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People addicted to Percocet may find that the drug has worked its way into almost every aspect of life. They may truly believe that the drug helps them get through the challenges of the day, and according to a first-person account from a painkiller addict reported by MTV, some addicts even reach for the pills in order to keep symptoms of withdrawal at bay. As the addiction progresses and the damage builds up, these addicts may rely on Percocet just to feel normal.
During a Percocet detoxification program, the addict has the opportunity to work through the withdrawal process until they are no longer taking any Percocet. This doesn’t mean, however, that the traces left behind due to addiction have been eliminated. On the contrary, at the end of the detoxification process, the addict may still have a deep longing to take the drug again, and the addict must figure out how to keep those cravings under control and build a life that doesn’t include drug use. It’s a tall order, but Percocet rehabilitation programs can help. Through a combination of medications, counseling and support, the addiction can be successfully treated. Recovery is possible. Read on to find out more about how these programs work.
First Steps: Choosing a Program
Percocet addiction can be treated in a variety of different settings. For example, some programs provide services in a residential setting. The addict lives in one facility, along with many other addicts, and has access to services 24 hours per day. These facilities can vary dramatically, with some providing luxurious surroundings that cater to those accustomed to the finer things in life, while others provide settings that are much more technical and clinical in nature. For those who do not prefer residential settings, there are day programs, in which the addict lives at home and accesses services during the day. It’s as though the addict’s education on how to fight addiction is much like a day job: The addict goes in every day for help, and then returns home at night. Still other programs revolve around a therapist’s office. The addict may access help on a regular basis, but the addict continues to live at home.
Any or all of these programs can be effective, depending on the needs of that particular addict at that particular time. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), effective treatments for addiction must be customized, and this may mean that the addict’s program shifts from one setting to another as the recovery progresses. The addict may start in an inpatient program, for example, and then move on to an outpatient program as the healing begins to take hold.
Finding the right program may take time, and in the end, it’s a deeply personal decision that the addict will make in consultation with a therapist or addiction specialist. These are good questions to ask during the screening process:
- Do you specialize in Percocet addiction?
- How many cases like this have you treated in the past?
- Do you provide medical care for damage caused by Percocet abuse?
- What are the qualifications of the person who will provide care?
- How much does the program cost, and what does it include?
- Do you accept my insurance plan?
Carryover From Detoxification
Percocet addiction causes structural changes in the brain that can lead to lingering cravings and a return to addiction. During detoxification, it’s possible that the addict was given the medication buprenorphine. This medication tricks the brain into believing it has access to Percocet, and it can help ease withdrawal symptoms from Percocet. Some people begin taking this medication in the beginning of their detoxification process, and by the time that process is through, they have tapered away from taking buprenorphine until they’re taking no medication at all. Now, researchers have discovered that some people addicted to Percocet and other opioids need to take buprenorphine for a much longer period of time.
For example, the NIDA reports that adolescents who were given the drug for 12 weeks or longer stayed in therapy longer, and submitted more clean urine tests, than adolescents who took the medication for a shorter period of time. It could be that some people will continue to take buprenorphine during their rehabilitation program.
Other addicts may not feel an overwhelming sensation to use Percocet, and these users may enter rehabilitation programs taking no buprenorphine. But, these users may be given another medication, just to ensure that a relapse doesn’t occur. This medication, naltrexone, works a bit like a cap on the receptors that Percocet uses to cause its pleasurable sensations. If a person attempts to abuse Percocet while taking naltrexone, the person might feel nothing at all. It’s a deterrent that can keep some users from falling back into habitual drug use. Naltrexone can’t assist with Percocet cravings, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), but it can break down the link in the user’s mind between taking drugs and feeling good. It’s important to note, however, that this drug can only be used in people who are not using Percocet now. Addicts who are still taking Percocet, and who take naltrexone, can push themselves into sudden withdrawal symptoms as the medication “bumps” the remaining Percocet off its attachment points.
As therapy progresses, the addict and the addiction team will work together to determine how well the medications are working and whether or not the dosages should be adjusted. The goal is to keep the addict’s mind clear, so the work of recovery can take place, and to keep the addict from reverting to drug use due to cravings and discomfort.
Developing New Skills
As part of the Percocet recovery process, the addict will need to learn how to use the power of the mind to overcome the habit of addiction. Often this means that the addict will spend a significant amount of time talking about the addiction process, and how it all began, in formal therapy sessions with a licensed counselor. There are many different counseling types that are used to help treat a person with a Percocet addiction. Some counselors use a technique called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This technique helps the addict unravel the thought patterns that can lead to destructive behaviors. Some addicts may believe, for example, that Percocet helps them to relax and sleep, and without the drugs, they’ll be unable to sleep at night.
