As one of the most effective pain relief drugs on the market, Percocet works as a 12-hour time-release medication. According to Bryn Mawr College, Percocet uses oxycodone, a powerful opiate narcotic, as the main active ingredient with acetaminophen added to intensify the drug's effects.
Oxycodone bears a strong resemblance to codeine, which makes this particular ingredient almost as strong as morphine.
Percocet, like most opiate drugs, carries a high risk for abuse, dependence and addiction so anyone taking this drug for long periods of time will likely experience side effects. Percocet's pain relieving effects result from its ability to slow down the body's central nervous processes, and essentially change the way the brain delivers pain messages throughout the body, according to the University of Maryland.
Percocet use side effects develop when the drug starts interfering with normal brain chemical functions. With continued use, side effects only get worse to the point where users see a considerable decline in their physical and psychological health.
Physical Dependence to Percocet
Percocet's opiate component integrates seamlessly with the brain's endorphin neurotransmitter processes and eventually takes over essential brain functions. Opiates in general stimulate the production of endorphins, the brain's natural pain-relieving chemicals.
With repeated use, the brain produces lower levels of endorphin chemicals on its own and allows Percocet's effects to take over. In the process, physical dependency becomes one of the first Percocet addiction side effects to develop.
Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms
Once the brain becomes physically addicted on Percocet, users start to experience withdrawal symptoms on a regular basis. As an addiction side effect, withdrawal episodes become a prime motivator for ongoing drug use. Withdrawal symptoms commonly experienced from Percoet include:
- Random Muscle Aches and Pains
- Bouts of Anxiety
- Bouts of Depression
- Sleep Problems
- Fluctuations in Body Temperature
While drug cravings may seem like an offshoot of physical dependency, Percocet abuse side effect actually points to a psychological dependency at work. Over time, users come to anticipate the feelings of euphoria and calm Percocet brings. This anticipation becomes a learned behavior that's dependent on the effects of the drug. Once a psychological dependency takes hold, addiction has come full circle.
Percocet addiction side effects are impossible to miss once users become addicted to the drug. In essence, a person's entire word revolves around getting and using drugs. In this state, the brain comes to perceive Percocet as necessary for the person's survival, much like it views food and water. In turn, addicts have no regard for the negative consequences brought on by their continued drug use.
Lifestyle changes resulting from addiction are indeed the most heart-breaking Percocet abuse effects of all. People who once held good jobs, had solid families and good friends find themselves struggling to make it from one day to the next without a "fix." Money problems, legal problems and even homelessness can quickly become the norm as addiction takes over.