescribed by a healthcare provider can increase the risk of overdose and other serious health problems. When combined with other substances like alcohol or other depressants, the threat of overdose increases significantly. If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken too much Percocet, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Percocet is Highly Addictive
Percocet can be habit-forming when taken in high doses or for extended periods of time. When abused or taken for too long, it can lead to physical dependence, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is essential to speak to your doctor before taking Percocet, as it is a strong and potentially addictive drug.
In general, Percocet should be used with caution. It should only be taken as directed by a doctor and never in higher or more frequent doses than prescribed. Misusing Percocet can increase the risk of becoming dependent on the drug, leading to addiction.
As a powerful opioid drug, Percocet can be a safe and effective way to manage pain when taken correctly. However, it is important to remember that it can be addictive and should be used with caution. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking Percocet and to follow the instructions provided to ensure that you are taking the medication safely.
Other Health Dangers
Though it is generally a safe medication to use when used as prescribed, long-term use can lead to negative health consequences like liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory depression, coma, and even death. These consequences become more likely the longer Percocet is abused. Percocet use can also lead to an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications.
It’s also important to note that as tolerance increases, so too will the need for more and more Percocet. And because it is a pain management medication, eventually, your doctor will stop prescribing it. When this happens, there is an increased risk for doctor shopping to get a new prescription or seeking other drugs that offer the same effects, such as heroin or fentanyl. These drugs are illegal and pose an extremely high risk for abuse, addiction, and overdosing.
Another danger of Percocet abuse includes an increased feeling of self-confidence and reduced feelings of anxiety, which makes it easier to take risks. This can lead to a sense of invincibility, which can put users in dangerous situations that they would not have otherwise chosen. The effects of the drug can also be intensified if combined with alcohol or other drugs, further increasing the risk of injury or death.
Impaired judgment can also lead to poor decision-making, which can have serious long-term consequences. This can include engaging in dangerous behaviors or activities, such as driving while under the influence, which can lead to serious injury or even death, or performing risky sexual activities, which will lead to sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies.
Withdrawal from Percocet can be one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. Not only are the symptoms of withdrawal often painful, but they might lead to increased use of the drug in order to get rid of them.
Common symptoms of withdrawal can range from severe anxiety and depression to intense physical pain. People may also experience shakes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, chills, and more. The severity of these symptoms can vary greatly depending on the amount of Percocet used and the length of time it was used.
The timeline may look something like this:
- Day 1: The effects of Percocet may start to subside after 3 hours. During hours 5-8, symptoms may resemble the flu or the common cold.
- Day 2-3: Flu-like symptoms will increase in intensity and may include tremors, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. At this stage, it might be important to seek help from a medical detox facility to alleviate these symptoms.
- Days 4-7: Though physical symptoms will begin to subside, cravings will intensify and psychological withdrawal will remain intense.
It may take several weeks for cravings and psychological withdrawal to subside, so finding a support group or rehab program during this time may help with maintaining sobriety.
Percocet Addiction Treatment In Georgia
Percocet addiction is a serious problem in Georgia and treatment is essential for recovery. Treatment typically begins with inpatient medical detoxification programs that help to rid the body of the toxins associated with Percocet abuse and to manage withdrawal symptoms in as safe and comfortable a manner as possible.
Once clients have safely detoxed, inpatient treatment programs that provide intensive and comprehensive care around the clock can be the most supportive route to take when recovering from addiction. Residential programs allow a person to escape their life, take time to heal, and work with trained professionals in a stable setting. Outpatient treatment is also available, but it is not recommended as a first step. Using outpatient programs as aftercare can help maintain the skills learned in rehab.
Finding the best combination of drug abuse and mental health treatment is critical, especially when there is an underlying mental illness that may have contributed to the addiction. Abusing prescription opioids is cause for concern. Most treatment centers in Georgia diagnose and address co-occurring conditions, working to address the entire client as a whole and create a recovery plan that is well-rounded and effective.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Percocet substance use disorder in Georgia, help is available. Call today to learn more about the different treatment options that are available for you.