ARTICLE SUMMARY: Addiction is a medical condition. In this article, we look at what gets people addicted to Norco and how medications and talk therapy can help. Know what to expect during detox…and get prepared for getting better. We’ll talk you through the process step-by-step.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Understanding Addiction
- Facts & Statistics
- Signs of a Problem
- Tapering Protocol
- Treatment Options
- Does Treatment Work?
- Next Steps
- Custom is Best
- How to Help a Loved One
- Aftercare And Relapse Prevention
Before we talk about how Norco works…we first want to address addiction as a medical condition. Many people think that addiction is a moral failing. It is not. It is a brain disease. Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, defines addiction as:
“That state in which a person has actually lost his/her ability to control the enhanced drive to take the drug even though they cognitively (by thinking) constantly want to stop it. They just cannot do it.”
Addiction creates a gap between a person’s motivation to stop doing something and his/her ability to actually enforce that behavior.
Think of it as a metaphor:
“Addiction is almost like driving a car without brakes. You cognitively want to stop, you do not want to hurt someone crossing the street, but if you do not have brakes, you’re going to be very limited in your ability to stop the car.” – Dr. Nora Volkow
Research has shown that brain areas act like disrupted brakes when we take drugs repeatedly. But what actually contributes to the development of Norco addiction?
Addiction is a diverse set of complex factors, including:
- Environment/culture/social context
- Body’s response to drug of choice
- Emotional trauma
- Related health conditions
Worse than being an addict is staying one. Do not let this disease to continue destroying your life. Instead take courage! Get the help you need to start over.
Facts & Statistics
So, how many people are addicted to Norco in the U.S. Are you alone in this?
Absolutely not! Opioid painkillers like Norco continue to contribute to a drug use epidemic in the U.S. In fact, the American Society of Addiction reported that 2 million Americans could be diagnosed with prescription painkillers use disorder in 2016.
This drug trend is not slowing, in fact it has escalated in the past decades. The National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that in 1991 there were 76 million opioid prescriptions, while in 2013 that number has risen to nearly 207 million. Moreover, 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary reported that 6.7 billion hydrocodone tablets were distributed in the US in 2015.
According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 6.9 million people aged 12 or older misused hydrcodone products such as Norco in 2016, representing 2.6 percent of the population.
The numbers are alarming, but there is always a way out!
Signs of a Problem
Honesty is the first step in getting help.
If you’re ready to face a problem…good for you! The battle is halfway won! Check in with yourself for symptoms outline in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The following criteria can help you identify a substance use disorder. While the DSM-V is used mostly by addiction specialists, you can self-diagnosing addictive behavior by looking into the following signs. Do you:
- Use Norco in larger amounts or longer than intended?
- Want to cut down or stop using it, but fail to succeed.
- Spend a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from use?
- Experience cravings and an uncontrollable need to use Norco?
- Fail to perform normally at work, home, or at school due to drug use
- Continue to use, even when it causes problems in relationships with family, friends, and partners?
- Give up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of use?
- Use the drug again and again, despite being aware of harmful risks and side effects?
- Continue to use despite the risk of developing health problems or worsen physical or physiological condition?
- Need more Norco more often to get the desired effect (tolerance)?
- Experience withdrawal symptoms which can be relieved by taking Norco (dependence)?
Additionally, the DSM-V manual diagnoses the severity of addiction this way
Mild substance use disorder = 2-3 signs of addiction.
Moderate substance use disorder = 4-5 signs of addiction.
Severe substance disorder = 6+ signs of addiction.
What do main treatment types look like?
Here’s an overview of the differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment services. These are the two main types of treatment used when dealing with Norco addiction.
