Written by Amethyst Recovery
Amethyst Recovery is a foremost authority on addiction and a trusted online source of substance abuse information. Their expert team of addiction professionals provide well researched content for people in the grip of addiction. All posts are fact checked and sourced.
What Is Dilaudid?
Dilaudid is a prescription drug, classified as an opioid and a narcotic. As with other prescription opioids, Dilaudid is a schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. The generic name of this brand-name pain medication is hydromorphone hydrochloride.
Dilaudid is available as an injectable, as well as in tablet and liquid form. Dilaudid is meant to be prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.
The active ingredient in Dilaudid, hydromorphone, has potentially serious and deadly side effects associated with its use. For this reason, medical providers are warned against prescribing it to relieve pain that’s mild or could be treated with another type of medicine.
The Use Of Hydromorphone
When someone uses hydromorphone, it acts on their central nervous system. As with other opioids, Dilaudid is a central nervous system depressant. Dilaudid’s active ingredient of hydromorphone changes how pain signals are sent to the brain. It also changes the way someone emotionally responds to pain.
There is a black box warning that comes with Dilaudid and other opioids like it – regarding the risk of addiction and dependence. When any narcotic is used for an extended period of time, it can become habit-forming. This means both psychologically, and physically habit-forming.
When someone is psychologically addicted, their use of Dilaudid becomes compulsive and out-of-control. When someone is physically dependent on Dilaudid, they will experience withdrawal side effects if they try to stop using it suddenly.
Dilaudid Addiction Treatment
If someone recognizes the signs of Dilaudid addiction in themselves or in someone they love, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The following is an overview of some of the Dilaudid addiction treatment options available and key terminology.
Dilaudid rehab is addiction treatment. Rehab is a broad term, and it can refer to inpatient or outpatient treatment. Dilaudid rehab can vary in approach, treatment modalities and how long someone is expected to stay in treatment. The ultimate goal of any rehab program should be to help those who are addicted to learning how to stop using drugs and other substances and live productively.
A Dilaudid detox program is usually the first step in addiction treatment. During Dilaudid detox, a person receives medical care and attention as the drug leaves their system. Fully detoxing from Dilaudid is required before someone can continue into any other rehab program.
Dilaudid inpatient rehab is the highest level of care in addiction treatment aside from medical detox. Inpatient rehab requires patients to stay in the treatment facility overnight for a period of time, as they receive intensive, around-the-clock care, supervision, and support.
A Dilaudid partial hospitalization program is often what people step down to after completing inpatient rehab. Partial hospitalization is also called day treatment. During a PHP, patients receive treatment all day, most days of the week, but they leave the facility at the end of the treatment day.
A Dilaudid outpatient program is a type of rehab that people can do as a standalone treatment. However, more commonly it’s something that people transition into after higher levels of care are completed.
Dilaudid treatment approaches and therapy modalities can vary. Regardless of the specific types of treatment used, any addiction program needs to be very individualized and needs to evolve with the needs of the person.
When someone is choosing a Dilaudid facility for addiction treatment, there are many factors they should consider, including whether or not the facility accepts private insurance, what they’re comfortable with, and their level of addiction. Also relevant are complicating factors a person may have, such as co-occurring mental health disorders or physical health concerns.
Because of the inherently severe nature of opioid addiction, a Dilaudid residential treatment program is often the best starting point in the journey toward recovery. Along with inpatient rehab, there are specific residential treatment programs available, such as long-term therapeutic communities and sober living houses.
To learn more about Dilaudid rehab and treatment, contact Amethyst Recovery.
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Dilaudid Prescribing Information
Before someone is prescribed Dilaudid, their doctor will likely go over their medical history and any possible history of substance abuse they may have. The benefits of using Dilaudid should significantly outweigh the risks before it’s prescribed.
It’s important that patients tell their doctor about any other medications they’re using. If Dilaudid is used along with other central nervous system depressants, it can cause a fatal overdose. Benzodiazepines, sleep aids, alcohol, and many other substances are depressants of the central nervous system.
Common side effects of Dilaudid include:
Redness or flushing of the skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurry vision or double vision
- A headache
- Sleep disturbances
- Dry mouth
- Strange or vivid dreams
Possible severe side effects of Dilaudid include:
- Shallow, weak or slow breathing
- Problems or difficulties breathing
- Slow heart rate
- Cold, clammy skin
- Fluttering heartbeat
- Severe weakness
- Severe drowsiness
- Changes in mood or mental state
- Severe abdominal pain
- Urinary retention
It is possible to overdose on Dilaudid. Symptoms of a Dilaudid overdose can include:
- Not responding to outside stimuli
- Pinpoint pupils
- Slow heartbeat or low blood pressure
- Breathing that’s irregular or stopped
- Fingernails or lips having a bluish or purplish tint
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How Does Dilaudid Work?
Dilaudid works in a way similar to other opioids. When people take these medicines, whether, by prescription or recreationally, they affect opioid receptors.
Opioid receptors are found throughout the body, and in particular in the central nervous system. When the medication binds to and activates the opioid receptors, it relieves pain, but there are other effects as well. One of these effects or a sense of euphoria.
Someone who uses opioids like Dilaudid may also experience a pleasant sense of well-being and relaxation.
The Development of a Dilaudid Addiction
These effects contribute to the addictive nature of Dilaudid and other opioids.
The brain releases neurotransmitters that are responsible for these good feelings when Dilaudid is used. The amount of feel-good neurotransmitters released in response to opioid drugs is much higher than what is naturally released into the brain and body.
The brain is conditioned and wired to continue seeking out whatever it is that’s responsible for the positive and pleasant feelings created. In the case of Dilaudid, the drug is responsible.
The brain’s reward response has been triggered, and ultimately the use of Dilaudid is no longer within the control of the person. This is the point at which addiction is formed.
Drug tolerance refers to a situation where someone becomes tolerant to the effects of the substance. They then need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effects.
A Dilaudid tolerance can develop very quickly—sometimes within just a week or two of using the drug. A tolerance to Dilaudid can indicate that a person is physically dependent on it, and can also increase the likelihood that an overdose could occur.
Unfortunately, when someone begins using a prescription drug like Dilaudid, recreationally or by prescription, they may turn to stronger drugs once they’ve developed an addiction or a tolerance.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost 80 percent of heroin users say they misused prescription opioids before beginning to use heroin.
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