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Article Summary

A Guide To Dilaudid Addiction

Dilaudid addicts typically abuse the drug for its euphoric, relaxing, and sedating effects. The euphoria from this substance is similar to that of other opiates such as heroin. However, such abuse is potentially fatal and dangerous, with some addicts succumbing to sudden overdose or even death when they take the drug in high doses. This is especially so when they combine Dilaudid with other depressants.

Prolonged use often leads to tolerance, which means that you will need more of the substance to achieve the high you used to feel. When tolerance increases, you will become physically and psychologically dependent on Dilaudid, which is how addiction starts.

Understanding Dilaudid

An opioid, Dilaudid is created from morphine. Doctors typically prescribe this semi-synthetic drug to patients even though it is habit forming. It works by targeting the pathways of pain within the central nervous system and altering pain perceptions in the body.

When your doctor prescribes Dilaudid to treat pain, you will start walking the fine line between use and abuse. Most users will start taking this substance as a remedy for moderate to severe pain before they succumb and use it recreationally. With time, they become dependent on the drug, take more than was prescribed, and end up with a full-blown addiction.

The federal government classifies Hydromorphone (the other name for Dilaudid) as a Schedule II controlled drug. The drug works by attaching itself to the receptors in the central nervous system and the brain to dull pain. However, it also comes into contact with the brain's pleasure center, which is why you might end up using more of it for far longer than your doctor recommended.

The other brand names used instead of Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) include Dilaudid-HP, Palladone, and Exalgo. Additionally, the drug is also known as Peaches, M-80s, Big D, and Dillies on the streets.

While taking Dilaudid, your body will become tolerant to the drug and require more frequent and larger doses to achieve the desired effects. Tolerance takes around 2 to 3 weeks, after which you will often go through your prescription ahead of schedule.

When the drugs run out, you will experience serious withdrawal symptoms. At this point, you might want to quit the drug, but you won't be able to, and addiction will kick in.

Dilaudid Uses

As mentioned above, Dilaudid is a painkiller prescription medication used to treat pain arising from serious injuries (like burns) and cancer. The drug takes effect in as few as 15 minutes while its pain-relief can last for close to 6 hours.

Doctors will usually prescribe this drug in small doses of 2 mg or 4 mg. While some of the pills are triangular, the rest are round in shape. The medication is also available on the market as an oral fluid while doctors sometimes administer it intravenously within the hospital setting.

Dilaudid Effects

Dilaudid causes a wide range of effects. In the short term, it will reduce the pain you are feeling. However, since it contains Hydromorphone, it might also produce feelings of sedation, relaxation, and euphoria as well as suppress your cough if you have one.

When you are high on Dilaudid, your anxiety will wane. However, as you come down, the drug will wear off, and you will be left feeling subdued and in need of more of the substance.

In the long term, Dilaudid will cause such effects as difficulty breathing, faints, problems while urinating, and rashes. If you experience these side effects, you should get in touch with a doctor as soon as you can. This is because such effects are usually indicative of a severe condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Among those who abuse Dilaudid, some will inject it to ensure that they feel the effects more strongly than if they had simply swallowed the pill. Others crush their pills and take them through the nose via snorting.

Like with the other opiate painkillers prescribed by doctors, Dilaudid is abused for the highly intense feelings of relaxation and euphoria it creates. However, most users might not be aware that this medication carries a high risk of fatal overdose.

For instance, if your prescription contains Dilaudid, you might not get enough pain relief from the drug. This will compel you to up your dosage thereby raising your chances of overdosing.

The other effects that Dilaudid causes in the abuser's life include:

  • Financial difficulties, which might lead to poverty
  • Hepatitis C, HIV, and other blood-borne illnesses if you take it intravenously and share the needle
  • Incarceration
  • Injuries after using it while driving and performing other mechanical tasks
  • Legal issues
  • Missing school, work, and other commitments
  • Problems with socialization and interpersonal relationships
  • Social isolation

Dilaudid Side Effects

Some users and abusers of Dilaudid experience severe side effects, which tend to increase in severity depending on the dosage. These side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Hoarse voice
  • Itchiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle pains
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Seizures
  • Slowed breathing
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

Dilaudid Addictive Qualities

Once you start using Dilaudid, it won't take long for you to get hooked to it. After a couple of days to a week of continuous use, you will develop a physical dependence to the drug. However, some people also become psychologically attached to Dilaudid earlier than this.

When you use Dilaudid, it will flood your brain with dopamine. In turn, dopamine will stimulate the brain's reward center, which is how euphoria results. As this is happening, your brain will get the message that taking Dilaudid is as life-sustaining as it is pleasurable and good. This message will cause you to take more Dilaudid to repeat the euphoric feeling in your brain.

Although patients suffering from intense pain will benefit from Dilaudid, the drug might also cause them to experience the euphoria. Among those who are in excruciating pain, emphasis will be more on the dulled pain than on the euphoria.

However, when your pain fades, you will start enjoying the pleasurable feelings from this drug. At this point, you will be compelled to use more of the drug, to up your dosage, or to take the drug more regularly. This is where addiction kicks in.

Repeated and frequent use will typically cause your body to develop tolerance to Dilaudid. This means that you will have to take more of it, or at regular intervals, to replicate the effect you felt the first time.

