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Percocet Withdrawal

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Percocet is a prescription medication used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. The medicine contains the potent opioid oxycodone, which could cause chemical dependence and withdrawal. While it may occur to a much lesser extent when used as prescribed, it’s still possible when used in high doses. 

Chemical dependence, withdrawal, and addiction are to be expected when Percocet is abused. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to other opioids and present an immediate challenge for those dependent on the drug.

When you follow the directions on your prescription, your chances of developing issues such as dependence and addiction are much lower. However, when you abuse any prescription opioid, it’s common for someone to develop an addiction, which can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that individuals who misuse and abuse prescription opioids take them in a manner their physician didn’t intend. It could also mean using someone else’s prescription or using the drug in much higher doses.

Abusing a prescription opioid like Percocet can have devastating effects on the entire body. It may come in withdrawal symptoms that are similar to the common cold or flu. Although withdrawal is not inherently deadly like something you’d expect from alcohol or benzos, it is extremely challenging and may cause someone to give up.

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

The active ingredient in Percocet, oxycodone, binds to opioid receptors located all over our bodies. The receptors bind with naturally occurring endorphins that manage our natural response to pain. When these natural receptors are not enough to manage pain, doctors may prescribe potent opioids to support the body. Unfortunately, drugs like oxycodone are strong, and while they are effective at stopping pain, they cause euphoria that may lead to addiction. 

When your body adapts to drugs after long-term use, you’ll notice that you become dependent on the substance. If you stop using medication after long-term use, it’s possible to feel withdrawal symptoms that overtake your body. These may imitate severe flu symptoms, including body aches, nausea, and sweating. Other Percocet withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Watery eyes
  • Excessive yawning
  • High temperatures
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • General discomfort
  • Increased blood pressure

Stages of the Percocet Withdrawal Timeline

  • 24 hours: Percocet is effective in treating moderate-to-severe pain for a period of three to six hours. After that, those who use the drug long-term are exposed to developing withdrawal symptoms, which may occur between 12 and 24 hours after the last dose. Those using substantial doses may experience symptoms sooner. Early symptoms may include yawning and watery eyes.
  • Five days:  During this time, symptoms will reach their peak and could be severe. These include vomiting, nausea, and fever. It’s vital to avoid dehydration and consume water during this period. 
  • Seven days: At this point, the worst of the symptoms should be behind you. However, you could still not feel well. However, peak symptoms should subside.
  • Ten days: Symptoms may persist in what is known as the acute withdrawal phase, which includes anxiety and depression. These symptoms may last two weeks and beyond, dependent on how much Percocet you used and for how long. Addiction treatment will help you during this stage when cravings may be overwhelming. 

Should I Detox?

Although medical detox won’t be necessary for everyone going through addiction treatment, it is incredibly beneficial to those seeking long-term sobriety. Withdrawal is extremely unpleasant, and Percocet withdrawal is similar to heroin withdrawal, which is often severe. If you’re serious about stopping Percocet and avoiding severe withdrawal symptoms, you must consider detox and other forms of treatment seriously. 

Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, June). Prescription Opioids. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

RxList. (2018, October 9). Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses. from https://www.rxlist.com/percocet-drug.htm

Scheve, T. (2019, July 25). What are endorphins? from https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/endorphins.htm

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019, October 15). Oxycodone: MedlinePlus Drug Information. from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html

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