Percocet Withdrawal and Detox

Percocet is an opioid drug with a chemical compound very similar to that of heroin. This means it is highly addictive, and can lead to withdrawal if you abuse it over a period of time and suddenly attempt to quit.

Percocet contains Oxycodone, which binds to the brain’s opioid receptors when consumed. Said opioid receptors are known to react to pain signals in your body, but using an opioid drug will leave you experiencing reduced pain sensations and much more. In this case, ‘much more’ refers to how opioid drugs like Percocet interact with the reward system of your brain by triggering a release of the pleasure hormones, dopamine and serotonin, as well as other neurotransmitters that elevate mood. Continuously abusing Percocet will over time negatively affect your body’s ability to produce these hormones naturally. If you suddenly try to quit the drug after a long period of abuse, you will experience withdrawal symptoms, as your brain is unable to release neurotransmitters at the appropriate level, without the influence of opioid drugs.

Also, if you wish to quit abusing Percocet, it is necessary that you first go through a detoxification process. However, it is impossible to undergo detox without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Percocet withdrawal symptoms typically begin to manifest within a few hours after your last dose of the opioid. Because Percocet comes as in both extended and regular release form, the half-life of the drug can differ (that is, how long the drug stays in your system). The standard version can linger in your system for a little over three hours, while the extended-release version can remain in your system for between four and five hours. Through detox, your body can only fully rid itself of all traces of the drug after five half-life cycles.

What Is Percocet Withdrawal?

Percocet is a pain relief medication that contains both Acetaminophen and Oxycodone – both of which are potent pain relievers. Oxycodone is part of a category of drugs classified as an opioid or narcotic, due to its high rate of abuse and likelihood to give rise to dependency.

Suddenly quitting Percocet or trying to go ‘cold turkey’ after you have developed a physical dependence on the drug can lead to a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Some of which might be mild, while others can be fairly intense in nature. The more intense withdrawal symptoms are, the more difficult they will be to cope with – both physically and psychologically.

Going through Percocet detox and the resulting withdrawal can be quite a painful experience. This is why most addicts are unable to summon the courage to quit. However, the truth of the matter is that withdrawal symptoms are only temporary and soon as you are over them, you can focus on addiction rehab and living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

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Causes of Percocet Withdrawal

Withdrawal is the combination of symptoms an addict experiences upon attempting to quit their drug of abuse. The symptoms are brought on by the body trying to adapt to the sudden chemical changes it is experiencing, whilst continuing to function without the influence of the abused substance.

Different classes of addictive substances usually have their own unique withdrawal symptoms. But for opioids like Percocet, its oxycodone component targets certain brain receptors and interferes with pain signals. The drug can also influence and interfere with the receptors related to your body’s breathing regulation – as well as the brain’s pleasure centres and reward system – by reshaping the chemical structure of your brain. Once you stop abusing Percocet, withdrawal symptoms will begin to manifest, as your brain’s receptors attempt to adapt to functioning without the effects of Percocet’s active components.

How you try quitting Percocet plays a big part in determining how intense the resulting withdrawal symptoms will be, and gradually weaning yourself off by tapering the dosage over time can mitigate the severity of withdrawal.

Another circumstance that can lead to withdrawal is using certain substances alongside Percocet that might interfere with its potency and negate its effects on your brain. Opioid agonists such as naltrexone, pentazocine, and butorphanol can have such an effect.

The Phases of Percocet Withdrawal

Typically, the Percocet withdrawal process can be broken into three stages; the early phase, the peak phase, and the late phase. Withdrawal symptoms often vary from phase to phase.

  • Early withdrawal phase: During this phase, symptoms will be mostly physical, but you might also experience intense cravings, insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. The other primary symptoms of the early phase closely resemble that of flu and include: watery eyes, sweating, runny nose, body pains, dilated pupils, involuntary twitching, chills, and goose bumps.
  • Peak withdrawal phase: This phase is often reached within two to three days after the initial withdrawal symptoms. These can consist of increased severity of body pains and intensified flu-like symptoms. You might also experience abdominal cramping, vomiting, diarrhoea, elevated heart rate and breathing. Psychological symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, depression and cravings can also become more evident.
  • Late withdrawal phase: By the seventh or tenth day, Percocet withdrawal symptoms should begin to dwindle, with physical symptoms reducing as the brain begins to naturally produce more neurotransmitters. This will lead to improved mood and a more positive mindset. Although you might still feel sluggish and fatigued, these symptoms will gradually fade in time. Long-term psychological complications such as anxiety and cravings might linger for a while longer, but this can be managed with rehab such as behavioural therapy.

Risks of Withdrawal

Some of the attendant risks of Percocet withdrawal include nausea and vomiting, which can lead to accidentally breathing in vomit into the lungs. This is known as ‘aspiration’ and it can lead to serious health complications, such as a lung infection or pneumonia.

Diarrhoea, vomiting, and excessive sweating can also lead to becoming dangerously dehydrated, as your body loses fluids and electrolytes. This can cause your heart to beat faster than normal and could even lead to a heart attack, as well as other circulatory problems. This is why it’s important to stay properly hydrated throughout detox in order to avoid such complications.