OPTION 1: Inpatient treatment. Inpatient services provide 24 hour intensive care in a safe and drug free surrounding. They also offer psychiatric and physical health assistance during a person’s treatment stay. When you choose an inpatient treatment stay, everything is provided at one location. One important benefit of inpatient rehab is the amount of medical attention received. Inpatient treatment provides constant medical supervision and attention to each patient. Additionally, inpatient care may be more effective because it offers a very structured and defined atmosphere. This type of a setting helps a person avoid the distractions of life and allows them to focus on physical and psychological healing.
OPTION 2: Outpatient treatment. These types of programs can be very useful to those who must continue to work or have obligations which they cannot leave. Programs vary depending on a person’s needs but typically require meeting twice every week for a few hours. Outpatient treatment includes both individual and family therapy counseling as well as specialized services like art or music therapy. Unlike Norco inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment does not often address medical conditions and nutritional needs. Many people choose outpatient treatment because of its flexibility. For adults with children, who cannot afford to attend treatment for months at a time or who do not have the insurance to cover their stay, outpatient treatment can be helpful.
Does Treatment Work?
Doctors and researchers have been successfully treating addiction for decades. And treatment centers specialize in helping people with addiction problems. These programs help people identify their triggers and then develop new, healthy coping skills to maintain long-term sobriety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people that finish their treatment program stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their overall functioning.
Norco addiction treatment can improve your social life, finances, mental health and confidence.
Actually, people who remain sober are those who want to change.
Your chance for recovery is a phone call away, do not wait any longer!
Treating addiction includes treating the physical body first. After Norco is out of your system, you can get to the mental issues behind the problem. This is why the first intervention in treating addiction is detox under the supervision of medical experts.
Many people stay on Norco for fear of painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. But this what professional detox programs exist for! Medical detox clinics are there to help you address physical withdrawal symptoms and lessen them. Physical discomfort during Norco withdrawal often includes:
- Muscle aches and pain
If you are considering withdrawing from Norco DO NOT try doing it without medical observation … it may be risky. Those who go through an unsupervised withdrawal can relapse or suffer needlessly. Plus, if cold sweats, chills, and severe diarrhea are left untreated… they can lead to dehydration, which will only make the process of recovery more uncomfortable and more difficult.
Don’t let withdrawal avoidance prolong your addiction. Seeking drug detox is a necessary, and important step in recovery.
Slowly reducing the daily dose of Norco is the safest way to quit the drug. Also, there are some medications that can help you ease withdrawal symptoms or that can be applied in long-term maintenance therapies. These include:
Antidepressants. Usually, people who are dependent to opioid painkillers need to be checked for depression and/or other mental disorders. Antidepressants can be very useful in those cases
Buprenorphine. This medication addresses craving, and helps prevent withdrawal symptoms to occur. Subutex and Suboxone are the most used buprenorphine products.
Clonidine. It is used to reduce anxiety, agitation, sweating, runny nose, cramping, and muscle pain.
Dicyclomine hydrochloride. This aid treats abdominal cramps.
Diphenoxylate and Loperamide. It addresses diarrhea.
Hydroxyzine and Promethazine. These medications reduce nausea and vomiting.
Methadone. This is one of the most used medications in long-term opioid replacement therapy. It is considered easier to taper. But, methadone is not prescribed for all cases.
Methocarbamol. It treats joint pain and muscle cramps.
Naltrexone. This medication is used in combination with other substances such as buprenorphine, and it blunts some of the brain receptors. It is used to prevent relapse.
Trazodone. Used to treat depression and anxiety.
NOTE HERE: One of the most important complications of Norco is possible overdose and liver failure due to the acetaminophen combination in the drug. The half-life of hydrocodone is about four hours. The acetaminophen in Norco has a half-life in the blood of one to three hours.
To prevent cross addiction, consult with your doctor if you start having feelings of euphoria, and cravings.
Always consult with your doctor before start tapering medications like Norco that contain hydrocodone. DO NOT DO IT ALONE! Stick to the doctor’s instructions.
The FDA-approved Norco label gives several guidelines for tapering. These include:
- Reduce doses by 25% to 50% every 2 to 4 days.
