Norco Addiction Signs, Side effects, and More

By The Fix staff 01/21/15

Norco Addiction Signs, Side effects, and More

Norco Addiction Signs, Side effects, and More

Norco is a hydrocodone, typically prescribed by doctors for moderate to moderately severe pain with analgesic potency that is much like morphine. It is also prescribed as an antitussive to suppress coughing. In this respect, its potency is much like codeine. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), hydrocodone (which includes Norco) in associated with more instances of drug misuse and abuse than any other opioid.

Like all hydrocodone medications, Norco is a combination product. It combines hydrocodone and acetaminophen, while other forms combine the drug with aspirin, ibuprofen, and antihistamines. Hydrocodone, Norco included, is highly addictive. In August 2014, due to the growing problem of hydrocodone and Norco abuse and addiction, the DEA published a ruling that would increase control over the drug, elevating it from a Schedule III drug to a Schedule II drug. This places it in the same category as other highly addictive drugs like Fentanyl and Oxycontin.

While Norco is a prescribed medication, many people take the drug for the euphoric high it provides, making it a very popular street drug. Even under the care of a doctor,, misuse and addiction can still occur. This is one reason Norco was rescheduled as a more dangerous drug.

How Norco Works in the Body and Brain

In 1973, scientists discovered a group of proteins in the brain that they labeled “opiate receptors.” These receptors, along with others,, reside on the surface of nerve cells called neurons. The brain uses these neurons to communicate and transmit information throughout the body by stimulating them to release the signaling chemicals, neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters attach to neighboring neurons, allowing various signals to be sent and received throughout the body.

A healthy brain produces and uses molecules called endorphins which act as a sort of natural opiate. The opiate receptors are instrumental in processing these endorphins; however, when medications that have effects similar to the natural endorphins are introduced into the body, the receptors accept that substance as genuine. Eventually, the brain comes to rely on the synthetic “endorphins” and ceases production of the natural form altogether. This is how an addiction is formed.

How often do addicts use? The answer varies, but the addict has to take the drug––more and more of it––in order to get the same effect. When they stop taking it, the body reacts because it has become dependent on the drug and is no longer functioning at a normal capacity or producing the same chemicals. The addict is now, in effect, a slave to the drug.

Who Is at Risk for Addiction?

A person does not have to be using Norco as a recreational drug to become addicted. Even a patient under the care of a physician can become dependent. The drug does not discriminate. Anyone who has any of these risk factors should speak with their doctor before taking Norco or any addictive drug.

Norco addiction risk factors include:

  • Genetics – Research shows that the propensity for addiction can be inherited. This means if a family member has any type of addiction, others in the family may be at risk for developing one as well.
  • Mental illness – Many people with mental illness will self-medicate to treat their anxiety or depression. Studies show that people suffering from these conditions have an increased likelihood of suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol.
  • Age – Adolescents are the population at the greatest risk of drug abuse and addiction. As a rule, this age group is most inclined to engage in risky behavior. When combined with genetics or other risk factors, the probability of abuse and addiction increases dramatically. Additionally, the younger a person is when the begin drug use, the more likely they are to become an addict.
  • Self-image – People who have a poor self-image are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol in an effort to feel better about themselves. It should be noted that a poor self-image is often accompanied by depression, delivering a double risk factor.
  • Environment – The people with whom one associates can be a determining factor in whether they become addicted or not. When a person surrounds himself with drug abusers, he is far more inclined to abuse drugs as well.
  • Social awkwardness – This is also often accompanied by depression or anxiety. A person who feels socially awkward may use drugs in an effort to fit in or be more at ease among others.
  • Stress – Stress is often a significant contributing factor in causing addiction. Pain caused by stress can lead the patient to seek relief through prescribed medications. A person experiencing extreme stress will often seek to escape through drugs or alcohol since they are easy and effective.
  • Chronic pain – A person who has chronic pain may legitimately have a reason to take medication and may even be under the care of a doctor. However, when chronic pain cannot be managed the patient may begin to self-medicate and take more and more of the drug to achieve relief.

