Percodan Addiction

  • Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Oxycodone Hydrochloride And Aspirin

Percodan combines two pain relievers, 4.8 mg of oxycodone hydrochloride and 325 mg aspirin. Doctors prescribe Percodan to treat moderate to severe pain.

Addiction to prescription painkillers such as Percodan is a growing problem in the United States. There are now more people addicted to prescription drugs than to heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, estimates there were 1.9 million adults in the United States addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers such as Percodan in 2010, as compared to 329,000 Americans who are addicted to heroin. Except for marijuana, prescription painkillers such as Percodan are the most abused drugs among young Americans.

Percodan addiction and other substance abuse is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. admission rate for opioids other than heroin jumped 414 percent between 1997 and 2007. This rise in admission rates reflect America's appetite for painkillers: Americans take more opioids than another other nation on earth. Even though Americans represent only about 5 percent of global population, this nation consumes 80 percent of the world's supply of opioids, according to the Institute of Addiction Medicine.

According to a survey reported by National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 16 million people in the United States said they used psychotherapeutic drugs such as Percodan for non-medical reasons at least once the year before. This means respondents took the drug to get high or for a condition other than the one for which the doctor had intended.

Long-term abuse of some drugs, especially prescription pain relievers such as Percodan, may result in opioid dependence and addiction. Anyone can develop a Percodan addiction or dependence after taking this drug for a long time. Using large doses of Percodan, using it longer than prescribed or using Percodan in an unsafe way increases your risk for developing dependence or addiction. Physical dependence and Percodan addiction are serious neurological conditions, requiring the help of a qualified professional.

The Definition of Addiction

Percodan addiction is a neurological disease that affects the brain's reward circuitry in a way that leads to physiological, psychological and behavioral changes that cause the individual to continue abusing Percodan. Addiction is a chronic disease, requiring long-term treatment. Addiction is a primary disease, meaning it does not arise as the result of another illness.

A person with a Percodan addiction is unable to abstain from drug use consistently, despite knowing the destructive effect of substance abuse. He may be unable to recognize significant problems with his own behavior or in his personal relationships. As with other chronic diseases, Percodan addiction frequently involves many cycles of relapse and remission. Without proper treatment, Percodan addiction is progressive, potentially resulting in disability or premature death.

Addiction versus Dependence

Percodan addiction and opioid dependence are two separate and distinct medical conditions. With continuous use, especially at high doses, anyone can become addicted to Percodan, dependent upon it, or both.

Your body responds to foreign substances, such as food, cigarette smoke or medicine like Percodan. Your system adapts to the long-term presence of some compounds by adjusting its own chemistry, so that there is always a safe chemical balance within your body. If you use Percodan continuously, your body starts to depend on a certain level of Percodan to feel "normal." When Percodan levels drop, the body struggles to maintain chemical stability. This chemical imbalance results in unpleasant, flu-like withdrawal symptoms. Doctors call this process as detoxification.

A physician will diagnose you as being opioid dependent if you experience withdrawal symptoms when the levels of Percodan drop quickly in your system. You can cause this rapid decline by skipping a dose, taking an insufficient dose or by using a medicine like naloxone, which doctors use to drastically reduce opioid levels in overdose patients.

Percodan withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Muscle Aches
  • Tremor
  • Irritability
  • Chills Alternating with Hot Flashes
  • Salivation
  • Anorexia
  • Severe Sneezing
  • Watery Eyes
  • Runny Nose
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Sweating
  • Goose Bumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Depression

Opioid dependence causes unpleasant, flu-like withdrawal symptoms a few hours after the last dose of Percodan. Percodan addiction causes behavioral symptoms such as cravings and drug seeking when supplies run low.

Symptoms of Percodan addiction include:

  • Inability to Consistently Abstain from Percodan Use
  • Other Behavioral Control Problems
  • Cravings for Percodan
  • An Inability to Recognize Significant Problems with One's Own Behaviors and Interpersonal Relationships
  • Inappropriate Emotional Response

You can be addicted to a substance but not be dependent upon it, or vice versa. For example, you may depend on insulin to control glucose levels; if you do not use the proper amount of insulin after a meal, your blood sugar will increase and you struggle to maintain chemical stability, but you would not feel cravings for insulin or engage in drug-seeking behaviors.

