Prescription painkiller abuse is an issue that has made headlines in the past several years, as more and more people are finding themselves addicted to these drugs. But Americans are prescribed so many different types of medications that there is often confusion as to which ones are addictive. It is important to know and understand the risks associated with taking any type of medication, in order to stay safe.
Types of Prescription Drug Abuse
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.5 million Americans (2.5 percent of the population) reported taking prescription medication for non-medical uses in 2014. What kinds of prescription drugs are commonly abused? The drugs fall into three main categories: opiate painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants. Of the three groups, the painkillers are the most widely prescribed and also the most widely abused.
What is Percocet?
Percocet is a prescription opiate, commonly prescribed for pain management. Sometimes called “hillbilly heroin,” among abusers, this drug is often a gateway to heroin and other drugs. Percocet is a combination of oxycodone (a narcotic) and acetaminophen (Tylenol), which provides short-term relief for moderate to severe pain.
Percocet works in the central nervous system, increasing dopamine in the reward center of the brain, which modifies pain perception and delivers a feeling of pleasure or euphoria. This “high” feeling is what makes drugs like Percocet so addicting. Those who use it in large doses or longer than prescribed often find they crave the drug and the feeling it gives them.
Signs of Percocet Abuse
Sometimes it is the close family and loved ones that suspect prescription painkiller addiction first. A person who is abusing prescription opiates like Percocet will begin to show warning signs, and families should be aware of them.
- Slow breathing
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Taking more of a prescription than directed by a doctor
- Going to multiple doctors for the same condition
- Getting a prescription filled frequently
- Crushing pills
- Complaining that the drug does not give the same kind of relief
- Changes in mood
- Drop in grades or job performance
- Changes in friends
- Getting in trouble with the law
- Lack of responsibility
If you are seeing these signs in your loved one and are concerned they might have an addiction to prescription painkillers, do something about it today. Don’t wait for the addiction to get worse. Talk to your loved one and get them help as soon as possible.
Percocet is dangerous, and users can overdose if they take too much of this drug.
Signs of overdose include:
- Extreme sleepiness
- Difficulty breathing
- Blue-tinged or clammy skin
- Loss of consciousness
If you notice these signs in your loved one, call 911 for emergency help right away.
Treatment for Percocet Addiction
The first step to getting treatment for Percocet addiction is calling and enrolling in a solid rehab program that is equipped to handle detox and therapy for this kind of addiction. Percocet, like many other opiates, causes withdrawal symptoms when a person discontinues excessive use. The most common withdrawal symptoms include flu-like symptoms: achiness, nausea, sleepiness, and fever. It can also cause anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, and muscle weakness. It is important to provide the person with supportive care and counseling to get them through the difficult phase of detox.
Once the person is free of their substance, they can move on to the therapy phase of recovery. During this time, the person will participate in group and individual therapy and counseling, learn more about their addiction, and practice dealing with triggers and cravings. It is during this time that the foundation is laid for a life of sobriety. After rehab, the person should remain connected to a treatment program or support group, in order to prevent relapse.
At Community Rehab, we have created a successful model for recovery that makes use of peers and the benefits of a positive social atmosphere. When clients enter our facility, they immediately realize they are not alone. We have a great group of people here to support and encourage those in recovery and show them the way — people who have been through addiction and recovery themselves already. We believe that an important component to recovery is a positive social setting.
To learn more about our program or to get help for prescription painkillers or any type of substance addiction, call us at (855) 478-1034 today.
Our treatment services are designed to bring out your true authentic self without the drugs and alcohol.