Are you Percocet Dependent?
Percocet – oxycodone and acetaminophen – can lead to physical dependence in people who use it regularly for a longer period of time, and especially in those who abuse Percocet recreationally. Once dependence is developed, you feel a physical need to use the drug just to be able to function normally.
But, how can you know when you have become dependent on Percs? Try to answer these three (3) simple questions honestly:
- Does your Percocet dose keep increasing?
- Do you find it hard to quit because it hurts to do so?
- Do you go back to using Percocet just to prevent withdrawal symptoms?
If you answers are YES to any one of these questions, then it might be best to see your doctor for an assessment of your dependence levels and see whether you can benefit from treatment.
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In this article, we review more about Percocet dependency. We also list the most common signs of being Percocet dependent. Plus, we look into Percocet withdrawal symptoms and ways to address them. At the end, we welcome you to send us your questions via the comments section at the bottom of the page. We do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.
What Is Percocet Dependence…Really?
Regular Percocet use, even at exactly-as-prescribed doses, can lead to physical dependence. However, each person reacts differently to Percocet. Some may develop dependence only a few weeks after they start therapy, while others may take more time for Percocet dependence to develop.
Q: How is dependence formed?
A: By your body becoming adapted to the regular presence of Percocet.
You see, Percocet works by binding to opiate receptors which are typically bound by special hormones called neurotransmitters, and thus blocks the brain’s perception of pain. While effective for pain, this action interferes with the signals transmitted by the central nervous system to the brain. With prolonged use, the body slows down the production of its natural neurotransmitters and makes the body dependent on an outside source (taking Percocet) in order to function normally.
In a nutshell, this is what Percocet dependence actually is…
Symptoms Of Percocet Dependence
The two (2) main symptoms that indicate dependence to Percocet has developed are:
- Tolerance levels increase
- Withdrawal symptoms occurrence
Tolerance = After a period of continued use, the body builds up tolerance. This results in a drop in the effectiveness of your usual doses and a need for increase in dosages in order to feel the same pain relief as you got in the beginning at smaller dose rates.
Withdrawal = When Percocet use is decreased or totally stopped, withdrawal symptoms will occur. Percocet withdrawal starts several hours after the last intake, peaks at around 72 hours later, and usually last for about 7-10 days…but it may last longer in more chronic users. Some of the most common Percocet withdrawal symptoms include:
- Flushed skin
- Heart palpitation
- Irregular heart rate
- Itching and numbness of the limbs
- Nausea and vomiting
Signs You Are Dependent On Percocet
You or a loved one may be Percocet dependent, if you/they:
- Act defensive when inquired about Percocet use.
- Are running out of Percocet before it’s time for a prescription refill.
- Buy Percocet illegally (off the street, from internet pharmacies, off of prescribed patients).
- Experience withdrawal whenever Percocet use is lowered or stopped.
- Feel a physical need for Percocet to be able to function normally.
- Go doctor shopping (visit multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions).
- Have developed tolerance and require more Percocet, more often.
- Spend a lot of time and effort obtaining and using Percocet.
- Take Percocet to stop or prevent withdrawal symptoms.
- Use Percocet longer, more frequently, or in higher amounts than intended.
- Use Percocet in secret.
If you recognize 2 or more of these warning signs of a Percocet dependence in yourself or a loved one know that the main issues you are facing can be managed successfully and safely in the hands of medical professionals.
Percocet dependence and withdrawal can be treated!
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Does Perc Dependence = Addiction?
Percocet dependence does not mean you are addicted to the drug. Being dependent on Percocet simply means that you can’t stop taking it without the presence of withdrawal symptoms. It is a normal and expected physiological adaptation…it’s just how our bodies work to establish balance. Most importantly, dependence requires treatment for a short amount of time after which the user does not experience any cravings or a compulsion to go back to Percocet use.
Percocet addiction, on the other hand, is a brain disease. It is explained as a psychological dependence characterized with obsessive thinking, drug seeking, and carvings. And, unlike the short-term management of dependence, addiction requires lasting and structured treatment. This is because the psychological and behavioral aspects of addiction cannot be resolved by just going through withdrawal.
Ending Percocet Dependence
The best first step you can take is to ask for advice from licensed medical professionals, such as your family physician, psychologist, or a psychiatrist. Recovering Percocet users are advised to never attempt to quit on their own and always seek the help of a professional at a rehab center.
To get a better understanding of the Percocet dependence treatment protocols, we explain each one separately. The basic methods used in ending Percocet dependence include:
1. Tapered withdrawal
This is the most recommended method for lowering tolerance and avoiding adverse withdrawal reactions. It is also considered to be the safest way off Percocet. Tapered withdrawal entails gradual and controlled cessation of the drug, which is monitored by trained medical staff. Generally, tapering schedules are designed to lower about 20%-25% every week, and no more than 50% at a time…but the rate and frequency are tailored to each individual’s specific needs. Using this method, it usually takes about 3-6 weeks to come off of Percocet completely.
2. Medical detoxification
You may be advised to check into a detox clinic for the duration of your taper or after you eventually stop use. During Percocet detox, doctors and nurses supervise the removal of traces of the drug from your system in a safe and supportive environment. Medical staff will monitor your state 24/7, administer medications to ease withdrawal symptoms as they occur, and treat any complications that may require immediate medical attention.
2. Supportive withdrawal
Since Percocet is a powerful addictive painkiller, staying busy, doing a hobby, or taking part in a support group to share and hear different experiences on Percocet withdrawal can be of immense help.
3. Pharmacological withdrawal
When you are ending Percocet dependence, sometimes it is helpful to use medications such as:
- LAAM (Levo-α-acetylmethadol)
If there is a need, doctors may also prescribe antidepressants to address withdrawal symptoms, cravings, or mental health issues.
4. Home treatment
If you have a strong desire to end dependence on Percocet and you are in good health, you may be able to stop Percocet use from home! You can use a number of things to help yourself, such as home remedies, over-the-counter medications, taking hot baths, and massages to ease some of the Percocet withdrawal symptoms. Over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen or Advil can treat body and muscle pains.
NOTE HERE: Home detox from Percocet is not for everyone. You will need to undergo a complete medical evaluation before you can begin. Only then, if you receive medical clearance to detox at home should you attempt to do so.
Got Any Questions?
Ending Percocet dependence can be challenging, but it is achievable! If you still have any concerns about Percocet dependence or Percocet addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and to further explore this section of our website. You can leave your comments and questions in the section below and we’ll try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.