Norco Addiction: Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment
Norco is the brand name of an opioid painkiller and a combination medication that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain and may sometimes be prescribed as a cough suppressant. Although acetaminophen is not addictive, hydrocodone is a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high risk of abuse and addiction. Overall, Norco is very likely to be abused.
Norco comes in tablet form and is taken orally. It should always be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor, but it can even be addictive if it is taken in regular doses. Norco works to relieve pain by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system, which changes the user’s perception of pain. It also produces pleasurable feelings of euphoria.
Norco is intended for short-term use only and continual, long-term use of the drug can result in dependence and addiction.
The following terms are street names or slang for Norco and other substances that contain hydrocodone:
In 2017, about 11.1 million people abused prescription painkillers (also known as narcotics) like Norco. That’s equivalent to 4.1 percent of the population ages 12 and up. The abuse of hydrocodone products, including Norco, was the most common type of painkiller misuse in 2017, with 6.3 million people (ages 12 or over) abusing them. That means 2.3 percent of the population abuses hydrocodone products.
Many people abuse Norco and other opioid drugs containing hydrocodone by:
- Taking larger doses than they need
- Taking more frequent doses than they need
- Taking prescription opioid drugs when they aren’t medically necessary
- Using Norco or other hydrocodone products to get high
- Taking someone else’s prescription
- Faking symptoms to get an opioid prescription
- “Doctor shopping” to get opioid prescriptions from several different doctors
Any misuse of Norco or other prescription opioids is extremely dangerous and can quickly cause dependence and addiction.
Common side effects of Norco abuse include:
- Slow breathing
- Liver damage
- Hearing loss
- Cardiac arrest
- Respiratory arrest
- Difficulty urinating
Signs of Norco overdose include:
- Slowed heart rate and breathing
- Weak muscles
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe stomach pain (on the right side)
- Loss of appetite
- Liver failure
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
- Loss of consciousness
If a person has developed Norco addiction, he or she may display certain behaviors that can indicate a problem. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of Norco addiction are:
- Needing higher doses of Norco to achieve the desired effects (this is a sign that the person has developed a tolerance)
- Taking Norco pills for recreational purposes (without a medical need for them)
- Isolating from friends and family
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when cutting backing on Norco or when not using it
- Losing interest in regular hobbies and daily activities
- Taking more frequent doses of Norco than the doctor prescribed
When the body becomes accustomed to Norco’s presence, cutting back or quitting entirely can cause some very uncomfortable side effects. This is called withdrawal. Symptoms of Norco withdrawal usually include:
- Dilated pupils
- Teary eyes
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Increased breathing rate
- Rebound pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
The treatment and ongoing management of Norco withdrawal symptoms are best provided by a professional medical and clinical team in a monitored environment. Medically-assisted drug detox is often the safest and most comfortable method for Norco detox. It provides round-the-clock monitoring, clinical and medical treatment of withdrawal symptoms, ongoing care for post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and aftercare referrals to rehab centers, IOP, and/or sober living homes (depending on the client’s treatment needs).
Although the cold turkey detox method works sometimes, it is not typically recommended because there are serious risks involved. Not only is medical detox safer and more effective, but it also greatly reduces the risk of relapse by providing peer and professional support in a safe and sober environment.
Although the withdrawal process will vary on a case-by-case basis, here is a general timeline of what you can expect to experience during Norco withdrawal and detox.
|Norco Withdrawal Timeline|
|8-24 hours after the last dose:||Early symptoms of Norco withdrawal begin and may include anxiety, insomnia, agitation, yawning, muscle aches, teary eyes, and sweating.|
|4-10 days after the last dose:||During this time, you may experience more intense symptoms of withdrawal including nausea and vomiting, stomach cramping, diarrhea, goosebumps, and chills.|
|Weeks to months after the last dose:||Some people may continue to experience some symptoms of Norco withdrawal weeks or even months after detoxing. These symptoms may include cravings, anxiety, depression, or trouble sleeping if they are left untreated.|
Any kind of opioid addiction is serious and will most often require professional treatment for full recovery. Effective treatment for Norco addiction generally consists of several episodes of treatment, including detox, rehab, IOP, and some type of aftercare, such as a sober living program, community support group attendance, and/or peer-guided recovery support.
After detox, the next step down in the addiction treatment process is usually rehab. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), long-term addiction treatment (90 days or longer) will provide the best opportunity for continued success in sobriety. It’s not uncommon for people in recovery to wonder how long drug rehab lasts, and 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day programs are the most common types.
While clients are in rehab, they will participate in a broad range of activities and treatment methods that are designed to help them maintain their sobriety on a long-term basis. These activities may include:
- Individual and group counseling
- Specialized therapies like music therapy, art therapy, and pet therapy
- Educational lectures about the disease of addiction
- 12-Step Program work (or a similar recovery program)
- Relapse prevention strategies and implementation
- Life skills development
- Practice establishing and developing healthy relationships with sober peers
Inpatient and outpatient drug rehab programs are some of the most common types of rehab programs. Neither one is better than the other, rather, the best type of treatment program depends on your personal needs. It’s important to note that there are some distinct differences between the two. Here’s a simple side-by-side comparison you can use to determine which type of treatment might be best for you.
In residential rehab, clients:
In outpatient rehab, clients:
There are several factors you may also want to consider when choosing a rehab program, such as:
- Accepted insurance providers
- Cost of treatment
- Type of treatment methods offered
- Staff to client ratio
- Accreditation and certification
The cost of drug rehab will vary greatly, but clients have several ways to pay for drug rehab and ensure that treatment is affordable:
- Health insurance benefits
- HSA funds
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
- Private financed healthcare loans
- Credit cards
- Out-of-pocket payments
Many people also choose to continue their addiction treatment after they complete rehab. Continued care programs often include sober living homes or aftercare, which can both help decrease the risk for relapse and encourage sustained sobriety.
Sober Living Programs
A sober living program provides a person in recovery with a structured, safe, and sober place to live. Sober living homes (also often called halfway houses, ¾ houses, and transitional living) are group living spaces with private or shared bedrooms and common areas. These homes are designed to provide sobriety support on a personal level for weeks, months, or even years.
Many sober living homes also provide recovery support services and social services such as:
- Regular drug and alcohol testing
- Tiered recovery programs
- Peer support programs
- Education, employment, and volunteer assistance
Depending on the location of the sober living home and the types of recovery support services offered, the cost of the program will vary. However, payment is most often collected on a monthly basis like rent would be.
Aftercare programs are intended for rehab alumni who are seeking support in maintaining long-term recovery. Aftercare clients meet regularly and attend group meetings. Each meeting is designed to be a safe and supportive space where individuals in recovery can be honest and open about their struggles, successes, and questions regarding sobriety.
Aftercare programs can also be supplemented with other recovery programs like a sober living program and clients are often encouraged to also attend local recovery support meetings.
If you’re suffering from addiction, it’s time to get help. A Norco addiction has the potential to derail your personal and professional success and lead you into a harmful lifestyle of substance abuse. Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Call Nova Recovery Center today to start your journey to recovery.
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