How to Help a Percocet Addict
Help for Percocet Addicts
According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 6.5 million Americans age 12 years or older were current non-medical users of prescription drugs – a category that includes oxycodone formulations.
Regardless of how long you've taken Percocet, treatment programs are available to help you fight your addiction.
How to Approach a Percocet-Addicted Loved One
Percocet addiction can bring about a number of different symptoms that you want to be wary of when trying to discuss treatment with an addicted loved one. They may be feeling especially withdrawn or moody, so always approach with care. If possible, try and talk to them when they are not experiencing the drug’s effects.
Because Percocet is legal for use with a prescription, many people don’t realize how risky abusing it can really be. Your loved one might not even recognize that they have a problem, so come to them with compassion for their struggle. When talking with them about entering treatment, avoid using overly emotional or accusatory statements. Use “I” statements to explain how their drug abuse has affected both of your lives; for example, “I feel isolated from you when you are high on Percocet.”
If you’re unsure about what you want or need to say, you can get professional training. Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is an approach that is backed with evidence to its success. In fact, nearly seven out of ten people will enroll in treatment following this approach (Meyers, Smith, & Lash, 2014). Ask your local therapists and counselors about how to participate in this training.
Just remember that a person abusing Percocet needs support in their path to a drug-free life. Opioid painkillers like Percocet can be extremely habit-forming, and it takes focus, determination, and continued support to break the addiction cycle.
Percocet Addiction Treatment
Both outpatient and inpatient treatment programs help those who are fighting an addiction to Percocet, but it's important that you choose the one that's right for you or your loved one.
Outpatient programs provide a certain amount of flexibility. Those participating in outpatient rehabilitation often have more time during the day to work and see family. Inpatient programs are more structured and immersive, but they provide a temptation-free place to complete your recovery.
Patients who choose to enroll with an inpatient program live at the treatment facility for the duration of their treatment. This takes you out of your regular environment and away from access to drugs and other triggers. A typical day at an inpatient facility could include:
- Individual therapy sessions.
- Group therapy sessions.
- Educational lectures about addiction and recovery.
Outpatient programs are the most flexible. You will visit your drug abuse counselor on a set schedule (usually a few times per week) to ensure that you're following the program. It's common for drug abuse counselors to give you random drug tests to make sure you're on the right track. Because these programs allow you to live at home, they may require quite a bit of dedication on the part of the recovering individual, but they can be valuable treatment options for those with strong support systems at home.
Depending on the type of program you select, there’s a chance that your doctor may supplement the behavioral therapy with a few prescription medications that are FDA-approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. These treatment drugs include:
- Naltrexone – Daily medication that blocks Percocet from activating the brain’s opioid receptors, thus minimizing the rewarding feelings associated with the Percocet high.
- Vivitrol – An injectable, extended-release form of naltrexone. This form is recommended for those who struggle with taking daily medications since it is injected monthly.
- Methadone – A long-acting synthetic opioid that reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings by providing a controlled dose of opioid effects while avoiding the intense highs and lows encountered with the particular type of substance abuse being treated.
- Buprenorphine – Mimics the effects of opioids without the addictive high or the withdrawal.
- Suboxone – Combines buprenorphine with naloxone (a medication that blocks opioid receptors and can reverse opioid overdose). Due to the inclusion of naloxone, injecting this drug can result in near-instant opioid receptor blockade, causing the immediate onset of withdrawal symptoms.
Addiction treatment doesn’t stop at medication. In fact, it does not need to include it at all. Behavioral therapy is a key component of addiction recovery. In therapy, you will examine your Percocet abuse habits and why you continue to use. You will also practice coping mechanisms to prepare you for future use temptations, as recovery is an ongoing process that doesn’t end once you leave a program.
Percocet addiction is best treated by a formal program
A 2017 survey examined death rates for opioid addicts who got treatment from a hospital versus those that went to an addiction treatment program. They found that fewer opioid users died when they attended a formal treatment program. Hospitals can provide undeniable medical care, but a Percocet addiction treatment program can provide all the extra aspects of care a person may need during recovery: psychological support, relapse prevention skills, and a community of sober peers.
Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017). Opioid Abusers at Higher Death Risk When Addiction Specialists Not Part of Care. Medline Plus.
Is Percocet Addictive?
Doctors prescribe Percocet to relieve a variety of significant pain presentations. The medication works by altering the way your brain and nervous system respond to pain.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Percocet is addictive when the medication is taken in high doses and used for an extended period of time. Anyone who is prescribed Percocet may begin to develop physiologic dependence, even if he uses the medication exactly as the doctor prescribes.
Quote from a Percocet Addict
I craved the feeling that I had while taking Percocet because I felt it made me an overall better person. Being a nurse, I had easy access to a multitude of drugs and Percocet was only one of many controlled substances that passed through my hands every night at work in the emergency department. Because of the scrutiny that narcotic counts are under, I had to devise a plan to be able to acquire some without being flagged, and that is when the deceit began. I became preoccupied with obtaining opioids, and patient care took a back burner.
What Are the Signs of Addiction?
Percocet abusers show signs of addiction in nearly every aspect of their lives. For example, it's common for users to:
- Miss work, especially if they haven't taken Percocet, because their body is dependent on the drug and doesn't function properly without it.
- Have strained personal relationships or marital problems, because the addiction consumes so much of her daily life. You may notice that she misses family functions or has started to associate with a different set of friends.
- Experience financial problems.
- Have mood swings.
- Feel withdrawal symptoms when unable to use.
Am I Addicted to Percocet?
If you're addicted to Percocet, you might notice that you don't feel very well when you haven't taken the medication. Withdrawal symptoms are similar to flu symptoms. You might experience body aches, sweating and cold chills.
It's also common for someone with an addiction to have an uncontrollable desire to use the addictive substance. You might find yourself thinking about Percocet several times per day or wondering where you're going to get more when you run out.
You may be addicted to Percocet if one or more of the following statements apply to you:
- I crave Percocet.
- I need Percocet to function.
- I take Percocet every day.
- I take more Percocet than prescribed by my doctor.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Treating addiction to prescription opioids.
- Meyers, R. J., Smith, J. E., & Lash, D. N. (2005). A program for engaging treatment-refusing substance abusers into treatment: CRAFT. International Journal of Behavioral and Consultation Therapy, 1(2). 90-100.
- Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.htm