Other risks can include the danger of major depressive disorder and the urge to use more drugs. The intensity of cravings places you at risk of suffering a fatal overdose in the event you suffer a relapse. This is because detoxification reduces your tolerance and leads to your body being unable to handle the Percocet dose it was accustomed to before detox. Furthermore, severe depression can place you at risk of self-injury or even attempted suicide.

How high or low the risks associated with Percocet withdrawal are can be influenced by the following factors:

  • Specific drug abused (extended release or regular Percocet)
  • The dose of drug frequently abused
  • Frequency of substance abuse.
  • How long substance dependence has been going on
  • Your physical and mental health state

If you were using higher doses of Percocet more frequently and over a long period of time, your withdrawal symptoms will likely be more severe. This will in turn increase the risks of the process.

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms: What to Expect

During Percocet detox, you can expect to experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be both physical and psychological, and can be quite hard to bear if not properly managed. Some commonplace physical symptoms of Percocet withdrawal include:

  • Cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Hot or cold spells
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms and aches
  • Nausea
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Tearing up
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Psychological symptoms that you might experience during Percocet withdrawal include:

  • Agitation / Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
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Timeline of Percocet Withdrawal

How long it takes you to get through Percocet withdrawal is dependent on how long you were abusing the substance, as well as the dosage you were used to. However, there is a general timeline for a typical Percocet detox process, as seen below:

  • Day 1-3: Generally, a single dose of Percocet has a four-hour half-life and withdrawal symptoms will likely peak in intensity within the first day. During this period, physical symptoms such as pain, vomiting, and diarrhoea can be quite severe. If your detox isn’t medically supervised, chances are you’ll resort back to Percocet to escape the discomfort of the symptoms.
  • Week 2: After the seventh day of detox has passed, you’ll likely be prepared to enter a rehab programme. You might still experience tiredness, physical pain and other physical symptoms. However, psychological symptoms such as major depressive disorder and anxiety will become predominant thereafter.
  • Days 4-7: In the first week of detox, you’ll still experience acute physical withdrawal symptoms. Some of these include chills, cramping and insomnia. There can also be powerful psychological symptoms, such as intense cravings, but you must learn to overcome these if you are to successfully become drug-free. Counselling and other types of therapy can help with staying focused on sobriety.
  • Weeks 3-4: If your addiction was severe, your withdrawals might extend into the third or fourth week, with symptoms lingering into the second month.

Regardless of how long it takes, it pays in the long run to stay committed to sobriety. We can help you achieve a lifetime of sobriety and happiness, where you don’t have to depend on the fleeting satisfaction of drugs.

Factors Influencing Withdrawal and Detox

Factors that can determine the duration and complexity of withdrawal and detox are diverse. Generally, such factors that influence the process for all Percocet addicts include:

  1. Genetics: If you have a family history of substance abuse, chances are the withdrawal period will be tougher.
  2. Brain chemistry: All our brains are wired differently and certain oddities within your psyche can lead to a complicated withdrawal process. For instance, if you have a psychological disorder or a shortage of neurotransmitters, or any co-occurring disorder, it can really complicate both the psychological and physical aspects of detox.
  3. Environmental factors: Your environment might possess stressors and triggers that drive you to crave drugs. Examples of such environmental factors include peer pressure or easy access to opioids.
  4. Physiology: Your body mass and how healthy you are can positively or negatively influence the withdrawal process.
  5. Dosage: How high the Percocet doses were before you quit can also affect how intense your withdrawal symptoms will be. How frequently you were abusing the drug can also be an influencing factor.
  6. Polydrug use: If you were combining Percocet with other substances to intensify its effects, you are likely to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms.

How to Safely Detox from Percocet

Whilst undergoing Percocet detoxification, your body will utilise every possible means to expel elements of Percocet from your system. This includes vomiting, profuse sweating, and diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and a loss of much needed electrolytes. Also, if you are detoxing from polydrug abuse (such as Percocet combined with other substances), there is the risk of experiencing organ damage or failure. This means that while death brought on by withdrawal symptoms is rare, it can still occur as a complication from other withdrawal symptoms.

Medically Supervised Percocet Withdrawal Detox

It’s in your best interests to undergo Percocet withdrawal detox in a medical facility, such as a detox centre or hospital. This is because it’s where you can be provided a medically supervised Percocet withdrawal that helps you avoid most or even all the adverse symptoms.

Medication-assisted detox has grown in popularity over the years, because of how it reduces the discomforts that one would normally experience during detox. It is accomplished by a medical expert administering medications that will simulate the effects of Percocet in the brain and thus trick your system to believe you are still taking the drug. This in turn will significantly reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. You can also be administered other medication to effectively manage symptoms such as diarrhoea and nausea.

