A Percocet addiction may take weeks or even months to develop. Once the addiction is in full swing, it might take several more months for the problem to come to light. By the time a Percocet addict agrees to get help, the addiction may have been a part of the person’s life for years. It can be difficult for the person to imagine spending an entire day without taking Percocet. The idea of spending years without access to Percocet might be impossible for the addict to visualize.
Detoxification programs are designed around the specific needs of the addict, and programs can vary greatly from addict to addict as a result, but this article will outline the fundamentals that make up a typical Percocet detoxification program.
The human body contains a wide variety of systems that can identify, break down and remove toxic substances. Each day, the body processes hundreds if not thousands of chemicals, and it marks those chemicals for removal in sweat, urine and bowel movements. When a person takes in huge amounts of Percocet, however, the body might face a backlog of chemicals that it must process. Instead of cleaning out the system in a few hours, the body might need a few days in order to complete the work and leave the person with a system that contains no remnants of drugs.
Much of this work is done by parts of the body that the mind has no voluntary control over. Most people can’t influence the speed with which their livers work, for example, and most people have no sensation of a tired or overworked liver. They may not notice that the work is ongoing. This doesn’t mean, however, that these bodily systems don’t have any impact at all on the consciousness. On the contrary, when something is amiss, these systems are trained to send out alert signals, highlighting that something is wrong. The conscious mind may not know what is causing these symptoms, but it may certainly know that something terrible is happening.
When a user stops taking Percocet, the body may send up these signals from involuntary systems, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
Many addiction programs work in phases. First, the addict completes detoxification, then recovery and then aftercare. While this might be a neat and tidy way to describe therapies given for certain addictions, they’re not accurate methods to use in describing programs for Percocet addiction. In fact, Percocet withdrawal and Percocet recovery programs may overlap to a significant degree. Understanding the role of medications may help to explain why this overlap exists.
One medication commonly given to Percocet addicts when they enter detoxification programs is known as buprenorphine. This drug is a synthetic form of an opiate, which means it attaches to the same receptors as Percocet. It’s a bit like applying a bandage to an open wound; the raw edges are covered so the body can largely ignore the wound.
Buprenorphine doesn’t cause euphoria when taken properly, but it does keep symptoms of withdrawal under control. According to a study published in the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, people who took the drug every day experienced fewer cravings for the drug than people who took the drug every other day, and when both groups were given placebo medications, all reported withdrawal symptoms. It’s clear that the drug is helpful to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.
According to an article published in the journal The Lancet, patients addicted to painkillers like Percocet were often given medications during the detoxification phase, and then were slowly tapered down until they were taking no drugs at all. Then, these patients were given access to therapy. Now, medical experts believe this isn’t always the best way to treat people who are addicted to these powerful medications. In fact, according to this article, some medical experts believe that people addicted to Percocet and drugs like it might need to stay on medication therapies for months, if not years. The damage that has been caused by the addiction is so severe that tapering the dose down or eliminating it altogether leaves the addict at an increased risk of relapse. A study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry makes this risk quite clear. Here, people who received 12 weeks of medications and then tapered down were still quite likely to relapse. In fact, only eight percent of patients stayed clean after their medications were stopped.
This means that most people who receive therapy for Percocet addiction will begin taking medications during detoxification, and they will continue to take those medications as they move through the rehabilitation process. In fact, some will even take medications when they’re in the aftercare process. This is the best way to help severe addictions heal.
Just because detoxification programs and rehabilitation programs overlap doesn’t mean that detoxification isn’t important. The start of a detoxification program may mark the very first time that the addict has revealed the scope of the Percocet addiction to medical professionals, and therefore, it’s an ideal time for medical testing to take place. The results of this medical testing could help the addict to begin healing on a physical level.
Percocet pills contain acetaminophen, an analgesic. This drug is processed by the liver, and at high doses, the drug can actually irreparably damage the liver. According to an article published by the California Dental Association, taking eight extra-strength Tylenol caps can be toxic to the liver. People who abuse Percocet may take much higher doses than this of acetaminophen each and every day. For this reason, doctors often run a liver panel blood test on people who enter detox programs for Percocet addiction. Sometimes medications can be used to reverse the damage the addiction has caused.
While addicts and their families may know that they need help for addiction, they may be at a loss to determine where they should access that help. According to the Mayo Clinic, the family doctor’s office may be a good place to start. If the addict obtained Percocet through the doctor’s office, the doctor will know why the drug was prescribed and how often the prescription was refilled. The addict may have to supply additional information, such as:
Questions to Answer
At the end of this appointment, when the doctor understands the scope of the addiction and has performed the necessary tests to screen for disease, the doctor may refer the patient to a treatment program. Once again, there are many options available. Some programs require the addict to formally check in, and live on the premises for a specific period of time. People who are at risk for complications, including people who have tried and failed to stop using in the past, might truly benefit from these programs as they’ll have access to care at all times, and they won’t have access to family, friends and dealers that could supply Percocet. There are some programs that provide these services on an outpatient basis, however. The addict will still have access to medications and therapies, and the addict may even begin counseling and recovery programs right away, but the addict will still live at home. People who have strong family connections may benefit from these programs, as they won’t experience a complete break in their daily routines. The choice is really personal, and it should be made in consultation between the addict and the addict’s doctor.
At Michael’s House, we’ve developed a program that can help Percocet addicts get through the detoxification process and move on to a helpful and healing recovery program. All of these services can be handled under one roof in our facility, ensuring a continuity of care and no loss of momentum. Please call us today to find out more.
Percocet addiction may be frightening, and it may be hard to work with alone, but people can and do recover from this addiction each and every day. Detoxification is just one part of the process, and with help, even this part of recovery can go smoothly and quickly, helping the addict to move forward into a completely new life.
Call us today for more information.