Last Updated: August 4, 2020

Due to overprescribing practices, a lack of guidance, and the drug’s clearly addictive nature, Percocet addiction is becoming an increasingly worrisome problem in America. Even individuals who receive legal prescriptions for the medication – typically for moderate to moderately severe pain – can develop dependence.

Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol’s active ingredient). This mixture both inhibits pain signals to the brain and changes how we perceive discomfort. While doctors typically prescribe the medication for severe short-term pain – often due to surgery or trauma – many patients with chronic pain also receive prescriptions. 

Regardless of whether initial use was legal or illicit, the effects of the drug can lead to Percocet addiction. Users can experience a euphoric feeling similar to that received when taking heroin. Because of the risk of abuse and the potential dangers of overdose and withdrawal, it’s important that you understand this disease and how to fight it. 

Percocet Addiction Symptoms

It’s the oxycodone contained within Percocet that gets people addicted. Your body can become used to receiving the drug, and you may become unable to function without it. If this occurs, then you’ve developed a physical dependency on the substance. In many cases, doctors have to wean their patients off of Percocet to avoid withdrawal symptoms. 

Percocet addiction happens due to its dopamine release mechanism. This is the same chemical in our brain that’s associated with pleasure and reward. Your brain adapts to this process rather than properly releasing its own dopamine. One of the main signs you’ve developed an addiction is an inability to stop taking the drug even when you’ve previously tried. 

You should also keep an eye on the following potential Percocet addiction symptoms:

  • Taking the drug in ways not prescribed by your doctor. 
  • The need for increasing dosage to receive the same effect (i.e. tolerance). 
  • Spending less time doing the things you enjoy. 
  • Neglecting personal responsibilities (e.g. academic, relationship, career).
  • Problems with memory or concentration. 
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when attempting to quit.
  • Resorting to illegal methods for obtaining the drug. 
  • “Doctor shopping” or attempting to get multiple prescriptions. 
  • Persistent cravings for the drug. 

You could also experience physical side effects – such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue and anxiety – that you may not immediately attribute to Percocet addiction. Even if some of these symptoms seem normal, they shouldn’t typically occur when using the substance as prescribed. This is why you should seek help if your symptoms point towards dependency. 

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to quit on your own. Withdrawal symptoms can present their own risks. While fatal reactions to withdrawal are unlikely, they’re typically enough to result in relapse. Many people will begin using again in order to stave off these symptoms. This is why medical monitoring is suggested. 

The following withdrawal symptoms could point towards a Percocet addiction: 

  • Nausea and vomiting. 
  • Confusion or drowsiness. 
  • Severe constipation. 
  • Slowed breathing. 
  • Agitation or anxiety. 
  • Insomnia. 
  • Painful or achy muscles. 
  • Teary eyes and running nose.
  • Excessive yawning. 

You’ll experience many of these symptoms during the initial acute period of withdrawal. Unfortunately, the problems could also last much longer due to post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Long-term Percocet addiction could also lead to cardiovascular, kidney, or liver failure. Risks can increase greatly if you’re using more than one drug. 

While withdrawal symptoms are rarely fatal, people still die from Percocet abuse every day. This is because of the high risk of overdose. If you experience any of the following overdose symptoms, you’re likely having a medical emergency and should seek help immediately: 

  • Bluish lips and nails. 
  • Loss of consciousness. 
  • Slowed heart rate or breathing. 
  • Seizures. 
  • Extremely low blood pressure.
  • Nausea and vomiting. 

At Transformations Treatment Center, we understand how difficult it can be to overcome Percocet addiction. That’s why we have trained staff and first-rate facilities to help you during your journey. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get started on the road to recovery. 

Percocet Addiction Signs

If you believe a loved one may be suffering from addiction to Percocet, it may be difficult to recognize certain signs. If you’re not living in the same home as your friend or family member, for instance, you may never know they’re experiencing insomnia, constipation or low blood pressure. Additionally, many people facing addiction will lie to their loved ones about it. 

This makes it imperative for you to recognize other signs of Percocet addiction. While the following could be indicative of other substance abuse – or mental health issues unrelated to drugs – they should all serve as red flags that something is going on with your loved one. 

  • Difficulty with coordination. 
  • Repeated claims that prescriptions are being lost. 
  • Withdrawal from activities they used to enjoy. 
  • Extreme mood swings or agitation. 
  • Altered sleep patterns. 
  • Feelings of depression or anxiety. 
  • Unexplained sweating. 
  • Visiting multiple doctors in a short span of time. 
  • Percocet being hidden throughout the home. 