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Some of the prescription medication used during a medically supervised/assisted Percocet detox include:

  • Clonidine
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone

Treatment for Withdrawal

Treatment for Percocet withdrawal can be provided either at an outpatient or inpatient treatment facility. Under an inpatient programme, a tapered approach to quitting Percocet can be followed. This method is generally preferred to the ‘cold turkey’ approach, because it leads to withdrawal symptoms being less severe. However, the cold turkey approach can still be used to care for addicts with less severe addiction symptoms.

Tapering or gradually reducing the amount of Percocet dosage will minimise withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to steadily get through detox. On the downside however, tapering can make withdrawal symptoms last longer by up to weeks or months.

For a more effective detox, a medication-assisted detox can be provided at an inpatient facility. This line of treatment will be provided alongside counselling and other forms of therapy to diagnose any co-occurring disorders, as well as help you heal physically and psychologically.

Drug treatment for withdrawal

Whilst admitted to an inpatient facility, your assigned medical experts may determine that medication is necessary to help you make a full recovery and manage severe withdrawal symptoms. If that is the case, drugs such as Buprenorphine, Naltrexone, Methadone and Naloxone might be administered.

Methadone and Buprenorphine are synthetic opioids that are capable of reducing your cravings and managing other withdrawal symptoms.

Naloxone and Naltrexone can be described as opioid receptor blockers and are both effective at negating the effects of Percocet. Administering receptor blockers is useful, because it will prevent an addict from experiencing any of the desired effects of using Percocet.


How long until Percocet withdrawal starts?

Withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours after the last dose of Percocet has been metabolised. How long it takes for withdrawal to start is also dependent on the half-life of the drug in question. Because Percocet is available in an extended-release version, as well as a regular release version, how long it takes withdrawal to commence will depend on the type of Percocet consumed.

The standard formula has a half-life of about three hours, while the extended version has a half-life of about four to five hours. Therefore, withdrawal symptoms for most patients can begin to manifest within 24 to 72 hours after the last dose.

How Long Do Percocet Withdrawals Last?

How long Percocet withdrawal lasts isn’t fixed, as it is often dependent on factors such as physiology of the addict, severity of addiction, and whether Percocet was being combined with other substances. Generally, withdrawal symptoms can be at maximum intensity for about five to seven days.

Can I Overcome Percocet With Just Detox?

Detox is just the first step to overcoming Percocet addiction and is therefore insufficient to make a full recovery. Detox only focuses on the physical aspects of your addiction and neglects the psychological aspects. If the psychological aspect isn’t treated through rehab, you stand a high risk of suffering a relapse, which can have potentially fatal consequences.

Are there Remedies to Deal with It Naturally?

A few popular, natural home remedies for Percocet withdrawal include acupuncture, ginseng tea, and Tai-Kang-Ning supplements, but there is no clear evidence of the efficacy of such treatments. Therefore, it’s best to seek professional medical help instead.

What causes insomnia during post-acute withdrawal?

Substance dependence will lead to a reduction in your brain’s production of dopamine. Once you quit substance abuse, it will take your brain some time to adapt to producing dopamine at the levels needed. In the absence of sufficient dopamine in your system, your body will experience increased stress levels in the form of anxiety, depression, tension, and worrying about the past or the future. This will affect your ability to sleep and can remain as such until your dopamine levels stabilise.

When does it get better?

Depending on your unique circumstances, withdrawal symptoms can last for days. Generally, and if there are no complications, by the end of the first week of detox you should begin to experience less severe withdrawal symptoms and be completely over detox by the second week.

Are There any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

It is not recommended you rely on home remedies to help with detox. Home remedies don’t cover vital aspects of physical and psychological recovery, especially for a potent drug like Percocet. So, for your safety and to ensure your recover from addiction with no complications, do not forego immediate professional help for home or natural remedies.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Percocet?

Percocet related toxins can take up to seven days to be completely flushed from the system. It can take longer depending on the severity of addiction.

Can You Die From Percocet Withdrawal?

Percocet withdrawal symptoms are generally not fatal, but if not properly managed, symptoms can lead to health complications, which can result in death – for example, breathing in vomit, which can lead to a lung infection.

Can Medications Help?

Yes, medication can help speed up the detox process and make withdrawal symptoms less uncomfortable. For instance, Methadone and Buprenorphine are capable of reducing cravings and managing other withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone and Naltrexone are both effective at negating the effects of Percocet. Clonidine can also be useful for alleviating symptoms such as muscle pain, nausea and anxiety.

Do I Really Need to Detox from Percocet?

Without going through detox, it is impossible to overcome Percocet addiction. The process will cleanse your body of all Percocet related toxins and will prepare you for psychological treatment, as well as reduce your chances of suffering a relapse. While the process might be an unpleasant experience, it is absolutely necessary and the results are worth it in the long run.

What Recovery Programme is Right for Me?

The recovery programme that is right for you is dependent mostly on the intensity of your addiction. If your addiction is less severe, an outpatient programme is more than capable of helping you make a full recovery. However, if addiction is severe, an inpatient programme is best.

Best results are often attained when inpatient and outpatient treatment programmes are combined. By evaluating you, our experts can recommend the best recovery programme for your condition. Contact us today for a quick and accurate evaluation.

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