Dilaudid Addiction and Abuse

What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is an opioid narcotic pain reliever. It works by stimulating the receptors in the brain to be less reactive to pain. This is how other opioid pain relievers work (such as methadone, fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine and others in the group). It is a tablet form of Hydromorphone, which is mostly available for intravenous use.

Other Names for Dilaudid

Dilaudid is the brand name for Hydromorphone. This means it is referred to as Hydromorphone most of the time. Other brand names that are made up of chiefly the same substances as Dilaudid include Hydromorph Contin, Palldone, Opidol, Laudicon, Hymorphan, Hydromorphan, Hydromorfan, Hydrostat, Dimorphone, Hydal and many others. On the streets, dilaudid is known by names such as Big D, Peaches or M 80s.

What is Dilaudid used for?

As a narcotic pain reliever, dilaudid is generally used as solution for moderate to severe pain, as can be seen in people suffering from cancer, burns, bone and tissue injuries and so on. The tablet version is generally prescribed by medical professionals if the cause of pain doesn’t require hospital admission. The drug begins acting within 15 minutes and can last for up to six hours. For cases where hospital admission is required, you will most likely be placed on the more generic liquid hydromorphone, which will be injected into your body every few hours depending on the level of pain you’re dealing with.

However, people that abuse dilaudid tend to choose the liquid Hydromorphone version, because of its fast acting ability once injected into the blood stream.

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The Addictive Properties of Dilaudid

Dilaudid attaches to the brain receptors and the central nervous system to reduce the feeling of pain in the body, whilst providing a feeling of euphoria. This feeling is the main reason why individuals that were taking dilaudid for a legitimate reason end up developing a physical and psychological addiction to the drug. People that do not have any known history of addiction to opiates such as dilaudid have also been known to develop tolerance and dependence within three weeks of first using the substance.

When you develop a tolerance to dilaudid, you’ll notice that previously sufficient doses will no longer be as effective in delivering the same effects and this will lead to a gradual increase and subsequently, addiction. At this stage, it becomes almost impossible to stop using the drug without undergoing the effects of dilaudid withdrawal.

What Does It Mean to Be Addicted to Dilaudid?

If you find yourself itching to take dilaudid in any form, even when you are not experiencing any pain, you are more than likely addicted. Remember, the addiction will only get worse if you allow it to continue unchecked.

Methods of Dilaudid Usage

Dilaudid is mostly available as a tablet, which users often swallow with any liquid. Others crush the tablets to powder or chew them for faster-acting effect. Those that choose to go with the liquid hydromorphone only inject intravenously into the blood stream. There have been no known cases of users who smoke or snort the narcotic. The risks of intravenous injection – such as blood transmitted infections and vein collapse – are also possible with the intravenous use of dilaudid/hydromorphone.

Common Drug Combinations

Users of dilaudid tend to combine it with other drugs to augment the desired effects. The drugs used in combination with dilaudid are mainly those from the Benzodiazepine group such as Clonazpam, Ativan and Xanax. Other users add alcohol to this combination. Some may not find any reason to combine dilaudid with any other drugs until they buy on the streets or talk to other users and are given similar substances or drugs that can make the ‘high’ last longer.

Depending on the type of drug combination used, you could be risking respiratory or circulatory collapse, cardiac arrest and ultimately, death.

Dilaudid as a Dangerous Substance to Abuse

Dilaudid is dangerous for several reasons. Firstly, you’re exposing yourself to a downward spiral that generally leads to death (without intervention), as a result of the abusive effects. Secondly, once you start abusing dilaudid, there’s a very high chance you’ll use other narcotics. At this stage, you’re not only deepening your condition as an addicted individual, but fast-tracking the damage to your body.

Dilaudid Abuse: Signs and Symptoms

If you’re using dilaudid, it is likely display all or some of the symptoms of abuse. The number of symptoms you will exhibit – and their severity – will often be dependent on the frequency of use and the length of your addiction.

