Although Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a prescription medication, individuals using this drug are at risk of developing dependence and addiction. 

Here we explain more about Dilaudid symptoms and warning signs of abuse.

Symptoms of Addiction to Dilaudid

There is a lot of confusion surrounding prescription pain relievers such as Dilaudid. Many people wonder, ‘is Dilaudid an opiate?’, or, ‘is hydromorphone an opiate?’.

First of all, Dilaudid is the brand name for the generic medication hydromorphone, so these are just two names for the same drug. In terms of classification, ‘opiates’ used to refer to natural drugs derived from opium, such as heroin, while ‘opioids’ were synthetic opiates. Now, however, the medical community tends to use the term ‘opioid’ for all medications within this class of drug. 

As an opioid, Dilaudid blocks pain. But, it also causes the brain’s pleasure centers to release large amounts of dopamine. This dopamine sends a rush of pleasure throughout the body, providing a powerful high. 

It’s this release of dopamine which makes Dilaudid highly addictive. It’s possible for an individual taking Dilaudid to become dependent on the drug in just two to three weeks. 

Dependence does not necessarily indicate addiction. But those with a Dilaudid dependence can soon become addicted. Dilaudid addiction is characterized by compulsive drug use and cravings as well as a range of physical, psychological and behavioral signs. 

Physical signs of Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Dizziness and feeling lightheaded
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Respiratory depression
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Track marks on arms and legs
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Psychological signs of Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations

Behavioral signs of Dilaudid addiction include:

  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop using Dilaudid
  • Continuing to take Dilaudid despite its harmful effects
  • Feeling a lack of control over Dilaudid drug use
  • Changes in mood or behavior 
  • Failure to keep up with responsibilities, missing work or school
  • Neglecting family and friends, social isolation
  • Refusal to leave the house without a supply of Dilaudid
  • Obsession with Dilaudid and how to obtain more
  • Doctor shopping‘ for multiple prescriptions
  • Forging prescriptions for Dilaudid
  • Stealing Dilaudid from medicine cabinets
  • Spending excessive amounts of money to obtain Dilaudid

Warning Signs a Loved One May Be Abusing Dilaudid

As Dilaudid is a prescription medication, individuals may mistakenly view it as safe.

However, Dilaudid is a powerful opioid which acts in as little as 15 minutes to relieve moderate to severe pain. In fact, it is eight times more potent than morphine. As a result of this potency, users can quickly develop a tolerance, leading them to increase their dose. 

And, due to the way Dilaudid activates the brain’s reward system, it is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. And, abusing Dilaudid is one of the primary risk factors for addiction. 

Physical and psychological warning signs of Dilaudid abuse can include: 

  • Lack of alertness
  • Drowsiness
  • 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 
  • Using Dilaudid without a prescription
  • Combining Dilaudid with other substances, such as alcohol

Is My Child Using Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is not approved for use by anyone under 18 years of age. If your child is under 18 and using Dilaudid, this is drug abuse. In this case, you should seek immediate help for Dilaudid withdrawal treatment. 

If your child is over 18 and has cause to take pain medication, their doctor may have prescribed Dilaudid. If you know your child is taking Dilaudid, you should monitor their behavior carefully for possible signs of abuse and addiction.

Of course, an adult child may not tell their parent which medications they are using. If this is the case, the signs of Dilaudid abuse and addiction listed can signal that, not only are they using Dilaudid, but that they could be abusing it. 

Is My Parent Using Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is usually prescribed for short-term pain relief, often after surgery or for cancer pain. If your parent is suffering from moderate to severe pain for one of these possible reasons, they may have a prescription for Dilaudid. 

Using Dilaudid does not necessarily indicate a problem with abuse or addiction. But, since it is a potent drug which is commonly abused, you should watch out for signs that your parent’s Dilaudid use may have become problematic. 

If you are not aware of the medications your parent takes but notice some of the warning signs listed above, this could indicate Dilaudid use and potential abuse.

Intervention for Dilaudid Abuse

Whether it’s your parent, child or anyone else you care about, if you suspect Dilaudid abuse, it’s crucial to say something to your loved one. 

If you’re worried about their response, you should stage an intervention. Your first step to planning an intervention should be to gather a team of carefully chosen family members and friends. Then, with the help of an intervention specialist, you can talk as a group to your loved one as a way to get them to recognize the extent of their addiction. 

An intervention should not be confrontational, but rather a means to express concerns in a constructive and compassionate way. As a group, you will also present your loved one with a pre-arranged treatment plan. And, prior to the intervention, you should establish as a team what the consequences are if your loved one does not agree to get treatment. 

When arranging an intervention for Dilaudid abuse, you should take Dilaudid side effects into account. You and your intervention team should choose a time of day when the addicted individual is alert and feeling physically well enough to take part. Getting the timing right ensures that your loved one will be responsive to the intervention process and its aims. 

Seeking Treatment for Dilaudid Symptoms and Warning Signs

Dilaudid addiction is near impossible to overcome without help. As such, if you recognize any of the Dilaudid symptoms and warning signs listed above, you must urge your loved one to seek treatment. 

With the support of a specialized program, your loved one can overcome their dependence on Dilaudid over time. Contact us to find out how we can help.