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Dilaudid Addiction, Side Effects and the Consequences of Abuse

Dilaudid is one of the strongest prescription opioid drugs on the market. It should come as no surprise that it’s often abused. It’s also not surprising that so many people become addicted to it.

If you’re struggling with an addiction to this medication, you need to know the dangers of it. You may not be aware of the side effects or how powerful this drug is. You’re in the right place to get the information you need.

Emergency Room Nurse Arrested for Stealing Dilaudid

When you work as an emergency room nurse, you’re charged with taking care of patients in critical conditions. Many are hanging onto their lives, while others are relying on you to relieve them of their pain. Because of their duties, ER employees are tasked with ensuring that medications are properly dispensed and disposed of. Unfortunately, one nurse decided that “disposing” of them meant taking them home.

She eventually pleaded guilty to nineteen counts of stealing narcotics from the emergency room. Dilaudid was among the medications she took, and the theft took place during a three-month period.

Her employment was immediately terminated once what she had done was discovered. Her actions will result in the loss of her license, and she may have trouble finding a good job in the future. Not only that, but she will need to have a pretrial hearing and submit to drug screening tests in the meantime.

What is it that would lead a professional to turn to substances to cope? There are many factors that could have been at play here. However, at the heart of it lies this woman’s addiction to Dilaudid.

What is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is a prescription medication that is eight times stronger than morphine. Its generic name is Hydromorphone, and it’s highly addictive. It belongs to the opioid classification of medications, and it’s usually only used when other drugs don’t work.

It can be given as a pill or it can be given through an IV. Many people prefer the IV method to the pill. They claim that taking the pill doesn’t work very well for pain relief. It may be possible to find the drug in liquid form for oral consumption, or as a rectal suppository as well.

Dilaudid may also be prescribed under the names Exalgo and dihydromorphinone. It is also available for sale on the street. Drug dealers will use various street names to describe it in an attempt to keep from getting caught. Some common street names for Hydromorphone include:
  • Dust
  • D
  • Dillies
  • Smack
  • Juice
  • Footballs
  • Hospital Heroin

This drug is often a last resort for doctors who are attempting to treat their patients’ pain. They will usually attempt other medications first, unless they know in advance that they won’t work.

Doctors prescribing Dilaudid are very careful to provide their patients with warnings regarding addiction. This is a medication that shouldn’t be taken on a regular basis. You won’t be able to get a refill from your doctor, and they may not prescribe it twice in a row.

In most cases, this drug should only be used to treat pain on a periodic basis. They may use other medications for controlling long-term or chronic pain. Dilaudid may be added for those who experience breakthrough pain. One example of this would be cancer patients at the end of their lives.

Most of the time, the general public is only able to gain access to this drug in its tablet form. However, the oral liquid solution may be prescribed for someone who cannot swallow the pills.

There are a lot of different ways that people can abuse Dilaudid. Any use outside of a doctor’s orders is considered to be abuse. This would include:
  • Taking more of the pills at one time than you should.
  • Chewing the pills and swallowing them.
  • Dissolving them in water and injecting them.
  • Injecting the oral liquid solution.
  • Taking this medication without a prescription.
  • Combining Dilaudid with other drugs or with alcohol.
  • Using this medication for the sole purpose of getting high.

If you’re abusing this drug, please be advised that you need to get immediate help. Talking with a professional should be your very next step. Otherwise, the abuse is likely to continue until it becomes a full addiction.

Dilaudid Use and Abuse Statistics in the U.S.

If this is a drug that you’re not very familiar with, you may be surprised at how common it is. In fact, the DEA reports that:
  • In 2012, there were 3.9 million prescriptions written for it in the United States.
  • During the first four months of 2013, there were close to 1 million prescriptions written.
  • The production quota for this drug increased dramatically between 2009 and 2013.
  • In 2009, the quota was 3,340 kilos.
  • By 2013, it had gone up to close to 6,000.
  • The abuse of this medication became clearer in observing the number of ER visits involving it.
  • In 2008, there were around 12,142 emergency room visits involving this medication.
  • By 2011, that number had gone up to 18,224.
  • The DEA reported in 2011 that there were 3,026 related drug items presented to forensic labs.
  • By 2012, that number had increased to 4,232.
  • By the first three months of 2013, there were already 1,100 items identified as Hydromorphone submitted to labs.
  • In 2011, the NSDUH reported that 1 million people ages 12 and older had used this drug for non-medical purposes at least once.

