Percocet is prescribed for short-term relief of moderate to severe pain that is not typically chronic in nature (i.e., post-surgical pain, pain from a sustained injury, etc.). Like heroin and morphine, Percocet affects the brain and the central nervous system, changing the way the brain perceives pain.
Percocet acts at opioid receptors throughout the body to initiate a cascade of chemical events that, ultimately:
Elicit a dopamine response in key regions of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in the brain’s reward system circuitry–instrumental in delivering feelings of pleasure and motivation, as well as reinforcing behaviors that initiated the dopamine release to begin with.
Percocet Addiction. Anyone who takes Percocet for more than a couple of weeks risks developing a physical dependency to the opiate drug. Anyone who abuses Percocet to get high for more than a couple of weeks (whether or not the medication is legitimately prescribed for pain) runs a high risk of addiction.The chronic regular use of Percocet, as is the case with the extended use of any other opiate, creates structural changes in the brain.
Percocet binds to opiate receptors in the brain to create analgesic and euphoric effects. If you use Percocet regularly (daily) for a while, the brain responds by growing more opiate receptors in the brain; and with greater numbers of opiate receptors, you need a greater amount of Percocet to fill them. If opiate receptors in the brain go unfilled, you feel increased pain and depressed mood. Once you have extra opiate receptors in the brain, natural levels of opiate chemicals in the brain cannot sufficiently activate them all, and without taking Percocet to supplement natural levels of opiate chemicals, you start to feel pain and a depressed mood. Once you have sprouted increased numbers of opiate receptors, you are physically dependent on the medication, and if you do not take your medication regularly, you will start to feel drug withdrawal.