Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox
When someone quits using a psychoactive abruptly, withdrawal effects will often occur. These symptoms can be physical, mental, or emotional, and begins when the body initiates detox (removal of chemical toxins from the system.) Overall, the presence of withdrawal symptoms usually indicates that the person is dependent, tolerant, and addicted to the drug. percocet withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal effects can be very unpleasant or painful and are one common reason why people give up on detox and return to regular use. Undergoing a professional detox in a clinical facility, however, often helps significantly to reduce the risk of complications, mitigate adverse effects, keep the patient safe and prevent relapse.
Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms
The duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms depend upon many factors, such as the following:
- Length of use (i.e., months or years)
- Frequency of use (i.e. three times per week or every day)
- Average amount used during any given day (10mg vs. 40mg)
- Method of administration (for example, oral versus injection)
- Sex/gender (women are often more severely affected by abuse)
- Biological predisposition (a history of addiction in the family, for example)
Moreover, Percocet withdrawal symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Physical Percocet withdrawal symptoms include, but are not limited to the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose and tearing
- Cramps and diarrhea
- Muscle spasms and aches
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Tremors or shakiness
- Hot or cold spells
- Insomnia or sleeping disturbances
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Pupil dilation
Psychological withdrawal symptoms of Percocet include, but are not limited to the following:
- Anxiety and depression
- Agitation / Aggression
- Mood swings
- Inability to concentrate
Essentially, there are just two viable strategies to quit using Percocet – abruptly, or “cold turkey” and tapered, in which the person gradually weans off the drug, continually less and less for an extended period.
Cold turkey withdrawal symptoms typically begin sooner and tend to be more severe because of the suddenness of cessation.
Tapering, on the other hand, tends to reduce withdrawal symptoms but can be challenging to sustain because symptoms can persist over the course of weeks or months.
Withdrawal from Percocet alone is rarely life-threatening, but effects may include severe depression and suicidal ideations.
For this reason, most health care providers recommend that persons attempting to detox from Percocet do so in a medical facility, preferably one that specializes in addiction recovery.
Detoxing in a clinically supervised environment allows for 24-7 supervision and monitoring of vital signs and manifestation of symptoms or complications.
In recent years, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has become particularly useful in some medical settings, as these drugs, such as suboxone and buprenorphine, work on the brain’s dependence by mimicking the effects of Percocet. It essentially tricks the brain into thinking it’s receiving the drug when in reality the actual drug can no longer effectively latch on to its corresponding receptors.
The result is this: cravings are reduced, as are withdrawal symptoms. Not all detox facilities advocate the use of MAT or consider administration on a case-by-case basis.
Medications commonly administered to patients during the onset of Percocet withdrawal symptoms and detox include:
- Buprenorphine (as contained in trade names such as Suboxone or Subutex)
Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
Percocet withdrawal symptoms may initiate as soon as four hours after the last dose is administered, but for those who have been using Percocet for an extensive amount of time, symptoms may take longer to manifest (the drug has built up a surplus in the system and therefore, removal takes more time.
On average, however, Percocet withdrawal symptoms will persist for one week or more, and the chronically addicted may experience effects for up to a month.
After symptoms abate, seeking care in a specialized addiction treatment centers is highly recommended to promote long-term, sustained sobriety
Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms and the Detox Process
Detox is a natural process the body must sometimes undergo to remove harmful toxins. This process can be highly unpleasant or even painful for persons who have developed dependence/addiction. Detox from prescription opioids such as Percocet is considered especially nasty, due to the drug’s nature and how it impacts the brain.
As noted above, detox-related symptoms may include vomiting, sweating, and diarrhea – three effects that can increase the risk of severe dehydration and nutritional deficiency. For this reason, among others, clinical supervision is highly recommended to prevent dehydration and maintain electrolyte levels.
After detox, many patients move on to treatment in a 30-90 days rehab facility, which offers comprehensive, individual programs that include cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, counseling, and holistic practices such as medication and art/music therapy.
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If you or someone you love is abusing substances, please seek treatment as soon as possible. There are many resources available to help you or your loved one.
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~ Nathalee G. Serrels, M.A. Psychology