On the other hand, if you abuse cocaine for a long time, you may become addicted to it but not dependent on it. In other words, you will crave cocaine but will not suffer the flu-like symptoms typically associated with opioid withdrawal.

It is possible for you to be both physically dependent and addicted to Percodan.

Drug seeking activity

Percodan addiction causes drug-seeking behavior, such as presenting phony prescriptions at pharmacies or altering prescriptions to get a stronger dose or more Percodan in each bottle. One drug-seeking tactic is to place an emergency call or visit just as the doctor's office is closing for the day and then refusing examination, testing or referral to another facility.

If you are addicted to Percodan, you might pretend to lose your prescriptions, tamper with written prescriptions to get more pills in a bottle or go "doctor shopping" to get as many written prescriptions as possible. Some people get Percodan free from friends, relatives or buy it on the black market.

The DEA calls these types of activities "diversion" because of the way abusers divert medicine from legal to illegal use.

Addiction: What Family Members Should Know

Percodan addiction is a disease that affects the central nervous system; addiction is not an indicator of poor upbringing or weak moral character. Like any other person struggling with a neurological disease, your family member needs your love and support now more than ever if recovery is to take place. Dedication to recovery must be strong, as rehabilitation may take months or years.

Everyone related to the addicted individual shares an increased risk for addiction. Scientists now know that genetics play a large role in the development of additions. Researchers have also established that stresses within the home increase the risk of addiction for everyone who lives in that house.

Stress and Other Environmental Factors

Stress within the home or workplace increases the risk for addictive behaviors for everyone within that environment. Common environmental stresses include chronic arguing or violence between individuals, unequal workloads, financial troubles or other substance abuse. Research shows some individuals are hypersensitive to stress, which increases the changes for developing an addiction. Parents may pass this hypersensitivity onto a child.

Children also learn behaviors from their parents, including using drugs to relieve stress. Adults pass along coping mechanisms, good or bad, onto their children. If you watch a parent deal with stress by drinking or taking drugs such as Percodan when you were a child, you are more likely to cope with pressure the same way when you grow older.

Lower your risk for developing Percodan addiction or other substance abuse problems by decreasing the ambient environmental stress within the home or office. Learn how to resolve conflicts without resorting to arguments or violence. Reduce environmental stress by reassessing each person's household responsibilities.

Collateral Damage

Percodan addiction endangers your entire family. Each member of your family, including your spouse, parents and children, suffers from the collateral damage of your addiction.

Percodan addiction steals money from your family. You divert funds that were supposed to buy groceries, medicine or pay the rent to get more drugs. Percodan addiction also steals time and compassion from your family. When you are battling Percodan addiction, you are unable to give the guidance, support and financial care your child needs.

Percodan addiction interferes with job performance. Left untreated, your long-term Percodan addiction may result in reduced hours or even loss of a job.

Percodan addiction might cause you to do things you would not have done in the past. You may begin associating with people you would have previously avoided. Doctor shopping, filing phony prescriptions or other drug-seeking behaviors stop working after a while, forcing you to get Percodan from drug dealers. At first, you may keep drug dealers at a safe distance from your family but, as your disease gets worse, you drop your defenses and invite this criminal element into your home to get high or to buy and sell drugs. This endangers everyone in the residence, including your children.

If Percodan addiction has caused you to lose your job, you may have to resort to crime to pay for Percodan. Long-term criminal activity usually ends in arrest, jail time and conviction. Participating in the legal system is expensive, diverting money from the home to pay for lawyers, time away from work to attend court hearings and probation appointments. Prison takes countless years away from drug addicts.

Percodan addiction can also drive up your family's medical costs, especially if it results in overdose or an infectious disease commonly associated with drug use.

Addiction: What Parents Should Know

Teenagers and young adults are using prescription drugs such as Percodan at alarming rates. In a recent national survey, 3 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 said they had used psychotherapeutic drugs such as Percodan in the previous month. Most of the participants said they got the drugs free from the family medicine cabinet and from friends or relatives.

Opioids such as Percodan are widely prescribed, and many people keep leftover painkillers "just in case." There is less of a social stigma attached to prescription drugs than to illicit ones, making Percodan abuse seem less dangerous than illegal drugs.

