Dilaudid is a potent synthetic opioid narcotic drug. As such, it is often prescribed for the management of the symptoms of pain. Although it is a valid medication, the drug also comes with a high risk of substance abuse and addiction. This is because using it in the long term, regularly, or in high doses can lead to tolerance - which will soon be followed by dependence and an opioid use disorder.
Dilaudid is a legal prescription opioid pain relief medication. Its generic name is hydromorphone - a chemical that is derived from morphine. As an opioid drug, it occurs naturally within the opium poppy plant that is native to South America and other parts of the world.
Although the drug is quite effective at pain relief, it can also be quite habit forming. Research now shows that its pain relief effectiveness is 2 to 8 times that produced by morphine.
The DEA - the Drug Enforcement Administration - has classified hydromorphone as a schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it comes with some known and legal medical uses. However, it also carries a high risk of abuse and addiction.
But how does addiction to Dilaudid occur? Essentially, you may start developing an opioid use disorder to this drug once you get to a stage where it is impossible for you to control how you use it and you end up developing tolerance to its effects.
Addiction will also be marked by drug dependence, which means that you will experience some withdrawal symptoms when you do not use the substance at the same levels or frequency as you used to.
As a result of tolerance and dependence, you may continue Dilaudid even in spite of the various consequences, negative effects, and problems that it starts causing in your day to day life. You need to realize that abusing this drug can be dangerous - and not just because it leads to addiction.
But what are the medical uses of this drug? Essentially, doctors prescribe Dilaudid for the management of moderate to very severe pain. The medication works by attaching itself to receptors located in the CNS - the central nervous system - and the brain to bring up pain relief.
When you take the drug, it will also trigger your brain to produce dopamine in excessive amounts. As a result, you will experience some pleasurable effects, including but not limited to intense euphoria.
This is because the medication works by activating the brain's reward center. This center, on the other hand, will interpret the event of using the drug as something that is necessary, important, and needing repetition.
The more frequently you use the drug, the less the amount of dopamine your brain will be able to produce naturally - unless you are on Dilaudid. As a result, your brain will increasingly become dependent on the drug.
That said, the drug is quite effective due to its mode of action for various medical uses. It can calm the pain that you may be feeling as a result of serious injuries like burns as well as cancer.
The amount of time that the medication will take to become effective will largely depend on how you use it. If you take it orally, it will take effect between 30 and 60 minutes later. On the other hand, if you use it through the nose, it will become effective in as little as 5 minutes. Finally, using the drug intravenously will lead to almost immediate effects. Irrespective of the route of administration, the drug will produce pain relieving effects that last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours.
Doctors will typically prescribe this drug in tablets of small doses - either 4 mg or 2 mg. The pills can be triangular or round in shape. However, Dilaudid is now available in the form of a liquid that should be taken orally. Doctors can also administer it intravenously, but only in hospital or clinical settings.
Abusing this drug can lead to the development of a substance use disorder - also known as an opioid use disorder or an addiction. However, the fact that you have been taking Dilaudid does not necessarily mean that you are already addicted. It is important to watch out for some behaviors and signs that could be an indication of the development of an addiction.
The first step towards an opioid use disorder would be the development of tolerance to Dilaudid. Once you are tolerant to the drug, you will find that you have to take it in higher doses or more frequently than you used to before you can experience the pleasurable effects that you have come to associate it with. Eventually, you will start struggling with obsessive urges, cravings, and thoughts about using the medication.
To recreate the initial rush of pleasurable and euphoric effects that you experienced when you first used the drug, you may focus more of your energy, resources, and time on acquiring as well as abusing it. This means you may find yourself searching for the drug online, stealing it, or even doctor shopping.
Over the course of time, your interpersonal relationships with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, loved ones, and your employers or employees will increasingly become strained. This will be due to the amount of energy and time that you have been devoting to your growing drug habit.
You might initially have started using Dilaudid out of curiosity or simply because a doctor wrote a legitimate prescription for you. Eventually, however, this will escalate to a point where you will find that it is no longer possible for you to control your behavior when it comes to this drug. At this stage, you may obsess over the medication as well as start putting it above just about everything else in your life.
After a period of using this drug, you will develop both tolerance and dependence. Tolerance means that you will have to use the drug more frequently or in higher doses before you can experience its pleasurable effects. The development of tolerance is a hallmark of growing physical dependence on the medication.
Eventually, tolerance will be replaced by dependence. This means that you will not be able to go for long without taking Dilaudid. If you stop using the drug or significantly reduce the amount that you have become accustomed to using, you may experience some negative and even painful symptoms of withdrawal.
These withdrawal symptoms, on the other hand, will start motivating you to continue abusing the drug. This is because the easiest way for you to control these symptoms would be to take the medication.
This situation will lead you to continue using the drug, or engaging in short period where you are abstinent from it that will be followed by some withdrawal symptoms before you take the drug again to calm these symptoms. Doctors now refer to this situation as negative reinforcement - where you repeat the behavior just to ensure that you avoid the painful and undesirable consequences that often follow. Negative reinforcement is one of the powerful mechanisms that will prolong your issues with substance abuse.
That said, misusing the drug will eventually give rise to the development of an opioid use disorder or an addiction. Abuse means that you would take Dilaudid in greater doses, more often, or for longer than your doctor recommended when they gave you are prescription for it. It might also involve taking the drug without a valid prescription or for a non-medical purpose.
Some of the signs and symptoms that will occur when you become addicted to this opioid medication include:
Dilaudid is considered to be a dangerous drug. This is because it can cause you to develop tolerance quite quickly - which will eventually lead to an escalation of the doses of the drug that you take. That said, the following are some of the additional dangers of abusing this medication:
On the other hand, if you take this drug intravenously, you might increase your risk of acquiring as well as transmitting infections - such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
Among the dangers that arise from abusing Dilaudid and becoming addicted to it is that you may suffer a drug overdose. This type of overdose would be linked to an opioid drug - which means that it could easily lead to fatal outcomes.
This is due to the fact that the drug depressed the CNS - a mechanism that will slow down your breathing and heart rate. Other signs and symptoms of a drug overdose involving Dilaudid include but are not limited to:
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or in someone else just after taking the drug, it is important that you call 911 or get in touch with the closest poison control center. This is because Dilaudid overdose can potentially lead to death or permanent organ damage - among other long term harmful effects.
If you are tolerant and dependent on Dilaudid, you will experience negative withdrawal symptoms when you decide to stop taking the drug. This means that it might be impossible for you to quit the medication unless you are enrolled in a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation center or program - either on an outpatient or inpatient basis.
The first step in such a program will involve a medically managed detoxification process that would be designed to take care of your withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings as well as manage your physical dependence on the drug. These symptoms of withdrawal may include:
After you have achieved physical stability, the center may provide you with medication management and ongoing counseling and therapy. If possible, it is recommended that you enroll in an inpatient addiction recovery center for a long enough duration so that you can learn how to overcome your substance abuse and addiction.
Some of the treatment modalities that may be used to help you overcome your Dilaudid abuse and addiction may include stress management, exercise, nutrition, creative therapies, alternative or complementary therapies, group therapy, family counseling, individual counseling, couples counseling, aftercare planning and programming, medication management, case management, and behavioral therapy - among many others.