Dilaudid Symptoms and Warning Signs

Dilaudid is a prescription-only opioid narcotic medication, which is typically used to treat severe pain, such as that stemming from cancer or burns. The drug is believed to be five to ten times more potent than morphine. The generic name for Dilaudid is hydromorphone, but asides from Dilaudid, the drug can be found under other brand names such as Exalgo, Palladone, and Dilaudid-hp. When sold illegally on the streets, the drug is referred to by slang names such as Peaches, M-80s, and Dillies.

Dilaudid is classified as a Schedule II drug in the US, due to its high abuse and addiction potential. This is because of the drug’s potent effects on the pleasure centres of the brain, which make it a highly habit-forming substance that can easily cause severe psychological and physical dependence. In the UK, The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (United Kingdom) puts the main ingredient in the Class A drug list.

When taken at a safe dose, Dilaudid dulls the central nervous system by generating a comfortable and pleasurable sense of physical and mental ease. However, when taken at higher levels over an extended period of time, abuse and addiction are likely to occur.

Dilaudid is available as a tablet and oral solution, as well as in suppository and injectable forms. Due to its Class A control status, citizens can only legally procure the drug through a prescription from their doctor.

Abuse of Dilaudid

Opioids such as Dilaudid affect the body by acting on the central nervous system in a manner that induces enhanced calm and relaxation. When abused at heavy doses for recreational purposes, the drug can result in a euphoric ‘high’. Because Dilaudid is a central nervous system depressant, its immediate effects are quite similar to those of alcohol or marijuana.

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Abusing Dilaudid will immediately bring about a variety of obvious and easily noticeable physical changes. For instance, soon after using the drug, your pupils will dilate and your body movements will become slower and more deliberate. You may also begin slurring your words.

If Dilaudid is used according to prescription, its effects should wear off in just a few hours. However, when abused frequently, the effects become more severe. Below are some common symptoms of chronic abuse of Dilaudid:

  • Blood pressure changes
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea
  • Problems with digestion
  • Slowed breathing
  • Tremors

The intensity of the aforementioned symptoms will vary, according to the severity of your Dilaudid abuse. That is, the more Dilaudid you abuse, the more severe your abuse symptoms will likely be. For instance, light use of the drug might not cause heart problems, while chronic abuse could do just that.

The abuse of prescription opioid medications like Dilaudid is a global problem, with roughly 15 million people around the globe battling opioid addiction. However, if you’ve been abusing this drug, do not fear, as you can easily get professional help. Dilaudid abuse and addiction are typically treated with pharmacological methods and behavioural therapies in specialised facilities. Treatment can be provided on an inpatient or outpatient basis (or a combination of both).

Side Effects of Dilaudid Abuse

Abusing Dilaudid may eventually lead to the following side effects:

  • Anxiety
  • Appetite loss
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Hoarse voice
  • Itchiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Seizures
  • Slowed breathing
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

Dilaudid Addiction

Once you start using Dilaudid regularly, you can develop a tolerance within two to three weeks. Increased tolerance is usually the harbinger of addiction. Once you’ve begun using a higher dose of Dilaudid (than you did initially) and try to quit or reduce the dosage, you will in all likelihood experience withdrawal symptoms.

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you fail to take a fresh dose of Dilaudid is a clear sign that you have developed an addiction or physical dependence. In such a scenario, the best thing to do is promptly seek professional help.

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Other signs you might have developed a Dilaudid addiction include:


  • Combining the use of Dilaudid with alcohol or other medication
  • Becoming obsessed with taking the next dose
  • Spending excessive amounts of money on the drug
  • Severe mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Secretive behaviour
  • Poor hygiene and grooming
  • Social withdrawal
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Failing to keep up with home, school, or work responsibilities
  • Needing larger doses of Dilaudid to feel its effects
  • Isolating yourself from friends and family in favour of drug use
  • Stealing Dilaudid or money to buy Dilaudid
  • Forging prescriptions for Dilaudid or visiting several doctors to procure multiple prescriptions (‘doctor shopping’)
  • Purchasing or procuring Dilaudid illegally

People suffering from Dilaudid addiction tend to go through an array of personality changes that can be troubling in nature. For instance, if addicted to Dilaudid, you may become very angry or aggressive when asked about your drug misuse. Such behavioural indicators point to your mental focus being more about using and obtaining Dilaudid than anything else. This is the power of addiction on the human brain.

Dilaudid Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical addiction to Dilaudid is characterised by suffering withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use a fresh dose of the drug or try to reduce your dose. During Dilaudid withdrawal, you can expect to experience several of the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Cramps
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle and bone pains
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Paranoia
  • Racing heart
  • Runny nose
  • Severe and unexplained sweating

If you intend on quitting Dilaudid, it’s unsafe to try overcoming withdrawal symptoms on your own. Treatment at a medical facility will help minimise your withdrawal symptoms and ensure you make a full recovery, with less risk of complications.