Parents should look for warning signs including:

  • Unusual loss of interest in things that once were important
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Loss of motivation or energy
  • Finds ways to sneak off
  • Money issues
  • Items missing from the home

Caring for a Family Member with a Percodan Addiction

Your family plays a critical role in recovery from Percodan addiction. Family members can work together to develop a care plan for the addicted individual. Every member of the family should help develop recovery goals and participate fully in achieving those goals by encouraging the addicted individual to seek help and complete treatment. It is common for a family member to have located the treatment center the addicted individual eventually attends.

Your family can schedule group meetings to discuss treatment plans and progress. The addicted person does not have to participate at first. He may even be angry when he first learns the family has been communicating about his disease, but his anger will subside as he goes through the process of recovery.

When to Suggest Treatment

It is possible to stop the progression of Percodan addiction at any time. Like other serious illnesses, recovery from addiction may be easier with early intervention and treatment, before the disease can make significant changes to the nervous system.

Do not let your loved one hit rock bottom before you encourage him to seek treatment. The rock bottom of Percodan addiction could entail a lengthy prison sentence, disease, toxic overdose, divorce, unemployment, homelessness or even death. Each one of these terrible consequences of hitting rock bottom makes recovery from Percodan addiction that much further away.

Recovery often starts when the individual experiences the negative consequences of Percodan addiction. Frequently, caring family members try to cushion their loved one from the consequences of Percodan addiction, allowing the addictive behaviors to continue. It is important to know how to support a loved one without enabling addiction. Family counseling can give family members the skills you need to help a loved one deal with Percodan addiction without worsening the condition.

Signs of Addiction

The neurological changes associated with Percodan addiction affects the way you behave, think and feel. Doctors look for these changes when considering a diagnosis of Percodan addiction.

Behavioral, Cognitive and Emotional Changes


Percodan addiction may cause you to use this drug more frequently or at higher doses than you intend. You may express a desire to quit or cut back on Percodan use, even as you are seeking out more drugs. You may try to quit Percodan several times.

As your disease progresses, you begin to lose time looking for Percodan, getting high or recovering from drug use. This has a significant negative effect on your social life and your job performance. You begin to neglect your duties at work, school and home.

Percodan addiction causes you to continue using drugs, even though you recognize the problems associated with your drug use. Your friends or family members may comment that you seem unwilling or unable to quit using Percodan.

Percodan affects the reward circuitry of your neurological system in a way that makes everything you used to care about seem less rewarding. You grow less interested in things you used to have passion for. Eventually, you only do Percodan and nothing else.


Percodan addiction changes the way you think. With continued use, you grow preoccupation with substance use until it is all you can think of.

Percodan addiction changes the way you perceive the benefits and risks associated with drug use. As time passes, you become increasingly blind to the negative effects and risks associated with Percodan. Eventually, you blame everyone else instead of realizing your problems are the consequence of your Percodan addiction.


Many people take Percodan and other opioids to relax, feel euphoria and to relieve pain. Percodan addiction causes you to feel the exact opposite emotions: increased anxiety, sadness and emotional pain.

Percodan addiction also increases your sensitivity to stress. Many people suffering from opioid addiction say that life with Percodan seems more stressful. Some individuals have trouble identifying feelings or expressing emotions to other people.

Symptoms of Addiction

Percodan addiction causes a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. The symptoms of Percodan addiction may be obvious or subtle. Symptoms may vary between individuals.

Physical Symptoms

While Percodan addiction is usually associated with behavioral symptoms such as drug-seeking behavior, this disease does cause a variety of physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms of drug addiction include:

  • Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss
  • A Change in Sleep Patterns
  • Deteriorating Physical Appearance - Looks Sickly
  • Nagging Cough
  • Diminished Hygiene Care
  • Body or Clothing May Have an Unusual Odor
  • Bloodshot Eyes with Large or Small Pupils
  • Tremors
  • Slurred Speech

Psychological Symptoms

It may be hard to recognize the psychological symptoms of Percodan addiction because this disease often separates the addicted individual from the people who know him best and who could therefore identify these symptoms. Psychological symptoms perpetuate drug abuse and interfere with treatment. Left undiagnosed, untreated or undertreated, psychological symptoms of Percodan addiction may prevent you from seeking or completing treatment.

