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Treatment for Dilaudid Abuse


Drug abuse and addiction are at an all-time high. In 2012, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported 23.1 million people were dependent on drugs or alcohol and only 2.5 million received treatment. Often when the term “drugs” is referenced, illegal substances like heroin and cocaine come to mind for a lot of people, but these aren’t the only substances impacting Americans. NIDA also notes over 2 million people struggled with substance use disorders associated with opioid pain reliever misuse or abuse, with over 207 million prescriptions being written for these drugs in 2013. This trend is only on the upswing, too. The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioid painkillers, and Dilaudid is one of them.

What Is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is the brand name of hydromorphone — an opioid pain reliever classified as a Schedule II drug under the United States Controlled Substances Act. It is most typically prescribed to patients suffering from pain that is moderate to severe or chronic in nature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 259 million prescriptions for painkillers being dispensed in 2012 — an amount large enough to give every adult in the United States their own bottle. This isn’t to say they’re all abusing these drugs, but many people who use a prescription drug will misuse or abuse it at some point.

Who Uses Dilaudid?

Those in serious pain are most likely to get their hands on this drug. Likewise, street dealers have opioid pain relievers for sale on a regular basis — not that buying drugs is necessary for many. In fact, the White House notes that more than 70 percent of prescription drug misusers and abusers get their supply from friends and relatives, and around 5 percent from a dealer or online. The addicted individual is not necessarily who you think they are either. It could very well be the homeless person you always see downtown panhandling or the guy you grew up with down the street who took the wrong path in life, but it’s also the mom you pass every day dropping her child off at daycare before heading to her high-power career or the elderly man who lives next door. No one is exempt from addiction, and prescription drugs are a very sneaky way for it to enter someone’s life. When a patient receives a legitimate prescription from their doctor, why would they think to question whether they should take it? Why would they consider stopping before their physician instructed them to? Most of these thoughts never cross the average patient’s mind. Another group of individuals who are more vulnerable to addiction are those who are battling mental health disorders. While these people certainly have the cards stacked against them at times, overcoming addiction with a co-occurring mental illness is hardly impossible. In fact, both conditions can and should be treated at the very same time. This assures the best chance of a successful recovery for both issues. NIDA notes about half of all persons with severe mental health problems are also substance abusers or addicts.

How People Abuse Dilaudid

According to the Free Press, while Americans account for only 4.5 percent of the worldwide populace, they consume an approximate 80 percent of the world’s opioid painkiller supply. How are they doing it? Most often, Dilaudid is swallowed in large doses, but many will also crush the pill to snort it or mix it with water and inject it.

Are You Addicted?

The signs and symptoms of addiction vary. If you find any of the following pertaining to you, it might be time to pick up the phone and get help.

  • Growing tolerance
  • Cravings
  • A preoccupation with maintaining and securing your supply
  • Trying to stop using and failing
  • Feeling like you can’t function without using
  • Using the drug to avoid symptoms of withdrawal setting in
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Digestive problems

Dangers of Dilaudid

Developing addiction isn’t the only concern with Dilaudid abuse. Your drug abuse impacts more people than just yourself, from your family members and friends to complete strangers you might injure or even kill when driving under the influence. Drug abuse costs you time, relationships, your health, and more. Overdose can happen. It does every day. In fact, the CDC attests to a significant increase in the number of overdose deaths related to opioid pain relievers over the years, with only 4,030 people dying due to opioid overdose in 1999 and a reported 16,651 dying due to opioid overdose in 2010. Signs of overdose include depressed breathing, extreme drowsiness, slowed heart rate, small pupils, clammy and/or cold skin, fainting, and weak muscles, per

The Treatment Process

There are many components to the rehab process, and for opioid addiction, the first step is detox. Opioids are highly addictive and as such, withdrawing from them in a week’s time as patients do with many other drugs just isn’t advisable. Not only does this method present serious concerns for side effects during withdrawal, but patients also aren’t as likely to remain abstinent from the drug post-detox if the process occurs too quickly. Individuals withdrawing from Dilaudid can expect to experience side effects, such as:

  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Perspiration
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiousness
  • Watery eyes
  • Irritability
  • Muscular aches and pains

There is a rapid detox process that is growing in popularity despite the risks it brings that allows addicts to be sedated while drugs are administered that detox the body so that they essentially wake up free of opioids. While it sounds like a dream come true to be able to skip over the withdrawal experience, this method isn’t advised. USA Today reports the procedure can cost upwards of $10,000. In addition to serious health risks associated with rapid detox, patients are more likely to benefit from detox and maintain their drug-free status if they endure the process and learn the lessons they need along the way.

The most popular choice in the world of opioid addiction treatment is methadone maintenance treatment, which consists of regular doses of methadone — an opioid antagonist medication that mimics opioids without the high fools the body into thinking it is still getting the desired drug. Over time, the patient is slowly weaned off the methadone until they are drug-free. Success rates for methadone range from 60 to 90 percent, as reported by the California Society for Addiction Medicine. Another option similar to methadone is buprenorphine, which is also an opioid antagonist and acts the same way except this drug comes with a ceiling effect that inhibits users from successfully abusing it. No matter how much buprenorphine is consumed, a high can’t be achieved. Initial success rates for the drug reached 88 percent, according to The Fix, but more recent results have dropped that number to about 49 percent during treatment and 8.6 percent post-treatment, per the National Institutes of Health. In addition, much research points toward significantly decreased efficacy of this treatment form after patients come off the treatment medication entirely. The third and perhaps least popular, but still effective, method of opioid treatment is naltrexone. Research on the drug shows that the oral form of the drug was only successful in 16 percent of patients, whereas the implanted version was successful in 53 percent, with success being defined as maintained abstinence at the six-month follow-up mark, per NIDA. Again, detox is just the first step in Dilaudid rehab. A comprehensive rehab experience will include inpatient or outpatient treatment, featuring therapy, support groups, diet and exercise education, and much more. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids notes that individuals who sought continued treatment within a month of completing detoxification lasted 40 percent longer before relapsing — if they returned to drug use at all — than those who did not seek such treatment.

Tomorrow Is a New Day

You can change your life today. You can choose a healthy, safe, and lasting life for yourself that is full of far more than worries about where your next supply is coming from and hiding your habit from the people you love. This can all become part of your past. Get help for Dilaudid addiction today. Call us at Futures of Palm Beach.