Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Addiction

Percocet is the brand name for a prescription medication that is used to treat moderate to severe physical pain. The effects of Percocet are the result of the combination of the opioid oxycodone and the over-the-counter painkiller acetaminophen. When used, oxycodone works with the receptors in the central nervous system to reduce pain and bring on a sense of relaxation. When abused, this medication can cause euphoria. Acetaminophen, which can also be found in a number of other more accessible medications, relieves pain and decreases fever.

When used as prescribed and under the recommendation of a certified prescribing professional, Percocet can be highly beneficial. However, when someone chooses to abuse Percocet in an attempt at self-medicating or for recreational purposes, he or she risks extreme damage. Oxycodone can suppress respiration and heart rate, and the abuse of acetaminophen can cause liver failure. As an opioid, oxycodone is also very addictive, which can cause an individual to develop a dependence.

Without the appropriate professional care, it can be very difficult for one who has grown addicted to Percocet to stop his or her abuse of this substance. With effective programming, an individual can defeat the desire to abuse this drug and develop the skills needed to live a life free of drug abuse.

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According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), opioid use disorder, the kind of substance use disorder that includes Percocet addiction, impacts about 0.37% of the adult population throughout the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the annual number of prescription opioid overdose deaths increased by 265% in men and by 400% in women between 2000 and 2010. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated that between 1999 and 2010, the yearly number of deaths in American that resulted from prescription opioid overdose grew by over 300%.

Causes and Risk Factors for Percocet Abuse

A handful of factors can impact whether or not an individual will be at a higher risk for abusing or becoming addicted to Percocet:

Genetic: The American Psychiatric Association, or APA, states that genetic factors can have both a direct and an indirect impact on one’s risk for developing opioid use disorder, which includes Percocet. The APA has recognized specific heritable personality traits, such as novelty-seeking and impulsiveness, as genetic factors that can increase one’s risk for becoming addicted to Percocet.

Risk Factors:

  • Novelty-seeking personality
  • Family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Being prescribed Percocet
  • Having access to Percocet
  • Being female (women are at increased risk for Percocet dependence)
  • Impulsive personality

Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Abuse

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms that might indicate that an individual might be abusing or may have grown addicted to Percocet:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Attempting to borrow or steal money to pay for Percocet
  • Trying to obtain fraudulent prescriptions for Percocet
  • Attempting to borrow or steal Percocet that was prescribed to someone else
  • Taking Percocet in greater quantities or for a longer period of time than intended
  • Trying, but failing, to reduce the amount or frequency of one’s Percocet use
  • Using Percocet when it is dangerous to do so, such as in combination with other drugs or when operating a motor vehicle
  • Abusing Percocet even after experiencing negative effects from prior use

Physical symptoms:

  • Slowed heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Coordination and balance problems
  • Insomnia
  • Shallow breathing
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Weight loss
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not taking Percocet

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory problems
  • Poor judgment
  • Impaired ability to focus or concentrate

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Social isolation
  • Mood swings
  • Anger
  • Aggression
If you feel that you are in crisis, or are having thoughts about hurting yourself or others, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Effects of Percocet Abuse

Ongoing, untreated abuse of Percocet can expose an individual to a number of different effects and outcomes, such as the following:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Death
  • Financial devastation
  • Legal problems, including arrest and incarceration
  • Social isolation
  • Poor academic performance
  • Substandard occupational performance
  • Job loss and unemployment
  • Onset or worsening of co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Injuries sustained while under the influence of Percocet
  • Eye problems
  • Cardiovascular damage
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Family discord
  • Strained or ruined interpersonal relationships

Co-Occurring Disorders

Those who develop opioid use disorder including Percocet might be at greater risk for experiencing several co-occurring mental health conditions, such as:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Other substance use disorders

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Percocet withdrawal: When someone becomes addicted to Percocet, any effort to end or dramatically reduce his or her abuse of this medication can cause a number of upsetting withdrawal symptoms, such as the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings for Percocet
  • Excessive sweating
  • Twitches and tremors
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Dysphoria

Effects of Percocet overdose: Both of the ingredients in Percocet, oxycodone and acetaminophen, can cause serious issues when an individual overdoses on the drug. Someone who shows the following symptoms after consuming Percocet should be receive immediate medical attention:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Memory problems
  • Faint heartbeat
  • Slow, shallow, or labored breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or cramping
  • Slurred speech
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