- Monitor carefully for withdrawal symptoms.
- If you experience withdrawal symptoms, raise the dose to the previous level.
- Taper more slowly, either by increasing the interval between decreases, decreasing the amount of change in dose, or both.
- NEVER stop taking Norco abruptly.
Of the medications that can cause problems when taken while Norco is in your system, the ones that are most dangerous are those that can interact with hydrocodone, particularly benzodiazepines. The potential dangers of mixing hydrocodone with a benzodiazepine medication are so serious that an August 2016 review by the FDA resulted in the addition of boxed warnings on both types of drugs about side effects of mixing them, including slowed or difficult breathing and even death.
Costs for Norco treatment depend upon the services you receive. Inpatient rehabs are more expensive than outpatient clinics because they offer a living space and constant medical care for their patients. There are low-cost programs that are subsidized by state governments via federal treatment vouchers. So, the best care might be facility that is local to you.
Some of the average costs of treatment for Norco addiction include:
Counseling: $50- $150+ per hour.
Detox: $6-12K per treatment episode.
Outpatient: $100-$150 per day.
Inpatient: $500-$700 per day.
Find more information on the cost of addiction services here:
Q: How do you begin recovery from Norco addiction?
A: You DECIDE to seek help.
You can begin living the life you want to live today. Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggles you’re facing. Get in touch with us today.
STEP 1: Choose a rehab. Once you decide to seek help and make a commitment to get treatment, a few things happen. You’ll need to get into a treatment center. Then, you’ll go through a 1.5 hour intake interview. Staff will assess your history of drug use and family set up. You may also be asked to give a drug test sample. This initial interview is incredibly important! It will determine an individualized treatment plan for you.
STEP 2: Go through detox. Then, if needed, you’ll undergo a medically supervised detox. This procedure includes cleaning the body from Norco and allowing it to stabilize. Medical detox for Norco addiction can help you safely come off this powerful pain reliever. Then, medications may be recommended for you to help maintain the drug-free state. These include buprenorphine and methadone, which we’ll cover more in depth below. Finishing detox does not signify an ended recovery journey. Detox is only the first step of long term devotion and hard work towards living a drug-free life. You’ll need to focus on your inner growth, which is supported by the following.
STEP 3: Participate in counseling. During conversations with your addiction counselor you’ll have the chance to look at addiction from a different perspective. Therapy sessions are designed in a way to help you remove troubled thinking and view difficult situations in a new light. Addiction counseling aims to teach you how to make changes in your life, which is often considered harder than stopping an addiction compulsion.
You might also meet with family members or others who are dealing with similar addiction issues. These sessions help you gain awareness of your needs and behaviors and air out possible dysfunction. The goal is to improve the emotional and psychological state of the entire family and learn how to avoid engaging in destructive behaviors.
STEP 4: Support group. Support groups provide you with the opportunity to share your personal experiences with other drug abusers. These meetings help you develop skills to deal with cravings and provide you with emotional support.
STEP 5: Learn about addiction. During educational sessions you’ll learn many things including the way drugs affect your body and hijacks your brain. You’ll also review the consequences of long-term abuse of this powerful pain reliever. The more you understand about addiction, the better!
Make the first step to a life without pain and suffering seek help!
Custom is Best
Each addiction story is different.
In fact, there’s no such thing as a typical case of addiction. Addiction differs from person to person because it begins for different reasons. Therefore, an individualized treatment plan is highly recommended for all those who decide to go to treatment.
As a result of the many possible causes, it’s impossible to have a single course of Norco treatment that answers the needs of every addict. The idea behind an individualized treatment plan is to take specific factors into consideration. Then, rehab staff design a successful treatment plan made just for you. Medical experts strongly recommend this because custom programs help people to:
- Treat physical or psychological conditions that keep addiction going.
- Pay equal attention to physical, mental, social, and spiritual solutions.
- Develop a solid recovery network that eliminates social isolation.
