Percocet Addiction: Effects, Signs & Help

Last Updated: December 13, 2023

Editorial Policy | Research Policy

Prescription drug misuse is a growing concern in the United States. In 2020, about 9.3 million Americans used prescription pain medication for non-medical purposes. One of the drugs often misused is Percocet, an opioid painkiller. Opioids are highly addictive and responsible for over 100,000 overdose deaths annually. It’s crucial to understand the risks of drugs like Percocet and where to seek help. 

What Is Percocet?

Percocet is a type of medicine that helps relieve pain. It’s made by combining two different drugs — oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opioid, while acetaminophen is an ingredient in Tyleon. It’s often given to people who are in moderate to severe pain after surgery or injury. Percocet works by changing the way the brain and nervous system perceive pain.

How Does Percocet Addiction Begin?

When someone takes Percocet, endorphins in the brain are released. This creates a pleasurable and relaxing feeling. This sensation encourages the use of Percocet and forms a connection between Percocet use and pleasure. Repeated use of Percocet can create a cycle of reinforcement that may lead to addiction.

Signs of Percocet Misuse

People who take Percocet can exhibit different kinds of problems if they misuse it. This can cause both physical and emotional changes and even lead to overdose if they take too much of it.

Physical Signs of Percocet Misuse

Physical signs result from opioid side effects. They include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Slow breathing

Psychosocial Signs of Percocet Misuse

Psychosocial signs relate to behavioral changes associated with drug use. While not specific to Percocet, they often indicate addiction:

  • Changing social circles
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Withdrawal from usual interests
  • Increased sadness or irritability
  • Reduced appetite
  • Heightened anxiety or nervousness
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Legal issues

Recognizing a Percocet Overdose

A Percocet overdose can be fatal and signals a struggle with drug use. Signs of overdose include

  • Unresponsiveness or difficulty staying awake
  • Bluish or purplish lips or nails
  • Slow, gasping or absent breathing
  • Slow heart rate

Drug overdoses are life-threatening. If you suspect a Percocet overdose, administer naloxone (Narcan) if available and call 911 immediately. Don’t hesitate to seek help, as waiting can result in help arriving too late.

Consequences of Percocet Addiction

Percocet addiction can have far-reaching consequences, affecting physical and mental health, relationships, finances and legal matters.

Short-Term Physical Consequences

Short-term effects involve opioid side effects and potential complications, such as:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Constipation
  • Increased injury risk
  • Overdose risk

Short-term opioid effects are particularly alarming due to the fatal risk of overdose or injury.

Long-Term Physical Consequences

Long-term Percocet use can lead to decreased libido, chronic constipation and dependence. Dependence means relying on Percocet for normal functioning, with withdrawal symptoms upon cessation

Taking Percocet for a long time can lead to several issues such as reduced sexual desire, chronic constipation and dependence. Dependence means that the user can no longer function normally without taking Percocet, and stopping its use can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Legal Consequences

Non-prescription Percocet use is illegal. While law enforcement primarily targets illegal sales, those with prescriptions might resort to illegal sources, increasing legal risks.

Financial Consequences

People struggling with addiction often have to prioritize buying drugs over other necessary expenses, which puts a lot of financial stress on them. Moreover, addiction can lead to more medical expenses, creating a cycle of debt and expenses.

Social Consequences

Addiction can cause people to withdraw from social situations and become secretive, which can harm relationships as drug use takes up more and more time. Over time, addiction can even ruin previously strong and meaningful relationships, including those with close family members.

Percocet Recovery Outlook

Recovering from Percocet addiction is possible but challenging. On average, it takes 8.4 years of opioid use before lasting recovery occurs. Research shows that only about one-third of those quitting opioids stay sober for a decade. Ongoing treatments and medications boost recovery rates. 

Percocet Withdrawal and Detox

Percocet withdrawal happens because opioid receptors adapt to its presence. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable but are usually not life-threatening. Early symptoms include:

  • Increased tear production
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Elevated blood pressure

As withdrawal progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Withdrawal typically lasts five to seven days.

Safe Detox from Percocet

If you are detoxing from Percocet, it is generally safe, but it’s recommended that you consult with a doctor. If you experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, you may become dehydrated. People who have existing medical conditions may also have a higher risk of complications from the stress caused by opioid withdrawal on the body. Home detox is safe, but seeking professional help can ensure long-term recovery.

Percocet Addiction Treatment

Professional treatment enhances the chance of recovery from Percocet addiction and makes the entire process more comfortable. It involves detox and rehab. 

  • Detox manages withdrawal symptoms and prevents relapse. 
  • Rehab incorporates counseling, group therapy, medications and various therapies to help cope with Percocet’s absence.

Rehab can be outpatient or inpatient. Outpatient treatment allows a normal routine with periodic clinic visits. Inpatient treatment offers intensive care and a controlled environment to avoid triggers.

Recovery From Percocet Addiction at The Recovery Village Indianapolis Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Recovery from Percocet addiction is attainable with many available resources. The Recovery Village Indianapolis Drug and Alcohol Rehab offers comprehensive care, including:

  • Medical detox
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Outpatient services
  • Long-term aftercare

Our evidence-based approach addresses addiction’s root causes and provides ongoing support. If you’re ready to seek help for Percocet abuse, our compassionate experts are here to assist. Find your closest location today to explore addiction treatment programs that suit your needs.


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