Dilaudid is the brand name version of an opioid analgesic called hydromorphone. It’s prescribed by doctors to treat pain that ranges anywhere from moderate to severe, but the same function that allows the drug to create a painkilling effect also produces feelings of euphoria, and this is why opioids like Dilaudid are so addictive.
When a person takes Dilaudid, the drug crosses the blood-brain barrier and targets the neurotransmitter-secreting receptor sites, causing a flood of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain. In an effort to recreate the euphoria they felt, people end up taking more Dilaudid than what they need or than what’s been prescribed and continue using it even after the pain is gone. Eventually, when the body starts getting used to the drug, a person has to take increasing doses, and this is the first sign of dependence. Addiction happens with repeated use when biochemical and physical changes in the brain cause a compulsive need to use the drug, regardless of the consequences.
Statistics about Dilaudid and Opioid Abuse
Opioid abuse has been steadily increasing over the past several decades, and in 2014, nearly 2 million Americans were dependent on or abusing these narcotics. Americans consume far more opioids than any other country in the world, and considering how addictive these drugs are, it’s no surprise how many citizens are abusing them or addicted. When it comes to Dilaudid specifically, one million Americans over the age of 12 admitted to using Dilaudid for non-medical reasons in 2011, and in this same year, there were over 18,000 people given emergency hospital treatment because of Dilaudid abuse.
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
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
- 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
- Digestive problems
Signs, Symptoms, and Effects of Dilaudid Abuse
Because Dilaudid impacts neurotransmitters that affect the central nervous system, abusing this drug has a number of physical side effects. Dilaudid abuse can impact many bodily functions, including digestion, temperature, movement and coordination, and respiration. Some of the most common physical signs of Dilaudid abuse include:
- Constipation and cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Nodding off (falling asleep and having lapses in consciousness)
- Changes in blood pressure
- Slowed breathing
- Excessive sweating
But the list of symptoms doesn’t end there because Dilaudid also affects the brain and mood, so there are a number of psychological effects as well. Along with producing feelings of euphoria and relaxation, Dilaudid can also lead to:
- Mood swings
- Clouded thinking
And once abuse turns into dependence and addiction, behavior starts getting out of control, because all one can think about is obtaining more, so most of the time their thoughts are preoccupied with the drug. This, in turn, has social, personal, professional, and interpersonal effects on a person’s life, including declining academic or work performance, neglecting responsibilities, social isolation, drug-seeking behavior, poor hygiene, declining health, and even financial or legal troubles.
Overdose Signs and Dangers
In America, 91 people die from an opioid overdose every day, and the most common drugs involved in these overdoses are methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Dilaudid is more potent than all of these drugs, which means the risk of overdosing is higher. The main reason why Dilaudid doesn’t account for more overdose deaths is that it isn’t prescribed as often as the other drugs.
Dilaudid overdose can lead to severe respiratory depression, drowsiness that progresses into a coma, low blood pressure, and a slowed heart rate. One of the major causes of death after an overdose is respiratory depression that leads to oxygen deprivation. Other common signs of a Dilaudid overdose are:
- Blue lips and fingernails
- Cold or clammy skin
- Stomach and intestinal spasms
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Constricted pupils
- Muscle twitches
Inpatient Treatment for Dilaudid Abuse
Inpatient treatment is the preferred therapy for Dilaudid abuse because, during these programs, patients actually live on-site at the facility. This means there’s no access to drugs and no temptations, and this gives clients the best chance of success. During inpatient treatment, clients will have access to a range of therapies, including individual sessions, family therapy, group therapy, wellness workshops, and relapse prevention training.
Outpatient Treatment for Dilaudid Abuse
Another option for Dilaudid addiction treatment is an outpatient program or intensive outpatient program (IOP), which allows clients to continue living at home while traveling back and forth from the center each week for access to treatment and programs. The major benefit of outpatient treatment is the flexibility it offers: because clients remain in-house during their treatment, they can still manage most of their daily responsibilities, such as work, school, and family obligations.
The major difference between IOPs and Outpatient treatment is frequency. IOPs typically require a 3-day a week commitment, while outpatient is typically one day. Many clients step down from inpatient to IOP, then to outpatient as they are ready.
Why Futures of Palm Beach for Dilaudid Abuse Treatment
Futures of Palm Beach is a luxury drug treatment facility that prides itself on providing clients with a welcoming, safe, and relaxing environment in which to focus on recovery. Some of the main highlights of the facility and programs include:
- Accredited and expert medical staff and therapists
- Inpatient, intensive outpatient, regular outpatient, and aftercare programs
- Five-star amenities, including a pool, koi pond, tennis court, gym, media room, and more
- On-site kitchen staff who provide fresh and healthy meals daily
- Private rooms
- Treatment options for co-occurring disorders
Dilaudid is a powerful drug that’s very effective at treating pain when it’s used properly. However, because it’s an opioid, this drug is also highly addictive, even when it’s used according to the recommendations of a medical professional. Dilaudid abuse can quickly lead to dependence and addiction, and when this happens, a drug treatment facility like Futures of Palm Beach can provide the best opportunity a person will have at getting sober and maintaining lifelong recovery.