Sticking to a tailor-made plan can lower the risk of relapse and better equip you to navigate the road to long-term recovery.
How to Help a Loved One
When someone in the family is struggling with addiction, we must learn effective strategies that can help them change. A 16 week course is doing that. The CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training). program focuses on changing interactions within the family when addiction occurs. CRAFT’s main goals are:
- Motivate the family to seek help and ask for treatment
- Lower the quantity of substance use
- Improve the lives of all members of the family
CRAFT teaches families how to reinforce positive behavior and improve their communication skills. This program will help families to understand triggers, prevent domestic violence, and get their loved one to accept the help offered. While the effects of this program are not visible on the short term, the 16 week program helps families achieve medium and long term goals. Furthermore, CRAFT’s approach builds skills that are valuable…. even if the addict does not enter treatment. It offers perspective about the nature of addiction and builds hope that a drug free life is possible.
If you don’t want to watch your loved one suffer the consequences of addiction any longer, ask for help.
Aftercare and Relapse Prevention
After rehab, people leave in hope that their problems are solved once and for all. Successfully going through treatment is great accomplishment. However, almost 50% of those who make it through an addiction treatment program relapse in one year.
Having this in mind, the real work starts after you leave the facility. This is why an aftercare program is a must that might last for a couple of years.
What is “aftercare” exactly?
Aftercare refers to additional support that is given after a stay in rehab. This support is provided in a form of sober living arrangements, support groups, booster sessions, counseling, or follow-up meetings. It may also involve teaching new skills and coping strategies. Common services referred in aftercare include the following.
Sober Living: Halfway houses often bridge the gap between rehab and real life. They offer 24-7 supervision in a safe, drug-free environment. Be sure that the sober house you select is certified in your state.
Support Groups: 12 Step Groups are the most well-known aftercare option. This program is not time framed, and requires regular meeting, especially in the first 90 days of leaving rehab. Other support group options include SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery, or S.O.S Sobriety.
Counseling: Individual, Group, or Family counseling sessions are designed in order to share your experience and difficulties after you’ve completed initial treatment. By discussing the real triggers in life, you can easily reveal and prevent relapse by becoming more aware of what can make you get back on drugs.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Specialized care is used when a person is diagnosed with another mental health problem while still struggling with addiction. No matter if this mental health issue occurred as a result of addiction, failing to treat both problems may lead to relapse.
Completing an aftercare program will lower the chances of relapse, and help you live life free of drugs. Aftercare will provide you support when things get worse and help you keep motivated. In this way you can create new, effective coping strategies that will support your normal everyday living.
If you don’t seek help on time, you risk damage to your health, including overdose and death…
The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that in 2016, an estimated 1.8 million people aged 12 or older could be diagnosed a pain reliever use disorder. The numbers break down by age:
- 152,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17.
- 291,000 young adults aged 18 to 25.
- 1.3 million adults aged 26 or older.
But what is worrying is that people are starting to overdose more and more. The DAWN Report on National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits showed that that in 2011, there were about 82,480 Emergency Department visits that involved hydrocodone products such as Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Zohydro ER, and generic hydrocodone.
BUT, the numbers are still on the rise….
Recently, the CDC reported that ED visits for opioid overdoses rose 30% in all parts of the US from July 2016 through September 2017.
Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that more than 40% of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription opioid. This makes that more than 46 people die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids.
So, don’t wait until you become a statistic… seek help for your substance use disorder.
You CAN get better and live a productive life!
Got Any Questions?
Addiction is a medical condition. And problems with Norco can get you stuck in a cycle of terrible consequences. Far from being a bad person, you are suffering from a mental and physical condition. This is why addiction to Norco is treated medically and requires professional help.
If you have any questions, post them in the comment section at the end. We try to respond to all questions with a personal and prompt reply.
Reference Sources: NCBI: Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction
NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide
SAMHSA: Treatments for Substance Use Disorders
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.