The National Institute on Drugs (NIH) estimates that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain does not just mean that the pain lasts longer than the time it takes for the body to heal; it is considered a disease that impairs function, distorts the nervous system, migrates to other areas of the body, and can impact moods and decrease a person’s overall quality of life.
Many addicts, because of their chronic pain, become dependent on their prescribed pain medication, which then turns into an addiction. Pain medications that are commonly prescribed are Codeine, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, and Oxycodone, to name a few. One of the more powerful and more joint pain medications prescribed for chronic pain is Hydromorphone or Dilaudid.
What is Dilaudid? Why is Dilaudid Addictive?
Dilaudid is a name-brand immediate-release narcotic pain medication; it contains the semisynthetic opioid drug hydromorphone. Hydromorphone, which is in Dilaudid, is five times more potent than morphine. It is usually prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe pain when other methods of pain medication are not working. Dilaudid is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance because it is such a target for abuse.
It can come in many different forms, such as a liquid solution, pills, suppository, and injection, but most commonly, it is prescribed as a pill dosage. These can be abused easily by crushing up the pills and adding water for injection into the vein. Addicts that use opioids intravenously especially favor it. Hydromorphone has a fast onset of action and starts working quickly after ingestion, but abuse of this drug by injection speeds up its onset of action and sends the drug rapidly into the bloodstream.
What Are the Side Effects of Dilaudid Abuse?
When it comes to abusing prescribed pain medication, Dilaudid is more popular due to its intense euphoric rush when taken intravenously. The fierce rush is followed by many side effects that are common in other opioid drugs:
- Nodding out
- Extreme happiness followed by drowsiness
- Loss of consciousness
- Constricted pupils
- Shallow breathing
- Mental confusion
- Lack of motor control
- Slow heart rate
The intense euphoric Dilaudid rush that addicts crave does not last very long, only for a few minutes. While a Dilaudid opioid-based high lasts for a couple of hours at the most; therefore, this leads the addict to want more of the drug. This eventually leads to an addiction that is difficult to break, and it can also lead to a quicker chance of an overdose.
Prescription opioids like Dilaudid can have serious long-term effects, including:
- Hyperalgesia, a condition that involves increased sensitivity to pain.
- Hypoxia, when the brain does not receive enough oxygen. Which, in some cases, can cause permanent brain damage.
- Physical dependence and addiction
- Infection at the injection site
- Scarring or “track” marks
- Collapsed veins
- Infections along the lining of the heart and cardiac complications
- Increased risk of contracting an infectious disease
After abusing Dilaudid for a while, whether it was prescribed to you or you got it off the streets, it will most likely be harder and harder to find at times. Besides the lack of supply, it is costly, and most addicts will turn to cheaper, more dangerous street drugs such as heroin. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), between 2002 and 2012, first-time heroin use was 19 times higher among people who had previously abused prescription painkillers like Dilaudid.
If you do have chronic pain and need everyday relief, prescribed medications are still an option. Still, they will have to be managed by a professional physician educated in your history of substance abuse and one that is explicitly trained with chronic pain and addicts in recovery. If you are using Dilaudid for recreational use and have become addicted, Allure Detox can help.
We are Here to Help with Your Addiction
If you are ready to take the next step in your path to recovery, we at Allure Detox can help. Allure Detox exists to help patients stop using drugs and alcohol safely. Unlike many facilities, Allure’s detox center treats addiction as a disease. Our team of specially trained physicians and nurses is committed to helping addicts and alcoholics achieve lasting recovery.