Dilaudid is a powerful prescription opioid which delivers fast and effective pain relief. But Dilaudid also has a high potential for dependence, abuse, and addiction.
If your doctor has prescribed Dilaudid, you may be worried about the possibility of becoming dependent or addicted. Read on to find out more about Dilaudid addiction and abuse, including how to recognize the signs of addiction.
Dilaudid Addiction Statistics
The statistics on Dilaudid addiction and abuse confirm that the answer to the question, “Is Dilaudid addictive?”, is a definite yes.
There are several reasons why Dilaudid, or hydromorphone, is so addictive. Milligram for milligram, it is eight times more potent than morphine. This potency means that those using Dilaudid can soon develop a tolerance. As a result, users may need larger or more frequent doses to achieve the desired effect.
As well as blocking pain, opioids such as Dilaudid causes the brain to release large amounts of dopamine. The dopamine, which is usually the chemical responsible for reward, sends a rush of pleasure throughout the body.
Due to its potency and the way Dilaudid activates the brain’s reward system, it is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.
General Statistics on Addiction to Dilaudid
The misuse of opioids like Dilaudid is a serious national problem. Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.
This addiction crisis stems from misplaced reassurance by pharmaceutical companies about the low risk of addiction to prescription opioid pain relievers. Healthcare providers began to prescribe opioids such as Dilaudid at greater rates. This was before research discovered just how addictive these substances could be.
But by then, addiction had taken hold. In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose. That same year, 2 million Americans were suffering from substance use disorders relating to prescription opioids like Dilaudid.
Between 21 and 29 percent of people who prescribed opioids such as Dilaudid for chronic pain end up misusing them. And, often as a result of this misuse, between 8 and 12 percent of users develop an addiction.
Addiction to prescription opioids like Dilaudid can also lead to addiction to illicit opioids such as heroin. In fact, 80 percent of heroin users first misused prescription opioids such as Dilaudid.
Dilaudid Addiction Demographics
Addiction to opioid pain relievers such as Dilaudid can affect anyone from any walk of life. But, statistics show that some people are more at risk for addiction than others.
If you’ve struggled with addiction to other substances, such as alcohol, tobacco or other drugs in the past, you are at a greater risk for developing a Dilaudid addiction. Research shows that addiction also depends a lot on genetic factors. If a family member has struggled with substance abuse or addiction, then you are more likely to become addicted to Dilaudid.
Age is another factor, with young adults being the most likely group to abuse prescription medications such as Dilaudid. In fact, 12 percent of 18 to 25 year-olds have taken prescription drugs, including opioid painkillers, for non-medical reasons. Abuse doesn’t necessarily indicate addiction. But, abusing prescription medications in this way is a primary risk factor for addiction.
People with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety are also at a greater risk of developing an addiction to opioids such as Dilaudid. One reason for this is the way opioids like Dilaudid cause the body to release the pleasure hormone dopamine, easing emotional distress and worry.
Also, researchers believe that opioids are less effective for sufferers of mental health conditions such as depression. As a result, opioid users with depression may need higher doses to obtain the desired effect.
Signs of Dilaudid Abuse
It is not always easy to recognize Dilaudid abuse, even in yourself. But there is a range of warning signs that might indicate that you are abusing Dilaudid.
Physical and psychological warning signs of Dilaudid abuse can include:
- Lack of alertness
- Constricted pupils
- Slowed breathing
- Muscle spasms
- Mood swings
Behavioral warning signs of Dilaudid abuse can include:
- Taking Dilaudid more often than prescribed
- Taking higher doses of Dilaudid than prescribed
- Combining Dilaudid with other substances, such as alcohol
- Taking Dilaudid without a prescription
In addition to these common warning signs, you may experience other physical, psychological and behavioral changes that could indicate Dilaudid abuse.
Am I Addicted?
If you are taking higher or more frequent doses of Dilaudid than prescribed or combining Dilaudid with other substances then you are abusing this drug. This abuse does not necessarily indicate addiction. Although, addiction is likely if you continue to abuse Dilaudid.
Dilaudid addiction symptoms include the warning signs of abuse listed above. But, addiction is characterized by more severe psychological, physical and behavioral symptoms.
Physical signs of Dilaudid addiction include nausea and vomiting, stomach pain and dizziness, and can also include very serious side effects such as heart attack, stroke, and seizures.
Psychological signs to be aware of include restlessness, agitation, hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. And more severe behavioral signs related to addiction include stealing Dilaudid or ‘doctor shopping‘ to obtain several prescriptions.
Dangers of Dilaudid Abuse
Abusing Dilaudid by taking higher or more frequent doses, combining Dilaudid with other substances, or taking it without a prescription increases the chance of developing tolerance and dependence.
Once a patient becomes dependent on Dilaudid, they will need more and more Dilaudid to achieve the same effect. This increases the likelihood of Dilaudid addiction.
Dilaudid abuse also makes Dilaudid withdrawal more painful and more difficult. If an individual stops taking Dilaudid without decreasing consumption over time, this cuts off the drug’s effects on your reward system.
A sudden stop in Dilaudid causes activity in your brain’s reward system to drop. This leads to a range of negative and severe psychological, cognitive and physical withdrawal symptoms.
Seeking Treatment for Dilaudid Addiction and Abuse
If any of these warning signs of Dilaudid addiction and abuse sound familiar, there is a high chance you have a problem with Dilaudid. If so, you should seek help to withdraw and detox from this drug in a safe and manageable way.