Dilaudid Overdose

Dilaudid abuse is less common than that of the other prescription painkillers available on the market. As such, doctors don't frequently prescribe it to patients suffering from acute pain after an accident or chronic pain - at least not as much as oxycodone or hydrocodone.

However, in similar amounts, Dilaudid is more potent than oxycodone and hydrocodone. If you abuse your pills, therefore, your likelihood of suffering a serious overdose is much heightened.

Taking more Dilaudid than the doctor prescribed, or mixing it with other substances might also lead to an overdose. In many cases, such an overdose will prove both fatal and deadly.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 44 people die in the United States on a daily basis as a result of overdosing on prescription opioid painkillers.

More specifically, powerful narcotics - including Dilaudid - will slow down several of the necessary bodily functions. These include blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. Overdosing on opioids will also reduce your respiration to low levels, and you will stop breathing.

The following are some of the signs of an overdose from Dilaudid abuse according to the FDA:

  • Clammy or cold skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Falling into a coma
  • Flaccid skeletal musculature
  • Lack of healthy muscle tone
  • Low blood pressure
  • Potential loss of consciousness
  • Shallow and slow breaths
  • Slow heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Weak pulse

Overdosing on Dilaudid is potentially fatal. As such, you need to seek medical attention immediately you suspect that you are just about to overdose, or if someone you love has overdosed or is about to.

Dilaudid Withdrawal

If you have started losing focus on tasks you complete in a given period because you have a physical craving for Dilaudid, it means that your body has developed a dependency on this medication.

For many people, withdrawal is the best symptom of addiction. However, the drug will also cause changes in your brain function and hallucinations. If you notice these signs in yourself or on a family member, you should discuss their use of Dilaudid.

That said, people who try to stop taking this medication on their own will often undergo painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If you have been using Dilaudid heavily, these symptoms will often be too much for you to bear. As a result, you will continue looking for and using the drug.

The most common withdrawal symptoms suffered by Dilaudid addicts include:

  • Body cramping
  • Bone pain
  • Cold sweats
  • Diarrhea
  • Drug cravings
  • Dysphoria, where you feel anxious, depressed, and uneasy all at once
  • Goosebumps
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

Dilaudid Dangers

As an opiate, Dilaudid is dangerous when abused. In this case, it might kill you by slowing your breathing to such a level that you will start suffocating. If you mix it with alcohol and other drugs (such as benzodiazepines), the risk of death is even higher. This is because all these drugs will slow down your heart and breathing rates, leading to overdose.

Since Dilaudid is most effective if you inject it directly into your blood stream, your body, legs, and arms will bear track marks. The drug will also create circulatory suppression and/or cause cardiac arrest if abused.

If you are addicted to this drug, you might also look for anything that will recreate the relaxation and euphoria you felt when you first used it. In a bid to replicate this rush, you might start using and abusing even hard narcotics, including heroin, because they are readily available.

The other dangers arising from Dilaudid abuse include:

  • Accidents
  • Financial loss
  • Losing your old interests and goals
  • Losing your friendships and relationships

Signs And Symptoms Of Dilaudid Abuse

The symptoms you will display when you start abusing Dilaudid and become addicted to it will often occur in a subset of symptoms, or in a spectrum. This means that the symptoms will sometimes be more severe in some abusers and addicts than in others.

The severity of these symptoms, of course, will depend on how long you have been using Dilaudid, the duration of your addiction, your level of tolerance to the medication, the frequency of use, as well as how much of the drug you take.

These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

a) Mood Symptoms
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
b) Behavioral Symptoms
  • Doctor shopping
  • Financial problems
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Frequenting the ER with a variety of vague complaints
  • Hiding Dilaudid in different place at work, around the house, and in the car
  • Increased legal problems
  • Lying about the amount of Dilaudid you have used
  • Lying and/or stealing so that you can get more of the drug
  • Risky and reckless behaviors
  • Social isolation
  • Stealing and borrowing Dilaudid from friends and loved ones
  • Stray needles
  • Wearing long sleeved shirts and pants in warm weather to conceal the needle marks
  • Withdrawing from activities you used to enjoy
c) Physical Symptoms
  • Circulatory collapse
  • Coma
  • Difficulties urinating
  • Dizziness
  • Heart attack
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures
  • Stomach pain
  • Stroke
  • Track marks on the legs and arms
  • Vomiting
d) Psychological Symptoms
  • Delusions
  • Exacerbation of the symptoms of mental illness, if any
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Worsening of your emotional well-being

Treatment For Dilaudid Addiction

Due to the addictive nature of Dilaudid, many people develop a dependency and eventually become addicted to it. Although you might easily fall into addiction, the road out of it will take even longer and require more effort than you anticipated.

Luckily, there are many treatments available to deal with the problem. Detoxification, for instance, will get rid of all traces of Dilaudid in your body. After that, you will undergo rehabilitation to deal with the physical and psychological aspects of your addiction, where you will also be counseled and attend therapy sessions.

If you are addicted to Dilaudid, or you suspect a loved one is hooked, get in touch with a treatment facility today. The earlier you deal with the problem, the easier it will be to resolve the many issues and challenges Dilaudid addiction creates.

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