Percocet is the brand name used for the combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. It is prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Acetaminophen is an analgesic pain reliever and oxycodone is an opioid pain reliever. The acetaminophen mixed with the oxycodone increases the effect of the oxycodone. These drugs work to bind opioid receptors in the brain to effectively block pain.
Percocet is categorized as a narcotic analgesic combination drug. It is classified as a Schedule II Controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Drugs in this category have an accepted medical use, with severe restriction in the United States and a high potential for abuse.
Chemically, Percocet addiction affects neurotransmitter levels and when a drug causes levels to rise, the body reacts by lowering the amounts it produces. The body adapts to the dosage consumed and tolerance develops. The body is biochemically balanced only when the drug is used, and the user becomes dependent. Oxycodone is a self-reinforcing drug in that it impacts the reward center of the brain.
Socially, Percocet is easily obtained and lacks the condemnation of what are thought of as street drugs. Oftentimes, patients may abuse Percocet after it has been prescribed for a medical purpose. Users may think that prescription drugs are safer and do not understand their potency.
Some common street names related to Percocet are:
Prescription drug abuse is commonly overlooked. At times, abusers themselves do not understand that they have become dependent on the drug. Having been prescribed the medication for a medically accepted use makes it seem perfectly alright. As a result, the signs and symptoms of abuse tend to go un-noticed for a period of time until the abuse becomes an addiction.
Common signs of abuse and addiction include:
Withdrawal presents with numerous symptoms that begin within 6-30 hours of last use. The first signs of withdrawal are flu-like symptoms that include: Fever, chills, body aches and pain, hypertension, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms of withdrawal will evolve o include insomnia, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. The withdrawal process usually lasts for a period of 5-10 days. Psychological and emotional effects may take up to 3 months to subside.
There is a physical, psychological, and emotional make-up to drug addiction, and every component must be treated in order to gain meaningful recovery. Program options for the treatment of Percocet addiction include inpatient treatment at a drug rehab center, intensive outpatient treatment, and residential long-term treatment.
There are varied programs to fit the needs of individuals. Treatment options include individual and group counseling, individual therapy sessions, family therapy sessions, relapse prevention education, vitamin therapy and nutrition services, exercise opportunities, and aftercare. Drug treatment begins with detox and withdrawal, and drug treatment centers have medically-trained staff to supervise and effectively manage these processes.