These statistics are shocking, to say the least. If you had any questions about whether or not this medication is dangerous, the answer is yes. It’s important to recognize the toll that taking it can have in your life.

What are the Side Effects of Taking Dilaudid?

People who take this medication for any reason are very likely to experience side effects. They may be mild at first, and some may even go away after some time has passed. For those abusing this drug, they should expect their list of side effects to be much longer.

Dilaudid Rehab Information
Some common side effects of Dilaudid include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red and tingling skin
  • Itching
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Blurry vision or double vision
  • Bouts of insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Flushed skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Excessive sweating
  • Strange dreams
  • A dry mouth
Sometimes the side effects can become more serious and disturbing. You are advised to contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:
  • Shallow or slow breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Confusion
  •  A slower heart rate than normal
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Fainting spells
  • Pounding heartbeats
  • Wheezing
  • Seizures
  • Swift mood changes
  • Problems with urination

How Easy is it to Become Addicted?

Hydromorphone is a powerful medication, and it’s quite easy to become addicted to it. In fact, some experts believe that you can become dependent on it in as little as two weeks of regular use.

If you’re like many people, you’re already addicted to this drug. You just don’t know it yet. You may be living your life in denial, thinking that an addiction could never happen to you. So many addicts feel the same way.

The question is, how do you know you’re an addict? There are a lot of different ways that you can find out the truth. For most individuals, it starts by looking at the symptoms of addiction in their own lives.

It can help for you to become familiar with the different signs and symptoms of Dilaudid addiction. They include:

  • Feeling like your current dosage isn’t working anymore.
  • Mixing your medication with other drugs or alcohol for an enhanced effect.
  • Experiencing anxiety, insomnia or dizziness when you take it.
  • You’re purchasing your medication on the street instead of getting it from a prescription.
  • You feel like you have to take it just to feel normal.
  • You’ll go to any lengths to be sure you don’t run out.
  • You find yourself thinking about using almost all the time.
  • Your substance abuse has become the most important part of your life.

If you’re an addict, then you probably relate to many of the above signs. Please know that there is no shame in realizing you’ve formed an addiction. You’re certainly not alone, and there are many ways for you to get the help you need to recover.

Hydromorphone is a drug that can lead to both physical and psychological addiction. That means that the body goes through changes that result in the person having cravings for it. Also, the individual who is addicted will eventually believe that they need to use the drug.

Not all drugs result in both types of addictions. However, most will cause psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when they’re stopped. Hydromorphone works the same way.

The fact that this drug leads to a physical dependence means that you need a specific type of treatment to recover. The same is true for the psychological aspect of the problem. Fortunately, the right options are available to help you overcome both sides of the addiction.

The short-term effects of this medication are what lead people to continue using it over and over again. They’re quite pleasant in nature, and they can include:

  • Getting relief for pain
  • A feeling of euphoria
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Feeling sedated
  • A reduction in anxiety levels

What people don’t realize is that those feelings don’t always last for very long. There can come a time when the drug stops working as well as it did in the beginning. This is what leads people to increase their dosages, or try other methods of administration.

The long-term effects of Dilaudid are much more serious. They can begin anytime once a person starts using the drug regularly. If you’ve been using this medication long-term, it’s likely that you have or will experience:

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Infections from needles
  • Track marks on your arms or legs
  • Symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • The risk of heart problems
  • The risk of liver problems
  • The risk of kidney disease

Long-term Dilaudid use is likely to be devastating to your life. Many people find that they become socially isolated from the people they love the most. They may get a DUI because of driving under the influence of this drug. They may suffer from financial issues because of the amount of money they’re spending on it.

How Hard is it to Try to Come off Dilaudid?

It can be very difficult to attempt to quit using Dilaudid. Your body has taken a lot of time getting used to how it feels when you take it. It’s almost as though it’s created a new balance for you. Stopping your use of this drug will upset that balance, and you’re likely to feel worse before you feel better.

Even so, you need to know that it is possible to stop using Dilaudid successfully. With the right treatment, you can stay off this medication long-term and never go back to taking it.

Withdrawal is your body’s way of responding when you stop using a particular drug. Every substance has its own list of common withdrawal symptoms, and Dilaudid is no different.

