Percocet Addiction

Anyone who takes Percocet for more than a couple of weeks risks developing a physical dependency to the opiate drug. Anyone who abuses Percocet to get high for more than a couple of weeks (whether or not the medication is legitimately prescribed for pain) runs a high risk of addiction.

And once you have a Percocet addiction, you have a serious problem.

The Difference between Percocet Dependency and Percocet Addiction

Percocet Dependence

The chronic regular use of Percocet, as is the case with the extended use of any other opiate, creates structural changes in the brain. Percocet binds to opiate receptors in the brain to create analgesic and euphoric effects. If you use Percocet regularly (daily) for a while, the brain responds by growing more opiate receptors in the brain; and with greater numbers of opiate receptors, you need a greater amount of Percocet to fill them.

If opiate receptors in the brain go unfilled, you feel increased pain and depressed mood. Once you have extra opiate receptors in the brain, natural levels of opiate chemicals in the brain cannot sufficiently activate them all, and without taking Percocet to supplement natural levels of opiate chemicals, you start to feel pain and a depressed mood. Once you have sprouted increased numbers of opiate receptors, you are physically dependent on the medication, and if you do not take your medication regularly, you will start to feel drug withdrawal.

If you take Percocet daily for a few weeks, you will become physically dependent on the medication, whether or not you use the medication for the treatment of pain or to get high.

Percocet Addiction

People who take Percocet for its analgesic properties only, and who never exceed the recommended dosage amount or frequency, do not have to worry about addiction. However, after extended use, these people will develop physical dependency.

People who use Percocet to get high (whether or not they also use it for pain treatment) will likely develop an addiction to the medication, in addition to physical dependency. Characteristics of a Percocet addiction include the following:

  • Fixating on Percocet, and spending a lot of time and energy thinking about, getting, and using the drug.
  • Continuing to abuse Percocet even in the face of serious consequences from that use.
  • Lying about or hiding the amount of Percocet that is used.

People who are addicted to Percocet will face withdrawal symptoms and long-lasting drug cravings after quitting. People who are only physically dependent on Percocet will feel symptoms of withdrawal, but not drug cravings. Drug cravings can trigger a relapse back to use and abuse, and so people who are facing drug cravings often need addiction treatment to learn how to overcome the risk of relapse.

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are physically dependent on Percocet, trying to stop your use or abuse of the medication will result in withdrawal pains. The severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on your duration of use and how much you took each day.

The primary phase of withdrawal lasts about a week for most people, and sometimes as long as two weeks. Lingering but far less severe withdrawal symptoms can last for many months after cessation of use.

Symptoms of the primary phase of Percocet withdrawal include the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Restless legs
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach cramps
  • Weakness
  • Depression

Symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and low energy can occur with variable intensity (one day you feel great – the next you don't) for months after quitting.

Because of the severity of Percocet withdrawal symptoms, people who are prescribed the medication for pain will be weaned gradually, thereby reducing the difficulty of the withdrawal period.

Percocet Addiction Treatment

Percocet addiction treatment options include opiate replacement therapy, with Suboxone or methadone, or a quick detox followed by longer-term involvement in residential or outpatient treatment.

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