Mood Related Symptoms of Dilaudid Abuse

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety

Physical Symptoms of Dilaudid Abuse

  • Stomach pain
  • Respiratory depression
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urinating difficulties
  • Circular marks on the arms and/or legs
  • Collapse of the circulatory system
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Heart attack

Psychological Symptoms of Dilaudid Abuse

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Development or worsening of mental illness
  • Deteriorating emotional wellbeing
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Spotting Dilaudid Abuse in Someone

There are tell-tale signs you should watch out for in order to establish that someone is abusing dilaudid. They are mainly behavioural, though you’ll need to combine them with the definitive signs and symptoms mentioned above to establish dilaudid abuse. These signs include:

  • Presence of forged prescriptions
  • Regular visits to the hospital with vague somatic related complaints
  • Obtaining dilaudid by lying or stealing
  • Borrowing dilaudid from family and friends regularly
  • Presence of stray needles
  • Wearing of long sleeves in inappropriate weather, which could be an attempt to cover needle marks from liquid hydropmorphone abuse
  • Hiding dilaudid in various places around the home, office or car
  • Isolation and withdrawal from favourite activities
  • Increase in financial difficulties or legal tussles

If you spot any of these behaviours, it is very likely that the individual is abusing dilaudid or at the very least, other similar substances. Your next step should be to bring the individual to see reason and agree to a carefully staged intervention.

Short-Term Effects of Dilaudid Abuse

The short -term effects of dilaudid are similar to what can be seen in other opioids. As soon as dilaudid enters the body, it interacts with opioid receptors to not only alter the pain perception, but also to release dopamine. Ordinarily, dopamine should only be released when you engage in healthy, but ultimately pleasurable activities like eating and exercising. It generates the feeling of reward that makes you crave a repetition of that action. Dilaudid releases a large amount of hydromorphone, which means a user can become addicted fairly quickly in an attempt to reproduce this feeling of reward and pleasure. The short-term effects of dilaudid can take hold within 15 minutes after taking a dose. These effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoric ‘high’
  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Increased physical relaxation
  • Decreased feelings of pain
  • Slow speech and movements

Long-Term Effects of Dilaudid Abuse

If you continue to abuse dilaudid for extended periods, you will experience more far-reaching effects. High doses of dilaudid over a long period of time will result in respiratory depression. This condition causes a reduction of the oxygen available to the brain. When the brain is steadily deprived of oxygen, the end result is often brain damage or coma. Long-term use of dilaudid will also affect your response to stress and overall decision making. Other long-term effects of dilaudid abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Negative influence in interpersonal relationships
  • Spouse or child abuse
  • Divorce as a result of actions or inactions that can be traced to dilaudid abuse
  • Incarceration
  • Constant guilt and shame
  • Contraction of blood borne infections such as HIV/AIDs
  • Respiratory infections
  • Exposure to the knock-on effects of risky behaviours
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Death

Withdrawal Effects of Dilaudid Abuse

If you use dilaudid for a long period of time and suddenly stop using it – or try to ignore the desire to use it – withdrawal symptoms will set in. These are symptoms that will most likely remain until you relapse and take a dose of dilaudid.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

The chief withdrawal symptoms of dilaudid include the following:

  • Dilaudid craving
  • Pains in the muscle and bones
  • General cramps
  • Irregular sleep
  • Goosebumps or cold sweats
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Shaking
  • Tremors
  • Dysphoria
  • Self-harm and thoughts of suicide

Dilaudid Withdrawal Timeline

The symptoms of dilaudid withdrawal can kick in between three and six hours from taking the last dose. However, in some people, the withdrawal symptoms don’t kick in until days after their previous intake. For some people, the first signs of withdrawal – such as anxiety and restlessness – manifest within the first few hours of the last dose. The symptoms of withdrawal peak by the second day for many. Some people notice that the symptoms start to ease if they don’t yield to the cravings for around three to four days, but generally, they can continue for as long as two weeks. The severity of these symptoms and how the timeline plays out is dependent on the extent of addiction, the method of drug usage and the average dosage consumed in each sitting.