Each of these signs could point towards potential Percocet addiction, but the first red flags are often legal, financial and relationship problems. Substance abuse can result in abnormal behavior throughout a person’s life, and when these important areas start to become affected, it’s possible that an individual has lost control of their Percocet use. 

When loved ones face substance abuse issues, it’s important for their family and friends to better understand what they’re going through. Refuse to contribute to their habit in any way, but always offer help that can assist them in overcoming addiction. Check out our Family Member Support Guide for more information on how you can help during recovery. 

Percocet Addiction Statistics

Addiction to Percocet and other opioid substance abuse disorders is a growing problem in America. Even in areas where laws have been enacted to reduce the number of pills given with a Percocet prescription, patients still report receiving over 40 pills for just a week’s regimen. And even as prescription rates decreased, misuse of the drug continued to grow. 

To understand the full scope of the problem with Percocet, it’s necessary to look at overall oxycodone use and generic products. Between 1999 and 2017, fatalities related to abuse of these opioid medications quadrupled. Unfortunately, this only shows part of the problem. The following Percocet addiction statistics paint an even bleaker picture: 

  • At least 40 Americans fatally overdose on Percocet and other oxycodone prescriptions daily. 
  • Prescription opioids like Percocet are the leading cause of death among opioid users. 
  • Between 1999 and 2018, more than 232,000 Americans died from abusing Percocet and other prescription opioids. 
  • At least 80 percent of heroin abusers begin with Percocet addiction or abusing other prescription opioids. 
  • Over 60 percent of people who fatally overdosed on Percocet and oxycodone had filled a prescription within the past 60 days. 
  • Abuse of Percocet and other prescription opioids costs the U.S. economy over $78 billion yearly. 
  • In recent years, over 11.5 million Americans reported being addicted to Percocet and other prescription opioids. 

Percocet is one of the most often prescribed prescription opioids on the market, and even with efforts to stop abuse, prescription rates remain high. While there are certainly legitimate uses for the medication, its use far too often results in eventual abuse and Percocet addiction. If you or a family member is facing dependency issues, contact Transformations Treatment Center today. 

Percocet Addiction Treatment

Doctors often wean their patients off of prescription opioids, and a similar tactic is necessary with Percocet addiction treatment. Before continued recovery can take place, those with a dependence on the drug must first go through a detoxification program. This can include medical monitoring, tapering off the substance, and medications to stave off withdrawal symptoms. 

Rehabilitation can only begin after detox has completed and the drug is fully removed from your body. As with every other aspect of treatment, this process can vary between individuals. How quickly your body rids itself of the medication is affected by a variety of factors, including the following:

  • Length of time Percocet was used. 
  • Dosage that person was typically taking. 
  • How frequently the substance was used. 
  • Were other substances abused during the same period?
  • Medical history (e.g. weight, gender, co-occurring disorders). 

Physical withdrawal symptoms are usually their worst around 1-3 days after stopping. This is the peak period when the body is returning to its normal functioning. Lingering physical symptoms – along with emotional symptoms – could potentially last for weeks. Due to these experienced differences, it’s important to create a treatment plan focused on the individual. 

Percocet Addiction Recovery

Once your body has returned to normal functioning, the recovery process can really begin. As is the case with detox, there are various avenues of recovery that an individual can go down. Not every option will work for everyone, so it’s best to have a variety of choices that can be catered to the specific individual. 

For full recovery, these plans must take the underlying cause of Percocet addiction into account. There are often common co-occurring mental health issues, for instance, that make an individual more susceptible to substance abuse. These problems can be pinpointed through appropriate therapy. At Transformations Treatment Center, we offer several options:

  • Partial hospitalization (PHP). 
  • Outpatient (OP) and intensive outpatient (IOP). 
  • Mental health treatment. 
  • Social interaction and recreation. 
  • Adventure therapy.

These are just a few of the elements of an effective recovery plan. They can be used in conjunction with each other, or an individual could focus on just one that seems to work best for them. Other specialty services, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), can also be utilized. 

The focus of Transformations Treatment Center is to provide a holistic approach that gives everyone the best chance of recovery. This is why individual, group, and family therapy sessions are also offered in addition to long-term support through a continuing aftercare program. Percocet addiction is difficult to overcome, but with the right help, it is possible. 

Contact Transformations Treatment Center today to get started on your individualized road to recovery. 

References

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/prescribed.html

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5975355/

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