Dangers of Dilaudid Overdose

As with other powerful narcotics, Dilaudid slows down the necessary bodily functions tied to the central nervous system. Examples of said functions include heart rate, breathing, body temperature, and blood pressure. Abusing Dilaudid to the point of overdose will result in these body functions being slowed down to dangerous levels. For instance, your breathing could slow down to the point it actually stops.

An overdose occurs when you take more Dilaudid than your body can process. Symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Possible loss of consciousness or falling into a coma
  • Shallow, slow breaths or trouble breathing
  • Weak pulse or slow heart rate

The method by which you take Dilaudid can also impact overdose. For instance, smoking, snorting, or injecting the drug sends the full dose very quickly through your system, thus dangerously increasing the risk of an overdose. Also, if you are combining Dilaudid with other substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other opioids, you’re at greater risk of suffering a potentially fatal overdose. Since alcohol, benzodiazepines and Dilaudid all function to lower vital life functions, combining them can have disastrous consequences.

You can recover from an overdose, as long as you promptly seek emergency medical attention. An opioid antagonist like naloxone can be used to reverse the overdose effects of Dilaudid.

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Individuals who are undergoing (or have undergone) detox are also in great danger of suffering an overdose if they relapse. Using Dilaudid after your body has been purged of the drug means that your tolerance has returned to its basic level; therefore, using a higher dose than you were accustomed to prior to detox can cause a possibly fatal overdose.

Short-term Effects of Dilaudid

The short-term effects of Dilaudid use include reducing the amount of pain being experienced in the body. After intake, Dilaudid can immediately produce feelings of relaxation, euphoria, sedation, and cough suppression. As well as euphoria and relaxation, you will also experience reduced anxiety and similar effects.

Long-term Effects of Dilaudid

Dilaudid’s long-term effects may include difficulty urinating, rashes, difficulty breathing, and fainting. Such side effects should not be taken lightly. Seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible to prevent irreversible damage to your overall health.

Treatment for Dilaudid Addiction

At a medical or specialised addiction facility, your health and level of addiction will be evaluated by a team of experts, before addiction treatment is provided. During the evaluation, it is important you provide accurate information concerning the dose, frequency, and how long you’ve been abusing Dilaudid. Failure to provide accurate information could lead to not receiving the appropriate level of treatment to help you make a full recovery.

Evaluation will be followed by a detoxification programme, via which all Dilaudid related toxins will be flushed from your body. A medically assisted detoxification programme can be applied to minimise withdrawal symptoms during the process and make your recovery less uncomfortable. Medication will be provided as necessary to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

A gradual tapering process can also be used to minimise withdrawal symptoms during detox. This process will involve gradually and systematically weaning you off Dilaudid, instead of abruptly cutting you off the drug (‘cold turkey’). Quitting Dilaudid abuse via the ‘cold turkey’ approach is quite unsafe and can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms.

After detox, rehab should follow, which addresses the psychological aspects of addiction. An ideal rehab programme will utilise a combination of counselling and behavioural therapies to help change your unhealthy thoughts and behaviours with regards Dilaudid abuse. Rehab will also equip you with the necessary skills and coping mechanisms to stay drug-free once you leave rehab.

Questions about Treatment

Is Dilaudid addictive?

As an opioid, Dilaudid is highly addictive. This is apparent in how physical dependence can be easily developed after using the drug for a short period of time, even when taken as per your prescription. If you try quitting Dilaudid after an addiction has developed, you’ll experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to severe.

Who abuses Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is usually prescribed to those suffering from chronic pain. Such people are usually most at risk of abusing the drug, especially if they use it in a manner that exceeds their prescription. Studies have also shown that a significant number of adolescents as young as 12 (as well as adults) have abused Dilaudid or some other type of opioid drug at some point in their lives.

How can I spot Dilaudid addiction?

Below are some commonly witnessed symptoms of Dilaudid addiction:

  • Lack of interest in interpersonal relationships
  • Inability to quit the drug successfully, even though aware that it is causing harm
  • Lower levels of happiness in life
  • Mental and physical health complaints that are worsening
  • Problems attending to everyday responsibilities
  • Problems with law enforcement
  • Reduced ability to perform or focus at work and school

Is Dilaudid harmful?

Because of its short lifespan, one of the greatest health risks of abusing Dilaudid is the risk of an overdose. Dilaudid overdose can be life-threatening; so much so, the best response in such a scenario is to seek immediate emergency care.

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