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.
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:
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.
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