What to Know about Dilaudid
Dilaudid is a prescription painkiller
that is approximately 8 times more
potent than morphine.
Dilaudid is a prescription painkiller that is approximately 8 times more potent than morphine. In fact, a total of 14,800 accidental deaths in the US were attributed to opioid pain relievers like Dilaudid. This is partly due to the fact that the United States was consuming 65 percent of the world’s Dilaudid by 2010.
Despite its medical use, Dilaudid has a high potential for abuse and addiction because it can produce a high that is similar to heroin.
Dilaudid, also known as hydromorphone, is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means the drug cannot be legally obtained without a prescription. Just like other opioids, Dilaudid attaches to receptors in the brain in order to block pain signals. It is typically prescribed for patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. Doctors also prescribe it for cancer-related pain as well as serious injuries like burns.
Dilaudid also triggers the release of excessive amounts of dopamine in the brain, which causes pleasurable feelings. This process activates the brain’s reward center, which interprets the event as something that should be repeated. This is how addiction develops. The more it happens, the less the brain naturally produces dopamine, and the more reliant the body becomes on Dilaudid.
This drug is often prescribed in small doses: either 2mg or 4mg tablets. Some pills are triangular while others are round. Dilaudid also comes in a liquid form meant for oral ingestion. In some cases, doctors administer Dilaudid intravenously.
Dilaudid takes about 30 minutes to an hour to take effect when taken orally. When taken intranasally, it takes around 5 minutes. Dilaudid’s effects are almost immediate when the drug is taken intravenously. Regardless of the method of administration, the pain-relieving effects of Dilaudid typically last between four and six hours.
Other brand names for hydromorphone include Palladone, Exalgo, and Dilaudid-hp.
Dilaudid Abuse and Effects
Because of its euphoric effects, Dilaudid is often taken for recreational purposes. Those abusing Dilaudid sometimes crush the pills and snort them, or even dilute the drug and inject it directly into their bloodstream for a more intense high.
Taking Dilaudid without a prescription or misusing a doctor’s prescription is considered abuse. This includes people who are taking higher doses of Dilaudid than what is prescribed as well as people who are taking the drug more often than they are supposed to. Street names for Dilaudid include Dillies, Big D, M-80s, and Peaches.
Dilaudid abuse can lead to an overdose, which in some cases is fatal. Just like other opioids, taking high doses of Dilaudid can slow a person’s breathing and blood pressure to the point of failure.
The risk of overdose increases significantly when a person takes Dilaudid with other drugs—particularly other depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines. Mixing these drugs amplifies their effects, which can slow or stop a user’s breathing. Combining Dilaudid with these drugs can lead to coma, respiratory failure, seizures, or even a fatal overdose.
Signs of a Dilaudid overdose include: shallow breathing, unconsciousness, vomiting, disorientation, fatigue, nodding out, dizziness, pinpoint pupils, weak pulse, lightheadedness, fainting, hypotension, stomach spasms, and muscle twitching.
Sometimes Dilaudid acts as a gateway drug to even more potent drugs like heroin. But Dilaudid itself is also very addictive because users try to replicate its euphoric high as often as possible. In fact, Dilaudid is one of the most powerful synthetic narcotics in the opioid class of drugs. With continued use, addiction can rapidly develop.
Because of its status as a prescription medication, some people think it is safe to abuse. But they quickly develop a tolerance to the drug, and soon they become physically dependent.
When a person becomes drug dependent, they cannot function normally without taking Dilaudid. They go through withdrawal and experience intense cravings. They will need to take larger doses just to feel the same effects, and the drug will no longer work the same way. At this point the body is used to taking them.
Addiction is when a person compulsively takes a drug even when they are already experiencing its side effects. Their day revolves around obtaining the drug and taking it—or just thinking about their next dose. They will spend excessive amounts of money on the drug, with no self-control.
Addicted individuals may isolate themselves from friends and family members to hide their drug abuse. At the same time, they will neglect their responsibilities such as school and work. The drug will become their number one priority, and will even lose interest in things they used to enjoy.
Other signs of addiction include stealing from medicine cabinets, forging prescriptions for Dilaudid, and purchasing Dilaudid online or off the street.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab Is your best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.