Once you stop using it, you’re likely to experience any combination of the following:

  • Feelings of restlessness
  • A runny nose
  • Loss of appetite and possible weight loss
  • Tearing eyes
  • A faster breathing rate
  • Pain in your stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in your muscles or joints
  • Sleeping problems
  • Cravings for the medication
  • Chills and/or a fever
  • Frequent yawning
  • Hot or cold sweats

Fortunately, getting professional treatment can help to control many of the symptoms on this list. You’ll also find that when you get withdrawal treatments, the risk of relapsing will be lower.

Two of the more popular methods of quitting drugs are medical tapering and going cold turkey. If you’re thinking about recovery, you’ve probably contemplated and researched both of them.

When you go cold turkey, it means that you abruptly and completely stop using your drug of choice. You put it down with the intentions of walking away and never going back to using again. When you’re not familiar with how addiction works, this method might seem like the best one. People tend to think of it like ripping off a bandaid to get the pain over with. The problem is that it carries a lot more risks.

You have no way of knowing how your body is going to respond if you decide to quit cold turkey. You may have a day or two of bad withdrawals and then feel a lot better. It’s also possible that you could suffer through some severe complications that you weren’t bargaining for.

More often than not, people who quit cold turkey end up going back to using. This puts them at a much higher risk of an overdose due to changing tolerance levels in their bodies.

Medical tapering is different from quitting your Dilaudid use abruptly. This means taking smaller doses of the drug over time until you’re off it completely. This is a very effective way to decrease the severity of withdrawal. However, it should never be used without proper medical supervision.

At any point, you could lower your dose too quickly, triggering the start of severe withdrawal. It’s best to rely on the professionals for help. They can put you on an appropriate tapering schedule to make the process safe and much smoother.

Ways to Get Help With a Dilaudid Addiction

There are many ways that you can get help with your addiction. It’s best to start right now, and not put it off for another day. We can help you understand what your options are for treatment. They include:
  • Going through a drug detox program.
  • Entering into an inpatient treatment center that offers help for Dilaudid addiction.
  • Talking with a therapist.
  • Beginning an outpatient drug rehab program.
  • Attending an intensive outpatient treatment program.
  • Going to a facility that offers long-term drug rehab if your addiction is severe.
  • Attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, or another support group.

One thing is for certain – you should never give up hope. Even if your situation seems hopeless at the moment, you must trust us when we say it isn’t. Recovery is possible as long as you surround yourself with the right support system. In most cases, that means obtaining professional treatment to guide you along the way.

You may need to go to an opioid detox center when you begin your recovery from Dilaudid addiction. Not every treatment program requires this, but many of them do, and for good reason.

During the time that you have been using Dilaudid, you have been filling your body with harmful toxins. These chemicals make it very difficult for you to cope with cravings and recover in other ways. As your body processes them, they will make your withdrawal symptoms much worse.

Detoxing is going to help you in a few different ways. It’s going to lessen the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. If you are at risk for any complications, such as seizures, going through detox will reduce that risk.

It’s also going to help you by shortening the duration of the detox timetable. This means you’ll get through it faster than if you were to quit using on your own.

It’s better for you to go through an opioid detox. You’ll receive excellent care and get the help you need with the physical aspect of your addiction.

There are different ways of providing withdrawal treatments, and medical detoxification is one of them. This means that you may be given medications to help improve your symptoms. For those who use opioid drugs, this might mean receiving medication assisted treatment, or MAT.

MAT involves the use of one of many drugs that have been FDA approved for this purpose. Some of them are opioid replacement therapy medications. They work by attaching to your opioid receptors and blocking the effects of any other, similar drugs. They are quite effective, and have worked well for a lot of people.

Vivitrol is another option. This medication isn’t an opioid drug but it works well at treating opioid addiction. It’s fairly new, but people who have used it have had great success with it.

You will most likely be experiencing holistic detox treatments as well as medications. During the time that you’ve been using Dilaudid, you probably haven’t taken good care of yourself. That means you’re not as healthy as you could be. Your body will detox more efficiently if it’s brought into a state of better health. This can be achieved through adding the right diet and exercise into your routine daily.

