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  • Percocet is a prescription medication that can treat moderate to severe pain. 

    Along with providing pain relief, Percocet can make you feel relaxed and euphoric, which is why some people abuse it. 

    Long-term Percocet use, even when taken as prescribed, can also cause addiction. If you or a loved one struggles with Percocet, a drug abuse treatment program can help. 

    What Is Percocet?

    Percocet is the brand name for a painkiller that consists of oxycodone and acetaminophen.

    Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic (pain reliever) that changes how the brain and central nervous system react to pain. As with many opioids, oxycodone is highly addictive. It’s responsible for the addictive nature of Percocet. 

    Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) is a non-opioid analgesic. Like oxycodone, it changes the way the body responds to pain. Unlike oxycodone, acetaminophen is not addictive on its own. 

    Percocet Abuse & Addiction

    To feel relaxed and euphoric, some people abuse Perocet by:

    • using it without a prescription
    • using it more frequently than prescribed
    • using higher doses than prescribed
    • mixing it with other drugs or alcohol
    • snorting or injecting it

    Ultimately, you’re abusing Percocet if you take it in any manner not prescribed by your doctor.

    Abusing Percocet, or taking it as prescribed for a long time, can lead to addiction. Also known as substance use disorder (SUD), this disease makes you feel a loss of control over your drug use. 

    Signs Of Percocet Addiction

    If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is struggling with Percocet addiction, look for the following signs: 

    • withdrawing from friends and family members to spend more time finding and using the drug
    • neglecting responsibilities at work or school in favor of drug use
    • visiting multiple doctors for prescriptions of Percocet
    • experiencing mood swings and intense cravings for the drug
    • feeling unable to stop using the drug despite wanting to
    • continuing to use Percocet despite harmful consequences

    Symptoms Of Percocet Abuse & Addiction

    A person who struggles with Percocet use may experience common side effects of Percocet. 

    Some side effects may include:

    • relaxation
    • euphoria
    • dizziness
    • drowsiness
    • constipation
    • stomach pain
    • headache
    • nausea and/or vomiting 

    If someone takes more Percocet than they were prescribed, they may develop liver problems. That’s because large amounts of acetaminophen can cause liver damage or disease. A common sign of liver disease is jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin).

    In addition, the person may also develop a physical dependency, which means their body requires the drug to function normally.

    Learn more about Side Effects Of Percocet Abuse & Addiction

    Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

    If you’re physically dependent on Percocet and you stop taking it, you might experience unpleasant mental and physical symptoms such as:

    • restlessness
    • anxiety
    • irritability
    • depression
    • insomnia
    • runny nose
    • watery eyes
    • fast heart rate
    • fast breathing
    • sweating 
    • chills
    • abdominal cramping

    To avoid or decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms, don’t quit Perocet cold turkey; instead, talk to a health care provider about gradually reducing your dosage. 

    This process, which is called “tapering,” gives your body time to safely adjust to the lack of Percocet.

    Learn more about Percocet Withdrawal

    Percocet Overdose

    People who abuse or are addicted to Percocet face a high risk of overdose. Overdose can occur when you take too much Percocet or combine it with other substances. 

    Signs of opioid overdose include:

    • trouble breathing
    • extreme drowsiness
    • sweating
    • cold, clammy skin
    • weakness or limpness
    • changes in pupil size
    • loss of consciousness or coma

    A Percocet overdose can be fatal. Seek emergency medical care immediately if you or someone you know experiences the above symptoms. 

    Learn more about Percocet Overdose

    Percocet Addiction Treatment Options

    It’s not easy or safe to try recovering from prescription opioid abuse on your own. Fortunately, numerous substance abuse treatment centers exist across the United States to help people detox and avoid relapse.

    These centers offer both inpatient and outpatient programs. 

    Inpatient programs provide 24/7 care and supervision for people suffering from more severe addictions. Outpatient programs allow people with milder addictions to regularly attend the treatment center while still living at home.

    Both types of rehab programs offer services such as:

    Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

    In MAT, doctors prescribe medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse. 

    Most MAT programs also include therapy. In therapy, you’ll work with a mental health professional to develop healthy coping skills and address any underlying mental illnesses that may contribute to your drug use. 

    Wellness Activities

    While it may seem simple, engaging in healthy activities like meditation, yoga, and exercise can make your recovery a lot easier. Many substance abuse treatment programs hold classes and groups focused on these activities. 

    Peer Support Groups

    When dealing with drug addiction, many people feel alone. Peer support groups allow you to connect with others facing similar challenges. 

    Group members can share their struggles, triumphs, and coping tips as they detox from drugs and navigate the road to recovery.  To learn more about treatment options for Percocet addiction, reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist today.

    Percocet FAQ

    What Is Percocet Cold Water Extraction?

    Cold water extraction (CWE) is a procedure that uses water solubility to filter acetaminophen from Percocet. With Percocet, this procedure allows you to ingest the oxycodone without risking liver damage due to repeated doses of acetaminophen.  

    However, modifying prescription drugs is by definition a form of drug abuse, and can lead to dependence, addiction, and overdose.

    Learn more about Percocet Cold Water Extraction (CWE)

    How Is Percocet Abused?

    Percocet is abused by smoking, snorting, or injecting crushed tablets. These are not directed forms of substance use, and carry both short-term and long-term health risks.

    Learn more about the dangers of Injecting, Snorting & Smoking Percocet

    How Long Does It Take Percocet To Leave Your System?

    The oxycodone in Percocet takes about 17 hours on average to be eliminated from your system. However, there are several factors that can impact elimination time. Your dose, frequency of use, and how long you have been taking it can all cause Percocet to stay in your system longer. 

    When Percocet is processed by your liver, it creates metabolites. These metabolites are in your system even longer and can be detected by a drug test. 

    Read How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System to learn more

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Sources

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Recovery Is Possible
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Oxycodone and Acetaminophen Tablets, USP
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Acetaminophen
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Opiate and opioid withdrawal
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Oxycodone

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on March 27, 2022
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