Psychological symptoms of addiction to opioids include:

  • Inability to Abstain Consistently
  • Impairment in Behavioral Control
  • Cravings for Drugs or Intense Reward Experiences
  • Diminished Capacity to Recognize Significant Personal or Relationship Problems
  • Dysfunctional Emotional Response

Gender Differences

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the rate of substance abuse among men was twice as high as drug use among women. In 2010, 5.9 percent of females admitted to using illicit drugs, as compared to 11.6 percent of males.

While fewer women abuse illegal drugs such cocaine or heroin, females are more apt to use prescription drugs, such as Percodan, non-medically. Females are also more likely to combine prescription drugs like Percodan with alcohol, marijuana or other opioids.

Men and women use drugs differently. Men get high in social settings, while women abuse drugs alone, in their own homes. Women with drug problems have fewer friends than men who abuse drugs. This could be because there is more of a social stigma against drug use among women than among men.

Men and women start using drugs in different ways. Males start using drugs such as Percodan to get high, whereas women start using drugs recreationally after receiving a psychoactive drug to treat an illness. Some studies suggest physicians prescribe mood-altering drugs more frequently to female alcoholics than to male alcoholics because the healthcare providers attribute the cause of the female's condition to be rooted in depression, anxiety or some other emotional difficulty. 

Treatment Options

The American Society of Addictive Medicine Addiction warns that addiction to Percodan or other drugs causes "disability or premature death, especially when left untreated or treated inadequately." Percodan addiction increases your risk for contracting an infectious disease, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or hepatitis. Treatment reduces your risk for overdose, adverse reactions and the spread of infectious diseases.

According to the CDC, 27,000 people died in the United States from accidental drug overdose, about one person every 19 minutes. Since 2003, more people die from overdose of prescription painkillers such as Percodan than from cocaine and heroin combined. For each unintentional overdose, hospitals admit nine people for substance abuse treatment.

Treatment for Percodan addiction has two phases: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification is the medical process of lowering Percodan levels in your body. Rehabilitation addresses the behavioral aspects of Percodan addiction. Detoxification treats your dependence on Percodan; rehabilitation treats Percodan addiction.

Behavior modification teaches you how to live without Percodan by changing the behaviors associated with Percodan addiction. Rehabilitation helps restore your neurological function impaired by your Percodan addiction.


You may be tempted to overcome dependence on opioids through self-detoxification or "going cold turkey." Cold turkey refers to the way your skin looks during the detoxification process: pale, cold and clammy with goose bumps, similar to a plucked bird.

When you engage in self-detoxification, you can expect several days of intense withdrawal symptoms and an increased risk for complications. One complication is aspiration, which is vomiting then inhaling the stomach contents. Aspiration may cause in fluid in your lungs and lung infections. Excessive diarrhea or vomiting may result in dehydration when, left untreated, can cause electrolyte imbalances and other serious medical conditions.

The primary complication of detoxification is returning to Percodan abuse. It is common to experience countless cycles of relapse and remission. Overpowering withdrawal symptoms and uncorrected addictive behaviors make it hard for you to overcome your Percodan addiction without professional counseling.

Withdrawal symptoms, known in the medical world as opiate abstinence syndrome, occur several hours after your last dose of Percodan.

You can overcome withdrawal symptoms by riding it out for five or more days, take medicine that mimics the affects of Percodan or take another dose of Percodan. Many people succumb and relapse to Percodan abuse just to stop the withdrawal symptoms.

Some people create homemade treatment plans that use medicines to address specific withdrawal symptoms. One such remedy is The Thomas Recipe, which includes valium or some other benzodiazepine to calm your nerves and help you sleep. Imodium eases your diarrhea while mineral supplements and hot baths soothe your muscle aches. Tyrosine with B6 helps with fatigue and malaise.

As your symptoms fade, you will wean yourself from valium by taking successively smaller doses increasingly further apart.

The Thomas Recipe will reduce some of your withdrawal symptoms but you are still significant risk for complications such as aspiration, dehydration and relapse. Returning to Percodan after even a short attempt at detoxification may result in toxic overdose. Detoxification makes your body less tolerant of Percodan, which means it takes less to get high. As a result, you can overdose on a smaller amount of Percodan than you used to take before you experienced even moderate withdrawal symptoms.


