Table of Contents
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.
Introduction to Dilaudid Addiction
Dilaudid is a schedule II controlled substance, intended to be prescribed to treat only severe pain. Dilaudid is a brand-name drug, and the active ingredient is the opioid narcotic hydromorphone. Dilaudid has a black box warning that comes with it regarding its potential for addiction and dependence. Whether someone is using it as prescribed or using it recreationally, it may lead to the need for professional Dilaudid rehab.
The following are some things to know about how Dilaudid works and why it’s addictive:
- Dilaudid binds to opioid receptors and changes how users sense and respond to pain.
- As with other opioid narcotics, Dilaudid is a central nervous system depressant.
- Some people can become dependent on Dilaudid after using it for only a week or two, and tolerance develops quickly.
- When someone becomes addicted to a prescription drug like Dilaudid, it becomes more likely that they will then begin using heroin.
- When someone is addicted to Dilaudid, treatment is available, but it needs to be intensive and thorough enough to deal with the power of opioid addiction.
Understanding Dilaudid Addiction
Dilaudid is a prescription pain medication and it’s part of the ongoing opioid epidemic that’s affecting the U.S. The active ingredient in this potent drug is hydromorphone, classified as a schedule II controlled substance in the U.S.
Whether someone starts out using Dilaudid because they are prescribed to, or they use it recreationally, it has significant risks. Addiction and dependence are two of those risks. Someone addicted to this drug will often require professional Dilaudid treatment.
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Some of the potential signs of a Dilaudid addiction include:
- Continuing to use Dilaudid despite negative consequences in one’s life
- Using Dilaudid even when there are adverse health outcomes associated with that use
- Dilaudid is a top priority
- Putting oneself in dangerous situations either while on Dilaudid, or to get more
- Feeling like you want to stop using Dilaudid but being unable to
- Having at least one serious failed attempt to stop using Dilaudid
To diagnose Dilaudid addiction, a person can go to their primary health care provider, a mental health care provider, or an addiction counselor or specialist.
Physical dependence is a separate condition from substance abuse and addiction, but all three concepts are related to one another.
Someone can be dependent on Dilaudid without being addicted. Dilaudid dependence is a situation where the brain and body of the user have become so used to the presence of Dilaudid, that it’s needed for “normal” functionality.
If someone dependent on Dilaudid tries to lower their dose, or they stop using it suddenly, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of Dilaudid and opioid withdrawal can include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- General discomfort
Dilaudid dependence can be treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Most opioid rehab programs will include a medical detox as the first step of treatment. Detox on its own isn’t a treatment for addiction, however.
Even if a person uses Dilaudid exactly as prescribed and for no longer than prescribed, they may become dependent on it. In these cases, a medical provider will usually recommend the patient gradually reduce, or taper down their dose of Dilaudid over time, rather than stopping suddenly.
How Is Addiction Treated?
There are many different types of treatment approaches for Dilaudid addiction. However, there are some general concepts of effective treatment outlined by the American Psychiatric Association.
These concepts include:
- Recognition of a problem is one of the initial steps that need to be made in the treatment process. If a person doesn’t recognize a problem, or they don’t understand the severity and the effects of the problem, treatment may not be effective. Sometimes getting someone to understand they have a problem requires an intervention with loved ones.
- Addiction is a diagnosable disorder. A health professional can go through the criteria for diagnosing an addiction to Dilaudid or any substance, and then can determine the severity of the diagnosed addiction.
- Due to the complex nature of addiction and the fact that it affects so many areas of a person’s life, treatment needs to be multifaceted. Most treatment programs approach addiction in multiple ways, such as group and individual therapy, as well as supplemental therapies.
- Sometimes medication may be used as part of an opioid addiction treatment program.
- Because addiction is classified as a chronic disorder, treatment often needs to be ongoing and may require long-term monitoring and follow-up to prevent relapse.
Therapy Used in Dilaudid Treatment
The types of therapy and the specific treatment approaches used for addiction vary depending on the individual’s treatment plan, mental and physical health history, and also the treatment center.
Some of the types of therapy or approaches that might be used to help someone with an addiction to Dilaudid or other prescription opioids can include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly utilized forms of therapy in addiction treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy serves as a way to help people with addiction disorders to understand their own thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs and as a result of that understanding, ultimately change their behavior.
- Group therapy is often used as part of addiction treatment. This can be based on a 12-step framework or other forms of group therapy. The group element of addiction treatment is important because it creates a sense of support, shared experiences, and also accountability.
- Individual therapy, which can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational therapy, or other forms of treatment is also a part of addiction treatment. Motivational interviewing is a specific form of therapy where the person works to change their behavior and complete treatment based on their own internal sense of motivation.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Often addiction occurs along with other mental health disorders. This is called a co-occurring disorder, and it requires a type of treatment known as a dual diagnosis care.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that as many as six out of every ten people with a substance use disorder also have another mental illness. It is more complex to treat addiction when it occurs along with another mental health disorder.
When someone begins treatment, if dual diagnosis care is provided there will be a plan for treating each disorder separately, but also treating them in the ways that they intersect with one another. Treating both conditions at the same time in an integrated way usually leads to the best outcomes for patients.
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Side Effects of Dilaudid
Whether someone is using Dilaudid as prescribed, or abusing it recreationally, it can have certain side effects. Side effects of Dilaudid are similar to the effects of other opioids. These effects can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Flushing or redness of the skin
- Blurred vision
- A headache
- Strange dreams
- Sleep problems
- Dry mouth
There are also serious and sometimes very severe side effects of Dilaudid. These may include:
- Shallow, weak or slow breathing
- Slow heart rate or pulse
- Seizures or convulsions
- Cold, clammy skin
- Pounding heart or fluttering heart
- Severe weakness
- Severe drowsiness
- Changes in mood or mental state
- Severe stomach pain
- Urinary retention
Principles of Effective Dilaudid Treatment
Regardless of the severity of someone’s addiction to Dilaudid, or the specifics of their treatment program, there are some elements that can help improve outcomes. Principles of treatment include:
- No single form of addiction treatment is right for everyone, and for addiction treatment to be effective, it needs to be highly individualized and tailored to the needs of the specific person.
- Addiction is a complex disease, but it’s also treatable. It’s important that a treatment program takes into account the changes that occur in the brain as a result of drug exposure.
- For the best outcomes, treatment needs to be quickly available to people when they’re ready.
- The earlier someone gets treatment, the better the outcomes often are.
- A person is more than their drug use and addiction. Effective treatment should address the holistic needs of the person.
- It’s essential to remain in treatment for enough time. For most people, the longer they stay in treatment, the less likely they are to relapse. A quality treatment program should work on putting in place strategies that keep patients engaged.
- A person’s individual treatment plan won’t stay the same over time. It should change, as the person progresses and their needs change.
- Effective treatment isn’t always voluntary.
- Long-term follow-up and monitoring are critical parts of relapse prevention.
If you would like to learn more about Dilaudid addiction, and what treatment options are available we encourage you to contact Amethyst Recovery.
Finding a Treatment Program
When you’re struggling with an addiction to Dilaudid or other opioids, it’s important to have a treatment plan that includes some component of rehab. This may include inpatient or outpatient rehab, whether short or long-term.
Attending rehab reduces the chaos and eliminates the triggers and stresses in a person’s life that could contribute to the potential for a relapse. There is also a sense of support from staff members and other residents that is so essential during treatment and recovery.
Rehab provides a safe environment where a person can really focus on what they’re there to do, without the outside distractions. If you’d like to learn more about what short and long-term treatment options are available for people with a Dilaudid addiction, contact Amethyst Recovery today.
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