Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms & Detox

Opiates are among the most addictive substances on earth, affecting about 2.1 million people in the United States alone. The withdrawal symptoms are so painful and intense that many people keep using just to relieve the pain. These symptoms can occur when an individual is dependent or addicted to an opioid. Percocet brings with it a different set of problems because of the addition of acetaminophen to the mix.

More About Percocet

Why is Percocet so Addictive?

All substance abuse affects the brain in some way. However, opiates seem to take hold of people like no other substance. Most people know that the drug binds to opioid receptors and changes brain chemistry, but don’t understand how that leads someone to become addicted.

There are three opioid receptors in the brain, mu-, delta-, and kappa receptors. Without these neurotransmitters, addiction could not occur. The drugs are taken into the bloodstream through the GI tract, mucous membranes in the nose, or directly into the veins via injection. Once they’re carried to the brain, they pass through the membrane that protects it and are converted to morphine. This enables them to bind to the main receptor responsible for pain management, emotional response, and reward, which is the mu-receptor.

As drug use continues, the brain becomes accustomed to this artificial stimulation. In fact, it becomes dependent on it and loses the ability to produce and regulate essential endorphins on its own. When the drug is unavailable or discontinued, the body sends a distress signal. The only answer the brain can return is “More drugs”.

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

Even when Percocet is used as directed to treat pain, dependence can occur. Although becoming dependent on a drug doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is addicted to it, the two conditions often go hand-in-hand. In either case, quitting causes withdrawal symptoms that are often unbearable.

Withdrawal is caused by a response to suddenly removing a substance that the brain and body have become dependent on to function properly. It can make someone feel physically ill like they have a severe case of the flu. The symptoms can even become debilitating or life-threatening.

The signs of Percocet withdrawal are:

  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Tearing or watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Excessive yawning
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nightmares and hallucinations
  • Profuse sweating

More severe symptoms come within the first three days, which is the peak of withdrawal. These include:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goosebumps and excessive sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat and elevated blood pressure

How Long Does it Take to Withdraw From Percocet?

Recovery is a life-long process, but the withdrawal period ends eventually. The first withdrawal symptoms appear within the 24 hours after the drug is removed from the system, and they can last for up to a week or more. Factors such as age, weight, general physical and mental health, and the degree of addiction or dependence all play a part in the progress and severity of Percocet withdrawal.

Most of the physical symptom disappear by the end of the first week of the Percocet withdrawal timeline, but then psychological symptoms intensify. These include depression and can leave one feeling hopeless. There’s also a high risk of relapse during withdrawal, and some people become suicidal. That’s why support and professional assistance is essential during this trying time.

Are you ready to get help?

If you’re ready to take the first step toward finding recovery, contact Stepping Stone Center for Recovery today. Our addiction specialist can answer any questions regarding our program and the treatment options that are available to you.


Signs of Percocet Overdose

Another area of the brain is activated when opioids are used or abused: the cerebral cortex. This is the region in the brain that controls things like respiration and heart rate. The adverse effects on receptors in this region of the brain and the resulting disruption of biological processes are what causes an opiate overdose death.

Statistically, those who have been in recovery or otherwise had no access to opioids due to incarceration or other reasons have a higher rate of overdose than inexperienced users. This seems counter-intuitive because one would think that inexperienced drug users might be more likely to overdose by accident. However, newer users haven’t built up the tolerance to the drug that a long-term user has.

Tolerance means that more of the drug is needed to feel the same effects, but the lethal amount doesn’t change.

It’s critical to recognize the signs of an opiate overdose because fast action can save a life. Drugs like Narcan can even reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and prevent death.

An overdose may be occurring if the following symptoms are present:

  • Extreme drowsiness or inability to wake; unresponsive
  • Shallow or no respiration
  • Slow heartbeat and unusually low blood pressure
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Bluish tint to the lips, nails, and skin
  • Constricted pupils

Treatment for Percocet Addiction

Even those who have tried to quit before and relapse finally find success with intensive treatment for Percocet addiction. There are many options, including inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient programs (IOP), and combinations programs that begin with detox in a residential facility and conclude with outpatient services, This is an ideal option for those who need medical support in the beginning but aren’t able to remain in a residential treatment facility.

Programs run from 30 day, short-term rehab for less severe addictions to long-term residential treatment in a sober living facility for up to a year. The length of a particular program depends on:

  • Length and severity of abuse
  • Rehabilitation history
  • Type of treatment program
  • Assessment at intake
  • Progress toward recovery
  • Recommendation of addiction counselors

Complications During Percocet Detox

One of the purposes of undergoing medical detox is to have supervision and care in case complications arise. After months of constipation, the onset of diarrhea can be severe. When this is added to profuse vomiting, the risk of dehydration is real. This loss of fluids also increases the risk of circulatory system weakness and heart attack. Because the respiration is slow, there’s a risk of aspiration from inhaling vomit, resulting in pneumonia and possible death.

Detox usually consists of medications to manage or diminish withdrawal symptoms, plenty of electrolytes to combat dehydration, and careful monitoring to prevent other health problems. Unless there are extraordinary health concerns or conditions as a result of substance abuse, the worst of the symptoms will taper off and end after about six days or so.

At that time, the participant will undergo an assessment to determine the next phase of treatment. This usually means cognitive behavior therapy to deal with underlying issues that contributed to the substance misuse. Periodic reassessments will occur throughout the remainder of inpatient treatment, and aftercare support will help reduce the risk of relapse.

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