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What You Should Know About Quitting Norco

How to Stop Using Norco

Norco is a prescription drug that is a combination of the opioid painkiller hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Norco can be addictive if not taken properly, and quitting can be difficult. In 2015, an estimated 3.8 million people ages 12 and older were current nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers such as Norco. That same year, 2 million people had a diagnosable substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers. 6

Benefits of Quitting Norco

  • Avoid an overdose. Norco addiction can lead to accidental overdose and death, and these risks may be increased when it is combined with other substances. In 2014, more than 28,000 people died from opioid overdoses. More than half of those deaths were due to prescription opioids. 8
  • Reduce risks to health. Norco can cause lethargy, constipation, confusion, and breathing problems. Addiction to Norco can also cause liver problems, due to the acetaminophen in the drug. 1 In addition, Norco abuse can lead to sexual dysfunction, malnutrition, and increased sensitivity to pain, as well as HIV, hepatitis, and damage to nasal passages, depending on the method of administration. 9,10
  • Enhance mental functioning. As mentioned above, Norco can cause confusion as well as concentration difficulties and mood swings. 11 Quitting the drug can bring mental clarity and allow you to be more productive.
  • Confront shame and guilt. Many people with an addiction live a double life. They constantly feel like they have to hide their behavior from other people and feel guilty about their drug use. They may lie, steal, or do other things they wouldn’t normally do to obtain their drug of choice. Entering recovery means the person does not have to hide their addiction anymore and can confront any uncomfortable feelings or harm caused to other people.
  • Improve your financial situation. Addiction is expensive. Not only do you have to buy the drug, but you also may have medical or legal costs related to the addiction. If you’re no longer using the drug, this money can go toward other things.

Norco Addiction Treatment Center and Recovery Program Options

In addition to the physical symptoms of Norco withdrawal, most people need emotional support during recovery. It is difficult to stop using a drug such as Norco when someone has become dependent upon it, and having the emotional support provided in a treatment program can be of great value in helping a person recover.

Treatment options available for Norco addiction include:
  • Inpatient treatment may be necessary in some cases of Norco addiction. Not everyone needs this level of care, and whether it is appropriate for someone depends on many factors, such as underlying health issues, dependency on other drugs, and the severity of the Norco addiction. Inpatient usually includes detox, individual and group therapy, other group activities, and aftercare planning. Programs can last from 28 to 30 days to 60 days to 90 days.
  • Outpatient treatment is often an option for treating Norco addiction. Programs can provide various levels of care and usually include group or individual therapy. Some programs meet every day for several hours, with participants going home to sleep at night. Less intensive programs may provide services a few times a week, for a few hours per day. For some people in recovery, outpatient treatment may be a step down from inpatient treatment. For others, it can be the only form of treatment that they receive.
  • Group counseling is usually a key component of recovery programs. A therapist will lead sessions that include other people suffering from addiction. Groups can focus on a variety of topics, including education, skills development, cognitive behavioral techniques, support, and interpersonal process. Group may be the only form of counseling in some programs, but many programs combine group and individual counseling. Research studies have found group counseling to be very effective for people seeking treatment for substance abuse. 3
  • Individual counseling can be important for recovery from Norco addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common form of addiction therapy that is designed to help change the thinking patterns that have led to drug addiction. 4 Individual counseling can help identify triggers for using Norco and treat any co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety.
  • 12-step programs are available across the United States and are free. These programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Pills Anonymous, and others, are held in almost every community. While some people start their recovery from addiction by attending 12-step programs, most people use 12-step programs as a way to maintain their recovery after a treatment program. Members work through a series of steps with the help of a sponsor. The steps help the person recognize his or her powerlessness over addiction, make amends to people he or she has harmed, and assist other members with their recovery.


The addiction recovery process requires a long-term commitment. The intense physical cravings, as well as dealing with everyday life as a sober person, can present a variety of challenges. Relapse is always a concern after treatment.

Aftercare provides the necessary support needed for lasting recovery from substance abuse. Some people use 12-step groups as a way to continue their recovery process. Non-12-step groups are also available, and many people participate in these programs for ongoing support. There are also community support groups and groups run by therapists that can also serve as ongoing aftercare treatment.

Still other people in recovery are more comfortable working with a therapist in individual counseling. However, people with severe addictions may be better served in a sober living facility, which provides oversight as well as job placement assistance and stable housing. These facilities can teach such skills as money management and provide more social support for people who need it.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Side Effects

Norco withdrawal can cause many unpleasant side effects, such as: 5

  • Agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Sweating.
  • Insomnia.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Yawning.
  • Runny nose.
  • Excessive tearing.

As Norco withdrawal continues, it can cause:
  • Nausea.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Goose bumps.
  • Vomiting.

These symptoms of withdrawal vary from person to person and can depend on:
  • Whether the person used other substances in addition to Norco.
  • Age.
  • Weight.
  • Underlying medical issues.
  • How long the person was addicted to Norco.
  • The amount of Norco he or she typically used.

People who have used high levels of Norco for long periods of time will likely experience more withdrawal symptoms and have more difficulty during the withdrawal period.

Medical Concerns

  • Dehydration. Occasionally, the severe nausea and vomiting that may accompany Norco withdrawal can lead to dehydration, which might require IV fluids or anti-nausea medications to stop the symptoms.
  • Insomnia. Some people may experience severe insomnia and be given non-addictive sleep aids.
  • Pain. In addition, some experience such intense muscle pain that they need alternative pain management intervention as well. 2

Medically Supervised Detox

Medically supervised detox provides both medical and emotional support. It may take place in a residential inpatient setting, a hospital setting, or in an outpatient setting depending on the severity of opioid dependence and the presence of any other complicating factors.

