Opiates, such as Percocet, are among the world’s most addictive substances. In the U.S. alone, addiction to Percocet and other opioids is affecting the lives of millions of people. Unfortunately, without help from a Percocet addiction treatment center, many people cannot detox from Percocet as they simply can’t cope with the intense and often painful withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be severe but not as severe as long-term Percocet use’s worsening symptoms and consequences.

How to Detox From Percocet

Percocet Abuse and Addiction

Percocet is an opioid painkiller commonly prescribed to help ease the pain associated with a wide variety of medical conditions. In addition to oxycodone, an opioid painkiller, Percocet also contains acetaminophen, a common pain and fever reliever. This combination alters the body’s ability to feel and respond to pain, making people feel relaxed and happy.

While all drugs, including alcohol, affect the brain in one way or another, Percocet and other opiates are negatively affecting people’s lives more so than any other. This is due to the ability of opioids to bind to the brain’s opioid receptors and alter brain chemistry.

The brain contains three opioid receptors: mu-, delta-, and kappa. Without these receptors, addiction could not occur. Once Percocet and other opioids enter the bloodstream, they are delivered to the brain and converted to morphine. This allows them to bind directly to the mu-receptor, which is responsible for emotional response and reward as well as pain management.

As Percocet use continues, the brain begins to become accustomed to and even dependent on this artificial stimulation. Eventually, it loses its ability to regulate and produce endorphins on its own. At this point, whenever it goes without the drug, the brain sends a distress signal and creates an insatiable craving for it. This is addiction, and it comes with a host of harmful effects.

In fact, some of the harmful effects of Percocet abuse include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing
  • Kidney and liver damage

This last point is especially worrisome. In addition to nausea, vomiting, and feeling ill in general, regular Percocet abuse can result in severe organ damage, and unfortunately, in many cases, even death. Sadly, due to the psychological and physical effects of withdrawal, many people find it extremely difficult to detox from Percocet after becoming addicted to the drug.

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

When detoxing from Percocet, the likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms and the severity of the symptoms will depend on how long you have been using the drug, the amount typically used, and several other factors. Percocet is primarily prescribed as a pain medication for short-term use. While you are unlikely to have any significant withdrawal symptoms after taking the drug for just a few days, recreational use and misuse can substantially increase your risk of addiction and experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal whenever you try to quit.


Percocet addiction and misuse can involve taking the drug in high doses, taking the drug frequently, and/or taking the drug for an extended period of time. Although many Percocet use disorders involve misuse of the opioid, even prescription use can result in a chemical dependency if the drug is taken for a long time.

The biggest symptom of Percocet withdrawal is dealing with your body’s chemical dependence on it. Often called physical dependence, chemical dependence occurs when the body has adapted to the presence of an opioid over time.

In the case of Percocet, oxycodone binds to the body’s opioid receptors, which in turn bind with the body’s endorphins. However, since oxycodone overpowers endorphins, the body adapts to require the regular presence of this chemical in order to function. When you stop using the opioid, your brain will go out of balance and suddenly cause several uncomfortable side effects.

While the withdrawal symptoms experienced when quitting Percocet are not life-threatening, they are severely unpleasant for most and seemingly unbearable for some. The drug cravings alone can be difficult to endure without relapse. The symptoms can even become debilitating without help from a Percocet detox and treatment program.

Some initial symptoms of Percocet withdrawal include:

  • Runny nose
  • Teary or watery eyes
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Excessive yawning and fatigue
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Poor sleep
  • Nightmares and hallucinations
  • Clamminess and excessive sweating

The peak of withdrawal takes place within the first few days. During this time, more severe symptoms may occur, such as:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Goosebumps and profuse sweating
  • Chills and hot flashes
  • Elevated blood pressure and heartbeat

Percocet withdrawal symptoms can be even more severe if you have taken the drug for a long time prior to quitting cold turkey. Therefore, it’s wise to speak with a medical professional before doing so.

If you want to detox from Percocet, a detox program may help you avoid or ease some very severe symptoms. In addition to helping with reducing and dealing with withdrawal symptoms, such a program will also help you develop the skills needed to successfully live a recovered life.

Other than seeking the help of Percocet detox and addiction treatment professionals, some other helpful tips for dealing with withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Eating regularly and nutritiously
  • Walking and performing other moderate exercises
  • Performing stretching and deep-breathing exercises
  • Finding the time and ability to relax
  • Giving yourself positive affirmations and believing you can do this
Suboxone Withdrawal

Percocet Withdrawal Timeline

As mentioned, the withdrawal symptoms experienced when detoxing from Percocet can vary according to the dosage of Percocet used and the length of time a person has been using. That said, the following timeline can be used for a general idea of what symptoms to expect during the detox process and when to expect them.

Day One

On the first day of detox, you can expect to begin experiencing flu-like withdrawal symptoms within 5-8 hours of taking the last dose. These early withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Chills and hot flashes
  • Goosebumps
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Muscle aches and pains

Day 2-3

For most people, Percocet withdrawal symptoms are most intense and severe two to three days after taking the last dose. During this time, you will likely experience the flu-like symptoms above along with:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe aches and pains
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Day 4-7

At this point in the detox process, the severity and intensity of the withdrawal symptoms should start to decline. Although you will still experience strong cravings for Percocet or whichever opioid you are quitting, most of the physical withdrawal symptoms will begin diminishing or going away. The same cannot be said for the psychological symptoms.

Week Two and Beyond

With the first week of detox behind you, most of the physical symptoms should be as well. The psychological symptoms, however, will continue to persist and intensify. Depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness may follow in the days ahead, making the risk of relapse high. Chronic Percocet users may continue experiencing these symptoms for weeks, months, or even years.

Inpatient Alcohol Rehab

Percocet Withdrawal Detox Treatment

Percocet withdrawal and its symptoms can be treated in several ways. If you’ve been taking the drug as prescribed by your doctor but feel you may be developing a dependence, discussing the situation with your doctor and developing a plan to taper off the drug may work fine.

On the other hand, if you have developed a serious addiction to the opioid, you may need the help of addiction treatment professionals. Due to the drug’s highly addictive and destructive nature, it is highly recommended to undergo detox for Percocet or other opioids in a medical detox and treatment facility.

In such as place, you will be in a safe and comfortable environment while receiving the support you need to detox successfully. Certain medications, such as clonidine, methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine, may be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms and minimize cravings. Other medications can also be prescribed to help treat depression, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and other psychological and physical symptoms.

Aside from access to quality care and medications proven to help ease the symptoms you’ll experience when you detox from Percocet, a quality detox and treatment center will also include behavioral therapy to help identify and address the underlying reasons or causes of your Percocet abuse. This will give you the coping tools required for a successful long-term recovery.

Contact Long Island Interventions for Addiction Recovery Today

If you are struggling with Percocet addiction, reach out to Long Island Interventions for more information on addiction treatment and to begin your recovery today. Our Percocet detox and treatment center in Westbury, NY, will guide you safely through detox and help you focus on building the life you want and deserve.

For more information, please contact Long Island Interventions to learn more!


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  • How long do painful withdrawal symptoms last?
  • What are the Percocet detox symptoms?

Published on: 2023-01-28
Updated on: 2024-06-21