Dilaudid addiction, like so many other painkiller addictions, is a dangerous and deadly condition. Dilaudid is hydromorphone and is among the more potent opioid painkillers used in the United States. Dilaudid, along with OxyContin and Vicodin, is a Schedule II controlled substance as classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
- It is accepted for medical use in the United States.
- It has a high potential for abuse.
- It is considered by the DEA to be dangerous.
Dilaudid is thought to be approximately 3 to 4 times stronger than morphine and is intended primarily to treat breakthrough pain in those who suffer from chronic pain, as well as post-operative pain management, typically in those who are already opioid-tolerant.
Dilaudid Addiction and Abuse
However, Dilaudid is a very potent opioid painkiller, and its abuse potential is now higher than that of OxyContin because it has essentially been flying under the radar. Whereas OxyContin abuse and addiction was a big story, prompting the reformulation of tablets to an abuse-deterrent form, Dilaudid has not made the same headlines, and continues to be abused in the same ways OxyContin was abused before the reformulation; crushing and snorting or dissolving and injecting.
Dilaudid addiction and abuse are more common than many may think, and especially with the recent reformulation of the previously preferred OxyContin, Dilaudid is beginning to prove very valuable to a cross-section of Americans who seek to abuse painkillers for the euphoric high they produce.
Dilaudid can be abused in some ways, which include snorting and injecting the drug, but also:
- Using Dilaudid with other depressant drugs like benzodiazepines and alcohol to enhance the effects
- Taking several more Dilaudid pills than are medically justified or safe
- Using Dilaudid with stimulant drugs in a “speedball” combination
Any non-medical or excessive use of Dilaudid beyond medical justification is considered to be abuse. Dilaudid abuse can occur in some ways that are not only limited to misusing a prescription from a doctor.
Some of how drug abusers get Dilaudid are surprisingly easy and can include:
- Doctor shopping – This involves getting prescriptions for Dilaudid from multiple doctors, instead of just one who knows medical and prescription history.
- Overseas online pharmacies – Overseas online pharmacies are not held to the same safety and prescribing standards in the United States, and all that is required to get potent drugs like Dilaudid from these sites is a credit card and mailing address. This is especially scary for adolescents who can obtain drugs quickly and without any physical contact.
- Friends and family members – Whether they are aware of it or not, the vast majority of adolescents who use Dilaudid and other painkillers non-medically get these drugs from the medicine cabinets of their loved ones.
- Pill mill-type medical practices – Most commonly known to be in strip malls, primarily in Florida, where law enforcement made dramatic efforts to crack down, a pill mill is any medical practice (even a solo practitioner) that engages in the exchange of money for prescriptions for drugs like Dilaudid.
- Prescription fraud – Countless addicts have tried to resort to stealing prescription pads, forging doctors’ signatures, and trying to call or fax in refills to pharmacies under assumed identities belonging to their prescribing doctor. While widely unsuccessful and carrying massive criminal penalties, this practice is still commonly attempted by individuals who are desperate for more Dilaudid.
Side Effects of Painkiller Abuse
Like any other painkiller, the effects of Dilaudid are identical in users, and include:
- Shallow breath
- Decreased heart rate
- Extreme euphoria
- Constricted (pinpoint) pupils
- Muscle weakness
- Heavy limbs
- Dry mouth
When Dilaudid is used, it floods the brain with dopamine, which in turn stimulates the reward center, resulting in euphoria. As this happens, a message is sent that the causal action (taking Dilaudid) is excellent and life-sustaining. This message essentially reinforces the repetition of taking Dilaudid to feel the euphoria again. Although individuals with legitimate pain issues will likely experience this euphoria as well, if they are in excruciating pain, their attention is placed more on the dulling of the pain than the euphoria.
Dangers of Ignoring the Negative Consequences of Dilaudid Abuse
More often than not with individuals who have been legitimately prescribed Dilaudid for pain, if addiction develops, it begins to happen once the pain has begun to fade, and abusing Dilaudid remains the same or increases. Once Dilaudid is repeatedly taken, tolerance begins to grow, which means an individual will need more Dilaudid in higher or more frequent doses to achieve the same effect.
Dilaudid addiction, like any other addiction, is characterized as the continued use of the drug, despite repeated negative consequences, such as:
- Legal trouble
- Financial problems
- Troubled or broken relationships
- Serious health and medical complications
- Inability to maintain or get a job resulting from the erratic and irresponsible behavior
The physical and psychological dependence also takes hold over a user.
Like all opioids, Dilaudid produces both a physical and psychological addiction that can cause moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms upon a sudden cessation or drastic reduction of use. Once addicted to Dilaudid, most addicts experience withdrawal symptoms at least once, which is typically enough for them to increase their use of the drug.
Dilaudid Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with Dilaudid are more intense than most other opioids and can begin to occur within a few hours after the last dose.
These symptoms can be moderate to severe, and include:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- High fever
- Intense cravings
- Muscle pain and spasms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dilated pupils
- Cold sweats
- Abdominal pain
While none of these symptoms are life-threatening, they are incredibly uncomfortable and can be excruciating for any individual who is withdrawing from Dilaudid. Most common withdrawal symptoms is an initial feeling of sickness, referred to as dope sick. During the initial phase of withdrawal, addicts often feel a general sense of discomfort and malaise, which is coupled with frequent yawning and sneezing.
Help for Dilaudid Addiction: What to Expect
For most, these symptoms are likened to an omen of the full onset of withdrawal symptoms that are impending. It is not uncommon for one’s fear of withdrawal symptoms to be a strong deterrent from getting the help needed to overcome Dilaudid addiction. Since addiction is a progressive and fatal disease, it will continue to get worse as more time goes by without proper treatment, sobriety and constant consciousness to remain in recovery.
Dilaudid addiction is serious and dangerous, as millions of Americans and citizens worldwide struggle with addiction to this powerful opioid. No matter how the addiction developed, it is imperative to seek help immediately and work towards a life of health, happiness, and freedom from addiction. The first, and most important, step in this process is an addict admitting that his or her life is unmanageable, and that help is needed to regain control.
Convincing an Addict to Seek Treatment
This first step can be problematic in many families, as severe addicts cannot see what their addiction is doing to their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, and may be very resistant to help. In this case, the process of intervention may be a valuable tool in persuading an addict to accept help in the form of an addiction treatment program.
Once the decision has been made to enter a drug rehabilitation program, the second most important decision must be made. That step involves choosing the rehab program. Over the last several decades of addiction treatment, professionals have proven that one approach to drug rehab will not work for every individual, and the path to recovery should be just as unique as the individual who is walking that path.
How A Forever Recovery Excels in Addiction Treatment
At A Forever Recovery, we understand the challenges of addiction, and we also know that every person is unique in his or her needs, preferences, and belief system. This is why we have developed a multi-track program that allows all of our guests to develop their path to recovery from addiction, how they would best relate to it, and apply it in their own lives. Additionally, we operate on a results-based framework, not a time limit.
We give every individual whatever time he or she needs to accomplish the goals that are necessary to maintain sobriety and recovery after addiction treatment has been completed. We are dedicated to making the world a better place, by healing one individual at a time. Addiction treatment does work, so call us and let us make it work for you. Please, don’t wait. We are here to help.