Tuesday January 17th 2017

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Addicted to Percocet: How can you help treat Percocet addiction?

Percocet (oxycodone) is a type of pain killer medication intended to help relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. It is a Schedule II Controlled Substance, and an FDA approved medication, legal ONLY when prescribed by a physician. This is why you cannot buy Percocet over-the-counter. But, what can you do to help yourself or someone you know with Percocet addiction? How do you even know that addiction is present?

The good news is that recovery from Percocet addiction is possible! Join us here, as we explain more about the treatment options and how you can quit Percocet safely. At the end, we welcome your questions in the designated section and try to reply personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

How to help a Percocet addict

The first way that you can help a Percocet addict is to know the difference between drug dependence and drug addiction. Percocet’s main, active, narcotic ingredient is oxycodone. Oxycodone works by changing the way that the brain perceives pain…but it comes with the side effect of producing extreme euphoria. This feeling of deep well-being is the main reason for psychological addiction to this medication. Still, addiction is different than dependence.

Drug dependence is an expect outcome of prescription use of Percocet. Dependence occurs after regular daily dosing of about 2-3 weeks and IS NOT NECESSARILY a sign of addiction. Once physical dependence is formed, the body needs Percocet in order to prevent withdrawal. Most users continue to abuse Percocet only for the purpose of avoiding the following withdraw symptoms, such as:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • shakes
  • terrible headaches
  • vomiting

Secondly, you can help a Percocet addict by identifying the signs of addiction. While diagnosis can include 10-12 symptoms of addiction, they can basically be boiled down to three (3) top signs:

1. Continued use of Percocet despite negative life consequences to health, home, school, or work relationships.

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2. Loss of control of drug use. Using more Percocet more often than originally planned, or the inability to quit on your own.

3. Craving Percocet as a psychological way to escape past, present, or future concerns.

How do you get off Percocet safely?

Percocet withdrawal treatment includes:

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) – It is possible to seek the help of medication during or after Percocet withdrawal. MAT usually includes the use of medications along with counseling and other types of psychological support in order to help treat Percocet addiction. According to doctors and addiction experts, this type of treatment is the best choice for beating any addiction, as well as Percocet addiction.

Being a part of a medically supervised treatment can help you become sober, and provide management or moderation of pain you might feel during the detoxification period. In the medical practice, three main medications are usually used for the treatment of Percocet dependence:

  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone (used sporadically)

Natural remedies – Using “natural” or alternative remedies can help you lessen withdrawal symptoms as they appear and reach a peak. Massage therapy and acupuncture have shown high success rates in treating symptoms of Percocet withdrawal. Additionally, hot showers, compresses or hot pads can help while you are coming off Percocet.

Tapering –  If a person tries to discontinue Percocet cold turkey, s/he may follow an initial period of abstinence with extreme cravings for the drug. That is why reducing doses slowly and gradually is often the safest and best way to come off Percocet. Doctors usually advise users to decrease doses over the period of several weeks at a rate of around 20-25% every week, or as low as 10% of your current dose. However, your tapering schedule will be created specifically for you and your tapering rate will be fit to your personal needs.

Detox – Finally, medical detoxification is a e process that helps your body completely eliminate all traces of Percocet from your body with 24-7 medical support. You can detox from Percocet at a detox clinic, or in an inpatient addiction rehab facility. Medical detox allows you to safely get rid of Percocet, under the professional care of experienced medical staff and benefit from medical interventions, including symptomatic medications, when necessary.

Getting help for Percocet addiction

When facing a Percocet addiction problem, the first step out of the problem is seeking help. Here is a list of professionals you can turn to when you are ready:

  1. Visit your doctor and ask for a referral to treatment.
  2. Contact an addiction specialist – also a medical doctor – but make sure the doctor is certified to practice in your state.
  3. Seek help from a detox clinic or a treatment center directly. It can help to find treatment that is in your geographic area.
  4. During your treatment you may talk to a psychologist or a psychiatrist to discuss the psychological issues of your addiction to Percocet.
  5. Do not exclude or underestimate the power of family and friends who support you. See how you can allow them to be a part of your recovery journey!

Helping a Percocet addict: Steps to take

If you are suspecting that a friend or a loved one is addicted to Percocet you can consider taking the following actions:

STEP 1. First, remember to stay calm and try to have an honest conversation about the addicted person’s behavior and its consequences. You should not be blaming or attacking. Instead, understand more about the chronic brain disease of addiction to enter the conversation logically and rationally.

STEP 2. Together, discuss the situation with a professional. Psychologists, family therapists, and intervention specialists can help you learn to communicate and act in the most healthy way for the addict and for yourself.

STEP 3. Establish and maintain a healthy atmosphere in the home. The experts mentioned above can help you with this one too. Helping too much isn’t helping and shutting people out is not helping either.

STEP 4. Encourage new interests and participate in activities that your loved one enjoys…as long as you like to participate and share those interests. You don’t have to do everything the addict in recovery wants. Try to find something you will enjoy. Consider attendance at Al-Anon or Narc-Anon for support.

STEP 5. Be patient and have in mind that recovery does not happen overnight. In fact, it’s a long lasting process and many slip-ups may happen along the way.

STEP 6. Finally, don’t forget to show your loved one understanding and support. It is no coincidence the family and close friends are always welcome to take part in the recovery process. You need other people to support you when you are struggling, and so does the addict.

Percocet addiction help and helplines

In cases of emergency you can call the following Hotlines and Helplines:

  1. SAMHSA’s National Helpline also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  2. The American Association of Poison Control Centers 1-800-222-1222
  3. Addictions Hotline 1-844-276-2777
  4. National Suicide Hotline  1-800-273-8255

Percocet addiction help questions

Do you still have questions about Percocet addiction and treatment? Maybe you have an experience to share? Feel free to leave your comments below and our team will make sure to get back to you with a  personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: PSU: Percocet addiction
University of South Florida: Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
NIH: What to Do If You Have a Problem with Drugs
NJ: Hotlines/Helplines/Treatment Directories
SAMPSON: Percocet

Photo credit: Negative Space

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