What is Norco Addiction?
Norco is the brand name of a prescription painkiller, containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen, that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Since Norco is an opiate pain reliever, it carries a high risk of dependence and addiction. You can also find this drug under the brand names Lortab and Vicodin.
In normal doses, Norco can cause the user to feel euphoria, with larger doses producing a high. When someone stops taking Norco, their brain will crave the euphoric feeling again, leading to drug cravings, and withdrawal symptoms. As tolerance builds for this painkiller, higher doses are required to receive the same effects, often leading to dependence and addiction.
Long-term abuse of Norco can lead to both physical and psychological dependence. Often users will experience symptoms similar to anxiety and depression when they are unable to get their next dosage.
Risks of Norco Addiction
In the United States, opioids caused over 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016. Because of the severe impact prescription opioids, such as Norco, can have on the population, the DEA recently pledged to reduce the prescription opioid supply by twenty percent in 2018.
When used without a prescription, or in a different dosage than prescribed, Norco can cause an overdose.
If you see someone exhibiting the following signs, call emergency services immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Slowed heart rate
- Slowed movements
- Extreme fatigue
- Gurgling or choking sounds
- Loss of consciousness
Often during an overdose, users will lose consciousness and appear to be sleeping. If you know they are using, it is important to intervene as soon as possible, so medical experts can prevent serious injury or death.
Long-term Norco abuse can also cause heart problems, and liver damage, that will require immediate intervention.
Side Effects of Norco Addiction
In addition to its risk of overdose, Norco abuse can also cause respiratory depression, resulting in the body to get less oxygen than it requires, which can lead to seizures and other severe health problems.
Other side effects of Norco abuse can include:
- Reduced pain
- Coordination problems
- Constricted pupils
- Constant headaches
- Anxiety and depression-related issues
A person who becomes addicted to this medication is more likely to experience mood disturbances, illness, and physical and psychological problems in general. Many will mix alcohol with Norco, making for a dangerous cocktail. This type of abuse makes the potential for overdose more likely, which can lead to severe respiratory depression and death.
Over half of all heroin addicts began by abusing prescription opioids such as Norco, Vicodin, or Lortab. Abuse of Norco should, therefore, be taken quite seriously, and treated as soon as possible.
Signs of Norco Addiction
Often people who abuse prescription drugs will exhibit drug-seeking behavior. Users will prioritize getting the drug above all else, and will often partake in risky situations if there is a chance of getting their fix (e.g., stealing, faking prescriptions). They may try to visit different doctors to “shop” a prescription.
If you suspect someone is addicted to Norco, look for the following signs:
- Secretive behavior
- Job loss
- Financial issues
- Changing social circles
- Problems in relationships
- Hearing loss
- Slowed heart rate
- Constant confusion
- Mood swings
What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Norco?
If you or a loved one were prescribed Norco for pain management, but have developed a tolerance to the drug, it is important you speak with your doctor about your dosage. There are alternative ways to manage pain, especially chronic pain, that are safer than prescription opioids like Norco. As soon as you start taking more Norco than prescribed, you may have a problem with addiction.
Speak to an addiction specialist to find out about treatment options, or talk to your doctor about alternative treatments. If you are unable to stop, or experience withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to limit your dosage, you should seek help at an inpatient treatment facility immediately.
Treatment Options Available for Norco Addiction
Medication-assisted treatment is available at inpatient and outpatient rehab clinics. Many opioids cause severe withdrawal symptoms to occur, which makes tapering off the drug a better strategy for most Norco addicts. Tapering allows dosage to be lowered of Norco and exchanged with a safer, less addictive alternative such as Naltrexone, Buprenorphine, or Methadone.
Therapies are also available at inpatient rehab facilities. When you book a treatment, you can inquire about cognitive-behavioral therapies, group therapies, and co-occurring disorder treatments available at that location.