First approved by the FDA in 1976, Percocet offers an effective treatment for mild to moderate pain symptoms. Like most opiate-type drugs, Percocet's pain relief effects come with a high risk for abuse and addiction.
According to Washington College, Percocet uses a concentrated level of oxycodone as an active ingredient, which places Percocet in the Schedule II class of controlled substances.
Schedule II drugs carry the second highest risk for abuse and addiction next to Schedule I class drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.
The effects of Percocet abuse start within the brain's chemical processing network where the abuse cycle takes root. Before long, the effects cause users to experience withdrawal symptoms, at which point a physical dependency forms. Considering the drug's high addiction potential, it doesn't take long before the effects morph into a full-blown addiction cycle.
Someone who is suffering from chronic back pain symptoms or someone who's recovering from an accident or surgery may well benefit from Percocet's analgesic effects. Percocet effectively interrupts incoming pain signals to the brain, thereby reducing the level of pain a person experiences.
According to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Percocet's active ingredient, oxycodone works alongside acetaminophen, a nonprescription analgesic. Combining acetaminophen with oxycodone further enhances Percocet's pain-relieving properties.
Not surprisingly, this enhancement further contributes to the effects of Percocet abuse. While many people may start out taking this drug for medicinal purposes, unintended side effects, such as euphoria and total relaxation can easily drive abusive drug-using practices.
Percocet Abuse Effects on the Brain
The brain houses a group of cell receptor sites, known as opioid receptors that secrete endorphin-like neurotransmitter chemicals. These cell sites secrete needed amounts of these chemicals based on what a person experiences from moment-to-moment.
As an opiate drug, Percocet easily triggers the release of endorphin chemicals and essentially overrides the brain's regulatory control. When carried out on a repeated basis, a person comes to anticipate the drug's effects, which marks the beginnings of the abuse cycle. From there, the effects start to snowball out of control as cell sites come to rely on the drug's effects to function normally.
Percocet Abuse Withdrawal Symptoms
Over time, the brain develops a tolerance to Percocet, so users have to take larger doses to experience the same desired effects. After a while, the effects start to warp brain cell functions, making it all the more difficult to regulate brain chemical processes as normal. When this happens, withdrawal symptoms develop. Withdrawal symptoms may take the form of:
- Mood Swings
- Appetite Loss
Once a person starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms on a frequent basis, the effects have officially been set in motion.
Percocet Addiction Potential
The brain's natural affinity for Percocet greatly increases the drug's addiction potential. When left untreated, the effects of Percocet abuse will evolve into a full-blown addiction, at which point a person's motivations, belief systems and behaviors revolve around getting and using the drug. In effect, by the time addiction sets in, users have lost all control over their ability to stop using the drug.