Percodan overdose can cause death. If you think you or someone you know has taken too much Percodan, seek emergency assistance immediately by going to the emergency room or calling an ambulance, whichever is fastest. If you need immediate help, contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of Percodan overdose include:

  • Breathing that Stops
  • Cold, Clammy Skin
  • Confusion
  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Pinpoint Pupils
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Weak Pulse

Percodan overdose is a serious medical emergency. In the emergency department, doctors give you naloxone and other medications to reduce Percodan to non-toxic levels. The toxic effects of opioid overdose often outlast the benefits of naloxone, so doctors monitor your opioid levels and administer more naloxone if your opioid levels begin to rise again.

Nurses monitor your vital signs, watch for complications and establish an airway to help you breathe. Nurses may pump your stomach or administer charcoal to absorb excess Percodan. If necessary, nurses and doctors perform CPR or other procedures to save your life.

If you have not taken an overdose and are in otherwise good condition, you might benefit from DRT, or Drug Replacement Therapy. DRT replaces Percodan with methadone, Suboxone or buprenorphine. DRT drugs act similarly to opioids, so you will not experience withdrawal symptoms, but DRT drugs will not get you high. DRT allows you to participate in behavioral modification before going through the detoxification process. After you develop healthier life skills without Percodan, you will wean yourself from the replacement drug or goes through the detoxification process.

Many people have trouble quitting the replacement drug. Harvard Medical School says that about one-quarter of methadone DRT patients eventually quit using drugs altogether while another 25 percent continues to take the replacement drug. About half of all DRT participants go on and off methadone for the rest of their lives.

DRT is just one type of Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, approved for use in treating Percodan addiction. Medications reduce the overpowering symptoms of withdrawal, helping you tolerate the process long enough to successfully detoxify your system.

Rehabilitation professionals say that MAT is an important and effective treatment approach because it:

  • Improves Survival Rates
  • Increase Retention in Treatment
  • Decreases Illicit Opioid Use
  • Decreases The Risk for Hepatitis and HIV
  • Decreases Criminal Activities
  • Increases Employment
  • Improves Birth Outcomes for Pregnant Women Battling Addiction

Standard detoxification requires you to stay in a hospital for several days. During your stay, doctors administer naloxone and other medications to reduce Percodan levels along with drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms. While standard inpatient MAT relieves the strength and duration of withdrawal symptoms, you may still struggle with those psychological symptoms of Percodan addiction that can cause relapse after detoxification.

Rapid detox is the most humane form of detoxification available today. Rapid detox improves your detoxification experience and puts you in a better position to participate in behavioral modification.

During rapid detox, board certified anesthesiologists administer the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs alongside sedatives and anesthesia, so you doze in a restful "twilight sleep." When you wake up, you will not remember the grueling detoxification process. Instead of a few days, you are ready for meaningful behavior modification in a few hours.

Detoxification is only the first stage of treatment for Percodan addiction and by itself does little to change long-term drug use or addictive behavior. Rehabilitation and behavior modification is also essential in the treatment of Percodan addiction.


Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term Percodan addiction. Percodan addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. Without prompt and effective behavioral modification, you are likely to return to those behaviors associated with Percodan addiction.

Everyone experiences Percodan addiction differently, so no single treatment is right for everyone. You may choose from a variety of treatment options, from outpatient counseling centers to long-term, residential programs. Most programs will include individual, family and group counseling and other behavioral therapies. Medications are a critical part of treatment for many patients, especially when combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies.

No matter what form of treatment you choose, the treatment must be readily available so that you can easily participate long enough for treatment to be effective. You must remain in treatment long enough to restore neurological function disrupted by Percodan addiction. Your counselor will continually assess and modify your treatment plan to ensure it fits your changing needs. Your counselor will also monitor for drug use, as relapses are common.

Your counselor may assess you for HIV/ AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases associated with chronic substance abuse. Your treatment plan may include targeted risk-reduction counseling to help you identify and change behaviors that increase your risk of contracting or spreading infectious diseases.

Effective treatment must attend to your multiple needs. Percodan addiction is a complex disease requiring an equally complex treatment plan. Percodan addiction frequently accompanies other mental disorders, such as depression.

Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. According to NIDA, individuals under legal coercion tend to remain in treatment longer than and do better than those not under pressure.