Norco, a commonly used street name for hydrocodone, may seem fairly harmless, but its classification as an opiate drug comes with much trouble and eventual heartache. Like any other opiate-based drug, Norco carries a high risk for abuse and addiction.
If you’ve been abusing Norco for a while now, you’re not alone. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, hydrocodone-based drugs are the most frequently prescribed opiates in the U. S. and rank number one as the most abused drug in its class.
If Norco addiction has indeed become a part of your life, certain key signs will be present. Understanding how this drug impacts the brain and body’s functions can go a long way towards helping you see addiction’s effects in your life.
Norco’s Effects on the Brain
As a medicinal agent, Norco (or hydrocodone) produces pain-relieving effects and works well at treating conditions involving moderate to severe pain symptoms. Norco also has strong antitussive properties, which makes for an effective cough suppressant.
According to the University of Delaware, Norco’s addictive potential develops out of its ability to slow chemical processes in the brain; the same mechanism of action that produces pain-relieving effects. Over time, these slowing effects take a toll on the brain’s ability to maintain the body’s systems as normal.
The Norco Drug Abuse Cycle
Rising Tolerance Levels
If you’ve been abusing Norco for a while, you’re likely taking larger doses now than when you first started out. This gradual change results from the brain’s rising tolerance for the drug.
Norco works by stimulating neurotransmitter production in the brain. In turn, the brain cells that produce these chemicals end up working much harder than usual. As a result, cells start to take on structural damage from overwork.
When this happens, larger drug doses are needed to produce the desired effects of the drug. This cycle will continue for as long as a person keeps using Norco.
Norco’s ability to stimulate neurotransmitter production also causes rampant brain chemical imbalances to develop over time. Since neurotransmitters play a central role in regulating the body’s systems, growing imbalances will show up in a person’s overall health from day-to-day.
Withdrawal effects are proof positive that growing chemical imbalances are at work. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Problems sleeping
- Problems concentrating
- Feelings of depression
- Low energy levels
Like rising tolerance levels, withdrawal effects only work to drive continued drug use as most people will opt to self-medicate withdrawal symptoms by taking more of the drug.
Norco Addiction’s Effects
Norco addiction’s effects tend to show up in a person’s thinking and behaviors. In effect, growing chemical imbalances start to impact the areas of the brain that regulate thinking and emotions.
At this point, Norco has become the center of a person’s world in terms of what he or she prioritizes over all else. Lifestyle changes start to become increasingly apparent to others, while the person caught up in drug abuse sees no difference.
Lifestyle effects to watch out for include:
- Problems at work or loss of a job
- Declining health
- Money problems
- Legal problems
- Severe mood swings
If you’re considering getting opiate addiction treatment help or have questions about available treatment options, please feel free to call our helpline at 800-584-3274 to speak with one of our addiction specialists.