Percocet users suffer numerous side effects, but some of the worst occur once they stop using and enter withdrawal. Before we can facilitate long-term recovery, we often must help them overcome intense physical pain and discomfort. Rarely will users overcome Percocet withdrawal symptoms on their own, as the severity of the symptoms create the urge to relieve themselves by using. Once on the other side of these cravings, it becomes much easier to focus on recovery.
In the midst of the opioid crisis, Percocet addiction is becoming a much more common issue. Finding statistics on Percocet itself can prove difficult, as most sources lump all prescription opioids into a single category; however, we know that painkillers comprised nearly one-third of prescription drug-related emergencies in 2011. We also know that over one million Americans aged 12-17 misused painkillers in 2015. Percocet, a drug consisting of oxycodone and acetaminophen, would naturally comprise at least part of this number. Furthermore, while we often instinctively associate emergency room visits with overdose, one can rest assured that Percocet withdrawal symptoms have hospitalized more than a handful of users in the past.
Many underestimate Percocet’s dangers, assuming the acetaminophen will tame the oxycodone’s effects. This, however, is a faulty assumption. Like any substance, too much acetaminophen can prove hazardous. Those who overuse it may risk liver damage and other dangers. It is not half as dangerous as Percocet’s other main ingredient, oxycodone, but the presence of a less dangerous ingredient does not automatically mean that a drug is safe. Percocet withdrawal symptoms can prove fatal when not properly managed.
If you have any doubts as to the dangers of Percocet withdrawal, read on. The following should help you to understand what you can expect if you attempt to detox on your own.
Short-Term Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms
Generally speaking, Percocet withdrawal symptoms may begin setting in around 4-6 hours after the drug wears off. Symptoms typically last between a week and ten days, although may last for up to a month.
Some of the worst effects will take hold in the short term. For up to three days, the user will suffer nausea and flushed skin. Diarrhea and vomiting at this stage are not uncommon. Percocet withdrawal affects the cardiovascular system as well, resulting in heart palpitations and an increased heart rate. Heightened blood pressure often accompanies these symptoms. In most cases, the discomfort from physical symptoms will begin decreasing after the first day of withdrawal; however, many users will also experience emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
Users will experience body pain in the form of cramps and muscle pain throughout much of the first week. Key areas in which to expect pain will include the joints, as well as the upper back. Sleep will become frustrating, as Percocet withdrawal symptoms include both fatigue and insomnia. Cravings will feel intense, and the onset of chills will cause many to experience tremors. Excess sweating and tearing up in the eyes may occur as well. If seizures occur, they will likely occur during this stage.
While many of these symptoms are relatively common, some of them—especially seizures, heightened blood pressure and increased heart rate—may signal worse troubles ahead. If these symptoms worsen, medical intervention may become necessary, thus the need for supervision at a hospital or detox facility. Beware of quick and shallow breathing as well. Respiratory depression, strongly associated with opioid medications such as Percocet, can sometimes lead to coma or death.
Long-Term Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms
By the second week of detox, Percocet withdrawal symptoms should decrease greatly in severity. Most physical symptoms may disappear entirely. Remaining physical symptoms of Percocet withdrawal could include continued muscle pain, fatigue, and insomnia. Many will still find that their heart rate exceeds its usual tempo, although it should measure lower than it did in the first week of withdrawal. Users who overcome their insomnia may find themselves sleeping for greater lengths of time than usual.
Emotional symptoms may become worse during the second week, as physical ailments will divert less of the user’s focus. At this point, it helps to be in a facility that offers individual counseling sessions, group therapy, or both. If physical symptoms become manageable enough, detox patients may enter a more intensive phase of addiction treatment such as a residential program.
Heavy users may continue to suffer Percocet withdrawal symptoms for a third and fourth week as well. In some cases, withdrawal may last even longer. During the third week, common symptoms may include insomnia and a general sense of restlessness. Many users also become irritable during this time, partially as a result of sleep deprivation. For the most part, however, clients should begin feeling much better. If Percocet withdrawal symptoms extend into a fourth week, expect a great degree of restlessness. Fortunately, even the chronic user’s sleeping habits should begin to stabilize around this time.
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may persist for up to 3-6 months after quitting. These include sleep disorder, irritability, anxiety, depression, and soreness of the joints and muscles. Most users will find that these symptoms are much milder during the post-acute phase, to the point that they may stop noticing the symptoms before they have actually subsided.
Treating Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms
Since the worst and most dangerous Percocet withdrawal symptoms occur during the first week, chronic users should seek help without delay. Those who stay at our detox facility receive round-the-clock care, receiving treatment to lessen their symptoms. Our medical staff will reduce the odds of complications, but will also be able to take measures to keep clients safe should withdrawal symptoms become a source of peril.
Once the worst of the withdrawal symptoms subside, clients may advance to the next level of care. In residential treatment, they will still receive continuous supervision while they handle any residual physical symptoms. They will also receive increased access to counseling, so that they may handle the emotional symptoms while simultaneously addressing other issues pertaining to their recovery.
By the time clients leave our detox/residential facility, the worst symptoms should be well behind them. Those who enter day/night treatment may still deal with post-acute withdrawal; however, they will be in a place to focus primarily on long-term sobriety and the tools they will need to achieve it.
Going through Percocet withdrawal alone puts clients at risk of relapse if they cannot control their cravings. In some cases, detoxing outside of treatment may even result in death. With professional help, clients can overcome these risks and increase their chances of making a successful recovery. It is far better to receive treatment and recover safely than to risk losing everything in the event that Percocet withdrawal symptoms prove too severe to overcome through willpower alone.
For more information on Percocet withdrawal symptoms and how we treat them, please contact us today with any questions you may have.