Dangers of Norco Addiction

The number one danger of Norco addiction is overdose, which can result in permanent brain damage and even death. Misuse of the drug can also cause the brain to stop naturally producing vital balancing chemicals which can lead to depression and a continued dependency on the drug.

In addition to addiction, long-term use of Norco can cause serious health problems including respiratory depression, hearing loss, urinary retention, stupor, itchiness, coma, and death. A person taking the drug may experience Norco addiction side effects such as:

  • Malaise
  • Dizziness
  • Mental clouding
  • Sedation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Dysphoria
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Anxiety
  • Apnea
  • Sweating
  • Malaise
  • Thrombocytopenia

Signs of Norco Addiction

It is important to be aware of the signs of Norco addiction and to take action as quickly as possible if an addiction is identified. A person may be addicted to Norco if they:

  • Alter their dose by taking more of the drug than their doctor prescribes
  • Become obsessed with obtaining and taking Norco
  • Visit multiple doctors in an effort to obtain more of the drug
  • Take Norco for recreational purposes
  • Mix Norco with other drugs like cocaine or heroin in an effort to get an increased high
  • Take Norco without a prescription

Norco Addiction Withdrawal

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a person can become physically dependent upon Norco after taking it for just a few weeks, even under a doctor’s care. However, a person can develop a mild degree of physical dependence after just a few days of narcotic therapy. The high risk of dependence may make suddenly stopping drug use uncomfortable or even dangerous because of subsequent withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms often compel recreational users to seek more of the drug. Desperation may set in as the person does whatever they can to avoid symptoms of Narco withdrawal. These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Dilated pupils
  • Depression
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Yawning and sleeplessness
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Rapid pulse
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors

An addict going through Norco withdrawal symptoms will need to resist the urge to restart or take the drug. That is why detox and rehab is highly recommended for someone who is trying to break a Norco addiction.

Sometimes an addict will overdose either when trying to achieve the same effect after the body has developed a tolerance to the drug or when they are attempting to relieve the withdrawal symptoms. The U.S. National Library of Medicine warns that a hydrocodone (Norco) overdose is potentially lethal.

Symptoms of Norco overdose include:

  • Significant decrease in respiratory rate or respiratory depression
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Muscle flaccidity
  • Hypotension or low blood pressure
  • Circulatory collapse
  • Extreme sleepiness which progresses to stupor or coma
  • Apnea
  • Death

A person who has overdosed on Norco requires immediate medical treatment. It may be necessary for supportive measures, such as cardiorespiratory support, to be administered to a patient while en route to the hospital or while waiting for the emergency medical personnel to arrive.

Norco Addiction Detox

It is highly recommended that anyone trying to break a Norco addiction not attempt to do it on their own. Addiction detox centers are staffed with professional medical personnel trained to help addicts detox and break their addiction. While there are medications that can ease some of the more uncomfortable withdrawal effects, the patient will have to experience symptoms to a certain degree. The length of detox time depends on the dosage the person took and the length of time they were on the drug. After a successful detox, a user should enter a Norco addiction rehab program in order to fully break their addiction. Many facilities combine detox with rehab, allowing both to be completed under one program.

Norco Addiction Rehab

Addiction to Norco has both a physical and a mental element. A treatment program should address the physical dependency, typically managed by detox and follow-up treatment, as well as Norco addiction therapy to treat the psychological aspects of the addiction. Often those treated for Norco addiction will begin to receive counseling, group therapy, and other types of supportive therapy while in rehab. They are also often encouraged to continue their therapy once they leave the rehab center.

Often Norco rehab will begin with detox. Once the drug is out of a user’s system, rehab work can begin to end the drug abuse cycle. All aspects of rehab are monitored by professional personnel who are trained in dealing with addiction. For most people, successfully completing rehab can give them a new lease on life. There is definitely hope after addiction.

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