Dilaudid, containing hydromorphone, is a fully synthetic opioid analgesic that’s primarily indicated for the management of moderate to severely intractable pain.
Unfortunately, it is because of its powerful effects that can lead to the development of addiction spurred by the long term use of the painkiller even though there is no clinical indication for it.
Signs of Dilaudid Addiction
The continuous use of Dilaudid for at least two weeks has been shown to result in the development of Dilaudid tolerance – that stage in the substance abuse process whereby the individual needs substantial increases in both the dose of the substance and the frequency of taking the substance to provide the same desired effect which is, in Dilaudid’s case, euphoria and an overwhelmingly relaxed state.
Regrettably, once tolerance has developed, the inability to take Dilaudid can lead to the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms. As such, the person can already be considered to be addicted to the drug simply because the body has grown dependent on the drug that it goes into severe withdrawal if the effects of the drug wear off.
Aside from the inability to stop taking the drug, someone who is addicted to Dialudid can also exhibit the following manifestations.
- Obsession with the next dose of Dilaudid
- Spending large sums of money just to procure or obtain Dilaudid
- Failure to meet social and economic responsibilities such as those related to work or school
- Requires sufficiently larger doses of the drug
- Increased inattention to family needs and friendships because of preoccupation with Dilaudid use
- Forging prescriptions
- Stealing Dilaudid from other persons’ medicine cabinets
- Purchasing the drug on the streets or even online
- May go on doctor-shopping in the hope of increasing the supply of Dilaudid using legitimate prescriptions
- Engaging in criminal activities related to the procurement of more drugs
It is quite easy to spot someone who is already addicted to Dilaudid. Getting professional help is thus, necessary to help them reverse their course and lead a life free from addiction.
A Look at Dilaudid
Classified by the Food and Drug Administration as a Schedule II Controlled Substance, Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is primarily indicated in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. It is one of the painkillers of choice in the alleviation of cancer pain, burn pain, and even bone pain as well as other types of pain syndromes that do not respond to conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug treatments. It has a very rapid onset of action at 15 minutes while its therapeutic effects often last up to 6 hours.
Because of the potency of Dialudid, it is often prescribed in smaller doses of 2 or 4 milligram tablets. Depending on the manufacturer of hydromorphone, the tablet or pill can take the shape of a triangle or the more common ones, rounded. It is also available in liquid form which is often indicated among clients who may not be able to swallow the tablet such as children and even the elderly. In some cases where immediate pain relief is needed, hydromorphone (Dialudid) can be administered intravenously.
It should be understood that Dilaudid is just one brand of hydromorphone. There are other brands in the market which can go by the name Exalgo, Dialudid-HP, and Palladone. You will have to be wary about the street names provided for Dilaudid such as Big D, Peaches, M-80, and Dillies as these oftentimes have already been tampered with.
Like all opioids, Dilaudid or hydromorphone works by bonding with the opiate receptors in the brain and the spinal cord. The connection effectively blocks the transmission of pain nerve impulses so the brain cannot interpret or perceive the presence of such pain signals. The result is a reduction in the perception of pain. However, because the receptors are also found in regions that control pleasurable sensations, one immediate effect of hydromorphone is a feeling of immense well-being or simply, euphoria. This is what the addicted are often after.
Effects of Dilaudid and its Abuse
One of the main issues about painkiller addiction is the tendency of people to misuse the drug or to tamper with its administration. Many individuals crush the tablets and snort them while others will dilute the powder and then injected into their veins. Both methods are evidences of tampering and they are the preferred methods of delivery because of the more immediate and stronger effects. Whereas it would take 15 minutes for the tablet form to kick in, snorting it or injecting it can produce euphoria in a matter of minutes.
Unfortunately, misusing Dilaudid can increase the risk of drug overdose. In some cases, Dilaudid overdose can be fatal because of the central nervous system depressant effects of the drug. The respirations can drop so low that it would be unable to supply the body’s need for oxygen. There’s also the danger of shock because of substantially low blood pressure that it can no longer keep up with the metabolic demands of the body.
Other signs of possible hydromorphone overdose include
- Bluish discoloration of the lips
- Weak and thread pulse
- Shallow and labored breathing
- Decreased level of consciousness
- Pinpoint pupils
Many individuals who misuse Dilaudid as well as other hydromorphone preparations often combine it with benzodiazepines or even alcohol to get a more pronounced euphoric effect. Sadly, these three substances are all depressants of the brain and spinal cord and as such the effects can be substantially amplified. If the dangers of Dilaudid can already lead to abnormally slow breathing and decreased blood pressure, the addition of alcohol and benzodiazepines can make it truly fatal.
For those who are already addicted to Dilaudid, they will often try to obtain other substances in an effort to replicate the effects of hydromorphone, particularly its euphoric effects. In such instances, these individuals often resort to using more readily accessible substances like heroin.
The Needs for Treatment
Quitting from Dilaudid can lead to relapses if done without the assistance of professional Dilaudid addiction treatment providers. This is because of the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms that can make quitting more difficult. Only comprehensive and highly-structured treatment programs can help individuals successfully wean off Dilaudid and lead a more addiction-free life.