Percocet is one of the mostly commonly prescribed drugs for relieving pain, and unfortunately Percocet addiction is one of the most common prescription drug addictions, too. Percocet is made up of a combination of oxycodone, a highly addictive narcotic, and acetaminophen, a drug commonly purchased over the counter in things like Tylenol.
The oxycodone in the drug is what causes the physical addiction. It’s a narcotic that’s man-made, but much like heroin or morphine in structure, and is also prescribed alone under the brand Oxycontin. The pain relief and detached feeling one gets when on Percocet are what create the psychological addiction. When purchased illegally as through an Internet site, the potential for abuse increases, especially if purchased and taken by a youth.
Percocet is considered both a narcotic and an analgesic. That it’s a narcotic means that it dulls the senses, soothes, and can induce sleep in normal doses but in heavy doses can even cause coma and death. It’s analgesic because of its profound pain-relieving qualities. Percocet is one of the most highly effective pain relievers prescribed today because of this analgesic effect that essentially blocks the body’s signals that tell you to feel pain. It binds to your pain receptors and keeps that message of pain from going out.
Percocet addiction occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the drug. Your pain receptors simply get used to the presence of Percocet and begin to expect it. If more of the drug doesn’t come, then symptoms like nausea, vomiting, irritability and cramps occur as the person goes through Percocet withdrawal.
Because of the drug’s excellent pain-relieving abilities, it’s widely prescribed but is best prescribed for a very short period of time and for a very specific pain. The oxycodone in the Percocet unfortunately almost guarantees that anyone taking the drug regularly and for a long period of time will become addicted. When the drug is purchased without a prescription and the dosage isn’t monitored, it’s that much easier to develop a Percocet addiction.
A person with a Percocet addiction will experience symptoms within 2 to 4 hours of missing a regular dose. Many people who take Percocet don’t even know that they’re addicted until they stop taking the drug. Then the intense withdrawal symptoms prompt them to take more of the drug, both for pain relief and to stop other symptoms, and they choose to simply remain on the drug, purchasing it illegally if they had a prescription before, to prevent a recurrence of withdrawal symptoms.
Most youth who take Percocet do so because they were able to purchase it illegally, and therefore have no doctor’s counsel before taking the drug and no medical advice about what to do when problems arise. And many are afraid to seek help for Percocet addiction when they weren’t supposed to have the drug to start with. Percocet addiction in youth is a particularly serious problem, because the younger a person is when he or she develops an addiction to drugs or alcohol, the worse the addiction often becomes.