Norco withdrawal is not usually life-threatening. However, the extremely uncomfortable physical sensations that often result from Norco withdrawal are difficult to handle alone. Further, having emotional support from therapists and other professionals makes the detox process and the management of withdrawal much easier.

Medications that are sometimes used during the withdrawal process for opioids such as Norco include:

  • Naltrexone – This medication blocks the euphoric effects of Norco and other opioid drugs. It also does not cause any of the typical effects of opioids.
  • Methadone – Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication that can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can be used to stabilize a person in detox or used as a maintenance medication over a longer period of time. However, it does have addictive potential.
  • Buprenorphine – Buprenorphine has an opioid mechanism of action similar to that of Norco, but it is less potent and incapable of creating the pleasurable highs associated with painkiller abuse. It can be used to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, with much less addictive potential than the drugs it is intended to help treat.

Tips for Quitting Norco

  • Get help for the underlying reasons of addiction. Addiction usually has a root cause (or causes), such as unresolved grief or trauma that needs to be dealt with in therapy. Otherwise, a person might stop using Norco temporarily, but quickly seek it out to deal with emotional issues that can resurface later on.
  • Don’t try to detox alone. People often believe that they can quit Norco on their own. However, professional oversight is strongly recommended to withdraw from Norco. Quitting alone is extremely difficult, and most people relapse very quickly without the appropriate medical oversight to manage their withdrawal symptoms and the therapeutic support to help with the emotional needs of withdrawal and recovery.
  • Build a support network. Recovery is difficult to do alone, and isolation can lead to relapse. Find friends and family you can reach out to for support and who can hold you accountable for staying sober. If your social circle mainly consists of people who use, try to make new sober friends through 12-step programs or support groups.
  • Have a relapse prevention plan. Work with a therapist, a family member, or a friend on identifying your relapse triggers and how you can avoid them. Since some triggers are unavoidable, come up with ways to deal with these when they happen, such as counting to 10, practicing deep breathing, and distracting your thoughts.
  • Develop new habits. Many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have developed a number of habits – even an entire lifestyle – around substance use. Work on establishing new habits that do not revolve around drugs, such as exercise, hobbies, and eating a healthy diet.

How to Help an Addict Quit

It’s hard to quit using prescription painkillers, and many people will deny they have a problem despite the damage caused to their relationships, finances, or employment. You might be tempted to confront a friend or loved one with threats or ultimatums to get sober. But this isn’t always the best approach.

Here are some tips for how to help a friend or loved one who is addicted to Norco.

  • Remain calm. However frustrated, angry, or upset you may be from your loved one’s addiction, screaming, threatening, or behaving in a judgmental or confrontational way is seldom a helpful approach.
  • Approach the person with care and concern. Tell the person that you want him or her to get help because you are worried about them. Sometimes, if you can at least persuade the person to attend an assessment with a trained professional, you might be able to motivate the person to accept treatment.
  • Have information prepared to present to the person if he or she seems receptive. Research programs in your area and collect several options you can present to him or her. If the person feels like he or she has a choice, they may be more inclined to enter a program.
  • Offer to support him or her in treatment. Your loved one may feel better about attending treatment if he or she feels supported. You can also offer to attend a 12-step meeting with them.
  • Be prepared for resistance. Many people struggling with addiction will make several attempts to go to a rehab program before they actually accept treatment. This fear of getting help is very common, and even if the person walks away after the first attempt, keep trying to get them to agree to help.

Can I Quit Cold Turkey? Is It Dangerous?

As mentioned above, Norco withdrawal is rarely life-threatening. However, medical and mental health complications can result.

At times, people who have cardiac problems may have heart issues. Other people experience intense vomiting and become dehydrated. For others, mental health issues that were masked by Norco use, such as extreme anxiety and depression, will surface and need intervention. 2

Even if someone does not have these symptoms, the extreme physical discomfort, such as sweating, clammy skin, nausea, vomiting, agitation, anxiety and muscle and bone pain make cold turkey withdrawal unbearable, and the majority of people who attempt a cold turkey withdrawal start using drugs again to alleviate the symptoms.

Many programs are available to help with Norco withdrawal. They offer tapered detox or medically supervised withdrawal from Norco that help people avoid the unpleasant symptoms of cold turkey withdrawal.

Find a Rehab Center

Call today to get help for you or your loved one’s addiction to Norco. A treatment support representative can verify your insurance coverage over the phone and provide you with treatment options based on your insurance.

[1]. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2009). Acetaminophen and Liver Injury: Q&A for Consumers.

[2]. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2006. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.) 4 Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances.

[3]. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) 1 Groups and Substance Abuse Treatment.

[4]. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment. A Research Based Guide (3rd Ed.). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

[5]. U.S. National Library of Medicine (2013). Medline Plus. Opiate Withdrawal.

[6]. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51).

[7]. American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2016). Opioid addiction 2016 facts and figures.

[8]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Opioid overdose.

[9]. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition. Washington, D.C.

[10]. Nabipour, S., Said, M.A., and Habil, M.H. (2014). Burden and Nutritional Deficiencies in Opiate Addiction – Systematic Review Article. Iran Journal of Public Health 43(8):1022-1032.

[11]. National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus. (2016). Hydrocodone Combination Products.