You’ll meet with a nutritionist to talk about your normal food intake. They’ll make suggestions and educate you about the importance of a balanced diet. You’ll also be recommended for regular exercise, which might mean playing a sport, or aerobic activities.

Getting healthier will mean that your liver and kidneys will process toxins out faster. This is going to help you feel better sooner.

Reasons to Choose an Inpatient Dilaudid Rehab for Your Recovery Needs

You will probably find that you need an inpatient program to recover from your Dilaudid addiction. There are several ways this is going to benefit you.

First of all, most people aren’t strong enough in their desires to quit using to go to an outpatient program. They usually need to be completely removed from their homes and placed in a facility for a period of time. An inpatient facility is going to provide you with the support you need as you recover. You won’t have the opportunity to use at all, which is what you probably need.

Secondly, it will be very helpful for you to be in a medical setting with qualified professionals. There is always the risk that you may develop a complication. If that occurs, you’ll be able to get assistance right away.

Finally, going to an inpatient Dilaudid program will give you the opportunity to learn how to live without the drugs. That can be something that’s difficult to learn when you’re still living at home, even if you’re going to rehab. By taking some time away from home, you’ll be able to completely focus on doing what you need to do to heal. You’ll learn what it’s like to live without having access to your medication, and you’ll get support while you do it.

Sometimes people are very concerned because they suffer from a mental health condition and an addiction. They wonder if they’ll be able to get treatment for their mental illness at the same time. The answer to that question is yes.

If you have a mental illness and an addiction, you have what professionals call a co-occurring disorder. It’s possible that your mental illness was what led to your dependence on Dilaudid. However sometimes these conditions can appear after the addiction develops.

Either way, both of them need to be treated. You’ll get better results if you receive dual diagnosis treatment. This will allow your therapists and doctors to come together to create the best treatment plan for you.

There are some people who simply cannot commit to going to an inpatient treatment program. Maybe that’s the situation you’re in. You need to find an outpatient facility that can provide you with an excellent level of care.

If that’s the case, you might want to consider going to an intensive outpatient treatment program, or IOP. At this stage in your recovery, that is the beset choice for you. Many experts believe that IOPs are just as effective as inpatient rehabs.

You’ll be required to attend regular appointments anywhere from three to five days per week. These appointments are usually held in the evenings, which gives you time to go to work or school. You may be drug tested regularly, and you’ll need to remain compliant. Otherwise, your treatment may need to be terminated.

An IOP can be a great option for someone in your position. If you require an outpatient program, it’s definitely one that you should consider.

Types of Therapy That Can Aid in Recovery

You’ll find that there are many different types of therapy that you’ll be exposed to during your addiction treatment. The staff members will work long and hard to create a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs. Some examples of what you might experience include:

Individual therapy sessions – Everyone who attends rehab will meet with a therapist one on one. This gives them time to talk with you in a private setting and get to know you. They’ll ask you questions about your addiction history and about your life in general. If you’re struggling with a mental illness, they can diagnose it and begin treating you for it. Your therapist’s goal will be to determine the cause of your addiction and start treatment immediately.

Group therapy sessions – This is the part of rehab that can often make people feel nervous or uneasy. You might be scared about the idea of talking in front of a group of people. If you are, don’t worry. Most people feel the same way. You’ll find that it’s helpful to listen to others share about their addictions. Before long, you’ll get to know them, and you’ll feel much more comfortable.

Family sessions – Your family is a big part of your life. It’s only right that they should be included in your recovery journey. Your therapist will schedule therapy sessions with them. You can use these sessions to improve your relationship and talk about anything you need to discuss.

Yoga and meditation – Yoga is often a big part of recovery for many people. You’ll learn how to get more in tune with your body and give it what it’s asking of you as you recover.

Art and music therapy – It’s been proven that art and music therapy are very important in addiction recovery. You may discover a new love for the arts that you never knew you had.

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How to Find a Dilaudid Rehabilitation Facility Near You

You’re about to take an important step in your life as you decide to get help for your addiction to Dilaudid. We understand that it’s difficult to admit you have a problem. However, we want you to know that you’re not in this fight alone. We’ll be there, right by your side, here at Northpoint Washington.

Our staff is determined to provide you with the help you need to recover. We have the tools you need to be successful, and you can get started anytime.

Did we answer all your questions about Dilaudid addiction and treatment? If you need to get more information, please contact us today.

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