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How to Help a Loved One with a Dilaudid Addiction

Helping a loved one struggling with Dilaudid addiction can be incredibly challenging. You need to be helpful and supportive, being mindful of actions that will push your loved one to continue using the substance. Here are some steps you can take to help them pull through:

  • Acquire as much information as possible about dilaudid addiction. You won’t be able to help if you don’t have sufficient information to hand.
  • Approach your loved one first, before you bring in professionals.
  • Avoid passing blame, shame or judgement on the user.
  • Always offer support and show you are willing to help.
  • Make them see reasons why they should embrace professional treatment.
  • Don’t expect the user to quit without professional help.
  • Be ready to accept the fact that recovery is an ongoing process that will not end after the first stage of treatment.
  • Be ready to guide against relapse.

Teen Dilaudid Abuse

Dilaudid may not be a favourite amongst teens in terms of opioid usage, but it is still abused. Teens get dilaudid from family and friends, mostly taken secretly from medicine cabinets. Some teens can go as far as stealing drugs from nursing homes, pharmacies and hospitals, while others place orders illegally over the internet. To ensure your teens are not abusing dilaudid, make it as hard as possible for them to reach it if there is anyone legitimately using dilaudid in the family. Make sure you talk with them from time to time about the dangers of substance abuse and ensure you are conversant with the signs of dilaudid abuse in teens. Some of the symptoms you should watch out for include:

  • Severe mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Secretive behaviour
  • Poor hygiene
  • Losing important possessions frequently (signs that they have been sold to fund an addiction)
  • Stealing
  • Asking for money in a manner they wouldn’t do in the past
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme changes in personality or physical appearance
  • Extreme changes in social profile
  • Extreme changes in academic or sport related results

Co-Occurring Disorders in Dilaudid Abuse

In many cases, users of dilaudid also struggle from undiagnosed or undertreated mental illnesses. Some of the co-occuring disorders seen in Dilaudid Abuse include: Schizophrenia, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, as well as other drug abuse disorders.

Dilaudid Overdose: Know the Signs

Dilaudid overdose occurs when you go above the dosage your body can naturally process. Many people overdose unintentionally as they try to combat growing tolerance and the withdrawal symptoms that follow. There are several signs of dilaudid overdose, but the symptoms will vary depending on the quantity ingested. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Slow or weak pulse
  • General feeling of weakness
  • Stomach or intestinal problems
  • Muscle twitches
  • Constriction of the pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Lightheaded feeling
  • Feeling of extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Very cold skin
  • Labored breathing
  • Blue tint on fingernails and lips

If you notice any of these overdose symptoms, you may have taken too much dilaudid and should quickly contact the emergency services nearest to you.

Cost of Dilaudid Addiction

The cost of buying dilaudid off the street or online is between £2 and £10 for a tablet and could go as high as £100 for a single dose of the IV variant. This is why a sudden change in finances is one of the main signs of dilaudid abuse.

Relationship between Dilaudid and Other Substances

Users of dilaudid often use it in combination with other substances, such as other opioids and benzodiazepines. Alcohol is another substance that is combined with dilaudid. The interactions between these substances (and dilaudid) can sometimes increase its potency. However, such an increase also translates to a worsening of all the risks associated with dilaudid abuse. This is why it is vital for users of dilaudid to avoid the mistake of trying to balance out the ‘high’ or sustain it by combining it with other substances.

What to Do If You Need Help Quitting

If you need help quitting dilaudid abuse, the first step is to contact an addiction treatment centre that is experienced in the handling of such cases. When contact has been made, you’ll be required to fully commit to the programmes that will be carefully put together to ensure your successful recovery.

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Dilaudid Addiction Treatment

Dilaudid addiction treatment is often geared towards helping you gradually move from dilaudid dependence to wholesome living. The treatment process generally begins with a comprehensive detox and will continue until you’re at the stage where you only need follow-up to prevent relapse.

