Dilaudid Addiction and Abuse

Dilaudid is a morphine-derivative prescription painkiller. It produces a “high” similar to heroin and possesses a strong potential for addiction and abuse.

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Addiction to Dilaudid

Addiction to DilaudidDilaudid is one of the more powerful synthetic narcotics in the opioid class of drugs and an addiction to Dilaudid can rapidly develop through continued use.

People regularly taking Dilaudid build up a tolerance to the drug, requiring larger and more frequent doses to get the desired effects.

Users can develop a tolerance to Dilaudid within two or three weeks. Once a tolerance takes hold, users taking the pills more frequently often finish their prescription ahead of schedule. This is due to the regular dose no longer working the same way on the body as they were prescribed to do, because the body is used to taking them. This can result in physical dependence or even addiction even if the user is taking the medication as prescribed.

Those with a Dilaudid tolerance may experience withdrawal symptoms once the drug wears off. Someone who wants to stop taking Dilaudid but isn’t able to may have an addiction.

Other signs of a Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Becoming obsessed with the next dose
  • Spending excessive amounts of money on the drug
  • Failing to keep up with responsibilities such as school and work
  • Needing larger doses of Dilaudid to feel the high
  • Neglecting friends and family in favor of drug use
  • Stealing from medicine cabinets
  • Forging prescriptions for Dilaudid
  • Purchasing Dilaudid online or off the street
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Many people addicted to Dilaudid may “doctor shop” for new prescriptions, visiting several doctors with complaints of chronic pain. It is not uncommon for Dilaudid abuse to lead to criminal activities in their search to get more of the drug.

Though I’d never taken them before I got sober, I was prescribed Vicodin and was given Dilaudid at the hospital and those drugs felt utterly wonderful coursing through my veins. But therein lies the rub; you feel too good when you take them.

- Former addict and comedian Rob Delaney, The Atlantic, 2013

Understanding Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)

Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a schedule II controlled substance prescribed for moderate to severe pain. The drug attaches to receptors in the brain and central nervous system to dull pain. Dilaudid also triggers the release of excessive amounts of dopamine in the brain, causing pleasurable feelings. This activates the reward center of the brain, which interprets the event as something that is important and should be repeated. The more this happens, the less the brain will naturally produce dopamine, and the more reliant the body becomes on Dilaudid.

Doctors prescribe Dilaudid for pain related to cancer and serious injuries, such as burns. The time it takes for Dilaudid to take takes effect varies by how it is taken. When taken orally, Dilaudid typically takes effect within 30 minutes to an hour. When used intranasally, it typically takes 5 minutes, and its effects are almost immediate when taken intravenously. Regardless of the method of administration, the pain-relieving effects of Dilaudid typically last between four and six hours.

Doctors typically prescribe Dilaudid tablets in small doses, 2mg or 4mg. Some pills are round and some are triangular in shape. Dilaudid is also available as an oral liquid. In a hospital setting, doctors may administer Dilaudid intravenously.

Other brand names for hydromorphone are Exalgo, Palladone, and Dilaudid-hp. Street names include D’s, Dillies, Big D, M-80s and Peaches.

Common Drug Combinations

Those who abuse Dilaudid recreationally may mix it with alcohol and/or benzodiazepines to get a better high. All three of these drugs are central nervous system depressants. Mixing these drugs amplifies their effects but also dangerously slows breathing and heart rates. Mixing Dilaudid with these drugs can lead to respiratory failure, coma, seizure, or even a fatal overdose.

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People addicted to Dilaudid often want to relive the euphoric and relaxed feelings they initially experience with the drug, so they continue trying to replicate this “rush.” This often leads to abusing harder drugs, like heroin, which are often more accessible.

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Dilaudid Effects and Abuse

Those abusing Dilaudid often inject the drug, because the effects are stronger than swallowing the pill form. Some users also crush the pills and snort them.

As with other opiate painkillers, people abuse Dilaudid for the intense sense of euphoria and relaxation.

Dilaudid abuse is taking the drug in any way not prescribed by a doctor. This includes taking Dilaudid in higher doses or without a prescription.

Dilaudid abusers have a high risk of overdose, which can be fatal. Someone prescribed the drug may not feel enough pain relief and take a higher dose, putting them at risk of overdosing. Of course, those abusing the drug may also overdose. High doses of Dilaudid slows breathing and blood pressure, sometimes to the point of failure.

Some signs of a Dilaudid overdose include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weak pulse
  • Shallow breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Bluish-colored lips
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Nodding out and not waking up
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Cool or clammy skin
  • Hypotension
  • Stomach spasms
  • Muscle twitching
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Dilaudid Addiction Statistics

65

percent

By 2010, the United States was consuming 65 percent of the world’s Dilaudid.

8

times

Dilaudid is approximately 8 times more potent than morphine.

14.8K

deaths

In 2008, 14,800 accidental deaths in the U.S. were attributed to opioid pain relievers such as Dilaudid.

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Many people who try to quit Dilaudid on their own relapse. The support and medical assistance of a professional treatment setting can make it easier to quit. Treatment for Dilaudid addiction often involves counseling and medications for cravings and withdrawal. Get help from one of the many Dilaudid treatment centers across the country.

 

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