Reading Time: 4 minutes
What is Dilaudid Addiction?
Dilaudid is a pain medication containing hydromorphone. Unfortunately, because this drug can cause euphoric effects when taken in large doses, many individuals abuse it. This dangerous misuse can lead to physical dependence, psychological dependence, and addiction.
Table of Contents
Taken orally, or by injection, Dilaudid offers pain relief that is higher than a dose given by morphine. It is an opioid painkiller, that has similar effects to heroin, making it highly potent, and risky to use long-term.
Dilaudid and other opioids work by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. This medication is given to individuals suffering from acute and chronic pain, but in many cases, abuse occurs in those who experience tolerance and dependence and start taking more of the drug. Many people also abuse Dilaudid without ever having a prescription for it in the first place.
What are the Risks of Dilaudid Addiction?
Like other narcotics, Dilaudid is addictive when misused. Many individuals who start out misusing Dilaudid and other prescription drugs later turn to heroin to satisfy their cravings and stave off withdrawal symptoms, and the potential for this outcome is a serious problem.
In the United States, nearly half of all overdose deaths are caused by prescription opioids, like Dilaudid. It is estimated that 11.5 million Americans misuse prescription painkillers each year, most receiving them from friends or family members who were overprescribed.
When users become dependent on prescription opioids but can no longer get them from friends or doctors, they will often turn to street substitutes, such as heroin, that are more dangerous, as they are unregulated. The ongoing opioid epidemic has seen the rise of overdoses caused by fentanyl, secretly laced in many street opioids.
What are the Side Effects of Dilaudid Addiction?
People who are taking larger than necessary doses of Dilaudid will become drowsy, confused, and dizzy. They will also experience a euphoric high that will be very easy to recognize. Other signs and symptoms that a person is using Dilaudid include:
- A headache
- Dry mouth
- Heavy sweating
- Stomach pain or cramps
- Mood swings
- Lack of coordination
Issues with depression or anxiety can also form––or worsen––when a person abuses an opioid drug. Extremely high doses can lead to respiratory depression, which can be deadly. In most cases, though, the individual will not want to stop and would rather make excuses to keep using or treat any uncomfortable symptoms (like constipation) in ways other than ending their use of the drug.
What are the Signs of Dilaudid Addiction?
With consistent abuse, addiction to Dilaudid does occur. This is a serious issue, as many individuals are not able to stop abusing the drug without help. Those who try to get clean on their own often relapse during withdrawal because of the severely uncomfortable and painful symptoms.
The early signs of addiction occur when a user starts taking Dilaudid more frequently and begins to notice the need to take larger doses to achieve the same effects as before. This indicates tolerance has been established, wherein the body is starting to become used to Dilaudid in its system. Shortly after, physical dependence will set in, where the user is unable to stop taking the drug without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Psychological dependence may also occur, resulting in mood swings, and depression whenever the drug isn’t being used.
If you are noticing health problems, or other behavioral problems occurring due to your Dilaudid use, but continue to abuse the drug regardless, you are likely suffering from a Dilaudid addiction. Being unable or unwilling to stop using, is a sign you need to get professional help for your recovery.
What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Dilaudid?
If you suspect someone is abusing Dilaudid or another prescription drug, the first thing you should do is talk to them about their habits. Be open, listen, and try not to pass judgment. If they agree they need help, you can locate them a treatment facility in their area. Dilaudid treatment programs should incorporate inpatient, medication-assisted treatment, with behavioral therapy programs, for the best chance at recovery.
If they are in denial or resisting treatment, you should not force them, as their best chances of a successful recovery involve them admitting their problem, and wanting to change. You can organize an intervention or a meeting with a doctor or addiction specialist, to help shed light on the problem. You can also do welfare checkups if someone is at risk of overdosing. Check in on them every day to ensure they are okay. Do not feel like you should provide financial support, as this is a form of enabling that can be detrimental to everyone involved.
Which Treatment Options are Available for Dilaudid Addiction?
Dilaudid addiction treatment works similarly to heroin addiction treatment; patients are first either maintained on medication, like buprenorphine or methadone or are slowly weaned off one of these drugs to minimize the severity of withdrawal. Once the individual is stabilized, they can begin a regimen of behavioral therapies that will help them learn to avoid relapse and to view their substance abuse in a more beneficial light.
Patients sometimes may use a less popular option like naltrexone, a medication that is not well tolerated by most individuals but, if taken faithfully, can help a person end their opioid abuse very quickly. Any co-occurring mental or physical disorders that may lead to relapses, such as depression or chronic pain, must be addressed during treatment.