Dilaudid Abuse: Detox

When you undergo dilaudid detox, you will be put through a carefully tailored plan that will help to correct the dilaudid dependence in your body. This may involve the use of certain medications to help gradually wean you off dilaudid. The general goal of any detoxification programme is to get you off the drug physically. Some of the medication you will be exposed to during the detox process have been proven to be effective at this. Seasoned professionals will monitor the relapse every step of the way to make sure you do not suffer a relapse or put yourself in danger, as a result of the withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the level of addiction and your treatment plan, the detoxification process can be as short as a few days or even take weeks. You must not shy away from professional detox, because there is a high risk of relapse without professional supervision over the detox process.

Therapy for Dilaudid Addiction

After completing dilaudid detoxification, the next step in the treatment process is to tackle your addiction emotionally. At this point, facilities take patients through detailed therapy and counselling in a controlled environment, targeted at helping you to avoid relapse by giving you all the tools you need – some of which may be outside your reach if you seek to recover outside such a facility.

Possible Complications

The possible complications that are common during treatment for dilaudid addiction are similar to withdrawal symptoms. However, with the right guidance, these complications can be properly guarded against.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

It is common for addicts to hold off on seeking professional help until the signs and symptoms become overwhelming. This is a dangerous approach to take. If you notice that you are dependent on dilaudid, get help immediately. You should only use prescribed dilaudid if you are using the drug for medical reasons.

Dilaudid Recovery Plan

It’s difficult for dilaudid addicts to make a full recovery if they don’t opt for a professionally drafted recovery plan. A robust recovery plan details every step of the treatment process, from detox down to aftercare therapy. Each case is treated differently, hence drastically improving the odds of beating a relapse. This is achievable by working with seasoned professionals who are experienced in the delivery of dilaudid interventions.

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Dilaudid Addiction Statistics

Dilaudid abuse statistics show a steady rise in the number of people that are now abusing the narcotic. In the UK, there are no publicly available documents to display dilaudid usage specifically, but the opiate related deaths that are not caused by tramadol or codeine have soared from 50 a year in 1993 to almost 200 deaths a year as of 2014, according to data from the ONS. Dilaudid – and other opiates in its sphere – will undoubtedly be among the causes of these deaths.

Additionally, figures released by the 2014/2015 crime survey report for England and Wales show that 5.4% of the adult population aged 16 to 59 have abused opiates not prescribed to them. The report also showed that people aged 16-24 are most at risk of dilaudid (and other opiates) abuse, with 7.2% of this demographic agreeing to misuse.


What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is a pain relieving medication, often used to treat moderate to serious pain in sick or wounded people. However, the interactions with the brain mean that the drug has addictive tendencies, which can turn users with real medical needs into addicts that can’t get enough of the drug, even when they no longer have a need for it.

How is Dilaudid Used?

Dilaudid is mostly taken orally, but some users abuse the generic form of the narcotic, hydromorphone, intravenously.

How Can I Spot Dilaudid Addiction?

To spot dilaudid abuse, simply watch out for all or some of the behavioural signs. Please note that these symptoms can also be seen in people abusing other opiates. Some of these behavioural signs include: presence of forged prescriptions, regular visits to the hospital with flimsy complaints, obtaining dilaudid by lying or stealing, borrowing dilaudid from family and friends, presence of stray needles, wearing of long sleeve clothing in inappropriate weather (which could be an attempt to cover needle marks), hiding dilaudid in various places at home or work, isolation and withdrawal from favourite activities and an increase in financial difficulties or legal tussles.

What Does Dilaudid Look Like?

Dilaudid comes in small pills of different colours, which will vary depending on the ‘size’ of the drug.

Is Dilaudid Addictive?

Dilaudid is highly addictive. Some users become addicted after a week of usage.

Who Abuses Dilaudid?

There is no specific demographic that abuses dilaudid. Addiction treatment centres around the world welcome dilaudid users of all ages. However, statistics show that people aged 16-24 are most at risk of becoming addicted to dilaudid.

Is Dilaudid Harmful?

Yes. Like all other opiates, prolonged dilaudid addiction will lead to dangerous consequences for your body, some of which can be ultimately fatal.

Where Else Can I Find Help?

You can talk to your GP or any other medical personnel you are comfortable with about finding help. This could be your family doctor, who will also help you on your way to recovery from dilaudid addiction and abuse.

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