Percocet Addiction Effects & Warning Signs

Percocet is a commonly used, powerful prescription pain medication that is a combination of both the opioid oxycodone and acetaminophen.

Understanding Percocet

Learn about Percocet and substance abuse

Oxycodone works to reduce moderate to severe levels of pain and can trigger the onset of euphoria and relaxation when abused. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain reliever that also acts as a fever reducer. Percocet is often prescribed to those who have been grappling with physical pain.

When someone uses Percocet in the amount and for the period of time that has been recommended by a prescribing professional, he or she can obtain benefits with minimal risk. However, the pleasant effects of Percocet have caused many to abuse this medication in an effort to self-medicate, or as a means of achieving a recreational high. Each of the ingredients in Percocet can negatively affect a user if he or she abuses it. Oxycodone can lead to cardiovascular problems and acetaminophen can trigger liver damage. The presence of oxycodone itself can create an addiction within a user.

If an individual who has been abusing or who has grown addicted to Percocet does not receive the professional care needed to address this issue, he or she will struggle with breaking free from the chains of a Percocet addiction. Therefore, it is crucial that professional care is obtained so that individuals can overcome the desire to abuse this medication and, instead, develop the skills needed to keep them from living a life filled with drug abuse.


Percocet addiction statistics

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), estimates that nearly 0.37% of the adult population within the United States is impacted by opioid use disorder, which is the kind of substance use disorder that includes an addiction to Percocet. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that the annual number of opioid-related deaths in the United States increased 300% between 1990 and 2010. It has also been reported through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that annual prescription opioid overdose deaths in the United States increased by 265% in men and 400% in women within the first decade of the 21st century. The CDC also stated that approximately 300 people die every year due to acetaminophen poisoning.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for Percocet addiction

There are many factors that can impact one’s chances for abusing or becoming addicted to Percocet, such as the following:

Genetic: According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), impulsiveness and novelty-seeking are two primary characteristics that can increase an individual’s chances of developing opioid use disorder, which includes Percocet addiction. The APA has also recognized an increased risk of addiction in those who have a first-degree family member who has suffered from chemical dependency.

Risk Factors:

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

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Percocet addiction

Below are some of the handful of signs and symptoms that could indicate that an individual is abusing and/or has become addicted to Percocet:

Behavioral symptoms:

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

Physical symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Sleep problems, including insomnia
  • Shallower than normal breathing
  • Exhaustion
  • Losing weight
  • Fatigue
  • Slurring speech
  • Problems with balance, coordination, and motor skills
  • Dramatically slowed heart rate
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not using Percocet

Cognitive symptoms:

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

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Anger and aggression

Co-Occurring Disorders

Percocet addiction and co-occurring disorders

Individuals who become addicted to Percocet might also be at an increased risk for suffering other co-occurring mental health conditions, including:

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


Effects of Percocet addiction

Someone who does not receive effective treatment for Percocet abuse and addiction can suffer from a series of negative effects and outcomes, including the following:

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

Withdrawl & Overdose

Effects of Percocet withdrawal and overdose

Effects of Percocet withdrawal: Someone who attempts to end or significantly decrease his or her abuse of Percocet after developing an addiction to it can suffer many painful withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

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

Effects of Percocet overdose: Someone who shows the following symptoms after consuming Percocet might have overdosed and should obtain immediate medical help from a professional:

  • Coma
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Slurring speech
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow or labored breathing
  • Memory loss
  • Slowed heartbeat
Take an Assessment

We offer quick and anonymous online assessments to help gauge the severity of your or your loved one’s addiction or mental health disorder. Choose from the available assessments below.