5 Psychological Side Effects of Percocet
Percocet is a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone, landing this medication in a family of drugs known as opioids. They’re commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and work by blocking the pain signals sent to your brain.
Percocet is among the millions of painkiller prescriptions written each year by physicians. Used properly, it poses little danger to patients, especially in the short-term. The most frequent minor side effects include constipation, nausea, headache, dizziness and dry mouth.
Long-term use or abuse of Percocet has many adverse side effects. Among them are serious psychological problems that can include:
- Depression: Researchers found taking opioids for 90 days or more significantly increases your chances of developing major depression. One study reported anyone taking opioids for 90 to 180 days has a 25 percent increased risk; those taking them more than 180 days were 53 percent more likely to develop depression. Theyspeculate the depression is due to a resetting the brain’s reward system. With long-term use, the painkiller continues to push the threshold for experiencing pleasure until natural rewards no longer trigger the sensation.
- Paranoia: These thoughts and feelings are related to a perceived threat, conspiracy or persecution. Users experience extreme anxiety and fear due to the changes Percocet causes in the brain. Thoughts and emotions are altered until they become negative patterns, resulting in paranoia.
- Confusion: Percocet is a very powerful opioid. Abused or overused, it fogs your mind as it floods your brain’s opiate receptors. As a result, thoughts are unclear and confusion sets in, making it hard to put coherent thoughts together or follow logical processes.
- Insomnia: Long-term use of Percocet makes it hard to sleep. Since getting a good night’s rest is important to your overall well-being, this affects other several other aspects of your health. What’s more, a lack of sleep worsens other symptoms like depression and anxiety, resulting in a downward spiral.
- Hallucinations: These vary greatly from person to person. You might see lights, colors or other things that aren’t really there or you may hear non-existent sounds. It’s also possible to smell things or feel things that aren’t there, such as an itching sensation…like things are crawling on your skin.
It’s Just Not Worth It
Have you experienced any of these symptoms? If you or a loved one struggle with Percocet abuse or chronic use, you’re not alone. As of 2014, nearly two million Americans had a substance use disorder involving prescription painkillers.
Help is available. Find resources for Percocet addiction here.
Image Source: iStock