Percocet is a prescription medication intended to treat moderate to severe pain. When a person who is dependent on Percocet discontinues use, he or she will likely begin to encounter withdrawal symptoms within 8-12 hours. Physical symptoms usually peak in severity between 48-72 hours, and will gradually subside within one week.
Percocet Dependence and Addiction
Percocet contains the semi-synthetic opioid oxycodone and the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen. Opioids are highly addictive, and an estimated 21-29% of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain abuse them.
However, even those who take Percocet as prescribed can experience withdrawal symptoms. If the drug is taken for two weeks or longer, there is a high probability that some level of dependence will develop. Dependence occurs when a person’s brain and body have adapted to the presence of a substance and can no longer function correctly without it.
Dependence does not always lead to full-blown addiction, but it often does. Addiction is further hallmarked by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite have incurred adverse consequences as a result. A person who has become addicted to Percocet may go to extreme lengths to obtain and use the medication or turn to street drugs as an alternative if they can longer attain or afford their drug of choice.
Withdrawing from Percocet can be challenging and should be done under the supervision of a health care professional. The first few days of detox are the most daunting for patients, and for this reason, professional detox and treatment is optimal. There is a better chance for success in a treatment facility than home detox.
First 72 Hours of Withdrawal
Oxycodone is a relatively short-acting opioid, and as such, it releases approximately 40% of its components immediately. As a result, patients tend to need the drug again sooner, and therefore, withdrawal symptoms may onset more rapidly. As noted, withdrawal symptoms usually start around 8-12 hours after the last dose.
Some patients on Percocet will opt for a gradual tapering as directed by their doctor. This method may prolong some of the symptoms of withdrawal, but they will be much less intense and more comfortable with which to deal. Other patients who have severe addictions may not be able to adhere well to a taper and would likely benefit from inpatient detox to ensure they do not relapse.
The withdrawal process is associated with many symptoms that can vary depending on the patient. Symptoms may include increased blood pressure and an irregular heart and respiratory rate, which are severe conditions that may require additional medical intervention.
In addition, other symptoms may include drowsiness, hallucinations and extreme sweating. Symptoms generally peak between 48 to 72 hours. Other common symptoms of withdrawal during this period may include the following:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nause and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Runny nose
Days 4 – 7 of Withdrawal
The first week of detox is usually the most difficult, by far, but also the most important. During this phase of withdrawal, many patients experience intense drug cravings and have problems sleeping, chills, and tremors. Some of the symptoms from the first 72-hours may also persist through the week. Withdrawal is not only a physical challenge but an emotional one as well. It is not uncommon to experience some of the following symptoms:
- Depression and anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts
- Agitation and irritability
- Impaired concentration
Week 2 and Beyond
Getting through the first week of detox is a significant accomplishment. Once a person has successfully navigated the first week of detox, the time comes in which it is appropriate to enter the rehabilitation part of treatment.
During detox, the physical symptoms often overshadow those that are psycho-emotional in nature. As a result, some of the emotional symptoms previously listed may become more intense now. While physical symptoms are likely to be more tolerable, symptoms such as anxiety and depression can persist for weeks. This fact alone serves to highlight the importance of being treated by proper medical professionals in a treatment facility. Not only are physical symptoms treated, but counseling and group therapy are available to deal with emotional factors. This system of support is critical for long-term success.
Getting Help for Addiction
For those who have developed a physical dependence on Percocet, working with knowledgeable and skilled healthcare professionals can help dramatically during the detox period and beyond. An appropriate plan can be developed with the ultimate goal of achieving optimal results.
Just Believe Recovery offers medical detox services as well as comprehensive treatment programs designed to treat all aspects of a person’s physical and emotional well-being. We do not just treat addiction, we address all the underlying factors that contribute to it, including mental health conditions, pain disorders, childhood trauma, and more.
Please know that you are not alone in your recovery, and that help is just a phone call away!