Learn About The Symptoms & Signs of Percocet Abuse

The signs, symptoms, and effects of percocet addiction can be different for every person impacted. Learning about percocet addiction is one of the first steps towards getting better.

Understanding Percocet

Learn about Percocet addiction and substance abuse

Percocet is a widely used and potent prescription painkiller that contains both oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is effective in decreasing moderate to severe pain. Acetaminophen, an over-the-counter medication, is a mild pain reliever and fever reducer. Percocet is typically prescribed to individuals who have struggled with physical pain.

When an individual uses Percocet in an appropriate amount and for the period of time that has been recommended by a professional, he or she can achieve benefits with little-to-no risk. However, the pleasing effects of this medication have caused many to abuse it as a method of self-medicating, or as a means of getting high. Each of the ingredients in Percocet can cause negative effects in a user if he or she abuses it. To be more specific, oxycodone can cause cardiovascular problems and acetaminophen can lead to liver damage. Furthermore, the presence of oxycodone alone can lead to the development of an addiction.

If someone who has been abusing Percocet becomes addicted to it and does not obtain professional treatment to handle this issue, he or she will likely struggle to overcome this kind of addiction. Therefore, it is critical for a person to receive professional care so that he or she can combat the compulsion to abuse this medication and work on achieving the skills needed to live a life without continued substance abuse.


Percocet addiction statistics

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), roughly 0.37% of the adult population is affected by opioid use disorder, which is the type of substance use disorder including Percocet addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that the annual number of opioid-related deaths in the United States has increased by 300% between 1990 and 2010. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that the annual prescription opioid overdose death rate in this country has risen by 265% in men and 400% in women within the first ten years of the 21st century. They CDC also reports that nearly 300 people die each year due to acetaminophen poisoning.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Percocet addiction

There are many factors that can affect one’s chances of abusing or becoming addicted to Percocet, including the following:

Genetic: The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that both impulsiveness and novelty-seeking are two personality traits that can raise one’s chances of eventually suffering from opioid use disorder. The APA has also recognized a greater risk of addiction in those who have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, who has struggled with chemical dependency.

Environmental: The risk for Percocet abuse and addiction increases if a person is exposed to certain environmental influences. If an individual is able to easily acquire this medication, whether through his or her own prescription or by taking someone else’s medication, the risk for abuse Percocet is greater. Additionally, if an individual lacks coping skills and support following a trauma, exposure to violence or crime, or has a history of prior substance abuse, the likelihood of abusing Percocet increases as well.

Risk Factors:

  • Possessing an impulsive personality
  • Being prescribed Percocet or otherwise having access to this medication
  • Gender (women are at increased risk for Percocet abuse)
  • Having a family history of mental illness
  • Having a novelty-seeking personality
  • Having a family history of substance abuse and addiction
  • Prior substance abuse and/or mental illness

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Percocet addiction

Below are some of the many signs and symptoms that one might display if he or she is abusing and/or has developed an addiction to Percocet:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Trying to borrow or steal Percocet
  • Abusing Percocet even after prior use has resulted in negative effects
  • Social withdrawal
  • Trying to borrow or steal money
  • Taking Percocet in greater quantities or for a longer period of time than intended
  • Attempting but being incapable of reducing one’s Percocet use
  • Abusing Percocet when it is clearly dangerous to do so, such as when ingesting other addictive substances at the same time or when operating a motor vehicle
  • Attempting to obtain a fraudulent prescription for Percocet, or to acquire the drug through other illicit means

Physical symptoms:

  • Problems with balance, coordination, and motor skills
  • Dramatically slowed heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Shallow breathing
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Exhaustion
  • Onset of withdrawal symptoms when not using Percocet

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Loss of ability to focus and/or concentrate
  • Problems with memory and judgment

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Anger and aggression
  • Mood swings


Effects of Percocet addiction

An individual who does not obtain effective care for Percocet abuse and/or addiction can struggle with a number of damaging effects, including the following:

  • Suicide attempts
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Development and/or exacerbation of co-occurring mental health problems
  • Social isolation
  • Homelessness
  • Eye problems
  • Damage to heart and lungs
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Strained or ruined interpersonal relationships
  • Job loss and chronic unemployment
  • Injuries sustained due to Percocet-related impairments
  • Family discord
  • Financial ruin
  • Arrest, incarceration, and other legal problems

Co-Occurring Disorders

Percocet addiction and co-occurring disorders

Those who are addicted to Percocet are also at greater risk for struggling with co-occurring mental health problems, such as the following:

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

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Percocet withdrawal and overdose

Effects of Percocet withdrawal: An individual who attempts to stop or dramatically decrease his or her use of Percocet after developing an addiction to it can struggle with a series of painful symptoms, including the following:

  • Dysphoria
  • Powerful cravings for Percocet
  • Insomnia
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Watery eyes
  • Pupillary dilation
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Twitches and tremors

Effects of Percocet overdose: An individual who displays symptoms such as those below after consuming Percocet has likely overdosed and should get medical attention immediately:

  • Shallow or labored breathing
  • Memory loss
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slowed heartbeat

This was the best place I could have ever chosen to go get help at! Unlike other behavioral health places in the Memphis area, Crestwyn is a very nice facility staffed with the kindest and most helpful people ever!

– Former Patient