During therapy, these addicts may be taught meditation exercises that can slow the heart rate and help the person relax. These techniques can help the addict see that the original thought (for example, “I need Percocet to relax, as nothing else works.”) is basically untrue. In order to help motivate people to engage in therapy, some therapists use a technique called motivational interviewing. The addict is asked to talk about the addiction and why change is necessary. As the addict talks, the therapist occasionally interjects with questions that are designed to help the addict delve deeper and think clearly about the benefits of a drug-free lifestyle.
Questions might include:
- How will your work improve when you don’t take Percocet?
- Where do you want to be in five years? Will Percocet help you get there?
- Does Percocet help you make more money, and if not, why not?
- How does Percocet help your family relationships?
Motivational interviewing has been proven effective in a variety of settings, according to SAMHSA. In fact, in one study, people who received motivational interviewing sustained their reductions in drug use for 12 weeks of follow up, where people who did not receive motivational interviewing slowly returned to drug use. It’s clear that this technique can be quite helpful for some people who need a little push to become motivated to complete treatment.
For people who need even more motivation, contingency management techniques can help. The idea behind this therapy is that people in recovery from Percocet addiction may have difficulty seeing the benefits of a true recovery over a long period of time. They’re accustomed to living on a moment-to-moment basis, and they’ve lost the ability to control a momentary impulse for a long-term gain. Contingency management returns that immediate reward to the recovery process.Therapists who use contingency management techniques ask their patients to provide urine samples periodically, and those samples must be free of Percocet or other drugs. The patients may also be required to attend a specific number of meetings, see their physical doctors or do some other task relating to their recovery. When addicts accomplish these tasks, they’re rewarded with a prize such as money, a coupon to a restaurant or tickets to a movie. The more often the person completes the tasks, the bigger the prizes get. The addict receives an immediate reward for work well done, and this can be incredibly motivating.
It can be tempting to believe that the process of recovery from Percocet addiction is dependent only on the addict and that person’s willingness to work hard and address his or her own problems. The truth is that many addicts are deeply influenced by their family members, and as a result, those family members are often quite involved in the recovery process. This may be particularly true in the case of adolescent Percocet addiction. For example, a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse found that the number of high-quality social contacts an adolescent had, as well as measures of self-esteem and social support, accounted for 25 percent of the social functioning of the adolescent in the six months after treatment. In other words, the quality of the teen’s relationships had a direct impact on the mental health of that teen in recovery. If the teen had poor relationships with family and friends, poor mental health could result and a relapse could occur.
For some families, healing means therapy. The entire group comes together to talk through methods they can use to communicate more effectively and helpfully, to support the addict through the process of recovery. Sometimes this means that families must work through issues of abuse, neglect and trauma. These issues can run deep, and they can be incredibly painful to talk about. But, with the help of a licensed therapist, these issues can be addressed and overcome. The addict may benefit the most, but the entire family will also likely benefit from this work as they work through these old wounds together.
Some Percocet addicts gain assistance from meeting other people who are also struggling with addiction. Twelve-step groups such as Narcotics Anonymous provide a forum that addicts can use to meet and support one another, but some addicts prefer to connect with others through their church or their community. Again, it’s a completely private decision and there are no right or wrong answers. For some addicts, people in these programs provide listening ears and ongoing support as their formal treatment programs end, but other addicts find the forum of the meetings to be too stiff and too overly religious. These addicts may not benefit from groups. Thankfully, there are plenty of varied options available so addicts can truly find the best fit for their situation.
In general, however, the longer that the addict stays involved in a recovery program, the better. In fact, a small study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found that length of stay in treatment – along with adequate medications and peer support – was directly associated with long-term recovery. Since Percocet rehabilitation programs are often provided on a voluntary basis, this is an important point to stress. Some addicts may believe that they can drop out soon, when they’re feeling well, and they may relapse as a result. The more the family can convince the addict that recovery takes time and it’s important to stay involved in a program, the more effective the therapy will be.
At Michael’s House, we provide a comprehensive treatment program for Percocet addiction, and we provide intensive follow-up care that can be incredibly helpful for people who relapse to Percocet abuse once therapy ends. We’d love to discuss our programs in detail, and share some of the amazing stories of recovery we’ve encountered. Please contact us today to find out more.