Dilaudid is an opioid, used in the management of pain, often prescribed for chronic pain, or as a post-surgery medication.
What Is Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)?
Dilaudid, also known as hydromorphone, is an extremely potent opioid analgesic, or a medication used to treat chronic pain and other problems associated with moderate to severe chronic pain, such as after surgery. Dilaudid is typically used when other pain medications become less effective, and a stronger method of pain management is needed. The extended-release variation of the Dilaudid medication is used for 24-hour pain treatment.
Dilaudid works by shifting the brain to change how the body responds to pain. Patients taking Dilaudid take 2 mg to 4 mg every 4 to 6 hours, as needed for pain. Dilaudid is available in a pill form, as well as an injectable liquid. The injectable liquid may be used for more severe pain.
Signs And Symptoms Of Dilaudid Abuse And Addiction
Dilaudid is a Schedule II drug, which means it is considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Other Schedule II drugs include methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. A doctor will prescribe Dilaudid and carefully monitor symptoms throughout the consumption of the drug. Dilaudid is typically prescribed for a limited period of time, as it can be addictive.
When an individual is taking Dilaudid, they may experience side effects.
Some of these side effects include:
- dry mouth
- blurred vision
- stomach pain
Other dangerous, stronger effects of Dilaudid include:
- heart palpitations
- chest pain or tightness
- difficulty catching a breath
- blurred vision
- decrease in urine
- skin rash
- facial swelling
- uncontrollable muscle movements
- unusual excitement
- slowed heartbeat
If you are experiencing any of these severe side effects, contact a medical professional immediately.
Dilaudid is often abused in order to achieve a euphoric effect or sedation. When Dilaudid is abused, it may be taken in increased amounts without medical supervision, or taken without a prescription. It is extremely dangerous to take Dilaudid in ways other than prescribed.
The Dangers Of Dilaudid Abuse And Addiction
Dilaudid is abused for its relaxing sensation, effects of sedation and reduced anxiety, and a euphoric high. Dilaudid can be extremely dangerous when mixed with other drugs, such as central nervous system depressants. Central nervous system depressants include alcohol and benzodiazepines. The use of benzodiazepines or alcohol with Dilaudid can produce slowed breathing, sedation, coma, and death. Opioids can also be dangerous when taken concurrently with Dilaudid.
When used for a prolonged period of time, Dilaudid has the potential to become addictive. Since Dilaudid can become addictive even under the care of a medical professional, it is important to restrict usage.
Physical dependence refers to when one cannot function without using a drug. The individual may experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit, such as nausea, vomiting, or sweating. When a drug is abused for a long period of time, this can result in becoming dependent on it. Using Dilaudid with other medications can also cause dependence.
Some become addicted to Dilaudid through self-medication, which refers to using Dilaudid to treat symptoms, such as pain or insomnia. Dilaudid may also be used as a coping mechanism or method of dealing with symptoms such as stress and anxiety. This is a clear indicator of drug abuse—using a drug without a prescription, impulsively.
The most common signs of Dilaudid abuse are:
- taking Dilaudid without a prescription
- using more Dilaudid than prescribed
- the inability to stop using Dilaudid even while experiencing negative consequences
- increased tolerance of Dilaudid
- irritability when unable to access Dilaudid
- neglect of personal responsibilities
- mistreating friends and family
- withdrawal symptoms
- experiencing financial problems as a result of taking Dilaudid
- using Dilaudid with other drugs or alcohol to intensify effects
Dilaudid Withdrawal And Detox
After some time, the individual with a dependence on Dilaudid may find that the effects they once experienced are no longer the same. They may begin to take higher doses of Dilaudid in order to achieve the same effects as before. They have developed a physical dependence. While they may attempt to quit, they find it is easier to simply keep using, as this eliminates the adverse symptoms they feel when they attempt to quit, the time period known as withdrawal.
Perhaps the best indication of physical dependence on a drug is withdrawal. This is the period of time in which the drug abused leaves the body. Since Dilaudid is such a potent opioid medication, it can be incredibly dangerous to go through those symptoms of withdrawal. For this reason, it is crucial to undergo withdrawal with the assistance of a medical professional. A medical professional can administer specific medications and procedures, so the individual does not experience some of the more dangerous symptoms of withdrawal.
Symptoms of Dilaudid withdrawal include:
- increased breathing rate
- increased heart rate
- stomach pain
- muscle pain
Medical intervention in a treatment center can help to prevent future relapse. Medications such as methadone can help with drug cravings of Dilaudid, and help to prevent future relapse. Other medications can assist with the onset of withdrawal symptoms, and prevent more dangerous symptoms from occurring.
The detoxification process may also include a process of tapering. A medical professional will gradually decrease the amount of Dilaudid given over a period of time until the drug is ceased entirely. This helps to avoid or eliminate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. When an individual stops taking Dilaudid in a monitored, medical environment, they are likelier to succeed at stopping the drug entirely.
Treatment For Dilaudid Abuse And Addiction
The detoxification process, along with handling symptoms of withdrawal, is merely the first step in the treatment process. The administration of medication, monitoring of withdrawal symptoms, and general assistance with the detoxification process will be the primary focus when first starting out at a treatment center.
But when the detoxification process is complete, the remainder of the treatment process will be devoted to making lasting change and preventing future relapse.
Another important element of treatment for lasting recovery is therapy. Behavioral therapy refers to various forms of mental health treatments that take place after the detoxification process. Therapy consists of learning about the connections between a person’s mental state, thoughts, and actions. This style of therapy works to shift thought patterns and behaviors from negative to positive.
Mental illness and substance abuse are often linked; a mental illness often predisposes substance abuse. It is important to address how Dilaudid became a coping mechanism, or a response to symptoms of mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. Identifying how mental health shapes actions is an important step toward recovery from Dilaudid. By learning healthy coping mechanisms, such as physical activity or problem-solving, an individual can learn how to positively cope with adverse feelings that may have prompted them to use before.
Alongside detoxification and behavioral therapy, treatment centers will also offer group therapy, exercise, and medical support. Group therapy is an especially important part of recovery, as sharing and hearing from others can be a therapeutic experience that helps with healing.
It is possible to recover from Dilaudid addiction. It is only through the treatment of both mental health and physical symptoms that an individual can effectively recover.
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