Percocet is a combination of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Oxycodone. Oxycodone is a pain reliever derived from opium that when combined with the active ingredient in Tylenol creates a fast acting pain reliever. Percocet is considered to be an opiate and is a Schedule II drug. If you are taking this drug you should be under the medical care of a doctor. It is appropriately prescribed as a pain killer for short periods of time, but a patient can easily become addicted.
How Percocet Hooks Us
For most people who experiment with substance use, the initial excitement of the euphoric feeling is considered fun. Percocet use is no different than many of our other addictive agents that produce good feelings such as OxyContin. The initial effects of Percocet use are:
- Pain relief
- Providing extra energy
- Taking the edge off daily stress
In reality, these positive feelings will be produced for a period of time however, like all mood and mind altering substances a tolerance for the drug will develop and more of the drug will be needed to obtain a similar effect. There are four steps to the addiction process:
- Use – Taking the medication as prescribed by your doctor
- Misuse – Taking a few more pills then prescribed but do not refill the prescription once it is finished
- Abuse – Mood changes are more evident and tolerance develops
- Dependency – Tolerance grows, risky behaviors are evident and withdrawal symptoms are present
Addiction Progression of Percocet
Three ways to describe the progression of addiction:
- Social- Percocet use in the social context seems innocent enough at first and although it is used it for relaxation purposes verses medical purposes, it does not seem dangerous. Despite the physical addictive qualities of Percocet, in the social phase of addiction, the psychological thought that Percocet use is not a big deal is the controlling idea. The desire to achieve this effect regularly, leads to increased use and abuse.
- Mood Changes- Once the user chooses to change a mood through the use of Percocet, a physiological (body) and psychological (mind) tolerance builds. The goal then becomes the altered mood state. Mood swings such as easy going to irrational with spouses, children, friends, employees and employers is induced by Percocet use.
- Dependency – When tolerance to the Percocet has grown and more of the drug is needed to avoid the physical pain of not having it (withdrawal), the addiction has taken control. Staying medicated becomes the obsessive compulsive behavior of the addict ruling daily thoughts and actions. Signs of addiction may include:
- Impaired Judgment
- Nodding off Behavior
- Mood Swings/Irritability
- Obsessive thinking about getting/using Percocet
- Withdrawal symptoms
(More on signs and symptoms of Percocet addiction )
Compulsive Percocet Use
The driving compulsion to avoid the physical pain of withdrawal can be overwhelming and cause behavior that goes against our values and belief systems. Decisions based upon getting Percocet every day will override healthier decision making. For example, money that has been set aside for emergencies is used to buy more drugs to feed the addiction. The addict will go to great lengths to alter plans only to maintain use, such as choosing not to go on a family vacation unless there is a sufficient supply of Percocet. Outside support to stop using is needed to break the obsessive compulsive nature of addiction.
How to Stop Percocet Use Once Addicted
Stopping the use of drugs such as Percocet can be dangerous. A medically monitored drug detox program allows the addict to withdraw from Percocet addiction safely and comfortably. Once your body has become adjusted to having the medication in your system, it is unable to function correctly without it. A medically monitored detox means:
- A medical doctor will monitor your withdrawal
- 24 hour nursing supervision
- Vitals monitored regularly
- Anti-anxiety medication given as needed throughout the detox process
- Psychiatric evaluation if needed once detox is complete to address dual-diagnosis issues
- Smooth transfer to treatment
Detox alone is not drug treatment. Detox is only the first step to stopping the cycle of addiction. The need to move from detox immediately to treatment provides the addict with the greatest chance of abstaining from drug use. Finding a facility that encompasses both detox and rehab provides the addict with a smooth transition reducing chances of using.
An Overview of the Treatment Process
A quality treatment center will be able to offer Percocet detox and rehab services at the same facility. A quality treatment curriculum should include:
- Individual counseling
- Group therapy
- Educational lectures
- Relapse prevention
- Intensive Out Patient program
- After care plan
- Ongoing alumni support
For more information about Percocet addiction and treatment speak with a Recovery Connection coordinator now. They can assist you with finding the appropriate treatment facility to address your needs. Our Recovery Connection coordinators understand the fear and anxiety about entering treatment as most of them are in recovery.
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