Percocet Addiction: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Recovery

Percocet Addiction: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Recovery

Percocet addiction is a serious and growing problem. On average, more than 3.3 million individuals develop a dependence on the drug each year.

Comprised of oxycodone and acetaminophen, Percocet is a prescription medication primarily used to relieve moderate to severe pain. While it can be highly effective when used as directed, the potential for misuse and addiction is significant. This comprehensive guide will explore the symptoms, causes, treatment options, and recovery process for Percocet addiction.

Understanding Percocet and its Effects

Percocet is a combination medication that includes oxycodone, an opioid pain reliever, and acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain reliever. When taken as prescribed, Percocet can provide relief for individuals suffering from pain due to surgery, injury, or medical conditions. However, the enticing high that this medication can induce when misused makes it appealing to those seeking to get high.

Misusing Percocet involves taking it outside of a doctor's recommendation, either by increasing the dosage, taking it more frequently, or using it for non-medical purposes. This misuse can lead to the development of physical dependence and addiction. Individuals who have been abusing Percocet for an extended period may find it challenging to stop due to the withdrawal symptoms and intoxicating effects that the drug produces.

The Scope of Percocet Addiction

Percocet addiction is a widespread issue that affects a significant portion of the population. According to the DSM-5, nearly 0.4% of individuals struggle with the abuse of Percocet and other opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the rate of opioid overdose, including overdoses caused by Percocet, has risen fourfold in women and nearly 300% among men. Furthermore, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that the number of deaths resulting from abusing opioids like Percocet has increased almost 300% since 1990.

Causes and Risk Factors for Percocet Abuse

Understanding the causes and risk factors for Percocet abuse is crucial in addressing the root causes of addiction. Several factors can contribute to an individual's susceptibility to Percocet abuse:

Genetic Factors

Genetics plays a role in determining an individual's susceptibility to substance abuse. If you have a first-degree family member who has struggled with substance abuse, you may be more likely to experience similar issues. Certain genes have been identified that can make substance abuse, including the misuse of Percocet, more probable for some people.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also contribute to Percocet abuse. If you have easy access to Percocet, whether through your own prescription or someone else's, you may be at a higher risk of misuse. Additionally, lacking effective coping mechanisms, having subpar support, a history of trauma, or a history of abusing other drugs can all impact your decision to abuse Percocet.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors increase the likelihood of Percocet abuse:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Novelty-seeking personality
  • Impulsive temperament
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Access to Percocet
  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Prior substance abuse

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Abuse

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Percocet abuse is crucial in identifying a potential addiction. The severity of the symptoms may vary depending on the extent of the abuse. Behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms can all indicate a problem with Percocet abuse.

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Social withdrawal
  • Abusing Percocet when it is clearly dangerous to do so
  • Taking Percocet in greater quantities or for a longer period than intended
  • Trying to steal Percocet
  • Continuing to abuse Percocet despite negative effects and unsuccessful attempts to reduce use

Physical Symptoms

  • Weight changes
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Coordination problems
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using Percocet
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Breathing issues
  • Exhaustion
  • Slowed heart rate

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Inability to focus
  • Poor concentration
  • Problems with memory
  • Poor decision-making

Psychosocial Symptoms

Effects of Percocet Abuse

Prolonged Percocet abuse can have severe consequences on an individual's life. The effects of Percocet abuse can impact various aspects, including physical and mental health, relationships, finances, and employment.

  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Development or exacerbation of co-occurring mental health problems
  • Financial ruin
  • Legal problems
  • Strained relationships
  • Damage to the heart and lungs
  • Job loss and chronic unemployment
  • Family discord
  • Social withdrawal and homelessness
  • Sexual dysfunction

Co-Occurring Disorders and Percocet Abuse

Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, refer to the presence of both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. Percocet abuse can often co-occur with various mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depressive disorders, antisocial personality disorder, and other substance use disorders. Treating both the addiction and the co-occurring disorders simultaneously is essential for successful recovery.

Effects of Percocet Withdrawal and Overdose

Withdrawal and overdose are significant concerns when it comes to Percocet abuse. Withdrawal symptoms can be overwhelming and uncomfortable, making it difficult to quit using Percocet without professional help. Symptoms of Percocet withdrawal may include excessive sweating, diarrhea, insomnia, elevated body temperature, watery eyes, dysphoria, powerful cravings, runny nose, pupillary dilation, and tremors.

Overdosing on Percocet can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms such as slurred speech, shallow breathing, memory loss, slowed heartbeat, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, coma, or abdominal cramping after misusing Percocet, seek immediate medical assistance to prevent a grave outcome.

Percocet Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Overcoming Percocet addiction requires comprehensive treatment that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction. The treatment process typically involves detoxification, therapy, and aftercare support.

Percocet Detox

Detoxification is the first step in the treatment process, helping individuals safely withdraw from Percocet while managing withdrawal symptoms. Medical supervision is essential during detox to ensure the individual's safety and provide appropriate support.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling play a crucial role in addressing the underlying causes of addiction and developing healthy coping mechanisms. Individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy are common components of addiction treatment programs.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment may be utilized to support individuals in their recovery journey. Medications such as buprenorphine or methadone can help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing individuals to focus on their recovery.

Holistic Approaches

Holistic therapies, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and art therapy, can complement traditional treatment methods and promote overall well-being during recovery.

Aftercare Support

After completing a treatment program, individuals are encouraged to participate in aftercare support programs, such as support groups and continued therapy, to ensure long-term success in recovery.


If you or a loved one is struggling with Percocet addiction, seeking professional help is essential. Many treatment facilities specialize in addiction recovery and offer tailored programs to address Percocet addiction specifically. Reach out to a reputable treatment center to discuss your options and develop a personalized plan for recovery.

Remember, recovery is possible, and with the right support and treatment, you can regain control of your life and overcome Percocet addiction. Don't hesitate to seek help and start your journey towards a healthier and happier future.


American Heart Association- Illegal Drugs and Heart Disease

American Addiction Centers- Substance Abuse and Heart Damage

Medical News Today- Signs of Heart Damage from Drugs

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