Percocet & Brain Damage

Psychological Side Effects of Percocet

Percocet is a powerful pain-relieving medication that is made up of two active ingredients, oxycodone, and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a highly addictive opioid drug that is used to treat severe pain. Acetaminophen is not addictive and is a less potentiate pain reliever that increases the effects of oxycodone.

According to the article published in The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, over 200 million prescriptions are prescribed annually for opioid-containing medications regardless of the limited evidence showing their long-term efficacy. Percocet is a prescription painkiller that when used properly and for short periods of time, poses little risk to patients. However, long term use of Percocet can result in psychological effects such as depression, paranoia, insomnia, and hallucinations.


Depression is defined as persistent sad or negative emotions that do not go away. Symptoms include feeling sad or empty, loss of interest in favorite activities, overeating, not wanting to eat, insomnia, feeling tired, feeling hopeless, and thoughts of suicide.

Does Percocet cause depression? Depression is one of the negative side effects of taking this medication for prolonged periods of time. Percocet depression is caused by oxycodone which is one of the main ingredients in this drug which explains how long Percocet takes to wear off and how long it takes to last in your system. Oxycodone is an opioid and opioids have been found to cause depression.

The article published in The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association, stated that people who use medications containing opioids for 90 to 180 days had a 25 percent increased risk of developing depression, and people who used them for over 180 days had over a 50 percent increased risk.

The researchers speculated that depression is caused by disturbances in the brain’s rewards system which is a collection of brain structures that control behavior and reinforce pleasurable stimuli.  Long-term use of painkillers like Percocet reduces a person’s ability to naturally produce the chemicals that are associated with feeling pleasure. This creates an inability to feel pleasure when opioids are not present in a person’s system. When a person attempts to stop using the drug it results in a state of unease or general dissatisfaction with one’s life, an inability to feel pleasure, and reduced motivation.

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Paranoia is another long-term psychological effect of taking Percocet. Paranoia involves anxious or fearful feelings and thoughts of persecution, threat, or conspiracy. People who take this medication might experience paranoia due to the changes in the brain that occur when taking an opioid prescription like Percocet.


Percocet insomnia is a long-term psychological side effect caused by taking opioid-containing medication. Insomnia is repeated difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or quality of sleep that occurs despite adequate opportunity to sleep. This results in some form of impairment such as not feeling refreshed when waking up. Symptoms of insomnia include lying awake for hours prior to falling asleep, sleeping only brief periods of time, waking up early, feeling tired upon waking and being awake the majority of the night.

Insomnia poses additional challenges because it can result in a lack of energy, making it difficult to do daily tasks. It can make a person feel anxious, depressed, and irritable. Insomnia can even cause serious problems such as getting into a car accident because a person felt drowsy while driving.

A study published in Sleep Health Journal mentioned that insomnia was 42 percent more likely among people who reported using prescription opioids compared to those who did not. Insomnia is also common among people with opioid use who are going through withdrawal. Additionally, opioid use was found to be associated with five times the odds of developing a sleep disorder.


Percocet hallucinations are another long-term side effect of taking the opioid-containing medication. Hallucinations are where someone sees (visual), hears (auditory), smells, tastes, or feels something that does not exist. For example, a person might see lights or colors or things that don’t exist. They might hear sounds like another person talking that doesn’t exist. A person could even smell things that aren’t there or feel non-existent sensations such as being touched by another person. Hallucinations can be frightening because they are created by a person’s mind.

A review of the literature published in Anesthesia and Analgesia Journal mentioned that there have been numerous reports of hallucinations being attributed to opioids, such as auditory and visual hallucinations. For example, one study found that of the 12,184 patients who received opioids between 1985 to 2013, 482 patients reported experiencing hallucinations.

Getting Help

The psychological side effects of taking Percocet can be extremely frightening and uncomfortable to live with. Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there can be very difficult to deal with. Thinking someone is also trying to harm you can make it challenging to go on with everyday life. Experiencing depression can be very dangerous because it can cause a person to commit suicide. Insomnia poses challenges as well because a person could get into a car accident from driving while tired. If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the psychological effects of a Percocet addiction, finding a high-quality rehab clinic can help. Rehab clinics can provide you with the physical and mental support you need to overcome your addiction.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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